John C. Merchant


Depth and variation describe the public finance practice of John over the past 30 years. He has participated in traditional issue, economic development, and health care transactions and served as bond, underwriter, disclosure, and bank counsel for the issuance of tax-exempt and taxable bonds, notes and lease obligations in transactions throughout Ohio and Kentucky.

He has served as bond and/or disclosure counsel for every general obligation, economic development revenue, and water revenue bond issue of the City of Cincinnati since 2006. He also has served as bond and disclosure counsel for the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government for every general obligation issue since 2008. In 2017, he led the Dinsmore team which was selected as bond and disclosure counsel for the City of Dayton.

Additionally, he has served as bond, underwriter, and/or bank counsel for traditional issue financings related to schools and universities, transportation, and water and sewer projects. These include bond and lease structures for new money transactions, advance refundings (including crossover structures), and current refundings. These financings have included features such as governmental master trust agreements and subordinated debt.

As bond, underwriter, and/or bank counsel for health care & other 501(c)(3) conduit transactions, John has experience with financing structures involving master trust indentures, leases, and financing agreements for private placements.

Prior to entering into private practice, John participated in public finance transactions in various positions with the Commonwealth of Kentucky.


  • University of Kentucky College of Law  (J.D., 1982)
  • Morehead State University  (B.A., cum laude, 1979)

Bar Admissions

  • Ohio
  • Kentucky
  • Georgia
  • District of Columbia


  • National Association of Bond Lawyers
  • Association for Governmental Leasing & Finance
  • Cincinnati Bar Association
  • Black Lawyers Association of Cincinnati
  • Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC), board member
  • Cincinnati Art Museum, board member
  • Morehead State University Foundation, Inc., board member
  • Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance, board member
  • American College of Bond Counsel, Membership Selection Committee
  • Thelma Merchant Scholarship Foundation, Inc., founder 


  • Ohio Super Lawyers® 
  • Savoy 2022 Most Influential Black Lawyers