John S. Brennan

Member | 517.381.0100
Practice Areas: Water Resources, Municipal, Litigation, Public Utility

Overview & Experience

John delivers expert representation in the litigation of commercial disputes, business torts including product liability defense, construction disputes, insurance coverage questions, personal injury.

A practicing attorney since 1984, John takes his role as an advocate to heart, committed to reaching positive resolutions for wrongful suits or breaches of contracts against his clients. His work is thorough, he’s methodical, and he takes pride in his ability to analyze a case and present it clearly and persuasively before tribunals or public hearings.

His past experience includes serving as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Chicago, representing the interests of the United States in civil matters including bankruptcy, forfeiture, employment disputes, injunction actions, civil enforcement actions, and matters involving fraud, as well as prosecuting criminal cases.

John also taught Property Law, Civil Procedure, Torts, Professional Responsibility, Equity & Remedies, Secured Transactions as a professor at Western Michigan Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

John joined FSBR in 2015 and has been a partner since 2018.

When he’s not working, John enjoys bicycling — including tackling the DALMAC, Michigan’s best summer biking tour — and spending time with his family. He and his wife particularly enjoy exploring Ireland, where they have a shared heritage.



  • Tried construction litigation dispute (sanitary sewer project) to jury and appeal on behalf of a township.
  • Represented township in utility rate dispute with city.
  • Mediated construction dispute on behalf of large inter-county drainage district.
  • Represented drainage district in disputed condemnation action resulting in mediated settlement.
  • Negotiated numerous easements and utility crossing agreements.
  • Successfully represented estate beneficiaries in fraud claim against trustee.
  • Experienced litigator in non-compete disputes.

Publications & Presentations

John has presented on topics including Drain Law, Property Law, Governmental Tort Law and Asset Forfeiture Law at seminars and conferences throughout the state, and he has authored articles in various publications on Constitutional Law, Torts and Employment Law. He has directed International Law Study Abroad Programs and Directed National Trial Competition Teams to regional championships and national semi-finals.

Honors & Education


  • Boston College Law School, J.D., 1984, magna cum laude
  • University of Detroit, B.A., Philosophy, 1977, magna cum laude


  • Michigan
  • Previously Illinois, Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court, Northern Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
  • 6th Circuit Court
  • 7th Circuit Court

Professional Activities


  • Volunteer mediator, Dispute Resolution Center of Central Michigan, 2002–2016
  • Treasurer, board member, Dispute Resolution Center of Central Michigan, 2002–2006
  • Present volunteer mediator for divorce and civil litigation), Dispute Resolution Center of Central Michigan, 2002
  • Michigan Department of Education Appointee, Board of Examining Scholars, examining petition of Ave Maria Law School for Board of Education accreditation, 1999
  • Presenter, Michigan Judicial Institute, 1995
  • Pro bono legal representation, Leonard, Street & Deinard Legal Aid Clinic, Phillips Neighborhood Community, Minneapolis, 1991–1994
  • Member, U.S. Attorney’s Drug Task Force Advisory Board, Northern District of Illinois, 1987–1990
  • Faculty member, Attorney General’s Advocacy Institute, Washington, D.C., 1990
  • Speaker, national seminar for U.S. prosecutors, current developments in drug forfeiture litigation, 1990


  • Coach, ATLA (AAJ) National Trial Team (two regional championships, one national quarter finalist), 1998–2009
  • Chair, Lansing Catholic High School Board of Education, Lansing, Michigan, 2006–2014
  • President, Parent Service Organization, St. Martha School, Okemos, Michigan, 2000–2001
  • Member, board of trustees, Immaculate Heart of Mary High School for Girls; Westchester, Illinois, 1986–1991