Former Ohio appellate court judge Ray Headen is a trusted advisor, counsellor, and advocate for public and private institutions and communities throughout Ohio. He solves client issues and problems with the meticulousness of an appellate court judge and bond counsel. Ray has over 34 years of extensive legal experience in sophisticated public and private development and development finance transactions.

In 2015, Ray served as sole special counsel to the Ohio Attorney General in the original publishing of the Ohio Economic Development Manual, the highly recognized go-to resource for public and private boards and executives seeking guidance on Ohio’s public-private partnership and development laws to grow Ohio jobs, businesses and communities.

As general counsel to the Lake County Ohio Port and Economic Development Authority (2011-2018), Ray was responsible for providing counsel to its board of directors, the executive director and port staff on matters of finance, land acquisition, dispositions, development, construction contracts, public and private finance, leases, board governance, ethics, rule compliance and policy development.

Bonds and Economic Development

Ray’s experience encompasses virtually all types of public finance and economic development for state and local governments, including state agencies, state colleges and universities, municipalities, school districts, port authorities, counties, special purposes entities, as well as private developers seeking practical guidance on Ohio’s bond, housing and economic development laws and tools. Ray has served as bond counsel, underwriter’s counsel, bank counsel, issuer counsel, disclosure counsel, and special counsel on a variety of tax-exempt and taxable financings aggregating in principal amount over $6 billion, including his service as general counsel to the Ohio Treasurer of State (1994-1999) where, in addition to bonds, he provided counsel to the Ohio Treasurer of State on matters of employment, human resources and discipline. Click on the Ohio Economic Development Manual link above and go to the table of contents to better understand what former Judge Headen believes is the link between public finance, jobs, economic development, and economic justice, including 3rd Frontier commercialization and public university research commercialization.

Ray is listed as nationally recognized bond counsel in The Bond Buyer’s Municipal Marketplace (the “Redbook”).

Local Government

As outside general counsel to the Lake County Ohio Port and Economic Development Authority and as counsel to many of Ohio’s local governments, Ray has been a problem solver. His experience includes airports, townships, real estate, zoning and land use issues, inter-governmental agreements, public contracts, police policy and procedures, annexation and detachment, home rule charter development and interpretation, litigation, administrative hearings and appeals; right-of-way acquisition and regulation, eminent domain, construction, competitive bidding/public works; open meetings and sunshine law, tax abatement, economic development agreements, labor and employment, and school compensation agreements.


As a former appellate judge of the 8th District Court of Appeals, Ray brings to Taft’s litigation and appellate team experience, strategy, and assurance that trial court final orders that are in favor of or against his clients have been well documented and preserved for appeal. Whether litigation or in appellate proceedings, Ray provides extraordinary insight and experience into the formal and informal procedures of Ohio’s trial courts, Ohio’s appellate courts and the Ohio Supreme Court.

Private Equity

Ray has devoted a substantial part of his career to business, including introducing small and minority-owned businesses to portfolio companies of private equity firms. He has provided corporate counsel to these businesses and regularly advised companies on accessing the private equity markets.

Ray earned his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1987 and his B.A. from Williams College in 1982. He also attended the Institute of European Studies' London School of Economics and Political Science.

All Service Areas


  • University of Pennsylvania Law School (1987)
  • Institute of European Studies

    London School of Economics and Political Science

  • Williams College (1982)


  • State - Ohio
  • Federal - Northern District of Ohio

Speeches and Publications


  • Panelist, Practising Law Institute (PLI), “Infrastructure Finance and Corporate Site Location,” Sept. 27, 2021.
  • Panelist, Practising Law Institute (PLI), “Economic Development Law and Regulation – Incentives,” Sept. 17, 2021.

  • Panelist, Practising Law Institute (PLI), “Economic Development Law and Regulation – Land Use Planning and Corporate Site Location,” Sept. 13, 2021.
  • Speaker, Greater Cleveland Partnership “COSE Day at the Capitol,” March 30, 2021.

  • Keynote Speaker, NAACP Award - Delaware City-County Branch Freedom Fund Dinner.

Professional Affiliations

  • Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association

    Thought Leadership Committee

  • Greater Cleveland Chapter of the NAACP


  • Norman S. Minor Bar Association


  • Ohio 8th Judicial District Conference Committee


  • Ohio State Bar Association


  • The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland


  • The Urban League of Greater Cleveland

Community Involvement

  • University School

    Board of Directors
    Committee Chair, Community and Equity (Diversity & Inclusion)

  • Black on Black Crime Task Force

    Former Member

  • University of Pennsylvania Law School

    Advisory Board Member, Future of the Profession Initiative