John O. Chesley

Firm: Ropes & Gray LLP.
Location: San Francisco - CA

  • Three Embarcadero Center
    San Francisco, CA 94111-4006
  • Tel : 415 315 6394
  • Fax : 415 315 6350

John Chesley has been a member of the health care group at Ropes & Gray since 1985. For over 25 years he has focused on meeting the needs of clients in complex transactions and challenging regulatory contexts.

John blends transactional skills with knowledge of tax-exempt organizational law, regulatory issues and securities law.

John’s practice is broad. He has served as lead transaction counsel in nonprofit mergers and affiliations (including a major provider-insurer affiliation noted by Modern Healthcare, the Wall Street Journal and others as a “game changer”), as outside general counsel to a health care system, and as borrower’s counsel and underwriter’s counsel on numerous higher education, health care and other 501(c)(3) financings. He advises a leading university on capital finance matters. He counsels boards on governance matters. His practice ranges from AAA-rated institutions to distressed credits, with a particular emphasis on complex structuring and strategic relationships at the intersection of industry change.


  • JD, Northeastern University School of Law, 1984
  • AB, magna cum laude, Harvard College, 1978



  • California, 2003
  • Massachusetts, 1985


  • Law360 2013 Health Editorial Advisory Board
  • American Health Lawyers Association
  • National Association of Bond Lawyers


  • Premier Health Care Lawyers Exclusive Featured Attorney for San Francisco (2018 – 2020)
  • California Trailblazers – The Recorder (2020)
  • Turnaround Management Association “Non-Profit Turnaround of the Year” Award (2020)
  • Daily Journal’s Top Health Care Lawyers in California (2019-2020)
  • Best Lawyers “Lawyer of the Year” (2017)
  • Daily Journal’s Top 100 Lawyers in California (2016)
  • Legal 500 (2015-2018)
  • The Best Lawyers in America (2005-2014, 2016-2021)
  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (2008-2021)
  • Northern California Super Lawyers (2013-2014)

Ropes & Gray LLP.

When clients come to Ropes & Gray, they find a global team of 1,400 professionals, whose top-notch skills, varied backgrounds and unique perspectives can help them meet high-stakes challenges, solve complex problems and reach their goals. An international presence, the firm has offices in New York, Washington, D.C., Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo and Seoul.

Many of the world’s most respected companies and institutions are longtime clients. We also serve many organizations (and investors and individuals) at all stages of the business life cycle, from start-ups to establishment as industry leaders. They come back to us year after year to handle their most important matters. They do so, they say, because we understand their businesses, we are easy to work with and we get results.

The firm is built on a foundation of delivering a premier, value-added service at a reasonable cost. Because our clients have unique business needs, including in some cases a preference to work on the basis of alternative fee arrangements, we are flexible and creative in designing custom-tailored pricing plans where appropriate.

Ropes & Gray has always focused on providing clients with the highest quality advice on their most critical legal and business needs. We’re a thoroughly contemporary firm that can bring 150 years of legal and institutional history to bear on the challenges clients face in today’s global, networked, 24/7 environment. Our collaborative approach means that our clients have ready access to leading corporate, litigation, transactional and regulatory lawyers whose knowledge and experience span industries and geographies.