About Bodman PLC
With more than 150 attorneys in five offices throughout Michigan, Bodman PLC is one of the largest firms to reside solely in the Wolverine State. While it has grown to be a full-service firm, it is well known for its expertise in the automotive and financial services industries in Michigan.
Bodman was founded in 1929 by two former Ford Motor Company in-house counsel, Wallace Middleton and Clifford Longley. Henry Ford would become one of the firm’s first clients. Middleton and Longley were joined a few years later by Henry Bodman, who had previously served as chief counsel for Packard Motor Cars and as one of Ford Motor Company’s top lawyers. In the 1930s, the firm represented Edsel Ford (Henry’s son) in the formation of Manufacturers National Bank, now known as Comerica Bank and still a Bodman client.
Midwest Manufacturing and Michigan Sports
Perhaps unsurprising for a firm based in one of the U.S.’s premier manufacturing states, Bodman has represented a number of manufacturers in many different industries over the years. The firm’s automotive practice led to the representation of the Jervis B. Webb Company, a manufacturer of conveyor systems for automakers. The Webb Company also developed a niche in baggage handling, which attracted a Japanese buyer looking to get into the market, and Bodman negotiated the sale. The firm also has a decades-old relationship with Lear Corporation, negotiating and litigating with suppliers of the company and handling all their employment and real estate matters.
Bodman has a recreational side too. The firm has represented the Detroit Lions since the mid-twentieth century, when William Clay Ford (Henry’s grandson) bought the team. The firm played a leading role in the development of Ford Field in Detroit where the Lions now play their home games, and the firm’s Detroit office is even based in the Ford Field complex—the field is visible from the firm’s reception area. But Bodman’s connection to Detroit sports franchises extends beyond the gridiron. Bodman lawyers have also represented the NHL’s Red Wings and celebrate the opening of the Detroit Tiger’s spring training each year with a themed day, which includes a visit from the mascot, PAWS.
Helping the Homeless
While Bodman attorneys provide pro bono legal services in many areas, one of the firm’s focuses is in helping homeless solve their legal impediments. Firm lawyers regularly volunteer to meet with homeless men and women to advise on a variety of issues, including obtaining birth certificates and driver’s licenses, family law, landlord/tenant law, and checking on the status of SSI applications. The firm is also partnered with the of Street Outreach Court Detroit (“SOCD”), a specialty court that provides a fresh start to homeless residents. Bodman provides free civil legal services to all graduates of the SOCD program.
1901 St. Antoine Street
6th Floor at Ford Field
Detroit, MI 48226
Phone: (313) 259-7777
Director of Administration: Cathy Borza
Total No. Attorneys (2021):
150 - 250
Ms. Sarah L. Cylkowski
Recruitment Committee Co-chair
No. of U.S. Offices: 5
No. of International Offices: 0
Ann Arbor, MI
Detroit, MI (HQ)
Grand Rapids, MI
Automotive and Industrial
Aviation Law and Finance
Data Privacy and Security
Emerging Companies and Venture Capital
Exempt Organizations and Impact Investing
High Net Worth
Municipal Law and Finance