Top Lawyers 2008

Charles JudsonKeeping Harbor Springs Beautiful

James Ramer: Ramer, Moore, Schmoll & Martin PLLC, Harbor Springs
The Brief: Tulane University School of Law, J.D., 1974; City Attorney, City of Harbor Springs, 1977-present; Cross Village Township, 2004-present; Assistant Prosecutor, Emmet County, Michigan, 1977-1996
Practice Areas: Commercial Litigation, Probate Administration Law, Real Estate Law, Estate Planning Law, Creditors Rights, Civil Litigation, Complex Litigation, Trial Practice.

After you graduated from Tulane, you exchanged your dream of practicing in New Orleans for Harbor Springs.

I found I missed the Midwest. My family had vacationed in Michigan all my life, so it was a natural transition to come to Harbor Springs and open an office.

Good move?

I love Harbor Springs. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

And now you are a partner in the largest law firm in town.

The practice has evolved. When we first started it was a broad general practice. Now it is corporate, estate and commercial—homeowners associations, individuals who own real estate, issues regarding small corporations. And we pride ourselves on being at the top of the game in terms of estate planning.

Besides your private practice you’ve been city attorney for Harbor Springs since 1977—how does the town manage to stay so charming?

Keeping the small town ambiance and preserving the environment is really important to people who live here. We’ve modeled some of our ordinances after Carmel, California, particularly in prohibiting fast food establishments.

Seminal cases in your career?

Most of our cases ultimately settle out of court. That’s what sets our firm apart. We really try to resolve matters rather than going to the death with litigation.