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A Better Partnership

Jeffrey O. Birkhold

Partner Emeritus | Email

  • Grand Rapids

    t. +1.616.752.2131

    f. +1.616.752.2500


Jeff Birkhold practices appellate litigation in all areas of the law and was co-chair of the firm's Appellate Practice Group. He also practices in the area of creditors' rights, focusing on commercial loan workouts and enforcement, loan restructurings, Article Nine of the Uniform Commercial Code, real estate collateral issues, and commercial foreclosures. His practice includes commercial litigation, with an emphasis on lender liability and contract disputes.


  • University of Michigan Law School J.D. 1977 cum laude
  • University of Michigan A.B. Ed. 1973
  • Chapman College
  • University of Southern California


  • 1977, Michigan


  • U.S. Supreme Court in 2001
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit in 1990
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit in 1984
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan in 1983
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan in 1977

Bar Associations

  • American Bar Association
    Litigation Section, Judicial Division appellate Judges Conference Division
  • State Bar of Michigan
    Standing Committee on Character and Fitness
  • Grand Rapids Bar Association


  • Lead appellate attorney in Wrench v Taco Bell, 256 F3d 446 (6th Cir 2001), in which summary judgment dismissing multimillion-dollar lawsuit was successfully reversed in case of first impression involving copyright preemption and state implied-in-fact contracts
  • Lead appellate attorney in Michigan Chiropractic Council et al. v. Farmers Insurance Exchange et al., 477 Mich 1207 (2006) in which lower court judgments voiding no fault insurance policies allowing insureds to elect managed care in exchange for reduced premiums were successfully reversed in case of first impression involving the Michigan no-fault insurance statute and managed care
  • Lead appellate attorney in Michigan for Quixtar, Inc. in client's multi-front dispute with terminated IBOs
  • Successful Amicus Curiae representations, including Michigan Supreme Court's reversal of lower court decisions denying statutory prejudgment interest during appeal periods and Michigan Supreme Court's ruling that Michigan's treble damages statute for receiving converted property requires actual knowledge rather than constructive knowledge
  • Handled numerous loan workouts and restructurings for The Huntington National Bank, Fifth Third Bank, and other financial institutions, including both real estate and accounts/inventory based loans. These insolvency matters include:
    • Repayment of $8,000,000 in loans secured by four furniture stores, which workout included negotiating a forbearance agreement and six amendments thereto, attempted auctions and sales of the stores, and an assignment of the bank's debt to the furniture manufacturer
    • Repayment of $12,000,000 in loans to a real estate holding company secured by partially vacated manufacturing plants, which workout included negotiating a loan restructuring agreement and five amendments thereto and refinancing by a related entity
    • Repossessing a custom built sailing vessel in Mobile Bay, Alabama, through federal court enforcement of a preferred ship mortgage, after locating the vessel by air in the Tom Bigsby Waterway as the debtor was absconding with the vessel from Lake Michigan to the Gulf of Mexico
  • Successfully represented lenders in defense of numerous lender liability suits containing claims for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duties, breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing, fraud, innocent misrepresentation, tortious interference with contract, and promissory estoppel, including a $6 million claim brought by a developer of membership campgrounds
  • Represented numerous clients in contract disputes, including Ionia County National Bank, Whirlpool Corporation, Canadian Lakes Development Corporation, and Verplank Dock Company

Honors & Awards

  • Named the Best Lawyers'  Grand Rapids Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization (2022) and Appellate Law (2021) Lawyer of the Year
  • AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell
  • Named a Top Lawyer in Appellate and Bankruptcy and Creditor/Debtor Rights Law, Grand Rapids Magazine, 2019
  • Best Lawyers in America, Appellate Practice, Bankruptcy/Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency & Reorganization Law, Litigation-Bankruptcy, 2013-Present
  • Named to Michigan Super Lawyers, 2012-18
  • Leading Lawyers Michigan, 2014
  • Michigan Law Review, Associate Editor, 1975-76, Administrative Editor, 1976-77
  • Member, Barristers
  • Recipient, Jason L. Honigman Award, 1977


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