Aaron Burrell is a business lawyer who focuses his practice in the areas of complex commercial litigation, appellate law, labor and employment law, and minority business enterprises.
As a member of the firm’s litigation practice, he has prevailed in numerous complex, commercial-litigation cases in a number of state and federal trial courts and courts of appeals. As a member of the firm’s labor and employment practice, he has successfully defended clients in a wide range of discrimination and unfair-labor-practice claims in state and federal courts and administrative agencies, and he has counseled clients on all aspects of the employment relationship, including hiring; discipline; diversity, equity, and inclusion matters; and the creation and enforcement of employment agreements. Aaron has further advised entertainment and minority business enterprise clients on a wide array of corporate matters.
At Dickinson Wright, Aaron serves as co-chair of the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee and co-chair of Litigation Training. Aaron also serves as a lateral recruiter for the firm.
Aaron has demonstrated leadership in the legal profession throughout his career. He is a Commissioner on the American Bar Association’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession. He has served as a member of the Board of Commissioners of the State Bar of Michigan; chair of the State Bar of Michigan’s Representative Assembly; co-chair of the State Bar of Michigan’s Equal Access Initiative; president of the D. Augustus Straker Bar Association; vice president of the D. Augustus Straker Bar Foundation; and affiliate representative of the National Bar Association. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Western Michigan University Cooley Law School and the Oakland County Bar Association. He is a fellow of the Oakland County Bar Foundation, Michigan State Bar Foundation, and the American Bar Foundation. Aaron is an active member of the Wolverine Bar Association, the Detroit Bar Association, and the American Bar Association.
Aaron has been named an “Up and Coming Lawyer” by Michigan Lawyers Weekly; a “40 Under 40 Honoree” by Crain’s Detroit Business and National Black Lawyers; a “Top Lawyer” in Labor and Employment Law by DBusiness Magazine; a “Black Leader Worth Watching™” by Profiles in Diversity Journal; a “Top 100 Under 50 Emerging and Executive Leader” by Diversity MBA Magazine; a Michigan Top 100 Bet-the Company-Litigator®; and a “Rising Star” by Michigan Super Lawyers. He is the author of the Commercial Torts chapter of Torts: Michigan Law and Practice (ICLE 2017), a co-author of the Business Torts and Related Actions chapter of Michigan Causes of Action Formbook (ICLE 2020), and a contributor to Employment Discrimination Law (BNA, 2017).
Watch Aaron’s Minutes on the Matter segment here.
Northwestern UniversityCertificate, Leading Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Program, 2021
Central Michigan UniversityM.S. Administration, Legal and Political Systems Emphasis, 2017
Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law SchoolJ.D., 2010
- Magna Cum Laude
- Assistant Articles Editor:Thomas M. Cooley Law Review
- Certificates of Merit:
- Scholarly Writing
- Advanced Writing
- Federal Administrative Law
- Moot Court: Top 10 Advocate
- Teaching Assistant: Secured Transactions
The University of MichiganB.A., 2007
- With Distinction
- National Action Network of Michigan
- Freedom Award Recipient, June 2022
- Michigan Chronicle
- "40 Under 40," 2022
- National Bar Association
- "40 Under 40" Honoree, 2021
- DBusiness Magazine
- Top Lawyer, Labor & Employment Law, 2020-2023
- Diversity MBA Magazine
- Top 100 Under 50 Emerging and Executive Leaders, 2020
- Crain's Detroit Business
- 40 Under 40 Honoree, 2019
- Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association
- Barristers President’s Award
- Michigan Lawyers Weekly
- "Up & Coming Lawyer"
- Michigan Super Lawyers®
- Business Litigation, 2022 - 2023
- "Rising Star," Business Litigation, 2015, 2017-2020
- Thomas M. Cooley Leadership Achievement Award Winner, 2009
- Straker Bar Foundation Scholarship Award Winner, 2008
- Microsoft Corporation
- J.P. Morgan Chase
- Bank of America
- Horizon Global
- Oakland County
- Enbridge Energy, Limited Partnership
- Grupo Antolin Primera
- Detroit Thermal Systems, LLC
- Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores
- Served as lead counsel in successful actions before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, the Michigan Supreme Court, and the Michigan Court of Appeals.
