Laura Genovich practices municipal and commercial law in the firm's Grand Rapids office. She helps her clients reach their goals and solve their problems in creative, collaborative, and cost-effective ways.
MUNICIPAL AND SCHOOL LAW
Laura provides advice on contracts, election law and campaign finance issues, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Open Meetings Act compliance, labor/employment matters, real estate transactions as well as, public funding and financing issues for public entity clients. Laura is a seasoned litigator who has represented local governments in both trial-level and appellate matters. She frequently handles appeals for municipal clients on matters related to contracts, property disputes, zoning and land use issues, special assessments, sewer and water services, and other legal controversies. She has argued before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, the Michigan Court of Appeals, and has drafted many briefs in the Michigan Supreme Court. She also co-authored a merits-stage brief in the Supreme Court of the United States on behalf of a township client.
Laura handles both day-to-day legal questions and complex matters for public entities, including:
- Establishing and defending special assessment districts
- Reviewing ballot language for millage proposals and ensuring compliance with Michigan's election laws
- Advising libraries, schools, and municipalities on compliance with FOIA and the Open Meetings Act
- Handling property tax valuation and exemption matters, with a special expertise in "uncapping" disputes
- Drafting zoning and police power ordinances, including regulations for medical marijuana, wind energy, gravel mining, and "tiny houses"
- Representing public employers in arbitrations and administrative hearings (unfair labor practice disputes)
- Advising public bodies on state aid/public funding issues
- Drafting simple or complex contracts to meet the client's needs, including independent contractor agreements, sewer service contracts, and intergovernmental agreements under the Urban Cooperation Act
COMMERCIAL LITIGATION & BANKRUPTCY LAW
Laura represents individuals and businesses in contract and collection disputes in her commercial law practice. Recognizing that litigation is rarely anyone’s first choice, Laura works with clients to negotiate resolutions to make the best out of bad situations. When litigation is necessary, Laura vigorously fights for her clients' rights in court. Laura also has extensive experience in bankruptcy law where she helps secured lenders, small businesses, farm co-ops and other creditors protect their rights when a borrower or customer files bankruptcy. 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 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. When a new case or statute impacts her clients, she is quick to share the breaking news and advise. Laura writes a blog about new bankruptcy cases (www.michbankruptcyblog.com) and regularly presents at municipal law and bankruptcy seminars in addition to offering free webinars. She has taught as an adjunct professor at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School and she serves as the Chairperson of the Federal Bar Association's Bankruptcy Section.
Honors & Recognitions
Thomas M. Cooley Alumni Association Distinguished Student Award
Best Lawyers in America® 2018 for Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law
Pace National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition, National Quarter-Finalist
State Bar of Michigan 1L Oral Advocacy Competition - First Place
Michigan Super Lawyers "Rising Star," 2012-2017
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
Industry & Professional Associations:
- American Bankruptcy Institute
- National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees
- Grand Rapids Young Professionals
- Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus, Board of Directors 2011-2012
- 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
- Bankruptcy Court Upholds Contemporaneous Exchange for New Value Defense in Preference Action
- Bankruptcy Court Sanctions Lawyer, But Appeals Court Reverses and Rules that Lawyer’s Aggressive Advocacy Did Not Cross the Line
- District Court Reverses Bankruptcy Court Ruling that State Criminal Restitution is Dischargeable
- Supreme Court Refuses to Review Student Loan Bankruptcy Case
- No Stripping Allowed: Supreme Court Rules that Chapter 7 Debtor Cannot Strip Off a Junior Lien
- The Borrower in Bankruptcy: Top 10 Mistakes Banks & Lenders Make in Consumer Bankruptcy Cases
- The Right Way to Execute a Writ: Bankruptcy Court Decision Explains the Mechanics of Collecting a Judgment in the Western District of Michigan
- Sixth Circuit Reverses Bankruptcy Court Decision to Disallow Chapter 7 Debtor's Amendment to Exemptions
- Sixth Circuit Sorts Out Bankruptcy Slugfest Between Friends
- Divorce and Bankruptcy: The Legal Intersection of Two of Life's Most Challenging Moments
- Michigan Supreme Court Refines Property Tax Exemption Rules for Charities, The Review, January 2018
- The Costs and Benefits of Property Tax Exemptions in Michigan, November 2017 Municipal Law Newsletter, November 28, 2017
- Michigan Supreme Court Rejects Menard's Appeal in “Dark Store” Tax Appeal, Municipal Law News E-Blast, October 23, 2017
- School Funding Impacted by "Big Box" Store Tax Appeals, Foster Swift School Law News E-Blast, August 7, 2017
- Michigan Supreme Court Clarifies Test for Charitable Exemption from Property Taxes, Foster Swift Municipal Law E-Blast, June 30, 2017
- U.S. Supreme Court Vacates Lower Court Decision Which Ruled Against High School’s Bathroom Policy for Transgender Students, Foster Swift School Law News, March 6, 2017
News & Events
- 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
- Genovich Named One of Michigan Lawyers Weekly's 2017 "Women in the Law", July 25, 2017
- GRBA Awards Laura Genovich '3-in-10' Winner, May 17, 2017
- Laura Genovich Receives 2017 GRBA's 3-In-10 Award, May 17, 2017
- Foster Swift attorneys to speak at Michigan Township Association Annual Conference, January 23, 2017
- 29 Foster Swift Attorneys Selected to 2016 Michigan Super Lawyers and Michigan Rising Stars Lists, September 2, 2016
- Detroit Consumer Bankruptcy Conference, American Bankruptcy Institute, November 10, 2017
- Bankruptcy Best Practices Seminar, Office of the United States Trustee, November 9, 2017
- WEBINAR: Property Tax Exemptions: What Every Assessor Needs to Know Webinar, September 20, 2017
- Federal Bar Association's Bankruptcy Seminar, July 29, 2017
- WEBINAR: Social Media Use by School Employees-From Worst Case Scenarios to Best Practices, April 26, 2017
- Panel Discussion: Medical Marihuana, Michigan Township Association Annual Conference & Expo, April 11, 2017
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