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Laura J. Genovich

1700 East Beltline, N.E.
Suite 200
Grand Rapids, MI 49525-7044
T 616.726.2238
F 616.726.2299


Laura Genovich is a shareholder in the Foster Swift’s Grand Rapids office. Laura practices municipal law, appellate law, and bankruptcy/commercial law and is the Chair of the firm’s Appellate Practice Group.


Counsel for Municipalities

Laura serves as general counsel for counties, cities, villages, and townships across the state and is known for her legal expertise, responsiveness, and ability to communicate clearly to clients and their constituents. Her areas of municipal law expertise include:

  • Land use and zoning
  • Election law and campaign finance issues
  • Marihuana/cannabis ordinances
  • Parliamentary procedure/Robert’s Rules of Order (as a member of the National Association of Parliamentarians)
  • Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Open Meetings Act (OMA) compliance
  • Alternative energy (wind and solar) regulations
  • Labor/employment matters
  • Real estate transactions
  • Special assessments and property tax exemptions
  • Contract drafting and negotiation

Counsel for Private Clients

Laura also works with both public entities and private clients (including developers and neighborhood groups) on land use matters, including development agreements, annexations, Act 425 agreements, and zoning approvals (such as special land use permits and rezonings).


A seasoned advocate, Laura regularly represents local governments and private clients in trial-level and appellate cases. Recent appellate victories include:

In addition to her extensive experience in Michigan's trial and appellate courts, Laura has argued before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and co-authored a merits-stage amicus brief in the Supreme Court of the United States on behalf of a township client.


Laura represents individuals and businesses in contract and collection disputes in her commercial law practice, with a specialty in representing creditors and trustees in bankruptcy cases. Her depth of experience comes from more than a decade of service as a Chapter 7 and Chapter 12 bankruptcy trustee in the Western District of Michigan. Her areas of expertise include:

  • Defending creditors against preference demands by bankruptcy trustees
  • Preparing and substantiating proofs of claims
  • Filing actions in Bankruptcy Court to determine that certain debts are nondischargeable
  • Obtaining relief from the automatic stay
  • Determining creditors' status as critical vendors
  • Defending creditors in cases alleging violations of the automatic stay and discharge injunction


In addition to her full-time service to clients, Laura is committed to improving the practice of law, and she has published a book on clear legal writing ("The Plain Language Practice"), which is also a frequent topic on her popular LinkedIn page. She has appeared on legal podcasts, including the XL Legal Podcast and the Thought Leadership Podcast, and she is an adjunct professor at Cooley Law School. 

Honors & Recognitions

Michigan Assessors Association’s (MAA) Michigan Property Tax Achievement Award, 2017-2018

Best Lawyers® 2022 Litigation - Bankruptcy "Lawyer of the Year" in Grand Rapids

Best Lawyers in America® 2018-2024 for Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law

Best Lawyers in America® 2021-2024 (Litigation - Bankruptcy, Municipal Law)

"Top Lawyer", Grand Rapids Magazine, 2022 and 2023 in Municipal Law

"Top Lawyer", Grand Rapids Magazine, 2019 in Bankruptcy and Creditor/Debtor Rights Law

Michigan Super Lawyers "Rising Star," Bankruptcy: Business, 2012-2023

Michigan Lawyers Weekly, "Women in the Law", 2017

Grand Rapids Bar Association "3-in-10" Award, 2017


Memberships & Affiliations

Legal Affiliations:
  • Federal Bar Association Bankruptcy Section (Western District of Michigan), Steering Committee Member
  • Grand Rapids Bar Association
  • Michigan State Bar Foundation
    • Fellow
  • State Bar of Michigan
    • Council, Appellate Practice Section
Industry & Professional Associations:
  • American Bankruptcy Institute
  • National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees
  • National Association of Parliamentarians
  • Grand Rapids Young Professionals
  • Inforum
Community Involvement:
  • Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus, Board of Directors 2011-2012


Representative Matters

  • In Pegasus Wind LLC v. Tuscola County, on April 10th, 2024, the Michigan Supreme Court upheld Tuscola County and the Tuscola Area Airport Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) previous decision blocking Pegasus Wind LLC’s request to expand a wind farm after evidence showed that additional windmills would have posed a safety risk to aviators at a nearby airport. Genovich was part of the team that represented Tuscola County and the ZBA Board and praised the court’s decision.
  • In a unanimous opinion issued April 13, 2023, the Michigan Court of Appeals held in favor of the City of East Lansing in a class-action lawsuit related to electric franchise fees. Heos v City of East Lansing, Court of Appeals Case Nos. 361105, 361138. The Court of Appeals reversed earlier decisions of the Ingham County Circuit Court, which had granted summary disposition to plaintiff James Heos and other similarly situated Board of Water and Light customers. The Court of Appeals directed the circuit court to instead enter summary disposition in favor of the City on remand.

    In reaching this decision, the Court of Appeals held that plaintiff’s claim under the Headlee Amendment to the Michigan Constitution and his similar equitable claims were untimely because they were not filed within one year after the franchise ordinance was adopted. The Court of Appeals further held that plaintiff could not bring an action under the 1905 Foote Act because the Foote Act only applies to electric utility providers, not electric customers. Consequently, the City was entitled to dismissal of all of plaintiff’s claims. The opinion is available online here
  • Represented bankruptcy trustee in corporate Chapter 7 case and filed more than 40 avoidance lawsuits against preference recipients, resulting in the recovery of more than $500,000 for the bankruptcy estate. 
  • Served as co-counsel for township in taxpayer's appeal of more than $3 million in corrected and supplemental special assessments, which resulted in judgment favorable to the township.
  • Represented township in a local resident's Chapter 11 bankruptcy case to enforce township's zoning ordinance.
  • Represented creditor against trustee's demand for more than $170,000 in alleged preference payments. 
  • Successfully defended public employer in arbitration, resulting in the denial of multiple grievances.



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News & Events

Speaking Engagements

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Other Videos

Freedom of Information Requests (FOIA)
Freedom of Information Requests (FOIA)


Thomas M. Cooley Law School, J.D., 2008, summa cum laude

Ohio University, B.S., 2005, summa cum laude, Communications

Bar and Court Admissions


U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals