DETROIT (June 9, 2014) – Foley & Lardner LLP announced today that former State of Michigan chief regulatory officer Steven Hilfinger will return to the firm’s Transactional & Securities Practice as a partner in its Detroit office, beginning June 16.

Hilfinger brings three years of substantial state government experience, having been appointed by Governor Rick Snyder as chief regulatory officer for the State of Michigan and director of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), which is one of Michigan’s largest state departments.  His responsibilities included principal oversight of state licensing and regulatory functions. In his most recent role, he served as chief operating officer (COO) of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a non-profit corporation that serves as the State of Michigan’s economic development arm, which is responsible for facilitating creation of more than 25,000 jobs in 2013 and also houses the state’s Pure Michigan brand.

As COO at MEDC, Hilfinger supervised operational and administrative functions, including community development, portfolio management and compliance, strategy and policy, strategic partnerships and government affairs, legal, accounting and information technology, among others. He also provided supervisory support for major projects such as the North American International Trade Crossing project, which is the proposed bridge to Canada, and the Events Center Project covering the proposed new Detroit Red Wings hockey stadium and surrounding development.

As chief regulatory officer for the State of Michigan and director of LARA, he oversaw reform efforts in the Unemployment Insurance Agency, including the revision of a 75-year-old statute and moving all employer forms and functions online. In addition, Hilfinger assisted in restructuring $3.8 billion of federal debt in a transaction that will save employers more than $1 billion over the life of the bonds, an achievement recognized as “Bond Deal of the Year” by Bond Buyer magazine.  He also led the Office of Regulatory Reinvention, which to date has been responsible for repealing more than 1,500 administrative rules and implementing more than 100 recommendations to streamline Michigan state government.

“We are thrilled to welcome Steve back to our team,” said David Sanders, co-chair of Foley’s Transactional & Securities Practice. “The breadth and depth of his experience will allow him to navigate clients through complex transactions and ensure pending deals and projects are conducted in compliance with regulations and applicable development and incentive requirements.”

Hilfinger has extensive experience representing clients in mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, private equity, venture capital and joint ventures, as well as on various corporate governance matters. He was a founding partner of Foley’s Detroit office and has served in leadership roles, such as office managing partner and co-chair of the firm’s Automotive Industry Team. 

“Steve is a well-respected attorney in the Detroit community with a tremendous track record in achieving results for clients,” said Daljit Doogal, managing partner of Foley’s Detroit office. “We look forward to having him back.”

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*2014 BTI Client Service A-Team survey, The BTI Consulting Group, Wellesley, MA