In 2013, Howard Estes joined Spotts Fain as a Director in the business section of the firm. His government experience includes serving in the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia, as county attorney and bond counsel to localities across the Commonwealth. He has provided advice on economic development transactions, such as negotiating PPEAs, establishing industrial parks, negotiating performance agreements, negotiating voting preclearance submissions, and drafting ordinances and land use representation. 

Howard's finance practice experience includes financing a broad array of infrastructure projects using tax exempt and taxable bonds, bank notes, lines of credit, variable rate debt instruments, and complex transactions including lease, investment and asset-backed contracts. He provides counsel to numerous corporate entities, including incorporation services, negotiating franchise agreements, bank and governmental financing and site acquisition.

His healthcare practice experience includes representing a variety of healthcare providers including insurers, pharmacists, and doctor and dentist practice groups.  Howard has represented businesses, trade groups and associations before the Virginia General Assembly in the development of legislative and policy initiatives to support programs and advocate statutory changes of interest to clients.  In addition to his representation of these clients on legislative and regulatory matters, he has represented nursing homes in administrative and court appeals in state reimbursement disputes. 

Prior to private practice, Howard served as General Counsel & Deputy Director to the Virginia Resources Authority - the state’s bond bank, where he handled all aspects of its legal affairs including all financing transactions, government contracts, procurement and human resource matters, representation of the Board of Directors, and representation before committees and individual members of the General Assembly. During his tenure in state government, he served as Deputy Director of the Department of Medical Assistance Services, where he directed the statewide implementation of managed care.  In the Office of the Attorney General, he represented various state agencies in all regulatory, administrative and litigation matters.  His clients included Virginia’s Medicaid program and the Division of Risk Management, the state’s healthcare payment program for Virginia’s poor and its self-insured risk pool, respectively.

Howard is actively involved in the community. He serves on the Board of Directors of Rural Economic Development Financial Services, Inc., and on the Loan Review Committee for the Southeast Rural Community Action Project, Inc., assisting rural and low-income communities in economic and infrastructure development. He previously served on the Governor's Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring and the Commonwealth Competition Council.


  • George Mason University School of Law, Arlington, Virginia (J.D., 1993)
  • The College of William and Mary (B.B.A., 1988)

Bar Admissions

  • Virginia
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Virginia

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Virginia State Bar, Member
  • Virginia Local Government Attorneys, Member
  • National Association of Bond Lawyers, Member
  • Federalist Society, Richmond Chapter, Member

Community Involvement

  • Rural Economic Development Financial Services, Inc. - Board of Directors
  • Southeast Rural Community Action Project, Inc. - Loan Review Committee
  • Governor’s Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring
  • Commonwealth Competition Council
  • Monacan High School, Debate and Forensics Coach