Areas of Practice

Business & Corporate

Commercial Litigation

Labor & Employment Law

Real Estate

James R. Bruinsma


Phone: 616-732-5000
Fax: 616-732-5099

Jim Bruinsma focuses on commercial and real estate litigation, as well as business and corporate representation that includes contract negotiation, land use and real estate development, employment matters, covenants not to compete, governance, and financial transactions. 

For a large portion of his legal career, Jim has represented the captive finance arms of automotive manufacturers in complex consumer class action and commercial finance disputes, including related appeals in state and federal courts. His work has included defending against novel class action discrimination claims, modelled on disparate impact claims in the employment context. 

In the real estate arena, Jim represents developers regarding a variety of land use issues, including  state and local regulatory approvals, easements and access rights, construction contracts, public access, and environmental and Department of Environmental Quality permitting. Although he advises various companies, a growing portion of his docket includes residential development projects on Michigan’s western lakeshore. He also shares his knowledge of real estate litigation as a contributing author on adverse possession in Michigan Real Estate Litigation, an authoritative practice guide for attorneys in the state.  

On the transactional side, Jim serves as de facto general counsel for clients, managing a variety of business and legal needs including facilitating supplier and vendor contracts, production agreements, real estate acquisition and disposition, financing, and related matters. 

Jim appreciates the unique challenges that each new matter poses, whether it’s in the courtroom, the boardroom, or at the negotiation table. Clients appreciate his keen judgment, and because he is a quick study, they value his ability to make insightful, often on-the-fly decisions. Highly regarded by his colleagues in the legal profession, Jim has repeatedly been selected to the annual lists of Super Lawyers and Leading Lawyers, and he has earned an AV Preeminent Lawyer ranking from Martindale-Hubbell, a symbol of professional excellence.  

Bar Admission:

  • Michigan 
  • Illinois 
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan 
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan 
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois 
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois 
  • U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals 
  • U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals 
  • U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals 
  • U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals 


  • Harvard Law School, Juris Doctor, cum laude, 1991 
  • University of Michigan, Bachelor of Arts, with highest distinction, 1987 

Honors & Awards:

  • Super Lawyers (Michigan) 
    • Land Use & Zoning, 2011–2012 and 2017-2019 
  • Leading Lawyers SM   
    • Commercial Litigation (Grand Rapids) 
  • AV Preeminent Lawyer (Martindale-Hubbell) 
    • Peer Rated for Highest Level of Professional Excellence 


Professional Associations and Memberships:

  • State Bar of Michigan 
    • Business Law, Litigation, and Real Property Law Sections 
  • Grand Rapids Bar Association 
  • American Bar Association


  • “Adverse Possession, Trespass and Nuisance Litigation,” (chapter) LexisNexis Practice Guide: Michigan Real Estate Litigation 
  • Designing a Successful Surplus Property Disposition Program,” Michigan Lawyers Weekly, June 8, 2009