Get to Know Carrick Craig


By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Carrick Craig, an employment and labor attorney with extensive experience in all aspects of higher education law, recently joined Miller Canfield’s Employment and Labor Group and Higher Education team.

Craig previously worked as General Counsel at Western Michigan University, where he spent more than two decades providing legal advice and assistance to administrators and staff on issues including governance, management, Board of Trustees matters, university research, academic programs, contracts, intellectual property, internal investigations and student affairs. He was responsible for major personnel decisions involving senior university administrators and faculty, and was the management representative in the unionization efforts of graduate assistants and part-time instructors. He has extensive experience in the administration of collective bargaining agreements.

While at Western Michigan, Craig directed a campus-wide effort to comply with Department of Education Title IX guidelines, culminating in Board adoption of a new Title IX policy. In addition, he served as the University’s Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy and Contact Officer and was in charge of developing and enforcing policies related to the confidentiality of protected health information.

Craig stayed at WMU for 22 years, retiring as General Counsel in June. Craig also has extensive litigation experience in employment and higher education law and has tried many cases to verdict before both juries and judges.

A resident of Portage near Kalamazoo, Craig grew up in Dearborn and graduated from Fordson High School, He earned his undergrad degree from Adrian College and his JD from Wayne Law, as did his father and sister. Craig practiced with his father until he relocated to Florida; then Craig moved to an Ann Arbor firm specializing in employment and higher education issues.  

What would surprise people about your job? The variety of issues you deal with in higher education.  You could be dealing with managing a patent one day, a student expulsion the next day, and name, image and likeness issues for student athletes the next.  Universities have some of the most diverse legal needs of any entity.

Why did you become a lawyer? My dad was a lawyer, and my sister is a retired lawyer. My dad, Roger E. Craig, was the former state senator from Dearborn and corporation counsel for the City of Detroit under Coleman Young. My sister, Kimberly M. Craig, was the former assistant city attorney for Dearborn and is now retired. I never really thought about being anything else, except when I was a kid and wanted to be an astronaut. It’s easier to become a lawyer.  

Tell us about your new position as Senior Counsel at Miller Canfield:

I had always intended to return to private practice to wrap up my career, and Miller Canfield had a spot in the Employment and Labor Group and Higher Education team that was too good to pass up. I have been working with Miller Canfield since I was licensed in 1986 and in many ways it’s like coming home, but to a firm I never actually worked for before. The firm does outstanding work and has an excellent work environment.  

What’s your favorite law-related TV show, movie, and/or book?  It’s funny, I never really took to law-related media. To live it and then come home and watch it seemed a bit much. I did like the Al Pacino movie, “And Justice for All.”  

Who are your law role models – real and/or fictional? My dad is definitely my role model. He was an excellent lawyer, and I learned a lot from him.  

If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would that be? F1 driver Max Verstappen – no doubt.  

What advice do you have for someone considering law school? If you attend law school don’t box yourself into a practice area too quickly. You can do a lot with a JD. Many college presidents have JDs today, which was almost unheard of 25 years ago.  

What’s your proudest moment as a lawyer? Trying cases with my dad. We tried four cases together before he relocated to Florida. They were stressful, but I learned a lot.  

What do you do to relax? Play guitar. I am a huge Richard Thompson fan and try to copy his style. I’m also a huge Formula 1 fan and watch every race.    

What other career path might you have chosen? Airline pilot for sure.  

What would you say to your 16-year-old self? Like so many people: Relax, you’re going to be fine.  

Favorite local hangouts? The Old Dog Tavern in downtown Kalamazoo and George’s Coney Island.

Favorite websites?  Real Clear Politics. Very wide variety of perspectives.  

Favorite app?  None. They are a plague on humanity. OK, Twitter.  

Favorite music? Somewhere between XTC and Richard Thompson.  

What is your happiest childhood memory? We went to Lake Michigan every year, and going from a very urban setting to the lake was just idyllic.  

What is your most treasured material possession?  My 2001 Taylor 312CE guitar.  

What do you wish someone would invent?  Teleportation. Flying has become a nightmare.  

What has been your favorite year so far and why? 1985. I married my wife of 37 years.  

What’s the most awe-inspiring place you’ve ever been?  Prague. It’s just amazing how it has transformed during the post-communist era. It’s like a teen-ager whose parents have taken an extended vacation.  

If you could have one superpower, what would it be? Definitely flying.  

What’s one thing you would like to learn to do?  Fly a small plane.  

What is something most people don’t know about you? I was born on the exact same day as my older brother one year apart.  

If you could have dinner with three people, past or present, who would they be? Fyodor Dostoyevsky, William Shakespeare, and Mozart.  

What’s the best advice you ever received? Protect your reputation. Once you’ve lost it, you can’t get it back.  

What is your motto? Veritas (although I did not go to Harvard).

Which living person do you most admire?  Cardinal Robert Sarah.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement? My family (including my eight grandchildren).

What is the most unusual thing you have done?  Campaigning for my dad in his political career when I was 5. It was crazy. 


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