Biographical Information

Thomas W. Cranmer is a trial lawyer who concentrates his practice in civil and criminal litigation. With more than 35 years of courtroom experience, his practice focuses on white-collar criminal defense, complex commercial litigation and “bet-the-company” litigation.

He is recognized as one of Michigan’s leading lawyers. He has been listed in the Top 10 Attorneys in every edition of Michigan Super Lawyers and he has been the highest or second highest rated attorney out of more than 42,000 Michigan attorneys for the past seven years in a row. Recently, he was recognized by Michigan Lawyers Weekly as its Lawyer of the Year for 2014.

Prior to joining the firm, Tom served as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in Oakland County, Michigan, and an Assistant Chief of the Criminal Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Tom has extensive experience as a leader and instructor of trial advocacy including teaching for one of the preeminent trial advocacy programs in the United States, the National Institute of Trial Advocacy. In addition, he has lectured and written on a wide variety of civil litigation, criminal law and evidence topics. He is a co-author of a Michigan treatise, Civil Trials and Evidence, a contributing author to Federal Civil Procedure Before Trial/Sixth Circuit, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Law for The Thomas M. Cooley Law School teaching Evidence.


  • Litigation and Dispute Resolution
    • Antitrust and Trade Regulation
    • Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution
    • Class and Collective Actions
    • Commercial Litigation
    • Corporate Litigation
    • Criminal Defense Litigation
    • Governmental Litigation
    • Professional Liability and Malpractice Litigation
    • Real Estate and Construction Litigation
    • Securities Litigation
    • Tax Litigation and Consulting
  • Intellectual Property
    • Intellectual Property Litigation

Admission Dates & Jurisdictions



  • Ohio Northern University, J.D., 1975
  • University of Michigan, B.A. 1972

Honors & Awards

  • Michigan Super Lawyers, Top 10 Michigan Super Lawyers 2006-present (#1 Michigan Super Lawyer, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014);#2, 2008 and 2012; #3, 2007)
  • Best Lawyers in America, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Criminal Defense (White-Collar and Non-White-Collar), Ethics and Professional Responsibility Law; Litigation-Environmental; Litigation-Securities; 2009 Detroit area Bet-the-Company Lawyer of the Year; 2013 Detroit Criminal Defense: Non-White-Collar Lawyer of the Year
  • Michigan Lawyers Weekly, recognized as one of the 2014 Leaders in the Law and selected as the Lawyer of the Year in 2014. In 2007, also named as one of Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s Lawyers of the Year
  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Litigation in the highest category (Band 1), 2004-present; White Collar Crime & Government Investigations, 2008-present
  • Lawdragon Top 3000 2010-present
  • Benchmark Litigation, Guide to America’s Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys, 2008-present
  • DBusiness Magazine, Top Lawyers, Commercial Litigation, Non-White-Collar and White-Collar Criminal Defense 2011-present
  • Oakland County Republican Party, Practitioner of the Year, 2008
  • Crain’s Detroit Business, selected as one of Detroit’s Power Lawyers, 2008
  • Who’s Who in American Law
  • Who’s Who in America
  • Who’s Who in the World
  • Who’s Who in Detroit Business – Law, Crain’s Detroit Business, November 2005
  • Oakland County Bar Association’s Distinguished Service Award, 1996
  • Federal Bar Association’s Leonard R. Gilman Award, Presented to an Outstanding Practitioner of Criminal Law, 1995
  • Drug Enforcement Administration Award, 1981
  • United States Department of Justice Special Achievement Award, 1980

Professional Associations

  • American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow, 2000
  • International Academy of Trial Lawyers, Fellow, 2000
  • International Society of Barristers, Fellow, 2003; Board of Governors and State Chairperson, 2012-present
  • American Board of Trial Advocates, 2000; Michigan Membership Chairperson, 2010; Michigan Secretary, 2011; Michigan Treasurer, 2012; Michigan President-elect, 2013; President of Michigan Chapter, 2014
  • Litigation Counsel of America, Fellow, 2007
  • The National Trial Lawyers, Fellow, 2009
  • State Bar of Michigan, President, 2005-2006; Statewide Access to Justice Campaign, Chairperson; Board of Commissioners, 1997-2006; Representative Assembly, 1986-1992; Chairperson, Standing Committee on Grievance, 1993-1997; Co-Chairperson, Awards Committee, 2007-2013; Law and the Media Committee, 2006-2012; Judicial Crossroads Task Force, 2010; Task Force on the Role of the State Bar of Michigan, 2014
  • Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Board of Directors, 2010-present
  • Appellate Defender Commission for the State of Michigan, appointed member and Vice-chairperson, 2011-present
  • Michigan State Bar Foundation, Board of Trustees, 2006-present
  • Federal Bar Association, Eastern District of Michigan; Chapter President, 1995-1996
  • Oakland County Bar Foundation, Board of Trustees, 1992-2012; President, 2002-2003; Trustee Emeritus, 2012-present
  • Oakland County Bar Association, Board of Directors, 1994-2003
  • Oakland County Criminal Assignment Committee, Co-Chairperson and Founding Member, 1996-1999
  • United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Trustee, Historical Society, 2007-present; Local Rules Advisory Committee, 1989-1992; Special Committee on Review of the Local Rules, 1990-1991
  • Sixth Circuit Judicial Conference, Life Member, 1999-present
  • American Bar Foundation, Sustaining Life Fellow, 2005
  • Michigan State Bar Foundation, Life Patron Fellow, 1995
  • Oakland County Bar Foundation, Charter Fellow, 1992
  • American Arbitration Association, Hearing Panel Member, 1990-present
  • Prosecutor’s Foundation for Kids, Board Member, 2010-present
  • