Christopher D. Bell, a real estate attorney whose broad transactional experience includes more than 10 years at Fannie Mae, has joined Ballard Spahr as a partner in the Washington, D.C., office, firm chair Mark Stewart announced today.

As a member of Ballard Spahr’s nationally recognized Housing Group, Mr. Bell adds even greater depth to a large and growing housing practice that represents many of the country’s leading housing lenders, borrowers, and investors nationwide.

“We couldn’t be happier about Chris’ joining our Housing Group. He augments our outstanding team of real estate attorneys in Washington, D.C., which can handle any aspect of major transactions and projects,” Mr. Stewart said. “Chris’ experience, particularly more than a decade in-house at Fannie Mae, provides the deep level of understanding and familiarity with transactional issues that will make him an invaluable resource for our clients and their projects.”

Mr. Bell had practiced since 2004 at Fannie Mae, a U.S. government-sponsored enterprise chartered by Congress to support the secondary mortgage market. As the agency’s Associate General Counsel of Housing and Community Development, he was Fannie Mae’s lead attorney for affordable housing transactions and for secondary market construction loan participations and syndications. He advised on Fannie Mae charter and regulatory matters, as well as on complex real estate finance transactions, including those involving mortgage-backed securities, bond credit enhancement, mezzanine debt, senior housing, and pool purchases. He assisted in revisions to Fannie Mae form loan documents and the Delegated Underwriting and Servicing Guide, and with product enhancement review and design. In addition, Mr. Bell served as lead counsel for Fannie Mae’s corporate charitable arm, the Office of Community Investment and Engagement, where he provided legal counsel regarding grant documentation issues, intellectual property rights, procurement, audit, and compliance matters.

“Chris is a terrific lawyer whose work at Fannie Mae has earned him a high degree of respect throughout the housing finance industry,” said Mary Jo George, Practice Leader of Ballard Spahr’s Housing Group. “He brings a wealth of practical knowledge and experience that will benefit lenders and borrowers who need counsel to guide them through complicated transactions.”

Mr. Bell is active in civic and professional affairs in the D.C. metropolitan area, including his service as current Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of the University of the District of Columbia, where he has been a Trustee since 2011. In addition to his bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and law degree from the University of Texas School of Law, Mr. Bell holds a master’s degree in public administration, with an emphasis on housing and community development, from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

“During my years at Fannie Mae, I had the opportunity to work alongside many Ballard Spahr attorneys, and I came to know and greatly respect those individuals and the firm as a whole,” Mr. Bell said. “The firm’s reputation for and commitment to excellence aligns with my core values for integrity and professionalism. I am excited to put my skills and experience to work as a member of this fine team.”

Ballard Spahr’s housing practice is one of the largest in the country, with more than 70 attorneys in offices throughout the United States. The practice provides innovative and practical advice in the development and financing of housing and community development projects nationwide. Housing Group attorneys counsel lenders, borrowers, and other clients on all aspects of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac financing products for multifamily housing projects and seniors facilities, and on related compliance and servicing issues.