Public finance involves securing funding for a wide variety of public-works projects, from sewer plants to low-income housing. Investors loan the government the money for construction costs; in exchange, investors receive tax-free interest payments on their loans. Schools, hospitals, libraries, nonprofits, and governments commonly undertake public-finance projects. Investors can include bond insurers, private-placement agents, corporations, banks, and municipalities.

Common funding methods for public projects include tax-exempt bonds and other bond types, loan funding, and finance through tax increases or allocation. Legal areas encompassed within the public-finance specialty include federal, state, and local project-finance laws, affordable housing, real estate, environmental law, securities, corporate, nonprofit, bankruptcy, and antitrust.