- Prevailed in multiple arbitrations as lead counsel for national automotive manufacturer.
- Successfully defended numerous employers against claims of discrimination in state and federal courts and administrative agencies.
- Successfully obtained summary disposition in favor of numerous clients in contract disputes.
- Successfully obtained summary disposition of claims in business tort actions involving fraudulent inducement and fraudulent concealment.
- Advised a variety of clients on Minority Business Enterprise formation, certification, and corporate governance issues.
- Advised clients regarding corporate director disputes and a variety of internal corporate matters.
- SOLACE Board of Commissioners, Member, 2021
- ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession
- Oakland Bar Association Board of Directors
- State Bar of Michigan
- Commissioner, State Bar of Michigan Board of Commissioners
- Officer, State Bar of Michigan Representative Assembly
- Former Co-Chair of the Equal Access Initiative
- Collaborative Bar Leadership Academy, Inaugural Class
- Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, Board Member
- D. Augustus Straker Bar Association
- Past President, Board of Directors
- Vice President, D. Augustus Straker Bar Foundation
- National Bar Association
- Past Affiliate Representative, Board of Governors
- Oakland County Bar Association
- Director, Board of Directors
- Fellow, Oakland County Bar Foundation
- Member of OCBA Diversity Committee
- Associate Member of OCBA Inns of Court
- Detroit Bar Association
- Federal Bar Association, Eastern District of Michigan
- Wolverine Bar Association
- American Bar Association
- Fellow, American Bar Foundation
- David Ellis Academy-West Board of Directors
- Greater Grace Temple
- Associate Deacon, Finance Committee
- Pretty Hearts Foundation, Inc.
- Judicial Staff Attorney, Law Clerk to the Hon. Leo Bowman, Sixth Judicial Circuit Court, Oakland County (2010)
- Summer Associate, Dickinson Wright PLLC (2009)
- Federal Judicial Intern to the Hon. Arthur J. Tarnow, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (2008)
- Intern to Mayor Brenda L. Lawrence, City of Southfield
- Completed SCAO-Approved Mediation Training, Certified Mediator
- Panelist, “How I Got From There to Here,” Youth Law Conference, Oakland County Bar Association, November 2023
- Presenter, "Foundations Week Access to Justice Day", Michigan State University, August 2023
- Presenter, “New Lawyer Boot Camp,” Detroit Bar Association, July 2023
- Speaker, “Motions for Summary Disposition,” Great Lakes Legal Conference, State Bar of Michigan, June 2023
- Speaker, “Toolbox for Running Effective Meetings,” Great Lakes Legal Conference, State Bar of Michigan, June 2023
- Panelist, "Taking DEI in the Legal Profession to New Heights," Michigan Lawyers Weekly Webinar, April 2023
- Speaker, "Employment Law School for Legal Aid Leaders," Committee on Regional Training (CORT) and MIE, Supervising Legal Work Training, November/December 2022
- Author, "Growing Union Interest in the Cannabis Growing Business—What Employers Can Do Under the NLRA." Dickinson Wright All Things HR Blog, September 2022
- Author, "Don’t Delay, Arbitrate Today—Supreme Court Removes Requirement to Demonstrate Prejudice in Asserting Waiver of Right to Arbitration," Dickinson Wright All Things HR Blog, June 2022
- Presenter, "HR's Role in Government Diversity and Inclusion Strategy," Lorman, May 2022
- Keynote Speaker, The Recent, Relevant, and Recurring Reality of Remote Working 7 Key Rules for Implementing Remote-Work Polices, Michigan Self Insurance Association, April 6, 2022
- Panelist, “The 2%: A Panel of Black Partners,” Wayne State University Law School, February 2022
- Co-Author, "U.S. Supreme Court Splits the Baby as It Stays the Private Employer Vaccine or Test Mandate but Keeps the Healthcare Vaccine Mandate in Place," Dickinson Wright Industry Alert, January 2022
