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A Better Partnership

John C. Muhs

Associate | Email

  • Detroit

    t. +1.313.546.6165

    f. +1.313.263.6855


John Muhs has a multi-faceted practice focused on corporate transactional and securities matters.  He advises businesses of all sizes—from startup founders and family-owned businesses to Fortune 500 companies—on matters of business formation, corporate governance, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, capital raising, and commercial contracting.  John’s clients enjoy his proactive approach to problem solving and his focus on delivering top quality services in a timely and cost-efficient manner.
In securities, funds and investment services matters, John counsels emerging growth companies on venture capital financing, private placements, crowdfunding, and disclosures required by federal and state securities laws.  In addition, he represents angel and venture capital funds in matters of fund formation, investment, and compliance-related matters.  John also assists investment advisers, broker-dealers and financial planners in practice management, compliance matters, and purchases and sales of brokerage and advisory practices.
John also represents automotive suppliers and mobility companies in supply-chain contract negotiations with sub-suppliers and with OEM customers.  Dating back to his time in law school, John has cultivated an expertise in navigating the emerging and rapidly-changing legal and regulatory issues surrounding autonomous driving and connected vehicle technology, including liability, federal and state legislation and regulation, joint ventures and strategic investments, and commercial contracting and licensing matters.


  • University of Michigan Law School J.D. 2016 cum laude
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill B.S. 2013 with highest distinction


  • 2016, Michigan

Bar Associations

  • State Bar of Michigan
    Business Law Section
  • American Bar Association
  • Oakland County Bar Association


Corporate Governance, Mergers and Acquisitions

  • Advises businesses and nonprofit organizations on choice of entity and prepares formational governance documents, including articles of organization/incorporation, operating agreements, corporate bylaws, subscription agreements, buy-sell agreements, voting agreements and director/officer indemnification agreements.

  • Drafts, reviews and negotiates various agreements in connection with mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, corporate reorganizations, debt restructuring and other transactional matters.

  • Provides ongoing corporate governance counsel, including drafting of articles of incorporation, bylaws, board minutes, resolutions, written consents, and stock certificates; completes necessary regulatory filings to comply with state corporate law and best practices.

  • Prepares, reviews and negotiates various commercial contracts, including procurement, supply, service, distribution, manufacturing, development, confidentiality and consulting agreements.

Representative Experience

  • Negotiated definitive purchase agreement and prepared seller’s disclosure schedules in connection with $10 million sale of tool and gage business.

  • Conducted due diligence and prepared seller’s disclosure schedules and closing documents in connection with $100 million sale of stock in Tier 1 automotive supplier.

  • Conducted due diligence and prepared seller’s disclosure schedules and closing documents in connection with manufacturing and engineering company’s $110 million partial buyout by private equity.

  • Conducted legal due diligence in connection with Michigan’s largest electric and gas utility’s purchase of 24-megawatt solar power plant.

  • Drafted agreements and ancillary documents in connection with tax-free “split-off” reorganization of family-owned business.

  • Prepares, reviews and negotiates indirect purchasing contracts on behalf of one of the world’s top home appliance manufacturers. 

Securities, Funds and Investment Services

  • Assists start-ups and emerging growth companies through the entire business lifecycle, from seed and development, investor management, venture financings, commercial contracts, software licensing, equity incentive planning, joint ventures, and exit transactions.

  • Represents private equity, angel and venture capital funds in matters of fund formation, capital raising and investing in portfolio companies.

  • Prepares registration documents (including Form ADV Part 1), disclosure documents (including Form ADV Parts 2A and 2B), compliance and procedure manuals, client service agreements and representative agreements for investment advisory and broker-dealer firms.

  • Advises non-reporting companies on when and how to prepare and complete required filings with federal and state securities regulators and self-regulatory organizations.

  • Prepares and reviews public company securities filings, including initial and shelf registration statements, prospectuses, proxy statements, and 10-K, 10-Q, and 8-K reports.

  • Counsels broker-dealer firms, registered investment advisers, and licensed insurance agents in responding to regulatory inquiries and administrative proceedings of SEC and state securities enforcement officials.

Representative Experience

  • Conducted due diligence and assisted in preparing prospectus for nonprofit impact investment fund’s offering of $750 million in community investment notes.

  • Prepare entity formation documents, SEC and state securities filings, and disclosures in private placement memorandum for pooled investment fund focused on investments in the legal cannabis industry.

  • Negotiated and drafted definitive agreements for SEC-registered investment adviser firm’s acquisition of competing firm’s book of business.

  • Advised dually-registered brokerage and advisory firm regarding MSRB regulatory compliance and FINRA enforcement response. 

Automotive and Autonomous and Connected Mobility

  • Drafts, reviews and negotiates various procurement, supply, manufacturing, distribution and service contracts, directed-buy and multi-party agreements, general terms and conditions, and other commercial contracts for automotive suppliers.

  • Drafts, reviews and negotiates agreements for the supply, development and licensing of emerging automotive technology.

  • Advises start-up companies as well as established automotive suppliers on issues of state and federal regulatory compliance for the design and testing of automated vehicles and strategies for supply chain risk management.

Representative Experience

  • Serves as outside general counsel to the North American outfit of global Tier 3 automotive supplier: drafts and negotiates long-term agreements with customers, advises on supply chain risk management issues, prepared general terms and conditions of sale and purchase.

  • Reviews and negotiates, on an ongoing basis, various procurement, supply and service contracts of a global Tier 1 automotive supplier.

  • Serves as corporate counsel to a joint venture between two global Tier 1 automotive suppliers focused on automated motion control systems.

  • Advised Tier 2 automotive supplier on WP.29 European regulatory requirements for certain automated driving functions and advanced driver-assistance systems in connection with product development decision.

Honors & Awards

  • Named on the Best Lawyers' 2021 Detroit Corporate Governance and Compliance and Corporate Law "Ones to Watch" List
  • Associate Editor, Michigan Law Review (vols. 113 and 114)
  • Certificate of Merit, Securities Regulation
  • Dean's Scholar, 2013-16
  • Phi Beta Kappa


Professional Affiliations

  • Detroit Economic Club
    Young Member
  • MICHauto Mobility Committee
  • Original Equipment Supplier Association
    Affiliate Member
  • Detroit Phoenix Center
    Board Secretary

Speaking Engagements

  • "Fiduciary Duties Under DOL PTE 2020-02 and Rollover Practices," Warner Virtual CCO Roundtable, September 1, 2021 
  • "SEC Exams During COVID-19," Warner Virtual CCO Roundtable, June 2, 2021
  • "The Modernized Marketing Rule," Warner Virtual CCO Roundtable, March 3, 2021
  • "Conversational Q&A," ITS Michigan Annual Meeting, September 25, 2019, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • "Supplier / Start Up Partnerships," 2019 3Q Mobility Supplier Forum, September 5, 2019, Menlo Park, California
  • “Legal and Regulatory Issues around Autonomous and Connected Vehicles,” IoT TechConnect, April 4, 2018, Troy, Michigan
  • What's the Regulatory Environment for Autonomous Vehicles?” M2 TechCast, March 6, 2018, Royal Oak, Michigan
  • “Regulatory Environment Update for Autonomous/Connected Vehicles,” The Automotive Supplier’s Legal Guide to 2018: Buckle Up and Get Ready for Rapid Change, OESA Seminar, February 7, 2018, Troy, Michigan
  • “Update: Liability Environment of Shared-Control Connected and Automated Vehicles,” Mcity Annual Congress, November 14, 2017, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • “Liability Environment of Shared-Control Connected and Automated Vehicles,” Mcity Research Review, May 2, 2017, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • “Regulation and Supply Chain Imperatives for Autonomous and Connected Vehicles,” The Automotive Supplier’s Guide to 2017: Legal Trends and Insight for the New Year, OESA Seminar, February 2, 2017, Troy, Michigan
  • “Commercial Truck Platooning,” Mobility Transformation Center Annual Congress, November 16, 2016, Ann Arbor, Michigan

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