Photo of James P. Kiefer

James P. Kiefer Member

Areas of Practice


Bar Admissions

  • Michigan, 1985


Indiana University, J.D., cum laude

Indiana University, M.B.A.

Hanover College, B.A., magna cum laude

James P. Kiefer is a public finance, private equity, banking and corporate finance attorney who practices from Dykema's Lansing Office. His unique specialties provide an expansive set of legal skills to benefit clients in the public and private sector.

As bond counsel to the State of Michigan and its authorities, and as bond counsel to dozens of counties, townships, cities, villages, schools, institutions of higher education, public authorities and economic development corporations throughout Michigan, Mr. Kiefer is experienced in structuring complex public finance transactions to finance infrastructure projects, public buildings, cash flow borrowings and other public projects.

Mr. Kiefer has served as bond counsel or underwriter's counsel on public finance transactions totaling more than $10 billion over the last four years. He served as underwriters' counsel on the transaction recognized as "2012 Deal of the Year" by The Bond Buyer. His ability to structure complex financings has resulted in the successful implementation of a variety of infrastructure projects for Michigan communities including water and sewer systems, road projects, libraries, jails, courthouses, school facilities, college buildings and other public improvements.

On the corporate side, Mr. Kiefer delivers a creative, solutions-oriented approach in his representation of private equity firms, banks and middle market companies in investment, co-investment and lending transactions. He has been instrumental in helping clients structure some of the most complex private equity deals of the past few years, and also works with large and mid-sized clients on mergers and acquisitions, restructurings and other financial transactions. Mr. Kiefer brings more than 30 years of experience in regulatory, electronic funds transfer and commercial loan matters to the table for his clients in the banking and lending industries.

His career includes an appointment by the Michigan Attorney General as a Special Assistant Attorney General and he was appointed by the Governor of Michigan to serve as a member of the Michigan Ski Area Safety Board. He is a frequent speaker and panelist at public finance and banking conferences, including the Bond Attorneys' Workshops.

In addition to earning his J.D. (cum laude) from Indiana University and a B.A. (magna cum laude) from Hanover College, his M.B.A. from Indiana University has contributed to his ability to thoroughly understand his clients' business objectives and allows him to add strategic insight and perspective on financing transactions.

Mr. Kiefer previously served as a Member of the Executive Board of Dykema. While in law school, he was Executive Editor of the Indiana Law Review


Some of the public finance transactions which Mr. Kiefer has recently completed include:

  • Counsel to the Michigan Public Service Commission in connection with the approval of the issuance by the Detroit Edison Company and Consumers Energy Company of over $3.0 billion of securitization bonds to recover certain costs in connection with the State's utility deregulation legislation
  • Bond Counsel to the State of Michigan on cash flow borrowings in excess of $2.0 billion
  • Bond Counsel to the State of Michigan on the first bond issue under the Clean Michigan Initiative approved by the Michigan electorate
  • Bond Counsel on a $518 million Michigan Department of Transportation bond issue
  • Bond Counsel to the Michigan Tobacco Securitization Finance Authority on a $587 million bond issue
  • Bond Counsel to the State Building Authority on revenue bonds with an aggregate par amount in excess of $3.0 billion
  • Bond Counsel to the Michigan Higher Education State Loan Authority for a $508 million student loan authority bond issue
  • Bond Counsel to the Michigan State Housing Development Authority on over $2.5 billion of mortgage revenue bonds
  • Bond Counsel on dozens of township bond issues to finance sewer, water, and road improvements
  • Bond Counsel to the City of Lansing on numerous revenue bond issues to remedy the City's combined sewer overflow situation
  • Underwriter's Counsel for the $135 million Certificates of Participation issued to finance the remodeling of the former world headquarters of General Motors for use as a State of Michigan office building
  • Underwriter's Counsel for numerous Hospital Finance Authority bond issues to finance improvements to healthcare facilities 

He has also served as bond counsel, underwriter's counsel, and issuer's counsel on many other state, county, city, township, village, university, school district, and library bond issues. Mr. Kiefer has also served as Special Assistant Attorney General by appointment of the Michigan Attorney General.

In addition to his public finance experience, Mr. Kiefer does extensive corporate finance and banking work. This work has included serving as:

  • Lead Investor's Counsel on numerous private equity transactions
  • Lead Investor's Counsel on venture capital financings and alternative investments
  • Counsel on various private equity co-investment transactions
  • Lender's Counsel on numerous commercial lending transactions, including real estate secured and asset backed financings
  • Counsel on interest rate swap transactions
  • Company Counsel on various corporate restructurings, mergers and acquisitions
  • Regulatory Counsel to a regional EFT network
  • Counsel to financial institutions on numerous state and federal regulatory matters

Memberships & Involvement

  • National Association of Bond Lawyers
  • Michigan Bar Association
  • Ingham County Bar Association
  • Served on the Public Finance Subcommittee of the State Bar of Michigan

Community/Civic Activities

  • Previously served on the Board of Directors and as Vice Chair of Samaritas, Inc., a social services agency with offices throughout Michigan
  • Appointed by the Governor to the Michigan Ski Area Safety Board, 1993-2012, the statutorily created Board with responsibility for the Michigan Ski Area Safety Act, and previously served as vice-chairman of the Board
  • Elected Precinct Delegate in Ingham County, 1986-2010
  • Previously served as president of the Michigan Festival, a ten-day performing arts festival held at Michigan State University
  • Previously served as president of University Lutheran Church in East Lansing, Michigan
  • Served as executive director and legal counsel for Michigan Governor John Engler's Inaugural Committees

Named as "Lawyer of the Year" in Public Finance Law by The Best Lawyers in America® in 2019. Copyright 2015 by Woodward/White, Inc., Aiken, SC

Named a "Lawyer of the Year" in Lansing for Corporate Law by Best Lawyers® in 2015 and 2021

Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® for Corporate Law & Public Finance Law, 2011-Present. Copyright 2015 by Woodward/White, Inc., Aiken, SC

Named a Michigan Leading Lawyer in the areas of Corporate Finance and Public Finance Law by the Leading Lawyers Network, 2014-2016. Law Bulletin Publishing Company

Named a Michigan Super Lawyer by Law & Politics, 2009

Recipient of an AV® Preeminent™ Rating by Martindale-Hubbell