Michael H. Dettmer

• Mediation and A.D.R.
• CLE Teaching Programs

• Publications

• Professional Associations

• Directorships

Of Counsel to the firm, Mike has been litigating cases across the State of Michigan for more than 40 years specializing in personal injury, product and professional liability, commercial and environmental litigation.  Additionally; given the breath of his experience, he now has developed and maintains an active mediation and alternative dispute resolution practice.  He has been honored to teach trial advocacy principles through both Michigan's Institute of Continuing Legal Education and the Western District Federal Bar Association's Hillman Advocacy Institute.  He has consistenly been named one of Michigan’s Super Lawyers and has held Martindale-Hubbell’s highest peer rating of AV since 1987.

He has served the 37,000 lawyers of the State Bar of Michigan in many capacities including service as its 59th President. He has also served on its governing Board of Commissioners for 8 years and chaired many of the Bar's policy committees. In conjunction with his service to the Bar, he was one of nine incorporators of a mutual insurance company formed to address the legal malpractice crises of the late 1980's. In that role he served as a Director, chair of its claims committee and then its President and C.E.O. In 1994 Mike was appointed by President William Clinton and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as United States Attorney and chief federal prosecutor for the Western District of Michigan and served in the role with distinction until 2001.

He is a 1971 graduate of Wayne State University's Law School, a member of the State Bar of Michigan and admitted to practice in the federal courts of Michigan and the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. Mike is a co-founder of Olson, Bzdok & Howard, having formed the original partnership with Jim Olson in 1972 under the name of Olson & Dettmer.

E-mail: mike@envlaw.com

Mediation and A.D.R.

Certified since 2003 as a Mediator by the State Court Administrator per MCR 2.411(F).  Since certification, Mike has facilitated, mediated and arbitrated nearly 100 cases both by court appointment or by voluntary mutual selection by parties in dispute.

CLE Teaching Programs

Institute of Continuing Legal Education:

  • Michigan Environmental Law
    (October 1979)
  • Civil Procedure During Trial
    (June 1981)
  • Trying a Personal Injury Case under $50,000
    (September 1984)
  • Uses and Abuses of Interrogatories
    (January 1988)
  • Upper Michigan Legal Institute
    (June 17-18, 1988)
  • Professional Obligations
    (September 14 and 26, 1990)
  • Insurance Law
    (October 19 and 25, 1990)
  • Michigan's Ultimate Trial Notebook
    (November 16, 1990)

Institute of Continuing Legal Education's Advocacy Institute: Faculty

  • Basic Trial Advocacy
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    (May 1984/85/86)
  • Advanced Advocacy
    Traverse City, Michigan
    (October 1985)

Federal Bar Association: Faculty

  • Trial Advocacy Workshop
    Grand Rapids, Michigan
    (1983-91 & 1994, 1996)
  • Trial Advocacy Workshop
    Marquette, Michigan


  • "An Open Letter to the Committee on Standard Jury Instructions"
    Michigan Bar Journal, February 1981
    Co-authored with George R. Thompson

  • "The Plaintiff's Case" a chapter of
    Civil Procedure During Trial, 1981
    Co-authored with Dean A. Robb

  • "Trespassing on the Recreational User Statute"
    Michigan Bar Journal, September 1982
    Co-authored with George R. Thompson

  • "Observations in Professionalism,"
    Michigan Bar Journal
    (September 1989)
  • "Public Service, Crisis and Opportunity,"
    Michigan Bar Journal
    (May 1992)

  • Monthly President's Pages
    State Bar Journal
    1993 - 1994

  • "The Changing Role of the Office of the United States Attorney"
    Capital University Law Review, Volume 28, Number 4 (June, 2000) (co-author)
  • Wayne State University Law School Commencement Speaker - 1996

Professional Activities

Department of Justice Related while serving as Untied States Attorney

  • Chair, DOJ Attorney General's Committee - Office of Justice Programs (O.J.P.)
  • Recipient, Building Safer Communities Award, DOJ, Executive Office of Weed & Seed
  • Recipient, DOJ Assistant Attorney General's Special Achievement Award
  • Recipient, Michigan Attorney General's Distinguished Service Award
  • Recipient, Key to the City, City of Benton Harbor, for crime reduction assistance
  • Commencement Speaker, Wayne State University Law School,

