- University of Michigan Law School, J.D., 1982
- Richard Stockton State College, B.A. 1974
For most of his career, Mike Coakley has represented and counseled businesses in complex litigation and securities broker/dealers and stockbrokers in state and federal courts, arbitrations and before regulatory authorities, including the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the National Association of Securities Dealers — the latter two are now the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
Mike has arbitration experience, through which he has developed a deep understanding of the financial services industry, its laws, regulations and standards of practice. He has served as an arbitrator for FINRA, the American Arbitration Association (AAA) and the International Center for Dispute Resolution. He is also qualified to serve as an injunction arbitrator — a special designation — for FINRA. He has trained arbitrators for these organizations and served on the Council for Complex Commercial Cases, an advisory board of the AAA for rules and procedures to be used in complex commercial arbitrations.
Mike has maintained a trademark litigation practice, primarily in the enforcement/protection of trademark owners’ rights. His clients have included major brand luxury goods, a Big Three auto manufacturer, a famous brand food manufacturer, a major league baseball team and a related licensing agency and regional and national league organizations, a major league hockey team, famous brand cleaning products companies, an international retail company, national banks, and a major brand grooming products company.
Mike is the immediate past leader of Miller Canfield's nationally recognized Commercial Litigation practice group.
One of Mike’s clients faced a rash of limited partnership investment cases filed in a Michigan court. Although his team developed factual and legal defenses to the claims, the client initially sought to settle the few cases it had because the cost to litigate would outweigh the benefit of winning on the merits. The early settlements only fueled the fire though, resulting in many new cases being filed. So Mike and his team sat down with the client and developed a strategy to vigorously defend the claims that started pouring in. This strategy yielded 15 summary judgments, several of which were upheld on appeal, including a seminal opinion of the Michigan Court of Appeals. Today, that opinion is still relied on by lawyers, courts and arbitrators for the efficacy of disclosure documents in securities cases. Mike was the principal architect of the strategy and lead lawyer carrying it out.
In a similar case as general counsel for a broker/dealer, Mike developed a strategy to extinguish approximately $110 million worth of liability and prevent liability from going up the corporate chain to parent companies. The plan took approximately five years to execute, but when the dust settled, the entire liability was resolved for under $2 million in direct costs to the company. The company was so pleased, it had commemorative plaque made especially for the successful disposition of this matter. In a $2 million arbitration claim against the broker/dealer client, Mike and his team obtained a dismissal after a five-day hearing at the NASD offices in Chicago. This was particularly gratifying as the claimant was represented by one of the leading securities claimant attorneys in the country, who at the time was serving as president of the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association, the primary national organization for securities claimant lawyers.
- Consumer Protection - Higher Education Institution
Successfully defended law school in a consumer protection and fraud class action filed in federal court alleging the school misrepresented job placement and salary data to prospective students. The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan dismissed the lawsuit for failure to state a claim. The Sixth Circuit agreed and affirmed (see opinion below).
- American Bar Association
- State Bar of Michigan, ADR Section Council Member; Chairman, 1998-present; Chairman-elect, 1997-98; Secretary, 1996-97; Treasurer, 1995-96; Commercial Litigation Committee; Chairman, Commercial Litigation Subcommittee on programs; Uniform Commercial Code Committee; Master Lawyers Section
- Federal Bar Association, Bicentennial Constitutional Celebration Committee, 1988-90; Contributor, Eastern District of Michigan Practice Manual, 1991; Programs Committee, 1991
- Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association, Circuit Court Committee, 1990-present
- Oakland County Bar Association, Young Lawyers' Committee, 1983-87; Chairman, 1986-87; Federal Court Committee, 1987-89; Speaker Committee, 1987-89; Membership Committee, 1987-89; Vice-chairman, 1988-89
- Oakland County Circuit and District Courts, Case Evaluator
- Arbitrator, American Arbitration Association
- Arbitrator, New York Stock Exchange, Inc. (now FINRA)
