Ballard Spahr began asking in 2009 whether federal stimulus dollars would be enough to push municipalities over the hump, enabling them to avoid long-term financial problems, said William C. Rhodes, a partner in the firm’s Public Finance Department. The answer was no. So Ballard Spahr created a municipal recovery practice with about 20 lawyers. The practice draws on the firm’s strengths in public-private partnerships, state and local taxes, and bankruptcies and workouts. “Maybe with one phone call they can get quite a bit of different guidance and help instead of calling lots of firms,” Mr. Rhodes said.