My Story


I grew up in a working-class family on the outskirts of Detroit. My father cleaned schools for a living while my mother contended with raising four boys who made it a habit to raise hell.

My blue-collar roots shot a streak of realism through me. I saw my neighbors and peers struggle through various challenges that persisted in Southeastern Michigan for most of my childhood and early adulthood. I understood at an early age that not everyone has equal footing, opportunities, or advantages. But my parents also taught me that being behind the eight ball doesn’t justify shortcuts or easy outs. I learned to counter disadvantages with intelligence and hardwork.

My personal struggles imparted the importance of grit, resourcefulness, tenacity, and follow through—hallmarks that define my professional practice today.

I ended up the first (and only) college graduate in my family.

After graduating from college, I attended the University of Chicago Law School. Annually ranked as one of the top five law schools in the nation, I learned what it meant to be in the deep end of the pool: sink or swim.

I managed to swim, and in doing so was blessed with opportunities many never receive: I interned with the New Mexico Supreme Court, learned alongside brilliant colleagues, and was mentored by some of the world’s leaders in legal thought. Most importantly, I earned the right to practice law.

While I learned from the best how to “think like a lawyer”, what I really sought was how to fight like a lawyer. That opportunity came after graduation, when I returned home to Michigan and cut my teeth apprenticing under an accomplished commercial litigator in Ann Arbor. My first year in practice I helped defend a corporate client from $200,000,000 in claims against a multi-state real estate investment portfolio. The case went to trial and ended in a complete victory. I was hooked.

After a few years in practice, I joined former Michigan attorney general, Mike Cox, in his private law firm. There, I worked for national clients, including Fiat Chrysler, and continued to hone my craft and expand my legal toolkit working for a sophisticated clientele and tackling complex legal challenges.

In 2017, I joined one of Michigan’s preeminent law firms, Maddin, Hauser, Roth & Heller, P.C., where my skills continued to accelerate. At Maddin, clients repeatedly called on me to address non-compete, non-solicit, and trade secret issues, and the misconduct that often accompanies those challenges. I quickly formed expertise by helping clients solve these issues in a variety of industries and contexts. This experience allowed me to understand how different judges in Michigan’s business courts view non-competes and other issues found in competition law.
 
In 2020, I became a partner at Dinsmore & Shohl LLP—an Am Law 200 firm with 700+ attorneys and 29 offices in 13 states.

Clients describe me as a tenacious, unflagging, and engaged attorney whose “attention to detail and professionalism are two of the many qualities that set him apart from the rest.” I push for cost-effective results by quickly digging more deeply into the facts and law than opposing counsel, then leveraging my findings in favor of my clients.

That process involves closely collaborating with clients throughout the litigation process based on my conviction that my clients are business partners—not mere customers.

Michigan Super Lawyers® recognizes me as a Rising Star in Business Litigation, an award granted to only 2.5% of Michigan attorneys under the age of 40. In 2018, I was elected by peers to the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation, an honorary society comprising one percent of each jurisdiction’s attorneys, judges, law faculty, and legal scholars whose public and private careers have demonstrated outstanding dedication to the highest principles of the legal profession and to the welfare of their communities.

I am the immediate past Chair of the State Bar of Michigan’s 2,300-member Litigation Section. I am proud to have helped charter the Southfield Area Rotary Club.

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rj@stopcomp.com


Education


UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO LAW SCHOOL, Chicago, Illinois, Juris Doctor, 2011

EASTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY, Ypsilanti, Michigan, Bachelor of Arts (History), magna cum laude, 2007

Civic Involvement


SOUTHFIELD AREA ROTARY CLUB (SARC) – Board Member

Bar and Court Admissions


STATE BAR OF MICHIGAN

STATE BAR OF ILLINOIS

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN

UNITED STATES TAX COURT

Professional Memberships


STATE BAR OF MICHIGAN, LITIGATION SECTION – Immediate Past Chair of Governing Council

FELLOWS OF THE AMERICAN BAR FOUNDATION – Member

OAKLAND COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION (OCBA) – Member and OCBA Fellow

Articles and Publications


Did You Just Sign An Illegal Settlement Agreement, DBusiness Magazine, December 2018

Awful but Lawful: Attorney Fee Provision Gone Bad, Risk Management Monitor, November 2017

R.J. Cronkhite
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