- Arbritrator, National Association of Securities Dealers (now FINRA)
- American Arbitration Association, Member, AAA Securities Advisory Counsel, 1996; Member, Large Complex Case Program Council
- National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc., Arbitrator Training Instructor
- Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association
- Wayne County Circuit Court, Case Evaluator
- New York Stock Exchange, Inc., Arbitrator Training Instructor
Honors + Awards
- Best Lawyers in America, 2011-present
Litigation-Regulatory Enforcement (SEC, Telecom, Energy)
Detroit Litigation-Securities Lawyer of the Year 2013
- Michigan Super Lawyers, Securities Litigation 2007-present
- City of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, Recognized for many years of volunteer service on Zoning Board of Appeals
- DBusiness, Top Lawyers Securities Law 2011-present
Civic, Cultural + Social Activities
- Detroit Athletic Club, Member
- Detroit Economic Club, Member
- City of Bloomfield Hills, Chairman, Zoning Board of Appeals, May 2007-present; Member, Zoning Board of Appeals
- Old Newsboys' Goodfellows Fund of Detroit, Member since 1987; Purchasing Committee, 1989-present; Board of Directors, 1991-present; Second Vice-President, 2009; President, 2011
- Rudgate Associates, Inc. (Homeowners' Association of Bloomfield Hills), President, 1995-96; former Member, Board of Directors
- American Arbitration Association
- American Inns of Court — Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association, 2013-14 Master
- A Full View of the Securities Industry
- Commercial-Construction Arbitrators' Training Program
- Arbitration Day-Securities Presentation
- Securities Conference Orientation-Seminar
- Large Complex Case Arbitrator Training
- Securities Arbitrator Development Program
- University of Michigan Law School, Moot Court Judge
- Wayne State Law School
- Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association
- Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Ninth Annual Midwest Securities Law Institute
- The Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Faculty Member
- Trial Advocacy Workshop, Faculty Member, 1999
"Business Torts, A Fifty State Guide — 2014 Edition," (Editor-Michigan), Wolters Kluwer, 2014
"The New Form ADV Part 2 and the 'Plain English' Movement of the SEC, FINRA, and Michigan's OFIR," (Co-Author), Michigan Business Law Journal, State Bar of Michigan, Spring 2011
"There are 'Answers' to be Found via Foreign Anti-Suit Injunctions," Michigan Lawyers Weekly, October 17, 2011
"Trend for trademark disputes is to go through ADR," (Co-author), Michigan Lawyers Weekly, February 8, 2011
"De-mystifying Securities ADR: Reform and Resurgence after McMahon," (Co-author Mary A. Bedikian), Michigan Bar Journal, February 1994, Vol. 76, No. 2
Michigan Pleading and Practice--ADR, Vol. 8A (Lawyers Cooperative Publishing, 2d Ed., 1994
"Plain English requirements for Form ADV Part 2," Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation, Investment Adviser Seminar on Dodd-Frank and the new Form ADV, Lansing, Michigan, November 9, 2010
Seminars + Events
- Before the Bell Breakfast Forum: Suitability Update
- Before the Bell Breakfast Forum: Securities Industry Update
- Before the Bell Breakfast Forum: Report from SIFMA (Securities Industry + Financial Markets Association)
- Before the Bell Breakfast Forum: A Report from SIFMA (Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association)
- Before the Bell Breakfast Forum: The Changing Rules - Suitability, Know-Your-Customer and Social Media
- Before the Bell Breakfast Forum: Indexed Annuities and Other Financial Products
- Before the Bell Breakfast Forum: A Report from SIFMA (Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association) C&L Annual Seminar
- Before the Bell Breakfast Forum: Social Media from a Regulatory Standpoint
- Investepreneur Roundtable: What is a Second-Stage Company?
- Before the Bell Breakfast Forum: Report from SIFMA (Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association)
- Before the Bell Breakfast Forum: Islamic Finance 101
- Before the Bell Breakfast Forum: Will All Financial Service Providers Soon Be Fiduciaries?
- Before the Bell Breakfast Forum: Times are a changing!
- Before the Bell Breakfast Forum: Not All Municipal Securities Are Created Equal PLUS An Update on Fiduciary Duties
- Cappuccino with Counsel
- Before the Bell Breakfast Forum: Report from the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association
- Before the Bell Breakfast Forum: Ponzi Schemes
- Before the Bell Breakfast Forum: ERISA
- Before the Bell Breakfast Forum: The Changing Face of Regulation in the New Administration
Articles + Newsletters
- Miller Canfield Hosts Legal Update on Securities Industry Regulation – September 19 in Birmingham, Mich.
- Miller Canfield Lawyers Co-Author Securities Article on New SEC, FINRA and OFIR “Plain English” Requirements
- Miller Canfield's Recent Climate Law & Policy Symposium Opens Door to New Green Opportunities