Biography Photo of Cynthia J Black Svenson

Cynthia J. Black Svenson


Education & Credentials


Smith College

A.B., 1976
  • Medieval European History and English Literature,
  • German and Russian Languages; study tour of Soviet Union

University of Michigan Law School

J.D., 2004
  • magna cum laude
  • Order of the Coif

Bar Admission

  • Michigan


  • Best Lawyers in America®
    • “Ones to Watch”, Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, Tax Law, Trusts and Estates, 2023
  • Michigan Super Lawyers®
    • "Rising Star"

Representative Clients

  • Individuals, couples, and families seeking to optimize their tax and personal planning
  • Businesses seeking assistance with federal tax appeals
  • Businesses seeking assistance with employee benefits
  • Nonprofit Organizations

Prominent Assignments

Trust administration, including coordinating services with insurance providers and financial institutions.

Draft estate planning documents to facilitate inter-generational wealth transfers, including transfers of business interests, securities, real estate and art.

Assist clients to implement tax-savings strategies.

Assist businesses and individuals with tax appeals.

Assist nonprofit clients with tax and regulatory compliance, donor agreements, and other matters.

Assist businesses with employee benefit compliance and issues. 

Involved in initial stage of energy project development, including drafting comments on proposed federal regulations.

Participated in all aspects of environmental litigation regarding historical contamination, including factual and legal research and drafting motions, facilitation summary, and arbitration brief. Assisted at arbitration hearing.

Prepared brief arguing against Michigan jurisdiction and attended evidentiary hearing where court found no jurisdiction and out-of-state defendant was relieved from defending action in Michigan.

Professional Involvement

  • Michigan Bar Association, Probate and Estate Planning Section and Taxation Section
  • Oakland County Bar Association, Probate, Estates and Trusts Committee

Community Involvement

  • Smith College Alumnae Association
  • University of Michigan Alumni Association
  • Detroit Country Day School Parents Association
  • Dartmouth Club of Detroit (Parent Member)


  • University of Michigan Child Advocacy Clinic (2004). Represented children in Genesee County and parents in Washtenaw County.
  • Judicial Internship with Honorable Paul J. Komives, United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan (2002).
  • CBS Theatrical Films Division, Studio City, CA (1982-1986). Manager of Financial Planning. Prepared monthly forecast and annual budget. Performed cost analyses. Analyzed contracts for international distribution of films.
  • CBS Television Network, Hollywood & Studio City, CA (1979-1982). Financial Analyst. Prepared monthly profit and loss forecast. Determined financial feasibility of capital expenditures.
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