Dickinson, Wright, Moon, Van Dusen & Freeman

June 4, 1997

by John Gallagher

After he left the Michigan Supreme Court but before becoming mayor of Detroit, Dennis Archer spent three years as a partner with the Detroit law firm of Dickinson, Wright, Moon, Van Dusen & Freeman. The firm's congenial welcome to Archer, not to mention running of his mayoral campaign, has enhanced its already solid credentials as a leading power broker in Michigan.

Dickinson, Wright employs some 198 attorneys, about half in its downtown headquarters, the rest in offices in Bloomfield Hills, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Chicago and Washington, D.C. Its major clients include NBD, Chrysler, Ford, AAA of Michigan, the state of Michigan and the city of Detroit. It advises the city's Downtown Development Authority on the Tiger Stadium deal.

But the firm's real influence on Detroit's development flows from former partners who have gone to city hall. Aside from Archer, they include C. Beth DunCombe, who heads Detroit Economic Growth Corp., and Jim Tervo, a former partner in the Chicago office who was Archer's aide for special projects for a year. Tervo oversaw Archer's stadium and casino dealings and now works as a development consultant for the Ilitches.