Joel L. Piell

Of Counsel




Northwestern University School of Law, J.D. 1966

University of Illinois, B.A.

Bar Admissions

Joel L. Piell represents local units of government, specializing in the often complex and confusing area of municipal finance.

By cutting through the clutter, he helps his clients implement public policies regarding capital planning and infrastructure needs in ways that provide the most cost efficient and expeditious solution to achieve their goals. His advice is based on decades of experience and often involves innovative structures which may require new financing methods and implementing legislation.

Joel has worked on more than 2,000 major bond projects. They include the acquisition and creation of streets, water supply and sewer systems, parking decks, city halls, fire trucks and police cars, recreational facilities, brownfields,  tax increments financings, industrial and commercial developments and nonprofit facilities. Overall, they range from matters which are simple to those of great complexity -- virtually the entire universe of municipal finance.

As an expert in municipal finance, Joel’s work has taken him to all of Michigan's 83 counties. He also lectures to municipal groups, drafts proposals for legislative solutions and publishes papers on municipal finance. He previously served as a member of the firm’s managing partner group and as CEO.

Representative Matters

Joel played a key role in one of the first brownfield bond issues in Michigan. The proceeds were used to fund infrastructure improvements which helped a client city retain a major employer. In a similar matter, Joel helped another city find ways to arrange financing to encourage a locally based company to relocate an out-of-state company it had purchased to its home city.


Best Lawyers in America, Public Finance Law 2007-present

Michigan Super Lawyers, Government/Cities/Municipalities 2011-present

DBusiness Magazine, Top Lawyers, Public Finance 2011

Professional Activities

American Bar Association

State Bar of Michigan, Member since 1966

Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association

National Association of Bond Attorneys

National Association of Municipal Lawyers

Bond Club of Detroit

American College of Bond Counsel, Fellow

Michigan Municipal Finance Officers' Association, Legislative Committee

Municipal Treasurers' Association

Government Finance Officers' Association

Walsh College, Member, President's Advisory Council

Municipal Advisory Council, Chairman, Board of Trustees

Civic, Cultural & Social Activities

Active in civic, religious, & community activities


Frequent panelist at various governmental association forums such as Michigan Municipal League, Michigan Townships Association, and other organizations regarding municipal finance issues

Frequent lecturer and panelist at governmental seminars and meetings


"So You Want to Finance a Firehall? Michigan's Revised Municipal Finance Act," 48 Wayne L. Rev. 363 (2002). (Coauthored with Ruth H. Swartout)

"Financing of Municipal Improvements through the Issuance of Tax-exempt Securities" in Local Governmental Law and Practice in Michigan, published jointly by the Michigan Municipal League and the Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys, 2000