Steve Hilfinger is a partner and business lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP. He focuses his practice in corporate and securities law matters, including mergers and acquisitions, corporate restructurings, private equity and venture capital transactions, debt and equity finance transactions, business formation and corporate governance, general corporate and contract counseling and government and public affairs matters. Mr. Hilfinger's practice includes representation of automotive suppliers and other manufacturers, private equity and venture capital funds, financial institutions, and other publicly and privately-held businesses. He is a member of the firm's Transactional & Securities, Government & Public Policy, Private Equity & Venture Capital, and Finance & Financial Institutions Practices, as well as the Automotive and Energy Industry Teams.
Mr. Hilfinger helped found the Detroit Office of the firm and the Automotive Industry Team, and represents a number of domestic and international automotive suppliers. In his international practice, Mr. Hilfinger focuses on Asian client matters including China, Japan and Korea, and is active in supporting the automotive industry work out of the firm's Shanghai office. Mr. Hilfinger was formerly a member of the board of advisors of the Detroit Chinese Business Association and served as counsel to the Chief Executive Officer Council and the China Strategy Council of the Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA).
Prior to returning to Foley, Mr. Hilfinger was the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the economic development arm of the State of Michigan that created and manages the Pure Michigan brand. During its 2013 fiscal year, the MEDC facilitated the creation of more than 25,000 direct jobs and leveraged private investments totaling $3.5 billion, substantially exceeding targets.
Mr. Hilfinger was also the chief regulatory officer for the State of Michigan appointed by Governor Rick Snyder, the director of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, and the director of the Office of Regulatory Reinvention for the State of Michigan. In that capacity, his department was responsible for the supervision of banks, insurance companies, utilities and certain healthcare companies and a number of regulatory functions including the oversight of corporations, securities, unemployment insurance, workers' compensation, occupational health and safety and a number of licensing functions.
• Represented numerous public and private companies on acquisition and divestiture transactions, in a number of industries including automotive and other manufacturing, health care, business services and others
• Represented several debtors in Chapter 11 bankruptcy and out-of-court restructurings, as lead corporate and finance counsel in such restructurings
• Represented numerous private equity and venture capital funds in their formation and portfolio investment activity
Mr. Hilfinger has been Peer Review Rated as AV® Preeminent™, the highest performance rating in Martindale-Hubbell's peer review rating system. He has also been selected by his peers for inclusion in the 2011 edition of The Best Lawyers in America® in the area of corporate law. Mr. Hilfinger was honored by Chambers USA in 2008, 2009 and 2010 as a leading business law attorney in Michigan, and was selected for inclusion in the 2006 - 2010 Michigan Super Lawyers® lists for his work in mergers and acquisitions. He was also named to DBusiness magazine's 2011 list of Top Lawyers in the areas of business and corporate law.
Affiliations and Board Memberships
Mr. Hilfinger has served on the boards of directors of the Michigan Strategic Fund, the Michigan Economic Growth Authority, the Michigan Emergency Loan Management Board, the Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority, the Michigan Governor's Talent Investment Board, the Investment Advisory Committee to the Michigan State Treasury overseeing the State's pension funds, NextEnergy Center and the advisory boards of Grow Michigan Fund, LLC and the Arctaris Michigan Fund, L.P.
Mr. Hilfinger has lectured as an instructor for the American Counsel of Corporate Attorneys (on corporate and mergers and acquisitions topics), the National Directors Institute (on "The Board's Role in M&A)", and the Wayne State University Commercial Law Clinic, a course that he helped co-found. Mr. Hilfinger has also taught courses for the Michigan Institute of Continuing Legal Education, including "Drafting Asset Purchase Agreements and Related Documents" and "Formation and Initial Operation of Business Enterprises-Financing Issues."
Mr. Hilfinger graduated magna cum laude with a J.D. degree from Northwestern University in 1987, where he was selected for the Order of the Coif and served as editor-in-chief of the Northwestern University Law Review in 1986-87. He obtained his B.B.A. degree (concentration in accounting) with high distinction from the University of Michigan in 1984, where he received Phi Beta Kappa honors. He was awarded the William A. Paton Award for achieving the highest score on the May 1984 Michigan CPA examination.
Among his community activities, Mr. Hilfinger has served as chairperson of the Administrative Council and the Finance Committee of First United Methodist Church in Birmingham. He also has served as a member of the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Advisors, was selected for Leadership Detroit XIX, was active in the Detroit Compact and Improving Detroit Through Entrepreneurial Advancement (IDEA) programs serving Detroit Public School students, and serves as a partner in the Cornerstone Schools.
Admissions and Professional Memberships
Mr. Hilfinger is admitted to practice law in Michigan and Illinois and is a fellow of the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association and the Business Law Sections of the American Bar Association and the State Bar of Michigan and the Administrative Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan.