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.