Biography Photo of John G Cameron Jr

John G. Cameron, Jr.

John G. Cameron, Jr., practices principally in the areas of real estate, construction, and general business law.  He has written numerous chapters and articles and, in addition to writing the two-volume Michigan Real Property Law: Principles and Commentary (Michigan ICLE 3d ed) (often referred to as the “Bible” of Michigan real property law), is the author of the five-volume treatise Michigan Real Estate Forms & Practice (Aspen Publishers 1998) and A Practitioner’s Guide to Construction Law (ALI-ABA).  Mr. Cameron was named one of 25 Michigan “Leaders in the Law” by Michigan Lawyers Weekly in February 2012.  He was named Grand Rapids Best Lawyers Real Estate Lawyer of the Year in 2009 and Construction Lawyer of the Year in 2012.  He is a real estate law advisor to ALI-CLE, and for six years served on the National Board of Editors of The Practical Real Estate Lawyer.  He is also a member emeritus of the Michigan Land Title Standards Committee.  A former instructor of real estate law at Grand Valley State University’s Seidman School of Business and at Grand Rapids Community College, Mr. Cameron is an adjunct professor at the University of Michigan Law School, where he teaches real estate transactions.  Mr. Cameron lectures frequently on real estate law, construction law, and professional ethics for various organizations, including ALI-ABA and Michigan ICLE.  Mr. Cameron represents a wide range of clients in a variety of matters.

Education & Credentials


United States Naval Academy

Albion College

A.B., 1971

Wayne State University Law School

J.D., 1974
  • cum laude
  • Wayne Law Review, 1972-73

University of Michigan Law School

LL.M., 2016

Bar Admission

  • Michigan
  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • North Carolina


  • The Legal 500 United States
    • Real Estate, 2022-2023
    • Real Estate - Construction, 2023
  • Grand Rapids Magazine
    • "Top Lawyers," Real Estate, Construction Law, 2019-2020
    • "Top Lawyers," Real Estate, 2023
  • Best Lawyers in America®
    • Real Estate Law, 1993-2024
    • "Lawyer of the Year," Real Estate Law, 2009
    • Construction Law, 2003-2024
    • "Lawyer of the Year," Construction Law, 2012
  •  Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business
    • Real Estate
  •  Michigan Super Lawyers®
    • Real Estate Law, 2023
    • "Top 100 Michigan Super Lawyers," 2006-2022
  •  Michigan Lawyers Weekly
    • 25 Michigan "Leaders in the Law," 2012
  • Grand Rapids Best in the West Lawyers in West Michigan, 2010
  • Who's Who in American Law
  • Outstanding Young Men in America, 1981
  • American Jurisprudence Book Award
    • Creditor's Rights
  • Omicron Delta Epsilon National Economics Honorary
    • Member

Representative Clients

  • Grand Hotel Company
  • Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital
  • University of Michigan
  • Harbor Shores Community Redevelopment Inc.
  • Whirlpool Corporation
  • Steelcase Inc.
  • Wolverine Pipe Line Company

Prominent Assignments

Served as Law Clerk to the Honorable William H. Webster, United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Led a team of lawyers, in cooperation with representatives of the United States Department of Justice, that successfully fought, in two federal district courts and the U.S. Court of Appeals, efforts by an environmental group to require the preparation of an environmental impact statement in connection with a major community transformation project.

Successfully represented a mortgage lender in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in connection with a property forfeiture sought by the federal government.

Successfully presented argument in three cases in the Michigan Supreme Court—one dealing with the recording acts; one dealing with the survivorship features of a joint tenancy; and one dealing with the interpretation of restrictive covenants.

Successfully argued a pro bono case in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit involving the doctrine of constructive notice and a bankruptcy trustee’s status as a hypothetical bona fide purchaser.

At the request of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Detroit sitting en banc, appeared as amicus curiae and argued for the proper interpretation of Michigan's recording acts, which argument was adopted by the court in its written opinion.

Serves as general counsel to a major mixed-use, community transforming real estate development, which faces challenges involving all aspects of law.

Negotiated a sophisticated subcontract for the installation of material handling equipment for what was anticipated to be a $500 million nationwide project.

Developed standard construction contracts for a well-known institution of higher learning and a major international corporation.

Secured a significant inverse condemnation award when a city refused a rezoning request.

Negotiated nationwide commercial leases for two major industrial corporations and a major retailer.

Represents architects, contractors, subcontractors, owners, landlords, tenants, developers and lenders in connection with all aspects of the real estate development practice.

Emphasis on construction and real estate law, including land owners and lenders in connection with a variety of financing devices, and miscellaneous zoning, condemnation and other land use matters.

Prepares and edits commercial contracts of all kinds. Experienced in admiralty law and other water-related issues, including the construction, purchase and sale of vessels and collision and allision cases.

Professional Involvement

  • Fellow, Construction Lawyers Society of America 
  • Elected Member, the American Law Institute; Advisor, Restatement of Property; Member of ALI-CLE Program and Marketing Committee; Service to date on the following ALI Members Consultative Groups: Revision of UCC Article 2; Restatement of Agency; Restatement of Restitution; Project on the Law of Nonprofit Organizations; Project on Ethics in Government
  • Elected Member, American College of Real Estate Lawyers; Chair, ACREL Committee on Professional Responsibility, 2016-2018; and Member of ACREL Task Force on Changes in the Practice of Real Estate Law and ILSA Subcommittee
  • Public Director, National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) (2014-2016); Member, NCARB Task Force on Professional Ethics
  • Member, State Bar of Michigan Professional Ethics Committee (2008-2014) and Chair (2012-2014)
  • Member Emeritus, Michigan Land Title Standards Committee 
  • Member, National Board of Editors of The Practical Real Estate Lawyer (1998-2004)
  • Member, National Real Estate Law Advisory Board, ALI-ABA (2007-2012)
  • Member of Commercial and Construction Law Arbitration Panels, American Arbitration Association
  • Fellow, the Michigan Bar Foundation 
  • Life Member, Grand Rapids Bar Foundation
  • Member, Grand Valley State University Legal Studies Board 
  • Special Master, Oakland County Circuit Court – 1993

