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Professionals Who Know How to Get Things Done in State Government

Ever since our founding by Governor Robert E. McNair in 1971, the McNair Law Firm has provided effective state government advocacy to businesses of all sizes. Whether your organization’s business activity is highly regulated (such as the specialized administrative requirements that health care providers, electric utilities and telecom companies must meet), or you simply need help securing a permit or presenting your story in an administrative forum, McNair lawyers can use their understanding of administrative policy and procedures on your behalf.

Our team members have been senior administrators in South Carolina licensing, treasury and other regulatory agencies, as well as state legislators and counsel to legislative committees. And we have the experience at the federal government level and in local government to be effective advocates on your behalf in any administrative and regulatory concerns.

Our firm has created relationships with state government that allows us to reach business solutions for our clients, either through convincing arguments that change administrative policy or effective advocacy that wins their position. We work well with the members, staff and legal counsel of state agencies with authority in concerns as diverse as human resource management, procurement, public finance and health care. We also work effectively with and before the state’s Administrative Law Courts and other administrative agencies in appeals of administrative rulings by regulatory agencies. Our voice is heard in Columbia by those who matter – and that means that your interests as our clients receive the full and objective consideration that they deserve.

We represent major companies that seek to move to or expand in South Carolina and counsel municipal, county and state development officials on the best ways to attract and retain these companies. Innovation has been our lawyers’ hallmark, from assisting with the creation of the South Carolina Jobs - Economic Development Authority to structuring the State’s first use of industrial incentives to finance general commercial development.

We understand how state government works and our professional credibility enables us to work with decision-makers to craft pioneering solutions that reshape development law and resolve even the most complex development challenges. More importantly, we work to ensure that any development solution adds value for both business and government. No matter where you are in the development spectrum, you can rely on McNair to know what is both practical and feasible.

Example of our Services
One of South Carolina’s largest banks wanted to build a new North American financial headquarters in the state, planned as a campus development that would include over a dozen buildings and more than 1,000 employees. Appropriate economic development incentives were needed to help secure the project, but they ran into a legal roadblock; by state law, such incentives could not be granted to banks because of their tax status.

McNair lawyers proposed and lobbied for a change in the law and then structured a highly favorable incentive package. Weeks of high-level, nearly round-the-clock work were required.

Your potential labor and employment controversies are as wide-ranging as the many state and federal laws and regulations that you operate under, and we can defend and resolve them. We have represented many employers in complaint investigations and administrative proceedings by state agencies, and by such federal agencies as the United States Department of Labor, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). Employers increasingly face lawsuits claiming back pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime pay exemptions, and we work to make sure your employees are properly classified while mounting a defense against any claims. Any protected class of your employees – by age, race, gender, disability, religion – could bring a complaint under the discrimination statutes, and we have resolved all types of discrimination matters.

McNair’s knowledge of how government works means we have the resources to craft governmental structures that are effective. We understand how state government works at the executive and legislative levels, and our working relationships with the various governmental bodies means we are often successful at partnering with them to design solutions that reshape the administrative landscape. Our professional credibility with legislators and governmental agency heads position us to help lead organizational innovation that resolves even the most complex public policy challenges. We are equally effective at structuring administrative law and handling the bond issues of new financing agencies. Our goal is to ensure that any administrative agency we help create adds value for government and has full public acceptance.

Example of our Services
When the state of South Carolina experienced difficulties securing sufficient financing for major road and highway construction and repair, McNair took the lead in helping to create the South Carolina Transportation Infrastructure Bank. The Bank has since issued over $3 billion in bonds and state-backed loans to facilitate faster and more comprehensive road infrastructure work.

Your company or organization has a right to make your views and needs known through lobbying advocacy and contributions in support of the electoral process. McNair lawyers believe that the wisest approach to dealing with government is to be proactive, with a constant presence among officials authorized to affect your interests. That’s why we help many clients form political action committees and other advocacy groups and coalitions.

But we also understand all the complex laws and procedures for lobbying, disclosure and registration, and make certain you are in full compliance. If questions arise on any advocacy efforts, we will appear on your behalf before the State Ethics Commission to answer questions and defend your interests.

