Duggan reveals pick for city’s new top lawyer

Christine Ferretti
The Detroit News

Detroit — Mayor Mike Duggan on Monday announced plans to nominate Lawrence Garcia as the city’s new top lawyer, replacing Melvin Butch Hollowell who will step down at the end of this year.

Duggan revealed his choice just days after the city gave notice of Hollowell’s upcoming departure to join a private firm in Detroit. Hollowell will become managing partner at the Miller Law Firm in Detroit. He’s set to leave his post with the city on Dec. 31.

The mayor expects to formally nominate Garcia in mid-December so the newly seated City Council can vote on the confirmation in January after it returns from holiday recess.

The council will have 30 days from the submission to confirm the appointment, the city noted.

Garcia has practiced law for more than 20 years, primarily in the city of Detroit, officials said. He launched his own Detroit-based law firm, Garcia Law Group, in 2011.

Garcia, 47, formerly has represented the city, Detroit Public Schools, Wayne County and the Detroit Police Department.

“In a city that faces an average of more than 700 lawsuits every year with claims of approximately $300 million, bringing in a corporation counsel with such extensive courtroom experience is a tremendous asset,” Duggan said in a Monday news release. “Lawrence Garcia is the attorney private companies and government entities turn to for cases that require expertise beyond what is in house. He will do an outstanding job representing the City of Detroit.”

In addition to his work with private clients and government entities, Garcia has done pro bono work in Detroit, representing indigent clients and city nonprofits with a specific focus on civil rights, immigration and environmental issues.

Garcia also is a two-time president of the Hispanic Bar Association of Michigan.

He formerly assisted the Detroit Branch of the NAACP in its challenge of the 2005 redistricting of Michigan as a violation of the Voting Rights Act. He also represented the community nonprofit group LA SED in litigation to ensure southwest Detroiters were treated fairly in the development of the Gordie Howe International Bridge.

“I am grateful to Mayor Mike Duggan for this nomination and excited about the possibility of serving this great city,” Garcia said. “Detroit is the key to Michigan’s future. I cannot think of anything more important than assisting Mayor Duggan and the Detroit City Council in their efforts to continue moving this city in the right direction to build a brighter future for Detroit.”