Beth S. Gotthelf

Beth S. Gotthelf is a Shareholder based in Butzel Long's Bloomfield Hills office. She is the firm's Director of Innovation and External Relations, Co-Chair of the Energy & Sustainability practice, and the Chair of the Aerospace & Defense industry team. Ms. Gotthelf brings a pragmatic and holistic approach to clients' issues, assisting them in reaching their business goals, often matchmaking clients' needs and acting as an outside general counsel. Her assistance in diversifying automotive suppliers into the aerospace & defense arena during the economic downturn is just one example of her holistic approach. Ms. Gotthelf now counsels clients in governmental contracting, ITAR, EAR, and Foreign Military Sales. Another example is her work with start-up companies at the Macomb-Oakland University INCubator. Ms. Gotthelf is also a leader in environmental law, bringing creative solutions to remediation, redevelopment, tax incentives, and waste management.

Ms. Gotthelf represents and counsels a diverse mix of clients in numerous matters throughout the country. These matters include compliance and permitting; alternative energy issues; responding to an emergency; siting new facilities; civil and criminal enforcement; compliance audits; brownfields; tax incentives; remediation of contaminated sites; insurance claims; administrative procedures; solid and hazardous waste; landfills; composting; and occupational safety and health.

Ms. Gotthelf credits her successful counseling on using her business experience, legal training, and active participation in professional groups and non-profits that gives her much experience to draw upon.

Ms. Gotthelf has served as general counsel to the Michigan Chapter of the National Association of Surface Finishers since 1990 and Vice President since 2019; Macomb-Oakland University INCubator Executive in Residence and Advisory Board member (2013-present); Better Business Bureau Board member (2012-present); Michigan Israel Business Accelerator Board member (2007-present); former general counsel to the Wayne County Brownfield Authority. She has represented the Wayne County Department of Environment on a broad variety of issues, including the Detroit bankruptcy as it related to the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department; wastewater treatment plant expansion, upgrade and compliance; wet weather; landfills; remediation; and ordinance amendments. She has also represented Oakland County on matters concerning stormwater and wastewater.

Ms. Gotthelf has been very active in the Bar, including past service as: Vice Chair of the American Bar Association ("ABA") Section of Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law, Water Quality and Wetlands; former Vice Chair of the Section's Keystone Committee; Chair of the State Bar of Michigan Environmental Law Section; and Chair of the Environmental Law Committee of the Oakland County Bar Association. Ms Gotthelf is a past member of the State Bar Representative Assembly on behalf of Oakland County.

Ms. Gotthelf serves on the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce Leadership Committee for Transportation, and is past Chair of the Chamber's Task Force on Water and Sewer Issues. She is a Fellow of the Michigan State Bar Foundation and a past Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America. Ms. Gotthelf is Chair of the City of Birmingham (Michigan) Brownfield Authority (2005-present). On behalf of industry, Ms. Gotthelf served on the Federal Advisory Committee charged with recommending stormwater rules. She served as an arbitrator for the National Arbitration Forum. 

Ms. Gotthelf's charitable activities include serving as Co-Chair of the Gleaners Food Bank Women's Power Breakfast fundraiser (2015); Board member and eventually President of the Board of Trustees for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Michigan Chapter (1996-2008); Board member and eventually Chair of the Board of Trustees of Oakland Plus Foundation (2005-11); Trustee of the Jewish Vocational Services (2000-15); member of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, State Government Relations Oversight Committee (2004-present); member of the Board of Directors for the University and Cancer Foundation(2000-07), to name a few.

Ms. Gotthelf was selected as one of 30 attorneys named "Leaders in Law" (2019) by Michigan Lawyer's Weekly and one of 20 influential leaders by Michigan Lawyers Weekly - Women in Law (2010). She was listed as one of the "Top 50 Female Michigan Super Lawyers" (2006-2009, 2014-2018). She has received a number of awards and special recognitions, including as an emerging leader by the Detroit Regional Chamber (2003); the National Association of Surface Finishers (2002); Corp! Magazine as one of "Michigan's 95 Most Powerful Women" (2002); Corp! Magazine's "Top 10 Business Attorneys for Southeast Michigan" (1999); and Crain's Detroit Business' 40 emerging leaders under age 40 ("40 Under 40") (1994).

Ms. Gotthelf has authored articles of national interest for the ABA on Proposed Wastewater Regulations and Underground Storage Tanks, and authored a public policy update on the Detroit wastewater ordinance amendments for Detroiter. National lectures include National Brownfields Conference (2008); Walsh College "FIN or Else: FIN 47" Seminar; Urban Land Use Planning (2007); COATING 2005 on "Doing Business in China"; the ABA Annual Meetings, Section of Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law concerning general practice (2007) and water issues (2004 and 2002); "A Civil Reaction: Confronting Environment Problems in the New Millennium" (1997); "Annual Fundamentals of Real Estate Taxation" (1997, 1998, 2000, 2001 and 2002); and at the National Association of Metal Finishers, "Federal Wastewater Pretreatment Issues."


