WHEN IN NEED,

CALL ATTORNEY REED!

About Arnold

Legal Biography

Graduated: University of Iowa College of Law,

1990; Indiana University-Bloomington, 1987

Position: Trial Lawyer, Detroit

Most valuable lesson from law school: Learning

endurance to get through law school and not being poisoned by somebody else’s view.

On the younger generation of attorneys:

They need to be strong and not let anyone deter them from becoming the kind of lawyer they want to be.

Goal upon graduating law school: Help as many people as I can through the legal system

On pain-in-the-neck lawyers: Beat them down in court.

What he’d be doing if he weren’t practicing law: I’d be a barber.  I cut hair very well. That’s how I got through law school, cutting people’s hair.

What was your career-defining event? Witnessing a murder at the ripe old age of nine years old. It changed the course and direction my life and my career choice.

On what kind of reputation he’d like to have in the legal community: I am a lawyer on the side of the People.

On how co-workers might describe you: Young, fearless and ready to kick somebody’s butt.

Role models: My father.

On the practice of law: The practice of Law to me means being able to help people who have problems being someone who can intervene, being a mediator, and being there to make sure that people who are poor, or downtrodden have an advocate.

On where he’ll be in 10 years: I did say I was going to retire from practice when I was 35, but I’m a few years beyond that now, so if people are still knocking on my door and asking for help, I can’t see myself turning away from that.

Advice for young lawyer wannabees: Don’t worry about grades, don’t worry about passing the bar.  Worry about being a people person. Be a lawyer on the side of the people.

Although Arnold E. Reed has tried tried over 200 cases. with tenacity and daring. But what drives him? According to Reed, it is the clients that seek his services. How is he tenacious? Reed pictures a goal and doesn’t stop until he has achieved it.

And how is he daring? Reed doesn’t wade into a situation, he jumps.

Man Of The People

Reed primarily handles plaintiffs’ work, but has taken the occasional defense case. “I represented Denny’s Restaurant once. I get a lot of offers to do defense work, but I primarily do plaintiff’s work.” For fun, Reed seeks out entertainment cases.

Being Bold

Or rather, entertainment clients seek out Reed. Sample clients include Congressman John Conyers, Jr., R Kelly, and Aretha Franklin. Reed got his start clerking for a large law firm. However, he soon realized that it would be a long time before he would be able to do courtroom work, so he went to the public defender’s office.

“In large law firms, you don’t get a chance to go into a courtroom unless you’re holding a partner’s bag,” he explained. “I didn’t want to spend 10 years of my career blowing dust off books in a library just researching and writing. That’s just the nature of the beast when you’re in law firms.” Reed said that while he was able to go to court a few times to watch other lawyers, he said to himself, “I’m better than they are, and I can do this.” So he went to the defender’s office for six months. However, at the District Attorney’s Office, Reed was not happy trying “nickel and dime” cases. He wanted to get serious. “I kept asking my boss to give me a capital case,” he said.  “He kept telling me I hadn’t been there long enough. I told him, ‘If you don’t give me a murder case, I’m quitting Monday morning: So Monday morning came, I asked if he was giving me a murder case and, when he said no, I gave him my resignation letter.”

Not Your Baby

Reed went solo in 1993, and right away he got his first murder case. “Judge Dalton Roberson in the Recorder’s Court gave me my first murder case,” he said. However, when the case came up for trial, the trial judge looked at his P-number and in open court told Reed he had to have co-counsel because he couldn’t know what he was doing.  According to Reed, the judge even called Judge Roberson and complained that he had “given this murder case to a baby!” Judge Roberson assured her that Reed was capable. “The long and short of it is I won the case,” he said. “She didn’t say anything about it, but the greatest compliment she could give me was a month later she assigned me a murder case. She didn’t call me up and apologize for doubting me, she sent me a murder case.”

