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In Memoriam, O. Ray CorneliusWe are deeply saddened by the unexpected passing of our partner, colleague and friend, O. Ray Cornelius on Sunday, December 6, 2015. Ray touched many lives, both personally and professionally and he will be deeply missed, but fondly remembered by everyone who knew him.

Ray joined Adams and Reese in 2003 and served as the Public Finance Team Leader for the firm, expanding the firm’s public finance and economic development practice areas. Ray had strong relationships within the communities he served. He was a teacher and educator and shared his knowledge and his expertise with his fellow attorneys at the firm. He loved mentoring young attorneys in the nuances of economic development, banking and finance law, and public finance.

Ray’s practice focused primarily on representation of private companies, state and local government entities and their respective departments, agencies and instrumentalities in the negotiation of economic incentives and public/private partnerships to promote business, industrial and commercial economic development. His representation has included the State of Louisiana in the recruitment of some of the largest commercial, business and industrial projects, drafting legislation underlying the State’s economic development incentives programs, and assisting agencies of state and local governments in the formulation of regulations and policies relating to tax incentives and financing alternatives for new industry. His successful endeavors, include among others, the modernization of Louisiana tax increment finance laws and the Louisiana Supreme Court validation of the tax increment laws in the Gonzales (Cabela’s) case.

Ray served as President of the Louisiana Industrial Development Executives Association (LIDEA), a nonprofit Louisiana corporation that promotes the economic health and vitality of Louisiana by encouraging companies to locate in Louisiana and to assist resident industries to expand and also the National Association for Bond Lawyers.

With a distinguished career, Ray was AV® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; Best Lawyers® "Lawyer of the Year" (by BL Rankings, LLC) in Securitization and Structured Finance, 2014; Best Lawyers® "Lawyer of the Year" (by BL Rankings, LLC) in Equipment Finance, 2013; Best Lawyers® "Lawyer of the Year" (by BL Rankings, LLC) in Securitization and Structured Finance, 2012; Best Lawyers® (by BL Rankings, LLC) in Administrative Law, Banking Law, Derivatives Law, Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law, Equipment Finance Law, Government Relations Law, Project Finance Law, Public Finance Law, Real Estate Law, Securities Law, Structured Finance Law’ Chambers USA - Banking and Finance/Public Finance, 2007-2014; Louisiana Super Lawyers® (by Thomson Reuters) in Bonds/Government Finance, 2007-2015; Leadership in Law - New Orleans CityBusiness, 2011; Money Makers - New Orleans CityBusiness, 2011; "Leading Lawyer Global 250," Lawyer Monthly Magazine, 2014; and Best Lawyers® "Lawyer of the Year" (by Levine Leichtman Capital Partners) in New Orleans – Securitization and Structured Finance Law, 2016.

Ray was a frequent lecturer and author on topics related to economic development, taxable and tax-exempt financing alternatives for private industry, and structuring of public/private partnerships, in addition to other topics. He also has participated in drafting and preparing public finance legislation for numerous purposes on a federal and state level.

Ray received both his B.A. (1976) and his J.D. (1979) from the University of Arkansas, and was admitted to practice law in Louisiana and Arkansas.

We extend our heartfelt condolences to Ray’s wife, Gloria, and his three children, Brian, Emily and Tim, and his many colleagues and friends. He will be deeply missed.

The funeral arrangements for O. Ray Cornelius will be held this Friday, December 11, 2015 at Lake Lawn Metairie Funeral Home, 5100 Pontchartrain Blvd, Metairie, LA 70124, (504) 486-6331.