GETTING TO KNOW: Michael Layne


Michael Layne, president of Marx Layne & Company, has more than 30 years of marketing and public relations experience.

Layne began his marketing career at a Detroit-based public relations firm where his first account was a national law firm opening offices in Detroit.

The media placements Layne generated resulted in the law firm landing a large client.

The experience of positioning a client and garnering direct results cemented Layne’s determination to position law firms in the news media.

After working for a couple of agencies, Layne opened his own agency with partner Fred Marx in 1987.

Legal marketing has remained a specialty of the firm and the agency has done work with everything from small boutique practices to large firms with national reach.

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

What would surprise people about your job? The diversity of our client base. It ranges from leading law firm to automotive suppliers, from nonprofits to restaurants and from real estate developers to financial organizations, and more.
The nice thing is that our practice areas reflect industry sectors many law firms serve.
As a result, we have a deep knowledge of many industry sectors and how to reach each. We are successful positioning lawyers and their firms as thought leaders in their respective practice areas to the media and their key constituents.

How did you get involved in marketing? I was an urban planner in the City of Detroit and quickly discovered that all real estate developments — whether a new shopping center or new city district — require marketing to be successful. 

Who are your legal role models? My wife, Judy Layne, who is an estate planning attorney with Dickinson Wright. She is sensitive, hard working, and dedicated.

If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would that be? Charlie Parker, the greatest saxophone player who ever lived. 

What advice do you have for someone considering law school? Understand that to be a legal technician nowadays is not enough. You have to know how to market yourself and your practice area.

What’s your proudest moment in public relations? There is not one. I get a lot of pleasure seeing our Marx Layne team achieve tremendous results for our clients daily.

What do you do to relax? Exercise. Study Japanese.
What other career path might you have chosen? Musician (though I did that) architect, juggler, restaurateur.

What would you say to your 16-year-old self? Slow down. Relax, it will be all right.

Favorite local hangouts? Baker’s Keyboard Lounge, Astro’s Coffee, Cantoro’s Trattoria.

Favorite website? Google news.

Favorite App? Pimsileur Japanese language program.

Favorite music? Jazz and classical.

What is your most treasured material possession? My iPhone.

What do you wish someone would invent? A cure for ALS and other terminal diseases.

What’s the most awe-inspiring place you have ever been to and why? La Sagrada Familia a church in Barcelona, that acclaimed architect, Antoni Gaudi, spent a lifetime building. Ground was broken in 1882 and it’s still a work in progress. To see a vision created by a person that is so grand and complex and beautiful all at the same time demonstrates the wonderfulness of humankind.

If you could have on super power what would it be? To be able to grant happiness to humankind.

What’s one thing you’d like to learn to do? Tap dance.

What’s the best advice you ever received? If you can’t outsmart them, outwork them.

Favorite place to spend money? On a great bottle of wine at Cantoro’s.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Besides being a good father, to have gainfully employed as many people as I have over the past 30 years.

What is the most unusual thing you have done? I worked as part of a backup band for a tap dancer.