Flying Solo

Shortly after Reed went solo he also got his first high-profile civil action. Right about that time, Fairlane Mall’s racial profiling practices were about to blow up in its corporate face. A young lady, an all-A student, who had been beaten by Fairlane Mall security, retained Reed to sue the mall. Reed and the young lady appeared on television and Reed’s phone started ringing non-stop. “I must have received 60 calls after that television appearance,” he recalled. “I sifted through the phone messages and determined that 11 of them were pretty decent.” Although Reed’s fledgling practice now had 12 civil rights cases, he had no money with which to file them. Then fortune smiled on the new solo practitioner. “It can take $60,000 to $100,000 to set up your own practice,” he explained. ”When I left the defender’s office I didn’t have any money, I didn’t have a mentor or somebody to take me under their wing, so I bought the books and I learned on my own. I’m from humble beginnings, my dad was a barber. Where was I going to get $60,OOO?” But Reed got lucky. “A lawyer from Chicago called me one day and asked me if I’d help out another lawyer who has a client who’s a musician that has a matter in Michigan,” he explained. “So I’m sitting by the phone, and I need some money to kick these Fairlane Mall cases off. I have all these plaintiffs, but no money. So I’m sitting in my chair and I get this call from Darrold McDavid. He tells me about this guy who needs some legal representation and he tells me the guy is R. Kelly, and when he tells me the guy is R. Kelly, I had to put him on hold because I nearly fell out of my seat.” Reed explained that “R. Kelly has written ‘I Believe I Can Fly,’ ‘Space Jam,’ and so forth. He did stuff with Celine Dion. He’s a six-time Grammy winner.” Reed said he got his “composure back and picked up the phone and said, ‘Of course I’ll represent him.” So he got the money to fund the Fairlane Mall cases and “the rest is history,” he declared. Reed now shares his secret to starting a law practice with little or no money at seminars on a state-wide and national basis.

First Big One

At the ripe old age of 30, Reed obtained his first multi-million dollar verdict in the case of Joseph and Bessie Smith v. City of Detroit. In the Smith case, the plaintiffs sued when, after calling 911 to report a robbery, the police took the suspects to the Smiths’ home for identification.  This case is an example of Reed’s tenacity and daring. Reed took the case after numerous lawyers had turned them away. “I get cases that other lawyers decline because they sense that there’s a lot work involved,” he said. “I don’t shy away from cases. I know I have to roll my sleeves up and get down and dirty.” Although Reed could be proud of all his cases, the case he’s the most proud of is one that involves a Fortune 500 company — Eddy Leonard, et al v. Valassis Communications in Livonia. Reed sued Valassis Communications for failure to promote minorities. The case involved nine or 10 plaintiffs, all blacks and one white female. The lawsuit settled, but by the end of the litigation, Valassis had increased its minority work force six percent. “Now they have workshops and seminars out there,” he stated. “They recently hired their first black general counsel and they have a black on their board of directors. These are some serious changes. The company invited me to come out this summer and see what I had started. When I went out they walked me around the company, and I saw for myself that there were white people, black people, Asians, all types of people out there. I almost cried. They told me they just wanted to thank me and to let me know that they responded to what I had started.” Reed said he has now sued a lot of Fortune 500 companies, but noted that Valassis “went above and beyond” the call of duty. “I’ve got to take my hat off to them,” he said. “Before the lawsuit they had been voted one of the best 100 companies to work for in the world, but now since the lawsuit, I think they really are.”

Can We Talk?

Reed doesn’t just file lawsuits. He also helps folks solve their differences through plain old conversation. For instance, a couple years ago a fight broke out between some black and white students at Walled Lake Western High School. All the students were suspended and one of the parents contacted Reed.

Instead of suing, Reed got all the parents together at a Big Boy Restaurant and had a pow wow. Reed talked with the parents and the students and worked everything out. “I told them if you’re a white kid, you have to know not to use the ‘N’ word, and if you’re a black kid, you can’t go around punching people when someone calls you a name,” Reed explained. “I did that because, when I was 14, I went to military school in Minnesota. I played football and our team went to some towns where there were no black people and no exposure through the media, so when we played in these remote towns the coach told my team members that as soon as I got tackled, surround me so I’d be protected from the other teams. The first year I was there the other team members would kick me and spit on me. But after the first year, it got much better. People would invite me to come on over and talk with them, go eat some hamburgers. So I learned that racism is often just a matter of ignorance and not knowing. Some of these pe0ple never saw a black person.” After Reed sifted through all the evidence at Walled Lake, he “found out that the ‘N’ word was used, but only because the person who said it knew there would be a reaction. When it was all said and done, it turned out that the initial dispute was between some girls and it wasn’t even race-related.”

