Kane, Ballmer & Berkman is an AV-rated law Firm with 13 attorneys, a redevelopment specialist and support staff. Since its inception in 1963, the Firm has specialized in providing expert & ethical legal services to redevelopment agencies, municipalities, development commissions, special districts and other public entities within and outside the State of California, primarily in the fields of municipal and redevelopment law. In connection with this practice, the Firm also provides legal services in related substantive fields such as construction law, environmental procedures and determinations (CEQA and NEPA), hazardous waste litigation and remediation, land use and general real estate development and finance, the negotiation and drafting of development agreements on behalf of municipalities, assessment district creation, surety bonds and public works, municipal bonds, securitization programs, property taxation and assessments, affordable and market-rate housing, eminent domain, general municipal and trial and appellate litigation relating to these subjects.
The Firm currently represents approximately three dozen public entities, mostly redevelopment agencies and cities located in California. A sample of current active clients of the Firm are Community College District (Los Angeles), Culver City, Huntington Beach, Inglewood, Los Angeles, Lynwood, Oceanside, Ontario, Oxnard, Palmdale, South Pasadena and San Diego. The Firm also engages in the representation of private clients (generally property owners and/or developers) with redevelopment and related matters in cities that are not clients of the Firm.
It is the Firm’s overriding objective to assist and provide each of its clients with the level of activism most appropriate and useful to the client in order for that client to accomplish its myriad goals and objectives. This is accomplished by drawing upon the diverse and varied experiences of the attorneys of the Firm.
Kane, Ballmer & Berkman has expertise in matters important to the implementation of land use and redevelopment plans, including zoning, general and community plans, subdivision and tentative mapping; the property and sales tax system; the conceptual and practical aspects of tax increment financing and the sharing of property tax by law or agreement among public entities; the methods of obtaining developer advances and payments for governmental purposes; bond or assessment districts and various other financial alternatives available for capital outlays; and real estate debt and equity financing and security. While our Firm does not act as bond counsel, per se, we have acted as special counsel for many public bodies with direct involvement in formulating plans and the essential structure and terms for bond issues. In this capacity we have been responsible for coordinating the issuance of bonds with the overall objectives of a redevelopment plan. The Firm has assisted agencies when they issue tax allocation bonds, certificates of participation, lease revenue bonds, mortgage revenue bonds and Qualified Redevelopment Bonds.
The Firm has special capabilities in construction law both for transactions and litigation. It also has broad expertise in environmental law including state and federal hazardous waste/toxic material liability, slope stability and earth movement, risk programs, and remediation guidelines. Moreover, the Firm has substantial experience in handling environmental matters involving the California Environmental Quality Act which serves to protect the California environment through the utilization of certain environmental assessment measures.
The Firm’s litigation practice coordinates directly with and facilitates the transactional activities of our clients. In the area of eminent domain, the Firm has been able to successfully bring its expertise to bear on various condemnation and calculation issues peculiar to municipal projects. The same is true for the various land use, municipal and environmental matters handled by the Firm. In litigation, the Firm takes a flexible and pragmatic approach to solving clients’ problems. The Firm has handled complex and precedent setting issues at both the trial and appellate levels of advocacy.
Since its inception in 1963, Kane, Ballmer & Berkman has maintained ongoing hands-on experience interacting and interfacing with and attending meetings of city councils, planning commissions and redevelopment boards for all sizes and types of communities located throughout California. Such experience includes attendance at meetings involving no controversial issues and meetings involving participation by hundreds of citizens. In all of these, the individuals representing the Firm recognize their function is to provide timely advice and assistance to assure those meetings are effective, so the necessary public business can be accomplished as the elected and appointed officials deem appropriate. The Firm always places an emphasis on finding creative, innovative solutions to use the maximum amount of flexibility the law and ethics provide to accomplish a community’s goals.