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Amanda Van Dusen





University of Michigan Law School, J.D. 1979

Williams College, B.A. 1975

Bar Admissions

After more than 35 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.

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. Most recently Amanda 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. 


Corp! Magazine One of Michigan’s Top Businesswomen 2004

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

Best Lawyers in America, Banking and Finance Law, Education Law, and Public Finance Law 2003-present; 2012 Detroit Education Lawyer of the Year; 2015 Detroit Public Finance Lawyer of the Year; 2017 Detroit Public Finance Lawyer of the Year

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

Inforum Woman of Influence 2008

Michigan Lawyers Weekly, 2010 Leaders in the Law

DBusiness Magazine, Top Lawyers, Banking and Public Finance Law 2011-present

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

National Association of Bond Lawyers

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

Women Lawyers' Association

Civic, Cultural & Social Activities

W. E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, Board of Trustees, 2001-present

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

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

Detroit Institute of Arts, Board Secretary, 2009-2012; Executive Committee, 1997-2012; Board of Directors, 1994-2012; Director Emerita, 2013-present; Finance Committee 1997-present; 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; Trustee, 1998-present; Board Chair, 1999-2002

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

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

Gleaner's Community Food Bank of Greater Detroit, Past Board Member, 1985-91

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

"The BIG Squeeze," Hot Points, Spring 2006

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