Clark Hill Adds Education and Municipal Practice Group Lawyer Kari Shay in Birmingham, Michigan Office

Nov 9, 2020

Clark Hill PLC has announced the addition of Kari Shay as a Member in its Education and Municipal Practice Group, resident in the firm’s Birmingham, Michigan office. Shay has more than 20 years of experience representing Michigan public school districts, community colleges, and other municipalities in the area of finance, election, school business, business contract negotiations, and general school law, and brings private sector experience as a consulting specialist in tax and accounting matters.  

“Kari’s unique background combined with her commitment and experience in serving education clients will be a tremendous asset to our education and municipal clients across our interdisciplinary team,” said John Gierak, chair of Clark Hill’s Education and Municipal Practice Group in Birmingham. “The pandemic has generated enormous challenges to our education and municipal clients, and the addition of Kari to the practice will be a fantastic boost to our ability to meet our clients’ needs, especially in the areas of finance, elections, and school business transactions.”

With her extensive experience advising clients on a wide range of school business matters, including the negotiation of business and construction agreements, as well as all aspects of school finance and elections, she has a comprehensive and unique approach to all aspects of capital projects. She has more than 16 years’ experience serving as bond and note counsel and has represented school districts and underwriters in the issuance of municipal borrowings that include voted and non-voted bonds, tax credit bonds, refunding bonds, and energy bonds. Additionally, her experience includes assisting clients with installment and lease purchase agreements and has served as note counsel on all forms of cash flow borrowings such as state aid notes, tax anticipation notes, and lines of credit.

Shay has a unique proficiency and long history in advising clients on booster clubs and other parent support groups as well as the formation of educational foundations and other tax-exempt entities. This includes advising clients on the use of district funds, donations, and grant proceeds on student and building activities in compliance with recent changes in the law. Shay is currently the only attorney to serve on the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) Referent Group or advisory board for Bulletin 1022 (Michigan Public School Accounting Manual).  

Additionally, Shay has extensive experience in election matters, including the preparation of bond, operating millage, and sinking fund proposals, and advises districts on more complex millage issues related to the Headlee Amendment. Her work in school elections includes advising clients on all matters related to Campaign Finance Act compliance.

“It is an exciting and challenging time to be practicing Education and Municipal law, and I’m delighted to be joining this outstanding team of lawyers at Clark Hill,” Shay said. “The firm’s reputation among clients and the community across Michigan was a major draw for me as well as the significant resources that would be available to assist me in meeting client needs.”

Shay was recently nominated to and serves as a Board Member of Michigan Women in Finance. She is also a member of the National Association of Bond Lawyers (NABL), Michigan Council of School Attorneys (COSA), Bond Club of Detroit, and the Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA).

Shay is actively involved in the community and recently completed a term as a Board Member for the South Lyon Community Schools Educational Foundation.

Shay earned her J.D., with honors from Wayne State University and her B.A., cum laude, from Michigan State University. She is currently enrolled in the Harvard Business School online program for certification in Financial Accounting with an anticipated certificate completion date of January 2021.