Top Lawyers 2008

Charles JudsonMr. Traverse City

Charles B. Judson: Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge, Traverse City
The Brief: University of Detroit, J.D., 1980
Practice Areas: Alternative Dispute Resolution, Banking and Finance, Bankruptcy, Municipal Law, Real Estate, Tax-exempt Organizations.

A number of your clients are some of Traverse City’s most beloved institutions, including the National Cherry Festival. Tell us about your work during the festival.

Most of the work is contract related, but I try to gear down my practice that week in order to be available if something unplanned comes up. For instance, we’ve had a demonstration or two at the Open Space by different groups, and I’ve had to work out a process with the city so that people can express themselves safely. Every year it’s different.

You view yourself as much as a counselor and mediator as a litigator.

I view most of my practice as solving problems. Probably one-third has developed to be mediation and that has been very satisfying. I enjoy helping two opposing viewpoints negotiate a solution as opposed to exaggerating the dispute through litigation.

You were instrumental in protecting the Grand Traverse Commons in its early years.

I’m not comfortable taking credit for the commons but I was the first attorney the board retained. I persuaded the board to initiate a default provision in order to protect the project from a bankruptcy by the first developer. When the developer filed bankruptcy a year later we forced the developer and its creditor to release the commons so that the community could move forward with the current development.