  • Oakland University 1980, B.S. Public Administration and Public Policy
  • University of Detroit Mercy School of Law 1985, J.D.


Honorary Doctorate of Humanities, Oakland University, 2019

Michigan Lawyers Weekly - "Leader in the Law", 2019

Michigan Lawyers Weekly - recognized as one of 20 Women in Law, 2010

The Best Lawyers in America, Environmental Law, 2013-2020, Litigation--Environmental, 2020

DBusiness Top Lawyers in Metro Detroit, Environmental Law, 2011-2019 Energy Law, 2011, 2012, 2016 & 2018 Government Relations Law, 2011 & 2012

Michigan Super Lawyers, Environmental, 2006-2018

Top 50 Female Michigan Super Lawyers, 2006-2009 & 2014-2018

2009 Oakland University Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award

Litigation Counsel of America - former Fellow

Michigan State Bar Foundation - Fellow

Oakland County Bar Foundation - Fellow

Top 100 Michigan Super Lawyers (2006-2009)

Detroit Regional Chamber - recognition as an emerging leader (2003)

National Association of Metal Finishers (2002) - special recognition

Corp! Magazine - one of "Michigan's 95 Most Powerful Women" (2002)

Corp! Magazine - "Top 10 Business Attorneys for Southeast Michigan" (1999)

Crain's Detroit Business' 40 emerging leaders under age 40 ("40 Under 40") (1994)


  • Michigan


Macomb-Oakland University INCubator Advisory Council

American Bar Association (ABA) - Vice Chair, Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources Water Quality and Wetlands Committee

Delta Theta Phi Law Fraternity, International Honorary Society

Former Vice-Chair, ABA Section Teleconference Seminars

Former Vice-Chair, 2010 Eastern Water Resources Conference

Former Vice-Chair, Annual Keystone Environmental Conference

State Bar of Michigan - past Chair, Environmental Law Section past Section Council-person and Chair of Program Committee Superfund, Solid and Hazardous Waste and Insurance

State Bar of Michigan - past member Representative Assembly on behalf of Oakland County

Oakland County Bar Association

Jewish Vocational Services - Board of Trustees

Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce - Translink Advisory Committee past Chair, Task Force on Water and Sewer Issues