Community Involvement

  • Trustee, Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital 1997-2007; Board Chair 2005-2007
  • Trustee and Chair, Mary Free Bed Orthotics and Prosthetics Corporation 2008-2019
  • Blue and Gold Information Officer, United States Naval Academy, 1994-2014
  • Moderator, "Ethics In View -Public Education Reform," one-hour television show for WGVU, Grand Rapids PBS affiliate (1993)
  • Moderator, Free Press, Free Speech, "Free Society, How Much Is Too Much?," ninety-minute television show for GRTV, Grand Rapids, Michigan (1994)
  • Co-Chair, David Doyle For State Senate Committee
  • Co-Chair, Logie For Mayor Committee
  • Member, Steering Committee, Marge Byington for Congress
  • Director, Urban Institute for Contemporary Art, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Trustee, East Congregational Church



  • Lecturer at numerous real estate and construction law programs, ABA, ALI-ABA and ALI CLE 
  • Instructor, Michigan Supreme Court Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Program 
  • Adjunct professor of real estate at Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids Community College and the University of Michigan
  • Lecturer, Michigan Institute of Continuing Legal Education other trade and professional groups


  • Michigan Real Property Law: Principles and Commentary (The Institute of Continuing Legal Education),1st Ed. 1984; 2nd Ed. 1993; 3rd Ed. 2005 (supplemented annually); cited as persuasive authority in more than 100 reported decisions in the State and Federal courts
  • A Practitioner’s Guide to Construction Law (ALI-ABA 2000; supplemented in 2004 and 2009) 
  • Michigan Real Estate Forms with Practice Commentary, Volumes 1, 1A, 2, 3 and 4 (LexisNexis, 1988, supplemented periodically)

Book Chapters:

  • “Real Property and Zoning,” The Research Edge (The Institute of Continuing Legal Education 1993) 
  • “Income Taxation of the Condominium Association,” Condominium Law And Practice (Matthew Bender 1993) (rewrite of original chapter by Nina J. Crimm) 
  • “Real Estate Sale Contracts and Land Contracts,” Michigan Law of Damages (The Institute of Continuing Legal Education, 1989)
  • "Condominiums,” Michigan Real Estate Form Book (The Institute of Continuing Legal Education, 1982)


  • Michigan Property Tax Matters, Eastern Mineral Law Foundation, Fall 1990 
  • The Michigan Dormant Minerals Act, Eastern Mineral Law Foundation Special Institute, Fall 1985 
  • Michigan Tax Titles, Eastern Mineral Law Foundation Special Institute, Fall 1985 
  • An Introduction to “Deregulated” Condominium Projects in Michigan
  • The Responsibility of Attorneys and Accountants Under the Federal Securities Acts
  • Class Actions 
  • “Goods” Under Article Two of the Uniform Commercial Code


  • Ethics for Real Estate Lawyers Today, Practical Real Estate Lawyer (with Nancy B. Rapoport) (May 2023)
  • “Federal Government to Create Massive New Database," Dickinson Wright Client Alert, Feb 2023
  • Title Insurance and You—Let the Lawyer Beware, The Practical Real Estate Lawyer, September 2017 (An earlier version of this article appeared in the Spring 2017 ACREL papers)
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished—A Harsh Lesson on Multi-Jurisdictional Practice, American College of Real Estate Lawyers (November 2016)
  • Construction Site Safety: Protecting the Worker/ Protecting the Owner, Journal of the American College of Construction Lawyers, Volume 7, No. 1 (Winter 2013)
  • Construction Warranties: How Long Do They Last?, Journal of the American College of Construction Lawyers, Volume 6, No. 1 (Winter 2012)
  • Real Estate Development in 2012: Tax Credits and Governmental Grants, Practical Real Estate Lawyer (with Christina K. McDonald), Volume 28, No. 2, at page 25 (2012)
  • Restitution- The Art of Recovery, 58 Practical Real Estate Lawyer, No. 2, at page 53 (2012)
  • The Wonderful World of Construction, 26 Practical Real Estate Lawyer, Number 6 at page 7 (2010)
  • A Construction Litigator’s ADR Primer, 21 The Practical Litigator, Number 4 at page 37 (2010)
  • Restrictive Covenants, Reciprocal Negative Easements, and Building and Use Restrictions, 26 Practical Real Estate Lawyer, Number 5 at page 47 (2010)
  • What You Should Know About Easements, 26 Practical Real Estate Lawyer, Number 2 at page 9 (2010)
  • What You Should Know About Conservation Easements (With Form), 26 Practical Real Estate Lawyer, Number 4 at page 9 (2010)
  • Some Questions and Answers About Title Insurance, 13 Practical Real Estate Lawyer, Number 6 at page 23 (1997) 
  • Dealing with Brokers and Managers for the Commercial Lessor (with checklists), 12 Practical Real Estate Lawyer, Number 3 at page 25 (1996) 
  • Buyer-Brokering–More Complicated Than It Sounds (with form), 12 Practical Real Estate Lawyer, Number 6 at page 13 (1996) 
  • 1993 Annual Survey of Real Estate Law, Wayne Law Review (with James J. Rabaut)
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