A practitioner for 31 years, Julie Fershtman represents clients in a broad range of business, personal injury, contract, and insurance coverage litigation pertaining to several industries. Her clients range from major insurance companies and businesses to individuals. Her work includes trials, arbitrations/ADR and appeals.
Additionally, she is widely considered one of the nation's leading practitioners in equine law. She has handled matters for a national clientele involving contract disputes, fraud, association liability, partnership disputes, and personal injury liability. She has also helped draft and advocate for legislation impacting the industry. Her peers selected her to become a Fellow of the American College of Equine Attorneys, one of about 20 lawyers in the country to achieve this distinction. She also served as an officer of the organization.
She has achieved numerous courtroom victories and successfully tried cases before juries in four states. Clients have selected her to serve as pro hac vice (specially admitted out-of-state) counsel in state and federal courts in Florida, Missouri, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Illinois, Arizona, Connecticut, Kentucky and Pennsylvania.
In addition to her law practice, Julie is active in bar associations. She is a past President of the State Bar of Michigan, a 45,000-member mandatory bar, and was only the fifth woman in the bar’s then 77-year history to be elected to this role. She is well-known to judges and lawyers across Michigan through her bar leadership and her co-chair work in 2015 and 2016 for the State Bar of Michigan’s 21st Century Practice Task Force. She is a trustee of the Michigan State Bar Foundation, Director of the Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society and a fellow of the American, Michigan, and Oakland County bar foundations.
A frequent author on legal issues, she has written more than 400 published articles, three books, and two blogs. A highly sought-after national speaker in 29 states, her topics cover issues involving law, liability, agribusiness, insurance, equine law, and risk management. Her speaking engagements include a law school commencement address, panels at two ABA Annual Meetings, Property & Liability Resource Bureau National Claims Conferences in three states, as well as conferences of the State Bar of Michigan, New York State Bar Association and Washington State Bar Association.
Books and Websites:
- Julie's personal website: http://www.fershtmanlaw.com
- Julie's State Bar President blog: http://www.sbmpres2012.com
- Equine Law Website and Blog: www.equinelaw.net and Equine Law Blog
- Contributor, The Road to Independence, ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, ABA Publishing, 2011. ISBN 978-1-61632-084-3. 2011.
- Co-author, co-editor, Litigating Animal Law Disputes: A Complete Guide for Lawyers, ABA Publishing, 2009. ISBN 978-1-60442-001-02. 2009.
- Author, MORE Equine Law & Horse Sense, Horses & the Law Publishing, 2000, ISBN 0-9648430-1-3.
- Author, Equine Law & Horse Sense, Horses & the Law Publishing, 1996, ISBN 0-964-8430-0-5.
- Contributor, Marketing Success Stories, ABA Law Practice Management Section. ABA Publishing, 1997. ISBN 1-57073-399-6.
- Contributor, Marketing Success Stories, Second Edition. ABA Law Practice Management Section. ABA Publishing, 2004. ISBN 1-59031-251-1
- Contributor, American Bar Association Legal Guide for Dog Owners, ABA Publishing, 2014. ISBN 978-1-62722-915-9.
- Contributor, Horse Industry Handbook, American Youth Horse Council, 2008.
Honors & Recognitions
AV® Preeminent™ (5.0/5) Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory
Best Lawyers in America® 2013-2018 for Commercial Litigation
Best Lawyers in America® 2013-2018 for Insurance Law
Michigan Super Lawyers 2008 – 2017 for Civil Litigation Defense
“Top 25 Women Business Lawyers,” Michigan Super Lawyers, 2013-2017
“Top 50 Women Lawyers,” Michigan Super Lawyers, 2013-2017
Michigan Leading Lawyer by the Leading Lawyers Network, 2014-2017
"10.0/10 - Superb" (highest rating) by avvo.com
"Top Lawyer," DBusiness Magazine 2009, 2010, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America (2014 - )
"Woman of the Year" Award in the Michigan Legal Profession, Michigan Lawyers Weekly, 2016
"Jean L. King Leadership Award," Women Lawyers Association of Michigan, 2018
Listed in Crain's Detroit Business "Notable Women Lawyers in Michigan", 2017
"Excellence in the Advancement of Animal Law Award," American Bar Association: TIPS Section, 2017
Michael Franck Award - State Bar of Michigan, 2014
"Respect for Law Award," Bloomfield Hills Optimist Club, 2012
"Michigan Top Lawyer," Dbusiness Magazine, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
"Top 15 Women to Watch," Crain's Detroit Business, 2010
"Leader in the Law," Michigan Lawyers Weekly, 2010
"Woman in the Law," Michigan Lawyers Weekly, 2016
Inforum “Inner Circle” Award, 2010
"Metro Detroit's Most Influential Women," Crain's Detroit Business, 2007
"Professionalism Award,"Oakland County Bar Association, 2000
"40 Outstanding Business Leaders Under 40," Crain's Detroit Business, 1996
"21 Young Lawyers Leading Us into the 21st Century," ABA Barrister Magazine, 1995
"Distinguished Service Award," American Youth Horse Council, 2013
"Equine Industry Service Award," Michigan Equine Partnership, 2013
"Partner in Safety" Award," American Riding Instructors Association, 2007
"Catalyst Award," Michigan Horse Council, 2002
"Outstanding Achievement Award," American Riding Instructors Association, 1998
"Associate Service Award," United Professional Horseman's Association, 1998
"National Partnership in Safety Award," Certified Horsemanship Association, 1997
Memberships & Affiliations
- American Bar Association
- Michigan Delegate, ABA House of Delegates, 2010-2012
- Vice-Chair, ABA-TIPS Animal Law Committee, 2005-2014
- American Bar Foundation, Life Fellow
- American Agricultural Law Association
- American College of Equine Attorneys, Director and Fellow, 2008-
- State Bar of Michigan
- President, 2011-2012
- 21st Century Practice Task Force, Co-Chair, 2015-2016
- Chair, Representative Assembly, 2001-2012
- Chair, Young Lawyers Section, 1995-1996
- Board of Commissioners, 1994-1997, 1999-2002, 2003-2012
- Michigan State Bar Foundation
- Board of Trustees 2003-present
- Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society, Board of Directors, 2015-
- Michigan State Bar Foundation, Fellow
- Oakland County Bar Association
- Board of Directors, 2001-2008
- Secretary, 2007-2008
- Professionalism Committee 1995-2002, Chair, 1998-1999
- Inns of Court Committee, Secretary/Barrister, 1995-1999
- Oakland County Bar Foundation, Fellow
- Advisory Board, Equine Land Conservation Resource, 2008 – present.
- Director, American Youth Horse Council, 2003-2007
- Director, Equine Land Conservation Resource, 2004-2007
- Commissioner, Franklin Village Planning Commission, 1993-1995
- Appointee, Franklin Village Charter Committee, 1993-1994
- Representing plaintiff in sales fraud/Uniform Commercial Code/Deceptive Trade Practice trial. Won on all counts and won 100% attorney fee award for clients.
- Co-counsel at trial on adverse possession/quiet title lawsuit, resulting in ruling in clients' favor.
- Secured summary judgments for insurers in defense of complex first-party property insurance coverage cases in Illinois federal court.
- Won directed verdict for insured defendant at jury trial in defense of personal injury case in Michigan.
- Won directed verdict for insurer at jury trial in defense of first-party insurance coverage case in Ohio.
- Won a unanimous defense (no cause) verdict in equine liability case in Illinois after four-day jury trial.
- Successfully representing plaintiff in a nine-day trial for breach of contract against non-paying buyer and defeating buyer’s counterclaim asserting defamation.
- Secured summary judgments for equine, sporting and recreational business operators in personal injury cases.
- Won appeals in the Michigan Court of Appeals.
- Won bench trial defending premises owner against claims of intentional injuries to patron by security staff.
Recent Blog Posts
Equine Law Blog
- Damage Caused by Boarded Horses -- Who Pays for It?
- New Year's Resolutions for the Equine Industry
- New York is 48th State to Enact an Equine Liability Law
- Dog Bite Liability – What Horse Owners and Stables Should Know
- Fine Tune Your Equine Lease to Avoid Legal Battles
- Should You Buy a Horse Sight Unseen?
- Equine Contracts and Genetic Conditions: Horse Owners Beware
- What is an “Inherent Risk” With Horses?
- Half Lease - Whole Problem
- I’m Not a Boarding Stable, BUT …
- Equine industry liability releases: are fewer words better?, Lexology, The Riding Instructor, March 28, 2016
- Stable Liability: How Expert Witnesses can Make or Break an Equine Lawsuit, Lexology, March 10, 2016
- Can You Repossess a Horse When the Buyer Fails to Pay?, Miniature Horse News, October 19, 2015
- What You Didn't Know About Liability Insurance, Equine Chronicle, October 19, 2015
- Our State Has No Equine Activity Liability Act- Are We Worse Off?, The Riding Instructor, Fall 2015
- Liability Insurance for Small Equine Businesses, Equine Chronicle, April 3, 2015
News & Events
- WLAM to Present Fershtman with the 2018 Jean King Leadership Award, April 10, 2018
- Crain's Detroit Names Julie Fershtman in 2017 Notable Women Lawyers, Crain's Detroit, December 14, 2017
- Five Foster Swift Attorneys Named to dbusiness 2018 Top Lawyers, November 9, 2017
- 30 Foster Swift Attorneys Selected to 2017 Michigan Super Lawyers and Rising Stars Lists, September 8, 2017
- 46 Foster Swift Attorneys Named to 2018 Best Lawyers in America®, August 21, 2017
- Fershtman to Receive Animal Law Award, American Bar Association, August 1, 2017
- Five Foster Swift Attorneys Named to dBusiness 2016 Top Lawyers, November 14, 2016
- Emmett J. Vaughan Agribusiness Conference, June 28, 2017
- Oakland County Bar Association Circuit-Probate Bench/Bar Conference, Orchard Lake Country Club, May 12, 2017
- California: Emmett J. Vaughan Agribusiness Conference, International Risk Management Institute, May 9, 2017
- National Conference on Equine Law, Lexington, Kentucky, The University of Kentucky College of Law, May 3, 2017
- Panel Discussion: Overcoming Hurdles in Every Decade, Woman Lawyers Association of Michigan, April 28, 2017
- State Bar of Michigan Solo & Small Firm Section, State Bar of Michigan Solo & Small Firm Section, April 27, 2017
Emory Law School, J.D. 1986
Emory College, B.A. 1983
Bar and Court Admissions
State Bar of Michigan
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
Pro hac vice bar admissions on cases in 18 jurisdictions