Profiles of Our Attorneys
Tal C. Finney
Shaune B. Arnold
Chris Micheli Ryan Hiete
Of Counsel Of Counsel
Tal C. Finney
Shaune B. Arnold
Chris Micheli Ryan Hiete
Of Counsel Of Counsel
UCLA – Bachelor of Arts, Political Science and International Relations, 1986, Loyola Law School of Los Angeles – Juris Doctor, 1991; University of San Diego school of Law – Diploma, International Institute of Comparative Law
Super Lawyers 2005 through 2012, 2015
California State Bar, downtown Los Angeles Bar Association, Beverly Hills Bar Association, Advisor to Executive Committee of the Environmental Section of the State Bar of California
Tal C. Finney helped form the partnership of Dongell Lawrence Finney LLP (the Firm) in 2004, having spent over eight years as a counsel at the highest appointed levels in California state government. Holding his law degree from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles in 1991 and a diploma in international trade, finance, and business law awarded in 1989 from the University of San Diego School of Law in Paris, France. Mr. Finney spent seven years, practicing business and malpractice litigation, regulatory compliance and enforcement, corporate transactions, and insurance coverage. He took a leave of absence in late 1995 to serve the public, resulting in substantial development in his government regulatory and political expertise. Since then, he has created a unique practice consisting of corporate and transactional, regulatory compliance, land use and development, energy, entertainment, government, international business, insurance, and administrative law work representing Fortune 500, government entities, mid-sized, and start-up ventures in a wide variety of industries, including aerospace, education, lifescience, high tech, entertainment, agricultural, commercial development, insurance and brokerage, and others.
In 1993, Mr. Finney was elected Controller of the statewide California Democratic Party. In 1995, he was appointed by the State Controller to serve as General Counsel and Deputy Controller. In 1998, he was appointed to serve as General Counsel to the Lieutenant Governor. While working in these positions, Mr. Finney served on and staffed a number of other critical positions in state government, including the:
• California Public Employees Retirement System
• California State Teachers Retirement System
• California Board of Equalization
• California Franchise Tax Board
• California Board of Control
• California State Mandates Commission
• Regents of the University of California
• Trustees of the California State University
• California Commission for Economic Development
• California State Lands Commission
• A host of state financing and bonding authorities
In 1999, Mr. Finney was elevated to the position of Senior Advisor and Director of Policy to the Governor of California. In this capacity, he served as the Governor’s business liaison and point person on numerous statewide projects, including the first Governor’s Aerospace and Commercial Space Summit, the Governor’s Life Science Initiative with four regional summits held in the state, the first Governor’s Summit on Homelessness, and creating and managing the Technology Advisory Group to the Governor’s Infrastructure Commission. Other major state projects Mr. Finney worked on included the Digital California Project (an education technology network connecting all of California’s elementary, middle, and high schools with the community college and university system), the Indian gaming compacts, the Governor’s Defense Industry Gold Team and Defense Retention and Conversion Council, and the Holocaust Era Insurance Oversight Committee.
Mr. Finney also served the Governor in key posts and for key votes. His many appointments included:
• Director of the Office of Administrative Law
• Director of the Office of Planning and Research (state’s chief land use planner, small business advocate, rural policy advocate, environmental justice advocate, international and community economic development advocate, and California Native American liaison, including Co-Chair of the Governor’s effort to protect and preserve Tribal Sacred Sites)
• Member of the Public Utilities Commission
• Director of the Office of Innovation in Government (technology policy at state level)
• Governing Member of the California Independent System Operator (manages state’s electricity grid and energy markets)
• Interim Director of the Department of Social Services
• Governing Member of the California Earthquake Authority (world’s largest public catastrophic insurer)
• Chair of the California Managed Risk Medical Insurance
Mr. Finney also has extensive experience in international business transactions, trade, finance, marketing, and international human rights. He organized and participated in several technology sharing and economic development missions to the Nordic Region, China, Korea, and continental Europe. His work included developing relationships with the venture capital, banking, pension, energy, telecommunications, entertainment, information technology, manufacturing, and lifescience communities in over fourteen foreign countries, many of which he has visited regularly over the past few years. His work in this regard involved close working relationships with the highest levels of regional and national government in each of the individual nations, as well as with the European Union and the OECD. He also participated in the development of the South African Constitution through the South Africa Constitution Watch Commission.
Prior to his California state experience, Mr. Finney worked in Washington, D.C. for presidential campaigns and members of the United States Congress. His work also included Congressional committee work and constituency work in Congressional district offices. He was a member of the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference for the United States Armed Forces.
