James R. Peterson is a Member of the firm and has been practicing law at Miller Johnson since 1989. His practice areas include constitutional law, commercial litigation, trade secret litigation, professional liability, real estate disputes, and unfair competition.

Commercial Litigation 

Mr. Peterson works primarily with companies, and has handled their cases at the trial and appellate levels in the federal and state courts throughout Michigan.

He counsels and represents companies regarding all issues involving business disputes, including claims for breach of contract, non-competition agreements and trade secrets. When non-compete agreements are violated and trade secrets are threatened, his considerable litigation experience comes to the forefront. He has extensive experience with injunction hearings and has protected clients with restraining orders and injunctions when an employee resigns hoping to join a competitor.

Mr. Peterson has won many cases involving employment and business disputes.  He has successfully litigated several multi-million dollar cases. These results are due to his knowledge of the clients’ industry coupled with his litigation experience. He is known for an ability to think creatively and quickly.

Professional Liability

Mr. Peterson represents attorneys and law firms that have been sued by former clients and others.  He has also counseled attorneys regarding issues involving conflicts of interest and the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Professional Affiliations, Activities and Honors

Mr. Peterson belongs to the State Bar of Michigan and Grand Rapids Bar Association. He is a mediator with the Kent County Circuit Court and serves as counsel to the Better Business Bureau of West Michigan. He formerly served on the Civil Procedure Committee of the State Bar of Michigan. He served on Miller Johnson’s Management Committee and was chair of Miller Johnson’s litigation section. He currently serves as general counsel to the firm and is Chair of Professional Development.

Mr. Peterson is a Michigan State Bar Foundation Fellow. He is also recognized as a Michigan “Super Lawyer” in Business Litigation, an America’s Top 100 Bet-The-Company Litigator, is listed in The Best Lawyers in America®” for Legal Malpractice Law – Defendants, Litigation – Environmental, Litigation – Real Estate, and Trade Secrets Law and is recognized as on of the Top Attorneys in Michigan by Crain’s Detroit Business.

Articles and Presentations

Mr. Peterson is a frequent speaker on topics including non-compete and confidentiality agreements, advocacy and cross-examination. He is the co-author of “Defending Employment Litigation in Michigan,” published by the Institute of Continuing Legal Education (ICLE).

Community Activities

Mr. Peterson is a Board Member for Baxter Community Center and is a Past President of the Pine Rest Foundation Board of Governors.


Mr. Peterson received his law degree, cum laude, in 1989 from Wayne State University Law School and his undergraduate degree in 1986 from Calvin College.  He is admitted to practice in Michigan.