The history behind Michigan’s leading public school and municipal law firm

The success of every professional entity depends on the strength of its foundation. Thrun Law Firm’s history and contribution to Michigan’s legal landscape form the backdrop for our exceptional legal practice. It is what sets us apart from other law firms, and why our clients trust us to resolve their issues. We provide legal services to public schools and municipalities throughout Michigan, and have been doing this exclusively for over 70 years. Our firm has grown with the Michigan community, making us one of the top legal players. We have contributed greatly to both education and public sector law within our state, drafting key legislations that changed the legal landscape.

Thrun law firm’s beginnings

Seeing the need for high quality legal services serving the Michigan area, Fred M. Thrun founded Thrun Law Firm in 1946. At our inception, we practiced in the areas of municipal charters, public finance and school law. Fred’s wife, Caroline M. Thrun joined the firm 9 years later in 1955, after more than 20 years as Assistant Attorney General. Mrs. Thrun brought a colorful legal background to Thrun Law Firm. She had previously served as staff legal advisor to the Superintendent of Public Instruction for a decade, giving her in depth insight into the application and practice of education law within Michigan. One notable accomplishment of the original Thrun Law Firm was drafting the Michigan School Code of 1955, and Mrs. Thrun drafted its 1976 revision. With such a strong legal background, the successors of Thrun Law Firm had huge shoes to fill. They did that, and more.

The second generation of Thrun Law Firm

Robert M. Thrun (1931-2021) joined his parents at the firm in 1959. He played an integral role, along with his father in drafting the Community College Act of 1966. This legislation established the framework for the Michigan community college system. Together with Jim Maatsch (1935-2006) and Tom Nordberg, Robert Thrun continued his parents' legacy in developing the firm’s statewide reputation for being the premier school law firm, unmatched in its expertise of education law. After half a century with Thrun Law Firm, Robert M. Thrun retired in 2008.

Our contributions to Michigan’s public sector

In 75 years, Thrun Law Firm has many accomplishments under its belt, including assisting to shape Michigan’s Legislature. Here are a few of our contributions to Michigan’s Public Sector.

  • Our attorneys provided technical advice to the Governor and the Michigan Legislature on amendments to the Public Employment Relations Act.
  • In 1996, the firm devoted a substantial amount of its resources to provide technical advice to the Legislature when it made significant revisions to the School Code. This service was provided at no cost to the school districts or the Legislature.

In addition to these contributions, members of our firm have contributed significantly to Michigan’s public sector. Jim Maatsch previously served as President of the National Council of School Attorneys. Kevin Harty, Michele Eaddy, Lisa Swem, Christopher Iamarino, and Katherine Wolf Broaddus served as President of the Michigan Council of School Attorneys in 1996-97, 1998-99, 2003-04, 2010-11, and 2013-14, respectively. Meg Hackett served as President during 2017-2018 and Tim Gardner served as President 2019-2020. Our history demonstrates our commitment to advancing the interests of Michigan’s public sector. Thrun Law Firm is the standard for legal advice and legal representation within Michigan, and it is our goal to continue to set the bar high for our clients.

Thrun law firm today

Our firm has grown into a close-knit band of experienced attorneys, staffing our three branches in East Lansing, Novi, and Grand Rapids. Aside from our attorneys, we have dedicated support staff (some of whom have been with us for close to 40 years!) who assist with keeping our clients satisfied. Presently, we have on our annual retainer over 500 local and intermediate school districts, public school academies, colleges, and municipalities to whom we provide first rate legal services. Combined, our attorneys have more than 500 years of legal experience spanning almost every area of education and public sector law. You’ll be hard-pressed to find another firm with our level of expertise. Thrun Law Firm is unmatched in its ability to address all legal matters facing school districts and local governments.