State Bar of Michigan

  • President 1993-1994
  • Elected District A Commissioner, covering Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula, 1986-1994
  • Member, Executive Committee of Board of Commissioners, 1988-1994
  • Chairperson, Committee on Legislation, 1990-1991
  • Chairperson, Task Force on Professionalism, 1988-1990
  • Co-Chairperson, Standing Committee on Professionalism, 1992-1994
  • Chairperson, Upper Michigan Lawyers Committee, 1986-1994
  • Chairperson, Standing Committee on Scope and Correlation, 1992
  • Representative Assembly, 1977-1980; 1988-1994
  • Attorney Discipline Board: Hearing Panelist, 1980-1986

Past Professional Association Memberships - presently inactive

American Board of Trial Advocates
Advocate - elected to membership by peers. Membership consists of plaintiff and defendant trial lawyers who have tried in excess of 50 jury trials.

American Inns of Court

Michigan Trial Lawyers Association
Executive Board Member (1980s)
reappointed 2005

Michigan Prosecuting Attorneys Assoc.
Member, 1994 - 2001

National Board of Trial Advocacy
Certified in Civil Trial Advocacy, 1981

American Bar Association
Member, House of Delegates, 1992 - 1998

American Bar Foundation

Michigan State Bar Foundation
Life Fellow

Martindale Hubbell Peer Highest Rating AV since 1987


  • Incorporator and Member of Board of Directors, Michigan Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company, served a director then as its President and C.E.O.
  • Director & Secretary of National Association of Bar Related Insurance Companies
  • Director, Michigan Political Leadership Program at Michigan State University
    (1993 -1994 )


Kate Redman Discusses Crowd-Funding Rules in TC's Record-Eagle

“Investment crowdfunding has been leading the industry globally, but we should see a really startling growth in the U.S. once these new rules are effective,” said Kate Redman, attorney with Olson, Bzdok & Howard PC in Traverse City. Redman will offer training “labs” starting in May for businesses and nonprofits interested in investment crowdfunding. Contact her at kate@envlaw.com for more information.

Traverse City Record-Eagle (01-24-16) 

The Traverse City law firms, Olson, Bzdok & Howard, P.C. and Sondee, Racine & Doren, PLC, are pleased to announce our formal affiliation as of January 1, 2016. Our firms will be working together closely to represent clients as a team, and provide our clients with a greater variety and depth of legal services.

Each firm will retain its own identity, but Sondee, Racine & Doren will be “of counsel” to Olson Bzdok & Howard. This means that all of our attorneys will have a close, continuous and regular professional relationship and that we all will work together for you.

Each firm will be maintaining its own office and staff, and all attorney contact information will remain the same.


Public Trust Framework Recommended for Great Lakes

The International Joint Commission (IJC) of the United States & Canada has issued a report recommending the application of a bi-national Public Trust framework to help fill regulatory gaps and guide decision-making that will ensure the protection of the long-term ecological integrity, economic stability, and the many public and private uses of the Great Lakes.

Firm founder Jim Olson has advocated for the active implementation of Public Trust principles in Great Lakes decision-making for decades, so this recommendation is both a welcome development, and a tremendous accomplishment. Congratulations Jim!

Full Report (pdf): Protection of the Waters of the Great Lakes 

Kate Redman is one of TC's 40 under 40!

Kate Redman, Community Enterprise Attorney and Partner at Olson, Bzdok & Howard, has been selected as one of Traverse City's Most Influential Professionals under 40 for 2015. This is the second year in a row Kate has been selected by the TC Business News as part of TC's "40 under 40." Congrats Kate!

Sept. 1, 2015 

Partnership Announcement

Olson, Bzdok & Howard is pleased to announce that Ross A. Hammersley and Kate E. Redman became shareholders with the firm. Please take a look at their attorney profiles to learn more about these young legal trailblazers.

March 20, 2015