His unique experience and practice has developed into his serving as the firm’s representative as corporate counsel to multiple businesses and nonprofit entities, in addition to panel counsel for a number of significant clients, including the University of California, the Los Angeles Community College District, the Los Angeles Unified School District, DDR, KB Home, AIG, Ironshore Insurance, and many others. He serves as the outside general counsel to Invicta Medical (develops medical devices), Lime Lion Holdings (develops entertainment technology platforms), Herhof Canada Technik (develops waste-to-energy facilities), Iceland America Energy (develops geothermal power plants), and Tribal Project Advisors and Associates (develops wind, solar, and other renewable energy plants), among other early stage and growth companies. Mr. Finney provides his clients corporate transactional, government regulatory enforcement and compliance, land use, CEQA and business litigation, energy, international trade and finance, nonprofit corporate transactional, intellectual property, and private equity transactional services.
He is a member of the California Voting Modernization Board, an Advisor to the Executive Committee of the Environmental Law Section of the California State Bar, LLC, a member of the Beverly Hills Bar Association, and involved in a variety of nonprofit organizations.
BA in Psychology from UCLA, JD from the
University of California, Hastings College of the Law
Admitted to the State Bar of California in December, 2004
Recipient of the American Jurisprudence Award for Excellence in Trial Advocacy, 2nd Year, UC Hastings
State Bar of California,
Shaune B. Arnold, Esq. is a practicing transaction attorney in downtown Los Angeles, California. A graduate of UCLA, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, and of the University of California Hastings College of the Law, Shaune brings to the table nearly 25 years of experience providing General Counsel advice to start-up, emerging growth and traditional businesses of widely varying industries to help them meet their expansion needs. She was also a licensed Financial Advisor (formerly holding Series 7, Series 63, Series 65 and California Insurance licenses).
In addition to nurturing a very strong renewable energy practice, Shaune’s transaction experience includes organizing companies and making them fully capital compliant with Securities Exchange Commission regulations and with various state Blue Sky laws, registering copyrights and trademarks on behalf of her clients, conducting mergers and acquisitions, facilitating real estate development and acquisition deals, and structuring strategic alliances between companies.
Shaune teaches Business Law, Human Resources and Ethics at a local prestigious University, as well as Neurolinguistic Programming to sales and other professionals. She conducts workshops training entrepreneurs to run a successful business, and enjoys playing golf, camping and learning her guitar.
University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law
University of California, Davis
State Bar of California, 1992
Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
Tax Policy and Compliance
Legislative and Regulatory Law
State Bar of California,
Chris Micheli is Of Counsel to Finney Arnold LLP. He has substantial legislative and regulatory experience in the areas of state and local taxation, transportation, labor and employment, forestry, health care, civil liability, and insurance. He has represented a number of major clients including non-profits (e.g., Junior Blind of America), public agencies (e.g., Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority), national trade associations (e.g., Computing Technology Industry Association - CompTIA), statewide trade associations (e.g., California Grocers Association), and major corporations (e.g., Mattel, Lockheed Martin, Chevron/Texaco, Mercury Insurance).
As a legislative advocate, Micheli regularly testifies before policy and fiscal committees of the California Legislature, as well as a number of administrative agencies, departments, boards, and commissions. He regularly drafts legislative and regulatory language and is considered a leading authority on state tax law developments and California's knife laws. The Wall Street Journal (July 1998) called him "one of the top three business tax lobbyists in the state." The Los Angeles Times (May 2005) described him as an "elite lobbyist," and Capitol Weekly (August 2006) described him as a "prominent lobbyist."
Micheli became a contract lobbyist after serving as General Counsel to the California Manufacturers Association, an 800-member trade group. In addition to advising CMA and its Board of Directors on legal matters, he was a registered lobbyist representing CMA in the areas of taxation and civil liability reform. While at CMA, he was the chief lobbyist for SB 671, which was called "the most significant tax relief since Prop. 13.” He often served as a principal spokesperson for the California business community on important matters of tax policy.
JD from University of the Pacific-McGeorge School of Law
Admitted to the State Bar of California in 1999
2009 & 2012 - Super Lawyers Magazine “Southern California Rising Star”
2008 - Named one of the Top 50 Environmental Attorneys in Los Angeles County, Los Angeles Business Journal
State Bar of California,
Ryan Hiete is Of Counsel to Finney Arnold LLP. Since 1999, Ryan has represented clients in matters pertaining to the full spectrum of environmental law, representing all types of clients, including large and medium size corporations, property developers and owners, public agencies (including cities, school districts, water districts and counties), individuals family estates, health care facilities and banking and financial institutions.
