Bruce A. Courtade

Business & Corporate Law
Construction Law
Labor & Employment


Direct: 616.233.5152
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Legal Assistant

Dawn Lieffers


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The 78th President of the State Bar of Michigan, Bruce Courtade is a shareholder with Rhoades McKee.

Whether representing smaller family-owned businesses or multi-million dollar publicly traded corporations, Bruce understands that clients need to know that their attorney will listen to their needs and provide prompt responses to their questions. To assure as little delay in communication as possible, he provides clients with his direct-dial phone number and will respond to voice mail and email messages even when he is not in the office. If he cannot get his clients an answer right away, Bruce will find someone who can.

Bruce's practice emphasizes civil and commercial litigation, construction law, business disputes and general business counseling. He also represents financial institutions in disputes involving consumer and commercial loans. He has served as an arbitrator of construction disputes, and recently completed a 40-hour mediation training class which will allow him to serve as a court-appointed facilitative mediator.

In 2010, he and his Rhoades McKee partner Paul McCarthy co-chaired a four-week jury trial which resulted in a verdict in favor of his clients for roughly $7.9 million, which was the highest reported verdict in the State that year and is believed to be the highest verdict in the history of the Kent County Circuit Court; after the vast majority of the award was upheld on appeal, the case settled for $10 million in 2013. He has been named a Super Lawyer in Commercial Litigation every year since 2006.

Bruce's strengths include the ability to distill complex legal theories and issues into easily understandable concepts. For this reason, he is often sought out as a lecturer for community groups, law schools and trade associations. He has lectured extensively on issues related to construction law and litigation throughout West Michigan, for groups such as the Builders Exchange of West Michigan, the American Institute of Architects, the American Society of Professional Estimators, and the Grand Rapids Bar Association. He has also been a frequent guest lecturer to law school classes on ethics and professionalism, and appeared as a panelist on a presentation televised by CSPAN as part of a symposium on "Ethics in Our World," broadcast from the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.

As evidenced by his service as State Bar President in 2012-2013, Bruce is committed to giving back to the community and profession. He has earned a reputation as a highly ethical and professional attorney, serving as an Attorney Discipline Board panelist (charged with assuring that attorneys conduct themselves consistently with Michigan's Rules of Professional Conduct). He has led a number of civic and professional organizations in addition the State Bar of Michigan, including terms on the Board of Directors of several local and national non-profit groups devoted to assuring equal access to justice and providing assistance to urban core youths. In addition, he is a past recipient of the John W. Cummiskey Award, given to one attorney each year in recognition of outstanding pro bono contributions to the citizens of Michigan.

Bruce received both his bachelor's degree and juris doctor from the University of Michigan. He currently serves on the University's Advisory Board on Intercollegiate Athletics, which oversees operations of the school's Athletic Department, and in 2010 received the Alumni Association's Distinguished Alumni Service Award, the highest honor given by the Association, in recognition of outstanding service to the University and its alumni.


University of Michigan, Juris Doctor, 1988
University of Michigan, Bachelor Degree, 1984

Bar Admission

Michigan State and Federal Courts
Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals

Awards and Recognition

  • Best Lawyers of America®, Construction Law
  • Leading LawyersSM
  • Alumni Association of the University of Michigan Distinguished Alumni Service Award
  • Litigation Counsel of America, Fellow
  • Martindale Hubbell Highest AV® Preeminent Rating
  • Michigan's Law and Politics, Super Lawyer, Consistently ranked since 2006
  • Grand Rapids Business Journal, Top 40 Under 40, 1998 and 2002
  • State Bar of Michigan, John W. Cummiskey Award, 1991
  • Grand Rapids Bar Association's President's Award for outstanding service, 2007



  • Construction Lien Basics: Michigan's Construction Lien Act - Introduction and Overview
  • Construction Surety Bonds: What Are They, How Do You Get Them, And What Do They Mean?  Understanding Your Rights and Duties Under Bid, Payment and Performance Bonds
  • Michigan's Builders Trust Fund Act - Nuts, Bolts and Screw-ups:  How Robbing Peter to Pay Paul Can Be More Costly Than You Might Think
  • Rules of the Trade: Common Contractual Provisions to Recognize, Understand and Use in Your Construction Business
  • Commercial Contracting 101: A Primer For Those Who are New to Commercial Contracting (Or Those Who are Looking to Re-Learn How to Survive in the Changing Economic Landscape)

Professional Activities

  • State Bar of Michigan, Past President
  • State Bar of Michigan, Attorney Discipline Board
  • State Bar of Michigan, Board of Commissioners
  • State Bar of Michigan, Past Chair of Representative Assembly
  • Michigan State Bar Foundation, Fellow
  • State Bar of Michigan, Litigation and Negligence Sections
  • Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society, Board of Directors
  • Federal Bar Association of Western District of Michigan
  • Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, Legislative and Public Policy Committee
  • Grand Rapids Bar Association, Member
  • Defense Research Institute, Member
  • Litigation Counsel of America, Member
  • American Bar Association
    • ABA Day Committee
    • Foundation Fellow
    • Business Law Section
    • Forum Committee on the Construction Industry
      • Insurance, Surety & Liens Division
    • Law Practice Division
    • Litigation Section
    • Tort Trial and Insurance practice Section
      • Business Litigation Committee
      • Employment Law and Litigation Committee
      • Fidelity and Surety Law Committee

Community Activities

  • Justice Foundation of West Michigan
  • University of Michigan Advisory Board on Intercollegiate Athletics
  • University of Michigan Alumni Association, Former Member, Board of Directors
  • The University of Michigan Club of Grand Rapids, Former Member, Board of Directors
  • Builders Exchange of Grand Rapids, Member
  • West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology, Board Member
  • Economic Club of Grand Rapids, Member