Joseph Doerr

Top rated Business Litigation attorney in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

Doerr MacWilliams Howard
Joseph Doerr
Doerr MacWilliams Howard

Practice Areas: Business Litigation, Real Estate

Licensed in Michigan since: 2003

Education: Wayne State University Law School

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2013 - 2023 Selected to Rising Stars: 2012

Doerr MacWilliams Howard

838 W. Long Lake Road
Suite 211
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302 Phone: 248-212-0167 Email: Joseph Doerr Visit website


In 2016, Mr. Doerr founded Doerr Law Firm after spending the first 12 years of his career at a national law firm, where Mr. Doerr advanced to member/partner after just 7 years. At the firm, Mr. Doerr learned how to handle every aspect of the case, from legal research and writing to trials. Mr. Doerr has had success in a variety of trial and appellate courts, both state and federal. In addition, Mr. Doerr has successfully resolved matters through various forms of alternative dispute resolution. Mr. Doerr represents individuals and businesses of various sizes, from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies.  He is also a trained mediator.

In 2023, Joe Doerr, along with Sara MacWilliams and Derek Howard, launched Doerr MacWilliams Howard PLLC (d/b/a DMH Law), a business law firm built on professionalism, efficiency, and tenacity.

Mr. Doerr represents businesses and individuals, as plaintiffs and defendants, in matters involving:
- Business disputes,
- Real estate,
- Complex commercial transactions and contracts,
- Leases and landlord-tenant disputes (commercial/business matters),
- Fraud, trade secret disputes, tortious interference,
- Real estate, and
- Litigation involving Seller Disclosure Statements.

First Admitted: 2003, Michigan

Professional Webpage:

