Photo of Joseph G. Vernon

Joseph G. Vernon

Of Counsel




University of Windsor School of Law, LL.B., 2005

University of Detroit Mercy Law School, J.D., 2005

Wilfrid Laurier University, BBA 2002

Bar Admissions

Court Admissions

U.S. District Court

  • Eastern District of Michigan

Court of Appeal for Ontario

Joseph G. Vernon is an experienced commercial litigator, business lawyer, and sports lawyer. 

Joe has served as lead counsel for commercial litigation clients in arbitration proceedings, in state and federal courts across the country, and before several courts of appeal, in complex commercial contract, intellectual property, trade secret, shareholder oppression, fraud and civil RICO, and automotive supplier disputes.

Joe also acts as general litigation and outside counsel for several clients, has conducted numerous internal investigations, and is frequently consulted on key strategic initiatives, all of which are a testament to his commitment to understanding his clients' needs, objectives and the industries in which they operate.

Joe's background as a varsity athlete in college and law school provide a natural foundation for the work he's done in the sports field, which includes representing and advising athletes, coaches and front-office personnel in contract negotiations and related disputes. He is also an accomplished writer in the field, and is often asked to comment on new and emerging issues. 

Joe is deeply involved in the community as well. He has served on the Detroit Economic Club's Young Leaders Board and as a mentor in its Career Readiness Academy. He also serves on the Board of Mariners Inn, a rehabilitation and homeless shelter. He serves on the Executive Board of the Federal Bar Association's Eastern District of Michigan Chapter, and co-chairs its Rules and Civil Practice Committee. He previously served as an adjunct professor at Detroit Mercy Law School, where he taught an advanced legal writing and oral advocacy course. In 2019, he was invited to give the commencement address to Detroit Mercy Law School graduates. 

Representative Matters

  • Successfully prosecuted in U.S. federal court an $80 million contract dispute between a Canadian agricultural company and its American joint venturer, obtaining an injunction preventing the transfer of assets to a third party.
  • Successfully defended a Canadian manufacturer—defeating an injunction motion and obtaining summary disposition—in a trade secrets case filed in U.S. state court.
  • Successfully defended an American automotive supplier in a dispute filed in Ontario by its sub-supplier and alleging breaches of various production contracts.
  • Successfully prosecuted in U.S. state court a contract dispute between a New Zealand manufacturer and a Canadian agricultural company relating to machinery supplied in British Columbia, obtaining summary disposition on affirmative claims and counterclaims and recovering attorney fees.
  • Successfully defended a Canadian software company in a contract and warranty dispute filed by an American transportation company in U.S. state court, obtaining dismissal of all claims.
  • Successfully defended a Canadian steel supplier in a dispute filed by an American manufacturer in U.S. federal court, obtaining dismissal of all claims. 
  • Successfully prosecuted a collection action in U.S. federal court on behalf of a Canadian genetics company and its American customer, obtaining summary disposition on all claims.


The Fellows of the Michigan State Bar Foundation

Best Lawyers in America, Commercial Litigation, 2021-present

DBusiness Magazine, Top Lawyers, Trade Secrets & Commercial Litigation, 2020-present

State Bar of Michigan Pro Bono Honor Roll, 2020-present

Crain's Detroit Business, 40 Under 40, 2018

Michigan Super Lawyers, "Rising Star," Business Litigation, 2009-2019

University of Windsor Faculty of Law/University of Detroit-Mercy School of Law, Recent Alumnus Award of Excellence, 2008

University of Windsor Faculty of Law
Golden Lancer Award
Lancers Varsity Football

Wilfrid Laurier University
Honours Business
Golden Hawks Varsity Football

St. Michael's College School
Honours Society
Kerry Blues Football Team Captain

Footsteps Scholarship presented by Michael "Pinball" Clemons, 1998

Professional Activities

American Bar Association, Forum on the Entertainment and Sports Industries

Federal Bar Association, Rules and Civil Practice Committee; Eastern District of Michigan Chapter Executive Board

State Bar of Michigan, Arts Communications Entertainment and Sports (ACES) Section

Sports Lawyers Association

Law Society of Upper Canada

Ontario Bar Association

Detroit Regional Chamber's Leadership Detroit, Class XXXVII

Civic, Cultural & Social Activities

Mariners Inn, Board of Directors

Detroit Economic Club, Young Leaders Board & Career Readiness Academy Mentor

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan Transition Team, Ethics Committee Co-Chair, 2013-2014

Big Brothers of Windsor & Essex County, Board of Directors, 2007-2008

Lancers Touchdown Club, President, 2006-2010


University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, Visiting Professor, Advanced Legal Theory and Analysis


Commencement Speaker, St. Michael's College School, June 2022

Commencement Speaker, University of Detroit Mercy Law School, May 2019

"Contracts 101: Know What You Are Getting and Getting What You Want," Techstars Detroit Startup Week, June 2018, Detroit, Michigan

"Enforcing Foreign Judgments in Ontario and Michigan," Bridging the Detroit River: Emerging Issues in Defending Civil Litigation, Canadian Defence Lawyers and Michigan Defense Trial Counsel, March 2015, Windsor, Ontario 

"Valuing Your Commercial Contract Case," Institute of Continuing Legal Education Webinar, July 2014, Ann Arbor, Michigan

"Player Representation and Team Management," Windsor Law Sports & Entertainment Conference, March 2013, Windsor, Ontario

"The Art of Negotiation," Windsor Law Sports & Entertainment Conference, February 2015, Windsor, Ontario

"Doing Business in Canada," Automation Alley, April 2009, Troy, Michigan

"Contract Law: Ensuring That You Get What You Want From Your Relationships With Key Stakeholders," International Black Expo, May 2007, Detroit, Michigan


"Nike strikes back against Kawhi Leonard over logo lawsuit," Published by, July 19, 2019

"The King of the North v. Nike: Inside Kawhi Leonard's legal battle," Published by, June 7, 2019