- University of Michigan Law School, J.D., 1976
- University of Michigan, B.A.
Jerome R. Watson has been recognized as one of the top litigators in Michigan. He has successfully represented employers in such areas as discrimination, harassment, breach of contract, wrongful discharge, retaliation, and employment class actions. Jerome has also litigated various commercial disputes involving a wide range of subject matters including fraud, tax disputes, and constitutional challenges.
"My goal is to resolve each litigation in an efficient, cost-effective manner that best satisfies the needs of the client. The best resolution could involve a settlement shortly after the case is filed or a jury verdict in the client's favor after an extensive trial or one of numerous other potential outcomes. Every case is different. Every client is different. Accordingly, the defense of each matter must be unique." — Jerome R. Watson
- Construction Company Employment Litigation
Represented a Canadian construction company in a breach of employment contract action filed in Federal District Court. Secured dismissal of the matter on jurisdictional and improper venue grounds.
- Class Action Tax Litigation
Defended a class action case in which plaintiffs sought to recover over $250 million from a public entity based on claims that the entity violated various state and local statutes and constitutional provisions in collecting taxes. The circuit court granted summary disposition on all of plaintiffs' claims -- a decision which was affirmed by the Michigan Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court.
- School District Class Action Defense
Represented a public school district in a class action brought by former employees who claimed that their layoffs were the result of age discrimination. Summary disposition granted by Wayne County Circuit Court and affirmed by the Michigan Court of Appeals.
- Major Retailer Employment Discrimination Litigation
Represented a major retailer accused of race discrimination in a class action contesting its hiring and promotion decisions. Case was resolved for nuisance value.
- Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers
- Fellow of the Michigan State Bar Foundation
- American Employment Law Council, member
- National Employment Law Council, member
- American Bar Association, member, Labor Law Section
- State Bar of Michigan, 1976-present, member, Labor Law Section; Character and Fitness Committee
- Miller Canfield Managing Director, 2005-2011; Chair, Miller Canfield Diversity Committee
- Federal Bar Association, member
- National Bar Association, member
- Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association, Board of Directors
- Wolverine Bar Association
Honors + Awards
- Michigan Lawyers Weekly, 2012 Leader in the Law
- Crain's Detroit Business, Best Lawyers Focus "Takes one to know one: Peers' picks make list of area's top lawyers," December 2010
- Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, Labor & Employment Law, 2004-present
- Best Lawyers in America, Labor and Employment Law 2007-2011; Employment Law-Management, Labor Law-Management and Litigation-Labor and Employment 2012-present
- Michigan Super Lawyers, Top 100 Michigan Super Lawyers 2007-present, Employment Litigation: Defense 2006-present
- DBusiness Magazine, Labor and Employment 2010-present
Civic, Cultural + Social Activities
- NAACP Michigan State Conference, General Counsel
- Services to Enhance Potential (STEP), Board Member; Past Chairman
- Operation Jobs Program, Organizer and Chairman
- Inner City Youth Basketball Team, Coach
- Detroit Regional Chamber, Graduate, Leadership Detroit VI
“Safety Issues: Workplace Violence,” Employment Law in Michigan 2010, Institute for Continuing Education
"Workplace Safety," Institute of Continuing Legal Education, 2007
"I Heard It Through The Grapevine: Evidentiary Challenges in Racially Hostile Work Environment Litigation," 19 The Labor Lawyer 381 (2004)
Defending Your Witness During Deposition, (Paper and Publication) ICLE, October 2000
"Employment Law in Michigan," chapter titled "Safety Issues: Workplace Violence," The Institute of Continuing Legal Education, January 1997-present
"The State of Diversity," Women Lawyers Association of Michigan, October 2012
“Making Difficult Human Resource Decisions,” Association of Legal Administrators, September 2010
“Wage and Hour Update and Guidance on Audits/Compliance,” National Employment Law Conference, April 2010
“Writing An Effective Appeal Brief,” Wolverine Bar Association, April 2010
“Strategic Issues In Defense of Major Wage and Hour Litigation,” National Employment Law Conference, April 2009
"Challenges and Opportunities Presented by a Diverse Workforce," Miller Canfield Labor Law Seminar, October 2007
"Supreme Court Update," NAACP National Convention, July 2007; NAACP State of Michigan Convention, September 2007
"Advanced Trial Skills - Judge, Jury, and Using Technology," National Employment Law Council, May 2006