Race Card Not Overplayed

Race is often a component of the cases Reed handles, but Reed doesn’t play the race card just to win a case. “I don’t go the race route just to win a case,” he explained. “For instance, last summer I was hired by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to sue a police department in a town in Alabama for racial profiling. But after I dug around, I felt that there was no racism involved. Granted, the case was worth some money, but I discovered there was no racial profiling and I refused to go that route. They got mad and fired me. I refused to misrepresent what my evidence showed. That’s probably one of the things I’m proud of. I knew I’d get national exposure, but I didn’t care.”

No Floods Here

There is no doubt that Reed is successful. He attributes his success to preparation and discipline. Reed’s discipline was self-taught when he was a kid playing football. “In football we had to be able to do a certain distance under a certain time,” he recalled. “So I measured the distance, and determined that the bathtub filled up in the amount of time I had to do that distance. So I’d get ready to run and turn the bathtub on and take off. I knew I had to get home before that bathtub overflowed or I would have been killed. I was deathly afraid of my father. You better believe I made it.” Reed said that is the way he approaches the practice of law. “I’ll take as long as it takes to do what I have to do,” he declared. Reed said, “I have no fear. Fear is the darkroom where negatives are made.”

Professional Degrees

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Legal Biography

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DISTINCTIONS AND RECOGNITIONS

Member, Executive Board, Michigan Trial Lawyers

Member, Michigan Trial Lawyers

Member, Labor Counsel, State Bar of Michigan

Kappa Foundation Recognition Award, Presented by Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

Case Mediator, Oakland and Wayne

Pontiac Achievement Award, Presented by Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity

Forty Under Forty, Crain’s Detroit Business Magazine

Up and Coming Lawyers, Michigan Lawyers Weekly

Special Congressional Recognition, Congressman John Conyers, Jr.

Lawyer of the Year, Michigan Lawyers Weekly

National Registry of Who’s Who

Michigan Board of Podiatric Medicine & Surgery (Appointed by Michigan Gov., John M. Engler, 1998)

Biography Appears in “Outstanding Young Men of America,

Vincent Ingram v. McDonald’s Corp., Product Liability Case, Highlighted in New York’s Bloomberg Market Magazine, October 2001

Life Time Achievement Award, Kappa Alpha Psi,  Pontiac Alumni

TEACHING AND LECTURING

Lecturer/Guest Speaker, NAACP 23rd Annual Continuing Legal Education Seminar, “Stop the Killing,”

Lecturer, Voir Dire/ Jury Selection  (MTLA Advocacy Seminar)

Lecturer, How to Effectively Use Demonstrative Evidence at Trial (MTLA Annual Meeting – Rapid Fire Seminar)

Lecturer, The Next Movement on the Use of Force pursuant to Search and seizure Law, Oakland Community College, Orchard Ridge campus

Lecturer, To Share and (NOT) Share Alike: Ethical & Malpractice Issues in Office Sharing Relationships, (The Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Ford Conference & Event Center, Dearborn, MI)

Lecturer, Effective Techniques of Settlement (14th Annual Philo Atkinson 21 Hour Invitational Seminar)

Guest Speaker – Congressional Committee Hearing – Prison Reform (Detroit, MI)

Lecturer, How to Start a Law Practice from Scratch with Little or No Money (The Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Ann Arbor, MI)

Lecturer, Everything a Beginning Practitioner Needs to Know (The Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Ann Arbor, MI)

Lecturer, How to Win Your First Jury Trial (The Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Michigan State Educational Center, Troy, MI)

Lecturer, How to Win a Multi-Million Dollar Verdict (The Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Michigan State Educational Center, Troy, MI)

Lecturer, Learning Winning Tactics from Attorney’s Who Have Done It (The Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Michigan State Educational Center, Troy, MI)

Keynote Speaker, C. Roger Wilson Leadership Conference (Auburn Hills, MI)

Lecturer, How to Cross Examine the “So Called Independent Medical Expert” (Michigan Trial Lawyers Association)

Lecturer, Opening Doors Conference (State Bar of Michigan)

Speaker/Panelist, National Republican African American Advisory Council

Lecturer, University of Iowa, Midwestern “Bridging the Gap”Conference

CONTACT US

THE MULTIMILLION DOLLAR WINNER!

$4.5 Million Verdict

verdict against the police for exposing family to danger

$4.2 Million Verdict

for female whistleblower

$2.8 Million Verdict

for wrongful death settlement against City in a car accident case caused by a pothole

$1.6 Million Verdict

verdict for woman whose voice was misappropriated for commercial purposes