Norman C. Ankers



Norman Ankers is a trial and appellate lawyer with more than four full decades of experience in high stakes litigation before juries, judges, arbitrators, and federal and state and appellate panels, throughout the United States. He is a partner in the firm’s Business Litigation & Dispute Resolution Practice where he regularly handles complex commercial litigation matters.

Norman has extensive experience in litigation involving business torts, shareholder and partnership disputes, and class action defense. He has secured multiple monumental verdicts and has regularly obtained dismissals of multimillion-dollar claims, protecting those results in the appellate courts.

“Norman Ankers has a tremendous reputation in complex commercial disputes for his good litigation sense and business orientation.”

— Chambers US (of which Norman has received a “Band I” ranking for nearly two decades) (2016)

Representative Experience

  • Conducted longest Zoom bench trial in Michigan state court during pandemic (decision pending).
  • Secured multimillion-dollar arbitration award in favor of automotive supplier following hearing in litigation between the supplier and its terminated chief executive.
  • Secured US$28m judgment pursuant to jury verdict in a case arising out of a competitor's conversion of business assets.
  • Lead counsel for client in securing a pre-answer dismissal of a class action against a global automotive supplier for alleged product defects, successfully arguing the motion to dismiss and conducting oral argument in the federal Sixth Circuit which resulted in affirmance of the dismissal.
  • Lead counsel for client in securing a pre-answer dismissal of a class action and qui tam action filed in state court against pharmacies for alleged violations of a Michigan statute, and lead counsel for client in the Michigan Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court, the latter of which upheld the trial court's dismissal.
  • Secured US$7.5m jury verdict arising out of the termination of an agricultural implement dealership, affirmed in 2012 by the Sixth Circuit.
  • Secured US$6.413m compensatory and punitive damages award in what is believed to be the largest award of compensatory and punitive damages for the filing of a wrongful involuntary bankruptcy petition in the history of United States jurisprudence.
  • Secured US$2.15m federal court jury verdict in favor of Michigan Manufacturers Service, Inc. against Robertshaw Controls arising out of the termination of a distributorship.
  • Arbitral award of US$6.76m arising out of the breach of a federal court settlement agreement, confirmed in the trial court and upheld by the Sixth Circuit.
  • Dismissal of a US$7m shareholder oppression claim.
  • Arbitral award of nearly US$2m in favor of a client arising out of a failure to sell the business by a business broker for the best possible price.
  • Dismissal of a putative class action alleging that an automotive dealership violated federal and state truth-in-lending requirements.
  • Jury verdict of breach of fiduciary duty in favor of a minority shareholder following a two-week jury trial, coupled with a bench ruling providing relief for the shareholder under Michigan's shareholder oppression statute, affirmed by the state appellate court.
  • Injunctive relief following hearing in a trade secret and intellectual property misappropriation case.

Community Engagement

  • Norman is actively involved with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and is co-chair, with his wife Janet, of the Maestro Circle (devoted to providing unique symphony experiences to major DSO donors).


  • Recognized by Chambers USA for litigation (2005-2022) (long time “Band I” designation)
  • The Best Lawyers in America© in the fields of Bet-the-Company Litigation (2007, 2010 - 2024), Commercial Litigation (2006, 2010 - 2024), Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law (2007, 2010 - 2024) and Litigation - Mergers and Acquisitions (2020 - 2024).
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers® as Detroit's "Lawyer of the Year" in the field of Litigation - Mergers and Acquisitions (2021)
  • 2015 Detroit Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law “Lawyer of the Year”
  • Recognized by Lawdragon 500 (2006) and Lawdragon 3000 (2009 - 2011) as one of the top 500 and top 3000 lawyers in the country
  • Selected for inclusion in the Michigan Super Lawyers list since 2007 and was recognized as one of the Top 5 Michigan Business Super Lawyers (2013 - 2014), Top 10 Michigan Super Lawyers (2009 - 2011, 2013 - 2015), Top 50 Michigan Business Super Lawyers (2013 - 2015), and Top 100 Michigan Super Lawyers (2007 - present)
  • Named to DBusiness magazine’s 2010 - 2013 and 2015 - 2016 list of Top Lawyers


  • Harvard Law School (J.D., with honors)
  • University of Michigan (B.A., with honors)

Key Publications

  • Co-author of Michigan Court Rules – Evidence (multivolume West Publishing Company treatise; standard reference guide for Michigan state courts; cited in published court opinions)


  • Norman has been an adjunct professor at the University of Michigan Law School since 2012 and at the University of Detroit Mercy Law School since 2005. His academic concentration is in the areas of conflict of laws, evidentiary privilege, electronic and class action discovery and trial advocacy. He was honored as the “Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Member” for the 2006 fall term at the University of Detroit Mercy Law School.


  • Michigan
  • U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Professional Memberships

  • Member of the Federal Bar Association
  • Member of the State Bar of Michigan
  • AAA arbitrator
  • Court-appointed facilitator, case evaluator, and discovery mediator
  • Member of the Oakland County Bar Association where he is involved in the Circuit Court Committee and was past chairman of the Professionalism Committee