Grand Rapids Business CourtOn October 23, 2019, the Michigan Supreme Court announced that the Hon. Terence J. Ackert has been assigned to the Kent County Business Court docket. Judge Ackert will join Judge Christopher Yates who also presides over this docket. Prior to this assignment, Judge Ackert presided over cases in the Family Division of the Circuit Court.

Judge Ackert is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the University of Toledo College of Law. He became a judge on September 1, 2015.  Before taking the bench, he worked in private practice from 1984 through 2015. As a practicing attorney, Judge Ackert mostly serving as business counsel and trial attorney for closely held and family-owned businesses.

The Michigan Business Court Experiment Continues

The Michigan Business Court docket began in October 17, 2012, under Public Act 333. Under this Act, Michigan circuit courts with three or more judges were required to create a “specialized business court docket.”  Any case that meets the definition of a “business” or “commercial” dispute must be placed on the business docket.

The reasoning behind Michigan’s Business Courts is that it provides a case management structure intended to facilitate “more timely, effective, and predictable resolution of complex business cases.”

What does the assignment of a New Business Court Judge Mean?

Here are three points to consider about this business court assignment.

First, Judge Ackert will be in good company with Judge Yates. Our firm routinely represents clients in business disputes throughout Michigan. And with this experience, Judge Yates is at the top of the list when it comes to fair and effective Business Court Judges.

Third, for some time, Judge Yates had been the only business court judge for a busy Grand Rapids docket. Somehow he and his staff did not let this workload adversely affect the progress of cases. But the addition of Judge Ackert is probably very appreciated when it comes to moving cases toward resolution.

Second, Judge Ackert’s professional experience before taking the bench as legal counsel in a range of business matters – both transactional and litigation – is appreciated. Personally, I find judges who have experience in the “trenches” tend to be more effective when it comes to understanding the interplay of litigation and substantive law. Hopefully Judge Ackert will continue to prove this judicial theory to be true.