Special Licenses/Certifications:
  • Certified Mediator (Institute of Continuing Legal Education).  , 2017
  • Real Estate Broker License (Michigan), 2017
  • Served as an attorney for client purchasing investment properties in Detroit.  I drafted the purchase agreement, handled dealing with the title company, and other related tasks., 2020
Pro bono/Community Service:
  • Volunteer at Oakland Mediation Center., 2020
  • Legal Aid and Defender Association's Pro Bono Spirit Award, 2015
Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  • This article provides tips for lawyers in drafting engagement agreements., Author, Best practices for drafting engagement agreements, Michigan State Bar, Lawyers, 2022
  • I led roundtables at the Real Property Law Section's summer and winter conferences., Discussion Leader, Commercial Leases -- Roundtable, Real Property Law Section, 2022
  • Derek Howard and I wrote an article in the Oakland County Bar Association's LACHES about choosing the right mediator for your business dispute. Too often, attorneys don't do their homework when selecting a mediator. But if they take the time to find the right mediator, it can increase the likelihood of an early resolution., Co-Author, Choosing the Right Mediator for Your Business Dispute, LACHES, Mediation, 2022
  • A discussion of best practices for court hearings via zoom., Author, Participating in Court Hearings via Zoom (ICLE Top Tips in Ten Minutes), May 2020, Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Legal, 2020
  • This article described how to research and select the right mediator for business disputes.  Published in March 2021 issues of the Oakland County Bar Association's LACHES.., Co-Author, Choosing the Right Mediator for Your Business Dispute, LACHES, 2021
  • Does it still make sense to prohibit district courts from awarding damages exceeding $25,000 in landlord-tenant disputes?  I addressed this question in the June/July 2016 Real Estate Law Issue of LACHES, a publication of the Oakland County Bar Association.  , Author, Two Lawsuits Are Not Better Than One: Giving District Courts the Power to Award Money Damages Exceeding $25,000 in Summary Proceedings, Laches, Legal, 2016
  • With the rise of websites such as Airbnb and VRBO, the visibility and popularity of short-term rentals are surging.  Should Michigan pass a law that would require municipalities to treat short-term rentals as residential and not commercial use?  I addressed this question in the Spring & Summer (2018) edition of the Michigan Real Property Review., Author, Regulating Short-Term Vacation Rental in Michigan Using Existing Remedies and New Legislation, Real Property Review, Legal, 2018
  • Top Lawyer, Dbusiness Top Lawyer, Dbusiness, 2022
  • I co-chaired the Business Court Committee, winning committee of the year., Co-Chair of Oakland County Bar Association's committee of the year , Oakland County Bar Association, 2021
  • Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s program honors leading lawyers in a particular field of law as nominated by their peers. Michigan’s Go To Lawyers identifies and recognizes the top lawyers across the state in a given practice area. Below are the names of 20 outstanding real estate and condominium lawyers.  , "Go To" Lawyer, Michigan Lawyers Weekly, 2021
  • Volunteer of the week at Oakland Mediation Center., Volunteer of the week, 2020
  • Recognized by Elite Lawyer for Business & Commercial Law., Elite Lawyer, Elite Lawyer, 2018
  • Recognized by Elite Lawyer for Business & Commercial Law., Elite Lawyer, Elite Lawyer, 2020
  • Recognized by Elite Lawyer for Business & Commercial Law., Elite Lawyer, Elite Lawyer, 2019
  • Received AVVO's Clients' Choice Award., Clients' Choice Award, AVVO, 2018
  • Successfully defended a shareholder-oppression claim, obtaining summary disposition / dismissal (thus avoiding trial) on behalf of non-director shareholders., 2022
  • Obtained $240,000 judgment in breach of commercial contract case., 2022
  • I successfully represented a client in a "business divorce" lawsuit where my client was being asked to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars before he could leave the company.  After months of litigation, plaintiffs ultimately agreed to release my client for a nuisance value settlement., 2021
  • I successfully defended a lawsuit where the plaintiffs asked the court to shut down a Michigan company's operations and award them over $2 million.  Ultimately, the court dismissed the case, my clients retained 100% ownership and control of the company, and it paid the plaintiffs $0.  It was the absolute best result in a "bet the company" lawsuit., 2021
  • I obtained a significant victory in the Michigan Court of Appeals, Hamood v. ZenMuse, LLC, 2020 WL 5739690 (Mich. App. 2020).  The Michigan Court of Appeals described this case as "the product of a contentious dispute between Nathan Alexander Hamood, Jamal John Hamood, Anita Baker, and ZenMuse LLC (ZenMuse), a limited liability company that was created by Baker, who is its president and sole shareholder."  In the trial court, plaintiff obtained a $165,014 default judgment against ZenMuse.  Almost a year later, ZenMuse filed a motion to set aside the default judgment pursuant to MCR 2.612(B), "Defendant Not Personally Notified."  The trial court denied the motion, finding that ZenMuse was properly served.  The Michigan Court of Appeals reversed, holding "because personal jurisdiction over ZenMuse was necessary and acquired, because ZenMuse (via Baker) has asserted without contradiction that it had no knowledge of this lawsuit, because ZenMuse entered an appearance within one year of the final judgment, because ZenMuse has demonstrated meritorious defenses to both of Nathan's claims as currently pleaded, and because there has been no showing that setting aside the default judgment will prejudice any innocent third parties, ZenMuse satisfied all five elements to be entitled to relief from judgment pursuant to MCR 2.612(B)." , 2020
  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of individual being sued in federal court., 2018
  • Successfully defeated a motion seeking a multi-million dollar judgment, ending the proceedings., 2019
  • Successfully defended a lawsuit filed by parties claiming a Michigan towing company wrongfully converted and acquired title to a motorhome allegedly valued at $350,000.  The plaintiffs asserted claims of conversion, replevin, fraud, and abuse of process, seeking treble damages exceeding $1 million.  In lieu of answering the complaint, Doerr Law Firm, on behalf of the company, filed a motion to dismiss.  In the motion, the company argued that plaintiffs' exclusive remedy was governed by Michigan’s abandonment statute, MCL § 257.252a, et al, which the plaintiffs failed to honor.  The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan agreed, finding that parties could not circumvent Michigan’s statutory scheme by putting different labels on their claims.  The court granted the motion and dismissed the case with prejudice., 2017
  • Obtained summary disposition in favor of client while dismissing counterclaims in a case where the amount in controversy exceeding $700,000., 2019
  • Obtained a judgment exceeding $200,000 on counterclaim while obtaining a dismissal of the underlying claims., 2020
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • Vice Chair of Michigan State Bar's Solo & Small Firm Section, 2022
  • Speaker at Michigan State Bar's Real Property Law Section's summer conference and winter meeting., 2022
  • Co-Chair of Oakland County Bar Association's prestigious Business Court and Counsel Committee.  As a chair, I am responsible for planning meetings, which typically involve a Michigan Business Court judge (appointed by the Michigan Supreme Court).  The Committee currently has 200 members and it is still growing., 2020
  • Presented at the Oakland County Bar Association's (ADR Committee) regarding my involvement in federal lawsuit regarding Flint water., 2018
  • Presented at the Oakland County Bar Association's (Real Estate Committee) Meeting regarding Seller Disclosure Litigation., 2018
  • Presented at the Michigan State Bar's (Real Property Law Section) Summer Conference regarding Short Term Rentals (e.g., AirBnb): History, Recent Case Law, and Creative Arguments., 2019
  • Mr. Doerr was a presenter at the Oakland County Bar Association's "Common Commercial Real Estate Issues in a Covid-19 World," discussing commercial landlord-tenant disputes., 2020
Educational Background:
  • Completed International Council of Shopping Centers continuing education.  This is a real estate education course designed for real estate brokers (but I use it to help for my real estate practice)., 2022
  • Completed the Institute of Continuing Legal Education's 40 Hour General Civil Mediator Training., 2017
  • Completed the Michigan Institute of Real Estate 6-hour continuing education class., 2020
  • Completed Practical Experience Program at Oakland Mediation Center., 2018
Representative Clients:
  • I represented two new clients, both national retailers, in landlord-tenant disputes., 2021
  • Represented a company owned by world-renowned recording artist in litigation pending in Wayne County Circuit Court and Michigan Court of Appeals., 2020
  • Represented numerous national companies in lawsuits concerning lease disputes caused by COVID-19., 2020

Office location for Joseph Doerr

838 W. Long Lake Road
Suite 211
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302


11 Years Super Lawyers
1 Year Rising Stars
  • Super Lawyers: 2013 - 2023
  • Rising Stars: 2012

Top Lists

Top 100: Michigan Super Lawyers: 2020 - 2023

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