During the course of his career, Ryan has handled a wide variety of environmental matters, several types of which are identified below:
Large property developers and corporations on numerous issues, including: (i) land survey; (ii) entitlements and zoning issues; (iii) due diligence and historical site investigation; (iv) asbestos surveys and removal; and (v) contract negotiations (purchase and sale, leases, subleases, drafting environmental provisions, access and lender reviews).
Industrial plating facilities on compliance and regulatory issues, including: (i) alleged violations of air permits; (ii) air permit renewals; (iii) response to civil and criminal proceedings concerning alleged unlawful air emissions and water discharge; (iv) Prop 65-related cases; (v) alleged violations of hazardous waste laws (e.g., RCRA); (vi) efforts to close facilities under oversight of governmental agencies; and (vii) purchase and sale of plating operation facilities.
Employees of large national and international oil/energy companies involved in federal criminal proceedings [for example, represented six employees of a company involved in a federal probe relating to alleged illegal air emissions at major port facility in California.]
Companies relating to emergency response situations, including oil and chemical spills, pipeline ruptures and hazardous materials releases [for example, Ryan represented the company that led the response to the cargo ship M/V Cosco Busan oil spill in San Francisco, California. The matter involved the representation of the client in multiple federal, state and local investigations, including proceedings filed by the United States Department of Justice, the United States Coast Guard, the National Transportation Safety Board and the California Department of Fish and Game Office of Oil Spill Prevention and Response].
Companies that manufacture, sell and/or purchase after-market car and marine parts that are subject to regulatory enforcement proceedings by the California Air Resources Board. Representation of several public and private water agencies (including cities and water purveyors) on the following issues: (i) complex groundwater pollution investigations and cleanups; (ii) litigation related to soil and groundwater pollution (including chemicals such as perchlorate, petroleum hydrocarbons, MTBE, PCBs and VOCs); (iii) administrative hearings related to soil and groundwater pollution; (iv) applications for funding under California’s UST Cleanup Fund; and, (v) compliance with CERCLA’s National Contingency Plan.
Large school district in matters related to the district’s massive school construction program. Specifically, Ryan represents the district on a wide variety of environmental and land use-related issues, including: (i) air quality issues, including compliance with California’s global warming law AB 32; (ii) review of potential school sites and assisting in the review of environmental impact reports and other environmental planning documents; (iii) negotiating environmental provisions of purchase and sale agreements; (iv) access agreements; (v) railroad safety assessments and other health risk assessments; (vi) pipeline-related issues, including pipeline removal projects; (vii) storm water projects; (ix) analysis of issues related to diesel emissions from the district’s bus fleets; (x) condemnation of environmentally impacted properties; and, (xi) numerous groundwater pollution cases. Representation of clients on global warming/climate-change related issues, including extensive analysis of California’s AB 32.
Ryan typically handles cases involving, among others:
California’s new climate change-related law, AB 32
California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
Clean Air Act (CAA), the Clean Water Act (CWA)
California’s Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act
Comprehensive Environmental Response
Compensation and Liability Act (“CERCLA”),
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
California’s Hazardous Substances Account Act (HSAA)
In handling matters for his clients, Ryan frequently interfaces with many government agencies and law enforcement offices, including:
US Environmental Protection Agency
United States Department of Justice
California Attorney General’s Office,
California Environmental Protection Agency
California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC)
California Air Resources Control Board (CARB)
State Water Resources Control Board
Southern California Air Quality Management District (AQMD)
Los Angeles County Fire Department
City of Los Angeles
In 1999, prior to beginning his environmental practice, Ryan acted as legal counsel for the Belmont Commission, a commission convened by the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Board of Education to review and consider many environmental concerns and safety issues related to the then-planned $200 million Belmont Learning Complex. As counsel for the BLC, Ryan assisted the commissioners in reviewing all applicable laws and regulations related to the planned joint venture and also worked with the commission to conduct interviews of those involved in the approval of the school site, including interviews of regulators, school officials, private parties and other members of the public. Ultimately, the BLC issued a report that led to safety recommendations and environmental reviews, and the school site ultimately was constructed with those safety measures in place.
While attending McGeorge Law School, Ryan attended Loyola Law School in 1999 as a visiting student, where he was on the staff of the Loyola Law Review.
Mr. Hiete is a frequent speaker on matters pertaining to environmental issues affecting California businesses.