Service oriented: Real estate attorney awarded state honor

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By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

It may sound counter-intuitive, but attorney Larry Dudek considers himself fortunate to have worked through at least three major recessions involving commercial real estate, including the ‘70s, early ‘90s and mid-2000s – with the opportunity to work, principally representing lenders, regarding restructure of numerous distressed commercial real estate loans.

“I found this to be a rewarding practice in the sense that it’s ‘win-win’ in taking a non-productive asset and moving it back into a productive asset through any one of a number of mechanisms such as a loan restructure discounted payoff, note sale, foreclosure, or deed in foreclosure,” explains Dudek, an attorney with Miller Canfield in Detroit where he specializes in commercial real estate litigation, including foreclosure, receivership, construction claims, secured loan workouts, lender liability defense, fraudulent conveyances and transfers.

When Dudek looks around Motown, he can see a number of significant construction projects in the City of Detroit in which he was involved – including Ford Field, Comerica Park, the Marriott Hotel at the GM World Headquarters and several high-rise building renovations.

“It was an honor to have a role in the development of these projects which will hopefully have a significant impact in connection with the future of the city,” he says.

So it’s no surprise the State Bar of Michigan, Real Property Law Section, honored Dudek with the 10th C. Robert Wartell Distinguished Service Award, for 20 years of service. The award – the first to an attorney from Miller Canfield – was presented July 17 during the Section’s Summer Conference and Annual Meeting at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa in Traverse City.

“It was an honor to be selected,” Dudek says. “Bob Wartell was a true professional and a great lawyer; he was instrumental in involving me in the Section.

“I can truly say I have the utmost respect for each and every of the prior recipients of the award, all great lawyers who have given significantly of their time and talents to further the practice of real estate law in Michigan,” he adds. “One of the greatest benefits of being involved in the section is the opportunity to work with and network with such a highly qualified and knowledgeable group.”

During two decades of service to the section, Dudek has served as chairperson of the Council; and of the Continuing Legal Education Committee; as chair and co-chair of the Long Range Planning Committee; chair of the Pro Bono Committee; co-chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on Recording Issues; member of the Nominating Committee; contributing author to the Michigan Real Property Review; coordinator and speaker for the Homeward Bound Series; and as Groundbreaker discussion leader and continuing adviser for the  Continuing Legal Education programs.

A member of the Litigation Section of the American Bar Association and the Oakland County Bar Association, and named among Best Lawyers in America, Michigan Super Lawyers, and DBusiness Magazine, Top Lawyers, Dudek’s successes include a multimillion-dollar settlement – accomplished through effective use of a mediated process – of a highly contentious claim for breach of a letter of intent between two parties that had an ongoing business relationship.

His passion for commercial real estate litigation was sparked when he started practicing in the 1970s, after earning his undergrad degree from the University of Michigan and his J.D. from Wayne State University. His uncle was a successful commercial real estate loan originator for one of the local banks and dealt with many of the larger real estate developers in town; and an early mentor was Joe Galvin who taught a real estate development class at Wayne State University, and who employed Dudek early in his career.

“Joe has a very knowledgeable background and is very effective in terms of strategy as well as litigation relating to all aspects of real estate financing, development and zoning,” Dudek says.

Dudek’s love of Detroit is seen in his recent pro bono service advising Detroit Future City, a nonprofit organization, under the arms of the Detroit Economic Development Corporation that is involved in long term planning with a view of upwards of 50 years with respect to the future of the City of Detroit.   

In his leisure time, Dudek enjoys bicycling, and distance running – and ran his first marathon at the age of 59.