Roger Davis


San Francisco

Roger L. Davis' knowledge, experience and reputation in the area of public finance is second to none nationally. In November 2022, he was one of seven public finance professionals, and the only lawyer, inducted in the inaugural class of The Bond Buyer Hall of Fame. In his more than 40-year career practicing public finance, Roger had a lead role in more than 1000 transactions in roughly 20 states and territories – as bond counsel, underwriter’s counsel, borrower’s counsel, disclosure counsel, credit provider counsel, investor counsel and in other critical roles on virtually every type of bond issue.

Among the attributes that contributed to his Hall of Fame selection were:

  • Recognized and sought out for his ability to apply his unusually extensive and diverse experience to solve problems as they arise and develop new programs or financial structures, and for his expertise and judgment in securities laws and disclosure.
  • Dedicated to helping bring about projects and programs (whether sponsored by public entities, nonprofit corporations or for-profit enterprises) that provide a public benefit and make people’s lives better.
  • Having led the development of the housing and healthcare practices at Orrick, his recent focus has been on governmental transactions, all manner of non-profit corporations, public private partnerships (P3), portfolio sales, securitizations, energy and water efficiency programs, student, senior and workforce housing, pool programs, new financial structures and programs and applications of Public Finance Authority (created in Wisconsin to finance any type of project or program in any state or territory).
  • Some of those new financial structures and programs have included pension obligation bonds, variable rate lease financing, and, more recently, joint powers authority ownership structure (turning private activity projects or projects not generally eligible for tax-exempt financing into tax-exempt governmental purpose bonds; for example, for middle income workforce housing), and energy and other infrastructure as a service (P3, simplifying procurement, off balance sheet).
  • Responsibility for legislation crucial to the scope and operation of California public finance, including California Health Facility Financing Authority, California School Finance Authority, changes to joint power authority law that helped propel California Statewide Communities Development Authority and California Municipal Finance Authority into two of the most prolific issuers in the country, local agency refunding law, authorizations for swaps, investment agreements and other derivative products, creation of security interests, streamlining validation actions, and in several other states including Hawaii and creation of Public Finance Authority in Wisconsin.
  • Chair of Orrick’s Public finance department for several decades through 2020, during which he presided over the growth of the department from one office with 12 lawyers in San Francisco to 10 offices and over 100 lawyers and paralegals around the country, consistently ranked (for more than 2 decades now) as number one bond counsel and disclosure counsel, and within the top four underwriter counsel, for bonds issued by state and local governments throughout the United States. During this period, he also held a number of other leadership positions at Orrick, including several terms on its Executive Committee and on the Management Committee of Orrick’s wholly owned subsidiary, BLX Group, LLC (providing the public finance community with a variety of non-legal services).

In addition to his selection by The Bond Buyer for its Public Finance Hall of Fame, Roger is ranked Band 1 by Chambers, and as Acritas Star Lawyer by Acritas, as Dealmaker of the Year (twice) by American Lawyer, as “best,” “super,” “most honored,” “preeminent” or “lawyer of the year” by several other publications, and declared “the Bond King” in a cover article by California Lawyer.