Photo of Amanda  Van Dusen

Amanda Van Dusen

Of Counsel




University of Michigan Law School, J.D. 1979

Williams College, B.A. 1975

Bar Admissions

After more than 40 years in practice, Amanda Van Dusen continues to distinguish herself as one of the most successful and influential public finance attorneys in the State of Michigan. Amanda has been recognized for her public finance work by Best Lawyers in America every year since 2003 and she was named Detroit Public Finance Lawyer of the Year in both 2015 and 2017 and Education Lawyer of the Year in 2012 and 2021.

Amanda's practice includes a wide array of public law clients including the City of Detroit, school districts (K-12 and higher), airports, counties and solid waste management authorities as bond counsel in financing transactions and special counsel for local governments in connection with intergovernmental agreements, elections, campaign finance compliance, state and federal tax issues, and general finance (budgets, revenue sources and cash flow). The range of Amanda's clients and her extensive volunteer involvement in public policy, education, the arts and community development help Amanda develop creative solutions which balance risks and opportunities and fit her clients' needs and objectives. That wide-ranging exposure has also taught her how to break down complex issues into understandable terms for diverse stakeholders. Amanda has put these skills to use for the City of Detroit as the City's lead public finance lawyer during and after the City's bankruptcy, for the Detroit Public Schools in their efforts to create innovative solutions for struggling schools and students and in the everyday challenges facing local governments in fast-changing times. Service to her clients also requires frequent contact with state officials, who are often central to a successful initiative.

Amanda has also held numerous leadership positions with the firm and, as a member of a number of nonprofits and their boards, is actively engaged in the arts, public policy and philanthropic efforts across Michigan.

Representative Matters

Amanda's practice ranges from large, complex matters for large clients to smaller transactions for infrequent borrowers. Most recently she and her team assisted the Detroit Public Schools in the transition, under a new state law, of its operations to the new Detroit Public Schools Community District which left most of its liabilities with the old district. Part of that work involved restructuring and refunding some of the old district's debt to avoid a default on the refunded obligations. 


2021 Crain's Detroit Business Notable Women in Law

Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, Banking & Finance, 2017-present

Best Lawyers in America, Banking and Finance Law, Education Law, Government Relations Practice, Municipal Law, and Public Finance Law, 2003-present; 2012 & 2021 Detroit Education Lawyer of the Year; 2015 & 2017 Detroit Public Finance Lawyer of the Year

Michigan Lawyers Weekly, inaugural Hall of Fame class, 2019; Women in the Law, 2015; Leaders in the Law, 2010

DBusiness Magazine, Top Lawyers, Municipal and Public Finance Law

Inforum Woman of Influence, 2008

Michigan Super Lawyers, Top 50 Women Michigan 2007; Bonds/Government Finance, 2006-present

Crain's Detroit Business, One of the Detroit area's "100 Most Influential Women," 2002; Who's Who in Detroit Business - Law, 2005

Corp! Magazine One of Michigan’s Top Businesswomen, 2004

Professional Activities

American College of Bond Counsel, Fellow

American Bar Association

American Bar Foundation, Fellow

State Bar of Michigan, Past Member, Committee on Professional and Judicial Ethics, Chairperson, 1986-88

Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association

Michigan Women in Finance, Co-Founder; Past President; Board of Directors, 2003-2006

Civic, Cultural & Social Activities

W. E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, Board of Trustees, 2003-present

Hudson-Webber Foundation, Board of Trustees, 2001-2023

Huron County Community Foundation, Donor Advised Fund Committee, 2018-2022; Chair, 2020-2022

Wayne State University Van Dusen Leadership Forum, Advisory Board, 1993-present

Williams College, Member, 45th and 50th Reunion Committees

Detroit Institute of Arts, Director Emerita, 2013-present; Board Secretary, 2009-2012; Executive Committee, 1997-2012; Board of Directors, 1994-2012; Finance Committee, 1997-2013; Junior Council Advisory Board Member and Past Board Member

Detroit Revitalization Fellows Program, Advisory Board, 2011-present

Citizens Research Council of Michigan, Board of Directors, 1993-2011; Board Chair, 1999-2002; Trustee, 1998-present

Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, Member, 2005-2013

Legislative Commission on Statutory Mandates, Co-chair, 2008-2009

Council of Michigan Foundations, Board Secretary, 2008; Board of Trustees, 2001-2009

Michigan Women's Foundation, Past Trustee, 1998-2001; Grantmaking Committee, 1995-98

Ferndale Board of Education, Member, 1993-94; Finance Committee, 1989-2014; Bond Issue Planning Committee, 1995

Detroit Regional Chamber, Participant, Leadership Detroit V

City of Detroit, Mayor's Committee, 21st Century, 1993

Gleaners Community Food Bank of Greater Detroit, Past Board Member, 1985-91


Frequent presenter on school finance topics and governmental finance and powers, including security interests and fiscal stress.

Panelist, "Municipal Bankruptcy Fallout: Statutory Liens & Rethinking Appropriation Risk," National Federation of Municipal Analysts Annual Conference, May 2016

Panelist, "Exploring Solutions to the Pension Dilemma," Women in Public Finance Annual Conference, October 2015

Speaker, "When Worlds Collide-Municipal Finance & Bankruptcy: Has the Dust Settled?," MAMA & PCLS Summer Education Conference, June 2015

Panelist, "Government Obligations," National Association of Bond Lawyers Bond Attorneys Workshop, 2006, 2007


"Capital Improvement Financing for Michigan Public Schools," co-authored with Kristen Howard and James Crowley, Michigan Bar Journal, February 2021

"Back to School: Detroit attorney spearheads pair of legal practice groups," Detroit Legal News, November 1, 2011

Author of chapter on "Special Assessments and User Charges," in Local Government Law and Practice in Michigan, published jointly by the Michigan Municipal League and the Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys, 2000