Former Ohio appellate court judge Ray Headen is a trusted advisor, counsellor, and advocate to public and private clients and communities throughout Ohio. He solves client issues and problems with the meticulousness of an appellate judge and bond counsel.

In 2015, Ray served as special counsel to the Ohio Attorney General in the original publishing of the Ohio Economic Development Manual, a highly recognized go-to resource for public and private executives and professionals seeking guidance on using Ohio’s public and private finance and incentive laws to grow jobs, communities, and businesses. Former Judge Headen  provides practical bond counsel to leaders of governments, including mayors, city councils, law directors, school executives, and finance and economic development officials in the following areas: 

Bonds and Economic Development
Ray’s experience encompasses virtually all types of public finance and economic development for municipalities, schools, counties, special purposes entities, the State of Ohio and its related agencies, as well as for private developers seeking practical guidance on Ohio’s bond and economic development laws and tools, including general obligation bonds, water and sewer system revenue bonds, multifamily housing, healthcare financing, long-term care financing, industrial revenue bond financing, and tax increment financing. Ray has successfully counseled clients regarding establishing special improvement districts, community improvement corporations, JEDDs, PACE districts, Opportunity Zones and other economic development governance and finance structures. Ray has counseled clients on national and state tax credit programs such as LIHTC, Historic Tax Credits, and Energy Tax Credits. 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. 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, economic development and economic justice.

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

Local Government
As outside general counsel to a well-regard Ohio port authority and as an appellate judge, Ray has been a problem solver and advocate for his clients. 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. While in appellate proceedings, former Judge Headen provides extraordinary insight and experience into the formal and informal procedures of Ohio appellate courts and the Ohio Supreme Court.

Private Equity
Former Judge Headen 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 a number of 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.


  • 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