J. Michael Bernard


Mike Bernard’s amiable demeanor and collaborative spirit—combined with his business savvy and problem-solving acumen—have made him an indispensable advisor for businesses in a wide range of industries. Mike’s clients know they will get sound, reliable counsel from a responsive attorney personally committed to their success.

Mike’s practice focuses on business counseling and planning, with an emphasis on mergers and acquisitions representing both buyer and sellers. He also represents for-profit and not-for-profit entities needing experienced counsel in corporate formation and governance matters and has substantial experience facilitating complex capital raising transactions, as well as executive employment and compensation agreements.

When opportunities arise for a client to buy or sell their business or enter into joint ventures or strategic partnerships, Mike’s ability to pull together multiple parties to get a deal done facilitates the prompt, efficient consummation of even the most complex transactions.

Recognized as a “highly regarded practitioner who is esteemed for his strengths in M&A, corporate governance and capital raising transactions” (Chambers USA 2023), Mike brings an experienced, practical approach to his representation, with counsel that focuses on learning each client’s specific needs, goals, and risk tolerance.

Frank and levelheaded, Mike understands the difference between issues that matter and those that don’t.

While he addresses every required detail in a matter or transaction, he also won’t waste his clients’ time and money “over-lawyering.”

A firm believer in the importance of giving back, Mike matches his dedication to his clients with his commitment to numerous civic and charitable organizations.

Every business is on a journey that could lead in any number of directions. I endeavor to put and keep my clients on a course that maximizes their chances of success however they define it.
    • University of Cincinnati, J.D., Law Review, Co-Chair Student Articles Editor
    • University of Notre Dame, B.B.A., accounting
  • Bar Admissions

    • Michigan, 1985
    • Named a Michigan Leading Lawyer for Corporate/M&A by Chambers USA, 2005-2023

    • Named "Lawyer of the Year," Mergers and Acquisitions Law, Detroit, Michigan by The Best Lawyers in America®, 2014, 2017, 2019, 2020, and 2022

    • Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® for Corporate Law and Mergers & Acquisitions Law, 2007-Present Copyright 2015 by Woodward/White, Inc., Aiken, SC

    • Recognized in Michigan Super Lawyers® for Mergers & AcquisitionsBusiness/Corporate, and Securities & Corporate Finance, 2006-2018

    • Named a Top Lawyer by dbusiness Magazine for Mergers & Acquisitions and Corporate Law2010-2018
    • Named a Michigan Leading Lawyer in the areas of Corporate Finance, Mergers & Acquisitions and Publicly Held Corporations Law by the Leading Lawyers Network, 2014-2017. Law Bulletin Publishing Company
    • Recipient of an AV® Preeminent™ Rating by Martindale-Hubbell
    • Notre Dame Club of Detroit, Award of the Year, 2003
    • World Services Group, Chairman Emeritus, Board of Directors and Executive Committee; past Chair, North American Regional Council
    • Detroit Regional Chamber, Executive Committee, Board of Directors and General Counsel; Detroit Regional Chamber PAC, Board of Directors
    • Detroit Athletic Club, Board of Directors, Executive Committee and Secretary
    • Downtown Detroit Partnership, Stakeholder Committee
    • Loyola High School Detroit, Board of Directors (Chair) and Executive Committee
    • Elmwood Cemetery, Trustee and President
    • International Samaritan, Board of Directors and Finance Committee
    • City of Grosse Pointe Employees' Retirement System, Board of Trustees, Chairman
    • Neighborhood Club (Grosse Pointe), Board of Trustees, Executive and Finance Committees
    • Leadership Detroit XXII, Graduate, June 2001
    • Notre Dame Club of Detroit, Board of Directors and Past President

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