- Co-Author, "Private Employer Vaccine Mandate Moves Forward as Sixth Circuit Dissolves Fifth Circuit's OSHA ETS Stay," Dickinson Wright Industry Alert, December 2021
- Co-Presenter, "Handling Business Court Litigation," Institute of Continuing Legal Education, December 2021
- Co-Author, "Allyship and Privilege: How to Become an Agent for Positive Change," Oakland Country Bar Association, LACHES, Number 643, November 2021
- Panelist, "Allyship: A Journey That Starts with Awareness and Ends with Individuals Actively Championing Change," Michigan Lawyers Weekly, Diversity: In the Legal Environment, October 2021
- Co-Author, "The Private Employer COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate is Here: What Employers Need to Know," Dickinson Wright Industry Alert, November 2021
- Presenter, Solace Program and Bar Involvement, Rochester Bar Association, October 2, 2021
- Author, “The Legal Issues Involved in Implementing a Metrics-Driven Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Program,” Dickinson Wright All Things HR Blog, May 2021
- Featured, Diversity and Inclusion, DW’s Minutes on the Matter, April 2021
- Author, “COVID-19 Return-to-Work Checklist from an Employment Law Perspective,” Dickinson Wright Client Alert, April 2020
- Co-Author, Michigan Causes of Action Formbook, Second Edition, Chapter 16: Business Torts and Related Actions (publication of the Institute of Continuing Legal Education) (February 2020)
- Co-author, Chapter 16 of ICLE’s Michigan Causes of Action Formbook, 2020
- Panelist, Special Issues in the Mediation of Employment Law Cases (Teleseminar)(State Bar of Michigan ADR Section) (September 2019)
- Aaron V. Burrell, Employee Termination (On-Demand Seminar) (Institute of Continuing Legal Education) (July 2018)
- Aaron V. Burrell, Michigan Court of Appeals Offers Guidance to Employers in Documenting Reasons for Hiring, Promotions (Industry Alerts) (March 2018)
- Aaron V. Burrell, Supreme Court Takes Up Arbitration Agreements in the Context of Section 7 of NLRA (Industry Alerts) (November 2017)
- Co-Author, Business Law Update 2017 (Institute of Continuing Legal Education) (September 2017)
- Aaron V. Burrell, Torts: Michigan Law and Practice, Chapter 14: Commercial Torts, (publication of the Institute of Continuing Legal Education) (January 2017)
- Author, “Michigan Corporate Case Law Update” & “A Primer on Minority Business Enterprise Joint Ventures”, ICLE’s Business Entity Litigation Update, 2017
- Aaron V. Burrell, How to Maintain a Legal Hiring Process – Find, Hire Keep the Best Employees (Seminar) (October 2016)
- Co-Author, Employment Discrimination Law, Chapter 10, Sex Discrimination (a publication of BNA) (Fall 2016).
- Co-Author, Michigan Class Action Compendium 2014 (publication of the Defense Research Institute) (November 2014).
- Aaron V. Burrell, Diversity Corner, Spotlight on Michelle Crockett, Laches (publication of the Oakland Co. B. Assoc.) (January 2014)
- Aaron V. Burrell, Diversity Corner, Spotlight on Reginald Turner, Laches (publication of the Oakland Co. B. Assoc.) (October 2013)
- Co-Author, NLRB focus on concerted activity increases litigation against non-unionized employers, Michigan Lawyer’s Weekly (March 2013)
- Co-Author, Preparing for and Managing Crises, DRI Commercial Litigation Seminar Paper (February 2013)
- Aaron V. Burrell, An Update On the State Bar’s Pledge to Achieve Diversity with Dean John Nussbaumer, 546 Laches (publication of the Oakland Co. B. Assoc.) 33 (March 2012)
- Co-Author, What Does Diversity Look Like To You?, 539 Laches (publication of the Oakland Co. B. Assoc.) 28 (June 2011).
- Contributed to Michigan Business Torts, Ch. 12, “Claims Concerning Computer Technology and the Internet,” Edward H. Pappas, Thomas G. McNeill, and Daniel D. Quick (ICLE 2009).