Jeff Ammon has practiced law with Miller Johnson since 1978.

His expertise is reflected by clients who were quoted in Chambers to say:

“Tremendously savvy and experienced transactions lawyer” (2009)

“A lawyer’s lawyer who will always do what’s right for a deal” (2008)

“Leader in business law in West Michigan” (2011)

What Mr. Ammon Has In Common With Other Business Lawyers

Mr. Ammon shares these traditional areas of expertise with business and real estate lawyers practicing in comparable firms:

  • Closely-held entity transactions (admitting new owners, redeeming exiting owners, parent and subsidiary reorganizations and recapitalizations, etc.)
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Real estate
  • General counsel advice to closely-held companies
  • Outside counsel advice to in-house counsel

What Mr. Ammon Does That Most Business Lawyers Don’t Do

His experience and approach in the following areas differentiate him from most business lawyers:

  • Drafting agreements in clear English: Mr. Ammon is one of the few lawyers who have drafted client agreements from scratch using plain English. And he has written and taught on the subject as well. See, for example:
    • Ambiguous Drafting and the 12-Pound Cat, Michigan Bar Journal, July 2011
    • Advancing Business: The Lawyer’s Role, M.P. Miller, J.D. Robb and J.D. Crane editors, Lawyers as Economic Drivers: The Business Case for Legal Services, Vandeplas Publishing 2012
    • Construction Contracts 101 (4-hour course taught at Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA) annual conference since 2010
    • Indemnification: Banish the Word! And Rebuild Your Indemnity Clause from Scratch, Michigan Bar Journal, September 2013
  • Legislative solutions: Mr. Ammon has drafted several amendments to Michigan statutes to solve client problems.
  • Construction industry: Mr. Ammon represents many contractors, subcontractors and owners on construction contract subjects. He has personally constructed sheds, a tree-house, and a 240-foot zip line, all without injuries, litigation, or construction liens.
  • Cottage and vacation home planning: see, for example, “Cottage LLCs: The Five Traps”, Miller Johnson newsletter May 29, 2013.
  • Public transportation authorities: Mr. Ammon has developed a particular expertise in advising Michigan public transportation authorities, most notably those formed under Michigan’s Act 196 and Act 55.
  • Economic development incentives: besides advising large and small clients on property tax abatements and similar incentives, Mr. Ammon has presented many programs on these topics to trade associations such as the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants (MACPA).

Representative Projects

You might find these samples of client engagements interesting:

  • He represented a manufacturer by simultaneously negotiating a multi-million dollar construction contract for tenant improvements and a long-term lease with unique buyouts and rent protections.
  • He represented a manufacturer relocating and purchasing a new plant in what the Michigan Attorney General’s office described as the first transaction in the state that combined tax-exempt financing with a 1031 like-kind exchange.
  • He represented a manufacturer to obtain a combination of city and state incentives that included tax abatements, tax increment financing and land grants for a $65 million expansion.
  • He rewrote a state statute to give limited liability protection to the trustees of a special-purpose educational entity.

Articles and Presentations

Mr. Ammon knows what most business lawyers know: business law skills are best sharpened by learning from more experienced lawyers. He annually presents a case law update for business lawyers at Michigan’s Institute of Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) annual Business Law Institute, most recently in June 2014. He also has presented the “Choice of Entity” segment as part of ICLE’s Business Boot Camp, most recently in 2013.

Here’s what a client’s in-house general counsel said recently after learning that opposing counsel had attended one of Mr. Ammon’s programs: “When I’m on a call with two lawyers, I like to hear that the one on the other side has attended seminars taught by the one on my side.”

Other examples of recent articles and presentations:

  • “Advising Closely-Held Businesses in Michigan”, editor and co-author, ICLE publication last updated 2014
  • “Michigan Property Taxes and Property Tax Incentives”, one-day seminars, sponsored by Michigan Chamber of Commerce, February 5 and 6, 2013
  • “Cottage Succession Planning”, presented at the annual Grand Rapids Cottage and Lakefront Living Show in March of 2013 and 2014
  • Taught Business Planning as adjunct professor at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, winter term 2013

Professional Affiliations, Activities and Honors

  • Construction: Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) – Western Michigan Chapter; American Subcontractors Association – Michigan Chapter (ASAM); Construction and Financial Management Association (CFMA) – West Michigan Chapter
  • Economic Club of Grand Rapids (legal counsel and secretary)
  • Michigan Chamber of Commerce board of directors (Chair in 2011, former service on its Executive Committee and as Chair of its Tax Policy Committee)
  • State Bar of Michigan.  Mr. Ammon has also served as Council Chair and Nominating Director for the bar’s Business Law Section.
  • Grand Rapids Bar Association
  • American Bar Association (member, Forum on the Construction Industry)
  • 2012 recipient of the State Bar of Michigan Business Law Section’s Stephen H. Schulman Outstanding Business Lawyer Award
  • Listed in “The Best Lawyers in America®” for Banking Law, Corporate Law, Closely Held Company and Family Business Law, Construction Law, Land Use and Zoning Law, Mergers and Acquisitions Law, and Real Estate Law
  • Michigan “Super Lawyer” for Business/Corporate and was on the Top 100 list for Michigan “Super Lawyers” from 2006 through 2010
  • Recognized in Chambers USA for corporate/M&A
  • Named as Best Lawyers 2019 Grand Rapids Lawyer of the Year for Construction Law
  • Named as Best Lawyers 2018 Grand Rapids Lawyer of the Year for Banking and Finance Law
  • Named as Best Lawyers 2017 Grand Rapids Lawyer of the Year for Closely-Held Companies and Family Businesses
  • Named as Best Lawyers 2016 Grand Rapids Lawyer of the Year for Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Named in Best Lawyers 2015 Grand Rapids Lawyer of the Year for Closely-Held Companies and Family Businesses

Education
The University of Michigan gave Mr. Ammon his law degree, magna cum laude, in 1978 and his undergraduate degree in 1975. He is licensed in Michigan.