Photo of James E. Spurr

James E. Spurr

Litigation and Dispute Resolution Deputy Group Leader




Wayne State University Law School, J.D.

University of Michigan, B.A.

Bar Admissions

James Spurr specializes in resolving disputes, from trials in state and federal court, to arbitrations, mediations and facilitations.

Many cases involve real estate and development, construction projects, commercial transactions, contracts and business deals gone awry. James has resolved many disputes between shareholders, partners and issues involving corporate governance. James also has substantial experience in probate court, assisting families, trustees and beneficiaries involving their rights in trusts and estates.

James has concentrated upon claims arising from complex construction projects for more than 25 years.  He has advocated for, defended against and resolved claims involving corporate headquarters, manufacturing facilities, college and university buildings, public works projects, municipal parks, local schools and athletic arenas.  The claims range from interference and delay, lost productivity, defective buildings, design negligence and serious accidents. His expertise has led him to speak before and serve on the faculties of major nationwide construction law seminars and industry symposiums.

In resolving disputes, James has come to master skills such as creativity and problem solving, effective negotiating, persuasive advocacy and writing and the effective use of expert witnesses.

Representative Matters


Best Lawyers in America, Construction Law 2008-present; Commercial Litigation and Litigation-Construction 2012-present

Wayne State University Law School, cum laude

University of Michigan, cum laude

Professional Activities

American Bar Association, Construction Litigation Committee

State Bar of Michigan, Construction Litigation Committee; Indian Law Section

Defense Research Institute

Construction Financial Management Association

Kalamazoo County Bar Association, Pro Bono Participant

Native American Rights Fund

National Indian Law Library

Civic, Cultural & Social Activities

Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society, Board President, 2006-present

American Sail Training Association, Board Member, January 2012

Michigan Maritime Museum, Board Vice President, 2009-present

Michigan Commission on the Commemoration of the Bicentennial of the War of 1812, Appointed by Governor Granholm, February 2008-present

Hospice of Southwest Michigan, Volunteer, 2013-present

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Former Member of the Board of Directors; Chair, Corporate Development Committee; Former Chair, Art Encounters

Pipp Foundation, Former Director

Western Michigan University, Advisory Committee for Construction Technology

Plainwell Area Chamber of Commerce, Former Director

ACT of Kalamazoo, Former Board Member

Pipp Community Hospital, Former Director and Chair

Plainwell Downtown Development Authority, Former Director and Chair


Nazareth College, Adjunct Professor; Business and Commercial Law and the Uniform Commercial Code


"The CPA as an Expert Witness: Effectively Working with Litigation Attorneys," Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants, Novi, Michigan, June 2011

"Managing Construction Contract Risks," Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants, Lansing, Michigan, October 2009; 2010

"Important (and Troublesome) Construction Contract Provisions," Lamar Construction Company, December 8, 2006

"How to Train Owner's Representatiaves on a Construction Site," Northern Michigan University, March 22, 2006

"Enforceability of Non-Compete Agreements in the United States," Center for International Legal Studies (CILS) Litigation Conference, Alaska, April 2-8, 2006

"Renewable Energy: Potential for Economic Growth," Emerging Tribal Economies, Traverse City, Michigan, August 2011

"Models for a Successful Construction Project - You've Obtained the Financing; Let's Make the Most of It," 3rd Annual Madigan-Pinatore Management Seminar, Bay Mills, Michigan 7/14/05

"Construction Seminar," Genesee County Division of Water and Waste Services, Flint, Michigan 2005

“Relationships, Roles and Warning Signs on Public Construction Projects,” (Panelist), Michigan Local Government Management Association Winter Institute, Grand Rapids, Michigan 01/27/05

"Water, Sewer and Street Construction Projects" (what happens when a construction project goes bad!), (Panelist), U.P. City/County Managers' Fall Meeting, Ontonagon, Michigan 10/10/03

"Custom Software Integrators," Construction Superconference, San Francisco, California 12/2000

"Risks & Regulations of Jobsite Safety," Defense Research Institute, Construction Law Seminar, Phoenix, Arizona 1999

"Warranties and the Design Professional," Defense Research Institute, Construction Law Seminar, San Antonio, Texas 1998

"Claims Prosecution Agreements--the Apparent Advantages and Hidden Risks," National Construction Superconference, San Francisco 12/13/96

"Warranties and the Design Professional," The Construction Superconference, San Francisco 1995

"Construction Contracts: Recognizing and Avoiding Troublesome Provisions from the Perspective of College and University Owners," NACUA 1995 Annual Meeting, Orlando, Florida

"Strategies for Avoiding Defective Building Litigation," The Construction Super Conference, San Francisco 11/10/94

"10 Most Troublesome Clauses in Construction Contracts," Kalamazoo Chapter of the Construction Financial Management Association 9/14/94


"The Fundamentals of Construction Dispute Law," Construction Dispute Resolution, Absatore Books, 2009

"The Unique Status of Tribes and States as Sovereign Nations with Limited Powers Within the Federal Union," Inside the Minds: Emerging Issues in Tribal-State Relations, Absatore Books, 2011