Areas of Practice

Business and Corporate

Real Estate

Robert L. Nelson


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

For more than 45 years, Robert Nelson has devoted his law practice to commercial and real estate matters, counseling clients in both transactions and disputes. 

Bob represents individuals, partnerships, closely-held companies, and public corporations in business organization, corporate governance, purchases and sales, and acquisition and disposition of assets. He often serves as outside general counsel as well, helping clients manage their day-to-day legal needs.  

A substantial part of Bob’s practice includes the representation of institutional lenders. His work on their behalf includes creating and enforcing liens and security interests as well as drafting and negotiating financing documents, loan participation and syndication agreements, inter-creditor agreements, commercial and standby letters of credit, and other contracts. 

In the real estate arena, Bob advises individual landowners, commercial property owners, and builders. His experience includes acquisition and disposition of interests in timber, minerals, oil and gas, and other natural resources; development of single- and multi-family residential projects; development of commercial, office, and industrial properties; real property transfers; land use and zoning; leasing; and financing. Bob is particularly knowledgeable in issues involving waterfront and riparian rights associated with properties bordering the Great Lakes, inland lakes, and other bodies of water. 

When disagreements turn into disputes, Bob appears in state and federal courts, arbitration, and alternative dispute resolution proceedings to pursue and defend clients’ interests. His vast litigation experience includes breach of contract actions, business torts, shareholder actions, and claims under the Michigan Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act and the Michigan Builders Trust Fund Act. 

In addition to the trust he has earned with his clients, Bob enjoys a stellar reputation in the West Michigan legal community. He has appeared on the list of Best Lawyers in America© each year since it was first published in 1983, and in 2014 Bob was honored as the Best Lawyers “Lawyer of the Year” for Corporate Law in Grand Rapids. He is also a fellow of the prestigious American College of Real Estate Lawyers, to which he was inducted in 1985.

Bar Admission:

  • Michigan 
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan 
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan


  • University of Michigan Law School, Juris Doctor, 1971 
  • Michigan State University, Bachelor of Arts, 1968

Honors & Awards:

  • Best Lawyers© in America  
    • Corporate Law (Grand Rapids) – 2009 to present 
    • Real Estate Law (Grand Rapids) – 1983 to present 
    • 2014 “Lawyer of the Year” for Corporate Law (Grand Rapids) 
  • AV Preeminent Lawyer (Martindale-Hubbell) 
    • Peer Rated for Highest Level of Professional Excellence

Professional Associations and Membership:

  • State Bar of Michigan 
    • Business Law, Master Lawyers, and Real Property Law Sections 
  • Grand Rapids Bar Association