Ian Williamson joined the firm in 2004. As a key member of the firm’s business litigation department, Ian has developed expertise in corporate fiduciary relationships which he uses to resolve disputes among owners and management in closely held business entities, and became a partner in 2009. He routinely represents and advises clients regarding all forms of business disputes, and he also represents clients in certain health care and land use matters.
Ian mixes creative thinking and innovative strategy with the skillful use of negotiation to effectively represent his clients’ interests. His diplomatic abilities and professionalism, combined with tenacity and a highly effective courtroom demeanor, have resulted in considerable successes for his clients. Some of Ian’s recent representative engagements include the following:
- Securing full ownership of property valued at $97 million for a client in a highly combative shareholder dispute after nearly a year of intensive dual-track litigation and negotiation, culminating in a marathon 36-hour mediation;
- Complete trial victory resulting in an order securing a $30 million redemption at fair value for non-controlling shareholders of a manufacturing enterprise after a trial on value co-chaired with Gerard Mantese;
- Securing a settlement worth $11.1 million in cash and real property for a minority shareholder who had been frozen out of a company and denied any meaningful economic benefit from a significant ownership stake, and which involved extensive pre-settlement litigation and post-settlement arbitration proceedings;
- Negotiation of a settlement worth approximately $8 million for clients with a claim to ownership rights in a global manufacturing concern;
- Structuring and negotiating a complex unwinding of entangled ownership interests in multiple legacy family-owned business entities, resulting in the transfer to the client group of $3.2 million in real property and cash payments after mediation and arbitration proceedings; and
- Through aggressive and creative litigation, securing a settlement for a 50% shareholder in a multi-million dollar business enterprise that required the other non-productive 50% shareholder to exit the corporation and surrender his shares at a significantly discounted price.
Ian has garnered high praise and respect from his fellow attorneys, who know that he ethically advocates for his clients with skill, passion, preparation, and a detailed understanding of applicable law. In fact, Ian routinely receives referrals from (and is hired by) clients and attorneys who have opposed him litigation. He maintains a pragmatic approach to client engagements that is based on routine and frank communication and a clear understanding of client goals, and he strives in all matters to maximize each client’s outcome while minimizing costs.
Ian currently supports the State Bar of Michigan and the legal community through his activities as a member of the Business Law Section’s governing council. A longtime Ferndale resident, Ian maintains close ties to his home city, where he serves as the Chair of the Board of Zoning Appeals and spent five years acting as the BZA Liaison on the Planning Commission. Ian is active in his local school community as a Cub Scout Den Leader and parent volunteer, and he is also a regular attender and supporter of Detroit Friends Meeting, a Quaker meeting headquartered in Detroit’s Core City neighborhood.
Publications and Presentations
- J.D. (cum laude), Wayne State University Law School, 2004
- Moot Court – first place in 2004 Law Day Competition
- Journal of Law in Society – Senior Note Editor
- Ira J. Spoon Writing Award
- B.A., University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, 1999
- State Bar of Michigan
- United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
- United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
Awards and Recognitions
- “Leading Lawyer,” 2018-2020
- “Super Lawyer,” Michigan Super Lawyers, 2015 – present
- “Rising Star,” Michigan Super Lawyers, 2010-2014