Photo of Michael P. Coakley

Michael P. Coakley





University of Michigan Law School, J.D., 1982

Richard Stockton State College, B.A. 1974

Bar Admissions

Michael Coakley represents and counsels businesses in complex litigation for both plaintiffs and defendants including business torts, intellectual property, financial services in both banking and securities, and constitutional law, focusing on the First Amendment and defamation. His business litigation also includes contracts, insurance, unfair competition, non-competes and trade secrets. 

He has maintained a trademark litigation practice, primarily in the enforcement/protection of trademark owners' rights, including anti-counterfeit actions. His trademark/brand 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 professional regional and national league organizations, a National Hockey League team, a National Basketball Association team, a famous brand cleaning products companies, an international retail company, national banks, and a major brand grooming products company.

Mike has extensive arbitration experience in commercial matters, including complex commercial arbitration.  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 (then NASD) to handle emergency relief hearings in broker departure cases. He has trained arbitrators for these organizations and served on the AAA Council for Complex Commercial Cases, an advisory board of the AAA for the establishment of the rules and procedures to be used in complex commercial arbitrations.

He is the immediate past leader of Miller Canfield's nationally recognized Litigation and Dispute Resolution practice group.

Representative Matters

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.


Best Lawyers in America, 2011-present
Commercial Litigation
Litigation-Intellectual Property
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

Leading Lawyers, Commercial Litigation, ADR Law: Commercial Litigation, Intellectual Property Law, 2014-present

Professional Activities

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)

Arbitrator, 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

International Trademark Association, Member

International Bar Association, Member

Civic, Cultural & Social Activities

Detroit Athletic Club, Member

Detroit Economic Club, Member

City of Bloomfield Hills
Commissioner 2013-present
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


"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 


"Business Torts, A Fifty State Guide — 2015 Edition," (Editor-Michigan), Wolters Kluwer, 2015

"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