Great Lakes Guardians - former Chair, Board of Trustees

Michigan Israel Business Accelerator - Board of Directors, past President

Diplomat Helping Hands Foundation - Director

Federal Advisory Committee Member - rulemaking Phase 2 stormwater rules


  • Worked with client to obtain $1 million Single Business Tax Credit, approval of brownfield plan and negotiation of brownfield agreement with city
  • Create the first wetland bank in Michigan.
  • Represent client after it was "raided" by US EPA
  • Ongoing representation for numerous casino clients in a variety of OSHA issues
  • Successfully represented client in dispute with DEQ over wetland delineation for 50 acre development.
  • Successfully prosecuted several contested case proceedings related to wetland permit denials.
  • Represented credit union in sale of contaminated property and cost recovery against Texaco
  • Represented a private equity investor in the lengthy and complicated effort to purchase all of Ford Motor Company's glass manufacturing operations in North America
  • Represented a healthcare client with the environmental aspects of the sale of the company
  • Conducted environmental due diligence and organized a transfer of environmental permits for the purchase of a portable energy production facility
  • Assisted numerous clients with international transactions involving environmental due diligence and permitting throughout South America, Asia and Europe.
  • Ongoing representation of numerous solid waste and recycling companies on a variety of landfill compliance & permitting issues.
  • Numerous remediation projects of abandoned dumps.
  • Obtained court order to allow access for remediation.
  • Review and analyze environmental due diligence reports, and purchase agreements on behalf of buyers, sellers, and lenders, and advise as to potential environmental liability and available protections.
  • Assisted Developer in obtaining a unique 2007 Wetland Permit that allowed the construction of a wetland shelf for sediments and dredging
  • Obtained a judgment of approximately $24 million for DWSD and its rate payers
  • Representing companies in alleged criminal environmental conduct
  • Represented manufacturing company in lawuit against insurance company for coverage after environmental emergency
  • Construction of a combined sewer overflow basin at a former dump site.
  • Environmental representation for a metal finishing company in connection with a release of hazardous chemicals that caused the evacuation of over 3,000 people and a flood of class action lawsuits
  • Advised bond insurer for Michigan higher education facilities authority on various aspects of bond and environmental issues
  • Defended against several claims of injury related to alleged mold exposure.
  • Defend Client in multiple class action and multi-party lawsuits that were filed in reaction to hydrochloric acid release at Client's property; pursue insurance coverage related to same.
  • Assist in purchasing hundreds of thousands of dollars of tax credits in numerous transactions
  • Represent Client in lawsuit against travel agent for refund of the cost of trip.
  • Various enforcement actions against industrial wastewater dischargers
  • Assisted in addressing regional transportation issues for client's possible move to downtown Detroit
  • Defended several class action law suits against waste treatment & disposal clients alleging harm due to odors and other impact from respected facilities.
  • Negotiated an administrative order for a landfill client with the DNRE resulting from alleged violations of the laws and regulations regarding the operation and maintenance of solid waste landfills
  • Represent manufacturer in stock purchase of contaminated property
  • Various enforcement actions pursuant to Wayne County's air regulations against companies such as local steel and automotive corporations
  • Settled a suit against a manufacturer and designer of the pumps at the Wyandotte wastewater treatment plant, resulting in a program to repair the mammoth pumps and monetary damage
  • Assisting with PUD approval, condo documents, along with wetland, shoreland and sewer water permits for a 450-acre lakefront residential development
  • Represented major manufacturer in negotiating complex remedial action plan.
  • Reached a settlement for a nuisance value for MDEQ claims against client
  • Represent company in the sale of highly contaminated gas station, conversion to drugstore while remediating contamination.
  • Working with a developer to obtain DEQ permit to fill wetlands and negotiating an agreement with a nearby conservancy
  • Created Brownfield Authority for large metropolitan county and local municipalities,
  • Creation of a 13-community management authority for a regional wastewater plant
  • Represented several manufacturing home park clients in obtaining ground water discharge permits.
  • Defend various companies against alleged wastewater discharge violations
  • Represented the County in the transfer of sewer capacity to the communities of Novi, Northville & Plymouth
  • Represented energy company in development, land purchase, equipment purchase and tax incentives for wood pellet manufacturing
  • Represent solar and windmill energy company for tax incentives, pilot projects and sale for residential use
  • Represented a County against the City of Detroit and Detroit Water and Sewerage Dept. to terminate special powers the Court gave to the Mayor of Detroit
  • Convinced MDEQ to reverse its policy not to process permit applications for wastewater discharges from treatment plants until proper zoning is in place
  • Represented owner of land next to landfill due to methane gas migrating onsite
  • Represented manufacturing company with respect to multimedia inspection by state and US EPA
  • Assist with the purchasing, contracting, bonding, construction and permitting of two ethanol plants
  • Representation of a county in a variety of issues from construction of a $300 million upgrade and expansion of its wastewater treatment plant to compliance of its wastewater discharge limits
  • Prosecuted several cost recovery actions on behalf of clients seeking to recoup remediation costs against responsible parties.
  • Representation of manufacturer in remediation using soil miting
  • Worked with client to obtain $1 million Single Business Tax Credit.
  • Defended against suit filed by MDEQ for alleged contamination of soils and groundwater
  • Representation of companies undergoing a multimedia environmental investigation by local, state and federal authorities, with criminal undertones
  • Representation of solid waste and recycling company included a variety of landfill compliance and contamination issues of multiple landfills and transfer stations
  • Assisted clients in obtaining permits and defending action in alleged disturbance of an endangered species (eagles).
  • Represented numerous clients in obtaining, modifying and or transferring air permits.
  • Supervised environmental due diligence and remedial activities related to major multi-parcel development in major metropolitan downtown area.
  • Represent developer in the obtaining of a wastewater discharge permit from a manufactured home park, including fighting the State's decision not to issue a permit through a contested case proceeding
  • Defend client in CERCLA cost recovery claim.
  • Assisted manufacturing company in reopening after major fire
  • Reviewed various environmental due diligence and terms in sales agreements on behalf of bank and its borrowers.
  • Financial lending for development of Bloomfield Park
  • Successfully represented industry group in negations to amend an ordinance regulating industrial discharges into one of the largest wastewater treatment plants in the country.
  • Investigation of remedial contamination and negotiation of non-liability status with state
  • Represented manufacturing company in class action suit for damages as a result of evacuation
  • Assisting with the construction, financing & permitting of ethanol plants in two locations in a northern area of Michigan
  • Chaired Brownfield Authority for large suburban community
  • Assisted client in purchasing, tax incentives and permits of alternative fuel, R&D facility
  • Advised client concerning purchase, tax incentives and the remediation of a contaminated site to redevelop into residential units


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