One of the biggest challenges facing health care providers in today’s cost-sensitive market is securing certificates of need and certificates of exemption from state governing bodies that oversee and approve facility expansion and provider mergers. Whether your health care operation intends to build, add to or modify its existing physical plant, undertake a significant new capital expenditure, or enter a business combination with another provider, McNair can help you at every step in the regulatory approval process.

You get comprehensive advice on compliance strategies for all significant certification threshold issues, including permit applications, exemption requests and cost overrun determinations. Our lawyers will represent you before the state board responsible for your operations. If necessary on your behalf, we will undertake or defend administrative appeals and public policy lobbying to secure the necessary support for your expansion or new health care facility or service. Hospitals and other health care facilities throughout the Carolinas rely on our working relationships with the regulatory authorities in those states to secure merger and acquisition approval from the Attorney General, state health regulators and similar authorities.

Example of our Services
One of our health care team members has been successful at securing regulatory approval for certificate of need applications covering hospitals, imaging centers, nursing homes and a free-standing ambulatory surgery center. And when a private religious institution and a county government formed a new tax-exempt hospital system, we negotiated the Certificate of Public Advantage and the antitrust clearance, and led the litigation which resolved key constitutional issues.

No matter what products and services your company seeks to sell to state government – sophisticated electronics, school buses or vending machine maintenance – McNair lawyers can be your advocates in the procurement process. We offer a complete and effective package of services to any company or organization wanting help to resolve a contract dispute, needing to handle a bid protest, or seeking guidance on the best ways to establish or expand business with state government agencies.

If you seek to do business with state agencies, rely on us to develop bids and proposals that are responsive to government requirements involving performance-based contracting, pricing, organizational conflicts of interest, technical data rights, accounting systems, and security requirements. Once a contract is secured we can help with performance issues, including interpretation of contract clauses, identification and pricing of change orders, and government audits and investigations.

We can also help you bring, and defend against, protests over the propriety of state government contract award processes. Our lawyers never lose sight of the fact that your ultimate objective is to secure government business, either through a successful current challenge or by establishing the foundation for favorable future consideration by the purchasing agency.

Example of our Services
McNair helped define procurement law in South Carolina through our successful advocacy in procurement litigation to sustain an award of a contract for a $105 million school bus purchase that was the largest single goods procurement in state history at that time.

We help clients in key regulated utility industries – electric power, telecommunications, water management, transportation – work with state regulators to operate efficiently and effectively in today’s complex mix of market economics and public policy. Our lawyers are well versed in helping utilities in traditional regulatory concerns such as ratemaking proceedings, facility siting and administrative litigation. More importantly, if you are a regulated utility company and want to undertake a competitive venture that will require the approval of regulatory authorities, McNair’s knowledge and experience can be valuable for project completion.

Example of our Services
McNair created a joint action agency formed by ten municipalities in the northwest section of South Carolina to provide wholesale electric service to its members primarily through 25% ownership of a nuclear power plant. To create the agency we had to draft and secure approval of a new state law, then defend the law in two cases before the South Carolina Supreme Court. We since have served as counsel on its financial and operational matters.

Our state tax practice in South Carolina regularly handles audits, appeals and criminal tax investigations. You will get a defense in administrative hearings before state taxing authorities, thanks to our approach that combines a willingness to litigate with the skill to work out a negotiated settlement. In addition, public and private foundations, charitable organizations, hospitals, educational institutions and governmental agencies (including a South Carolina governmental organization created to assist school districts and county governments provide educational services to children with learning disabilities) also seek our help to secure and maintain their tax-exempt status. By the same token, hospitals and other health care organizations get the help they need on the tax treatment of divesting for-profit subsidiaries and divisions, and on mergers or joint ventures with other for-profit organizations.

Example of our Services
We advocated on behalf of a Fortune 500 client before the South Carolina Department of Revenue to secure approval for consolidation of state tax returns for individual divisions and subsidiaries. By reaching agreement with the DOR on a fee-in-lieu of tax arrangement, we saved our client from constantly having to prepare and submit multiple tax returns when its operations relocated or expanded.