John L. Kraft, who last month quit the New Jersey bond counsel firm he founded in 1971, has announced he is joining Lowenstein, Sandler, Kohl, Fisher & Boylan in Roseland, N.J.

"His presence provides us an opportunity to merge Jack's considerable bond practice with our own and to offer New Jersey incomparable depth and experience in public finance," said Arnold Fisher, a managing partner at Lowenstein Sandler.

Kraft founded Kraft & Hughes, more recently known as Kraft & McManimon, in 1971 as the ftrst legal practice in New Jersey dedicated to public finance.

As others entered the field, he helped keep the firm among the leading bond counsel operations in the state. The firm, now known as McManimon & Scotland, tops the rankings in New Jersey so far this year, handling 75 issues and $1.4 billion in the first three quarters, according to Securities Data Co.

Until now, Lowenstein Sandler has done virtually no public finance work, but officials there said yesterday they hope Kraft will change that. The firm recently handled a $15 million bond sale for the New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority, but has not acted as bond counsel on any other deals this year.

When Kraft left Kraft & McManimon last month, he said it was over disagreements with his former partners about his future management role there. Kraft believed restructuring proposals would mean a lessening of his management oversight, which he said he could not accept.

In announcing his plans this week, Kraft pointed out that he has been involved in a full spectrum of New Jersey bond issues, from a record-breaking $2 billion New Jersey Turnpike Authority deal in 1985 to tiny bond sales by New Jersey boroughs and villages.

"I derive my greatest personal and professional satisfaction serving the many smaller clients throughout the state," Kraft said. "Their bond issues are as important to them as the largest issue is to the state. "

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