Nossaman LLP has announced it has hired counsel Andrée Blais to its Infrastructure Practice Group. A Canadian with a wealth of experience in advising on the development and implementation of public-private partnerships (P3s), Blais led the crafting of legal services for several major P3 projects in Canada, advising public sector owners from project development through procurement, closing, and contract administration.
Patrick Harder, Chair of Nossaman's Infrastructure Practice Group, said:
"Andrée's experience in Canada doing P3 transactions of various types, including social infrastructure transactions, is invaluable. Canada has a large number of these transactions in all sectors. They've been very aggressive in using the P3 tool for projects such as transit, courthouses, schools, prisons, and hospitals/medical facilities. Those kinds of transactions are the next wave of P3 transactions in the US, but not many people in the US have that experience. Andrée has spot-on, in-depth public sector side P3 experience, particularly in social infrastructure. And initially she'll be working on the Indianapolis Justice Center project in Indiana, a social infrastructure transaction."
"This is the ground floor of the US social infrastructure market. And Andrée is going to step right in and help us define it."
Blais began her law career as a law clerk for the Honorable Mr. Justice Frank Iacobucci of the Supreme Court of Canada. However, her P3 journey began as she worked in the public sector with the Alberta government.
"I became involved first with more traditional P3 deals and then social infrastructure projects including bundled schools. That really piqued my interest in infrastructure development and alternative methods for procuring and financing public assets. My entire career has been very transaction based. I've had face-to-face experience with the private sector and their legal advisors, lenders, and bankers. But what I think is unique about my skills and background is the combination of experience advising the public sector (including advising on procurement strategies and issues), experience with social infrastructure P3s and experience with availability payment structures.
"Fortunately, these factors align perfectly with the current upswing in the US of social infrastructure projects and the use of availability payments structures. I also feel that I fit in very well at Nossaman because of its unique public sector side focus. I have quite a bit of experience advising the public sector on policy development for assessing and selecting projects best suited to P3 delivery, as well as policies for procuring assets through a P3 delivery. And again that fits seamlessly with exactly what Nossaman does for the public sector in the US.
Having recently relocated to California, Blais will serve in a non-lawyer capacity until passing the California Bar exam.
Ms. Blais earned her Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) from McGill University (1996) in Montreal, Québec, and her Master of Laws from York University's Osgoode Hall Law School (2004) in Toronto, Ontario. She is currently licensed in Saskatchewan.