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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 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.


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.  


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.


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

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 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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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