Laura Genovich practices municipal law, appellate law, and bankruptcy/commercial law in the firm's Grand Rapids office. Laura serves as the Chair of Foster Swift’s appellate practice group. She also leads the firm’s mentoring program as the Associate Development Chair and is a member of the Recruiting Committee.
MUNICIPAL AND LAND USE LAW
Laura serves as general counsel for counties, cities, and townships across the state. In that role, she advises on issues related to zoning, election law and campaign finance issues, marihuana/cannabis regulations, 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 contract drafting and negotiation. Laura is known for her clear, pragmatic advice and responsiveness to clients.
Laura also works with both public entities and private clients (including developers) on land use matters, including development agreements, annexations, Act 425 agreements, and zoning approvals.
Laura is also a member of the National Association of Parliamentarians and is trained in Robert’s Rules of Order, which allows her to help clients run effective, productive meetings. Laura offers training on Robert’s Rules of Order as it applies to Michigan municipalities, and she advises on the interplay between parliamentary procedure and the Michigan Open Meetings Act and other laws.
Laura is a seasoned litigator who has represented local governments and private clients in trial-level and appellate matters. As the Chair of the firm’s appellate practice group, Laura frequently handles appeals related to contracts, property disputes, zoning and land use issues, special assessments, utility services, and other legal controversies. Laura often serves as amicus curiae counsel in high-profile appeals.
Laura has argued before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and the Michigan Court of Appeals, and she has drafted many briefs in the Michigan Supreme Court. She also co-authored a merits-stage amicus brief in the Supreme Court of the United States on behalf of a township client.
COMMERCIAL LITIGATION & BANKRUPTCY LAW
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.
Laura has extensive experience in bankruptcy law where she helps secured lenders, businesses, farm co-ops, and other creditors protect their rights and maximize recovery when a borrower or customer files bankruptcy. Her experience includes 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, and determining creditors' status as critical vendors, among other things.
Additionally, Laura works with clients to negotiate credit agreements, collect debts, navigate workouts, and mitigate losses outside of bankruptcy. She has served as local counsel in state court and Bankruptcy Court for creditors across the country. Laura currently serves as a Chapter 7 and Chapter 12 bankruptcy trustee and has served as a Chapter 11 Examiner.
WRITING AND SPEAKING
Laura enjoys writing and speaking about the law, and she advocates for clear legal writing (which is a frequent topic on her popular LinkedIn page, www.linkedin.com/in/lauragenovich). On March 29, 2023, Laura appeared on the XL Legal Podcast to discuss her passion for legal writing and also to discuss her recent book: The Plain Language Practice. Listen to the full interview here: Plain Language Practice with Laura J. Genovich - Exellegal
She regularly presents at professional seminars and teaches legal writing as an adjunct professor at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School. She also serves on (and is a past chairperson of) the Steering Committee of the Federal Bar Association's Bankruptcy Section.
Honors & Recognitions
Michigan Assessors Association’s (MAA) Michigan Property Tax Achievement Award, 2017-2018
Thomas M. Cooley Alumni Association Distinguished Student Award
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)
Pace National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition, National Quarter-Finalist
State Bar of Michigan 1L Oral Advocacy Competition - First Place
"Top Lawyer", Grand Rapids Magazine, 2022 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
- Federal Bar Association Bankruptcy Section (Western District of Michigan), Steering Committee Member
- Grand Rapids Bar Association
- Michigan State Bar Foundation
- 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
- Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus, Board of Directors 2011-2012
- 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.
Recent Blog Posts
Michigan Bankruptcy Blog
Michigan Election Law Blog
- Supreme Court Offers Additional Guidance on Sign Restrictions
- Can We Ban That Sign?
- Michigan House Bill to Require Training for All Election Challengers
- Township Clerk Arraigned After Ballot Mishap
- Bill Passes Michigan Senate, Allowing Qualifying Cities and Townships to Process Absentee Ballots Prior to Election Day
- Judge Feeney to Appear on Ballot as Incumbent, with Separate Listing
- Election Guidelines for Public Bodies in Compliance with MCFA
- Primary Election Day 2020: Your Guide to Navigating Masks, Selfies, and Other Election Day Rules
- Campaigning during COVID-19: Rules for Absentee Ballots
- What Does Tyler v Hennepin County Mean for Foreclosures in Michigan?, Foster Swift Municipal Law News, June 15, 2023
- Proposed Changes to PACE: What You Need to Know, Foster Swift Municipal Law News, June 14, 2023
- Focus Orders & Tentative Opinions: Ways to Make Oral Argument More Efficient, Spring 2023 Michigan Appellate Practice Journal, April 10, 2023
- Ten Tips for Writing Clear Contracts, Contract Nerds Blog, February 23, 2022
- Michigan Attorney General Issues New Opinion Regarding Virtual Public Meetings Under the Michigan Open Meetings Act and Americans with Disabilities Act, Foster Swift Municipal Law E-blast, February 9, 2022
- MDHHS Changes Gathering Limits for Public Meetings, Municipal Law e-blast, April 1, 2021
News & Events
- Case Law Update, 35th Annual Bankruptcy Seminar: Federal Bar Association Western District of Michigan, July 29, 2023
- Property Tax Exemptions, Mid-Michigan Association of Assessing Officers, June 22, 2022
- State Corporate Rights in Bankruptcy, United States Trustee Regional Training, May 11, 2022
- What to Do with a Marijuana Initiative Referendum, Michigan Townships Association Annual Conference, April 27, 2022
- The Latest on Marihuana in Michigan, Michigan Municipal League, March 16, 2022
- Municipal Ordinances, Michigan Rural Water Association Annual Conference, February 21, 2022
- Foster Swift Attorneys Named 2024 Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers in America, August 17, 2023
- 17 Attorneys Selected to 2023 Michigan Super Lawyers and “Rising Stars”, Michigan Super Lawyers, August 11, 2023
- City of East Lansing Prevails in Electric Franchise Fee Appeal, April 14, 2023
- Genovich Featured in Interview on Mentorship, Automation, and Teaching Legal Writing, Clearbrief, October 17, 2022
- Foster Swift Attorneys Named 2023 Best Lawyers in America©, Best Lawyers in America, August 18, 2022
- 21 Attorneys Selected to 2022 Michigan Super Lawyers and “Rising Stars”, Michigan Super Lawyers, August 12, 2022
- Foster Swift Wins Victory for City in Marihuana Ordinance Appeal, Foster Swift Municipal Law News, July 18, 2022
- Appellate Practice
- Bankruptcy & Restructuring
- General & Commercial Litigation
- Collections / Creditor - Debtor Rights
- Municipal & Public Entity Law
- School Law Services
- Election & Campaign Finance Law
- Coronavirus Pandemic/Crisis Support Task Force
- Governmental Relations
- Property Tax
- Real Estate Development
- Renewable Energy
- Zoning & Land Use
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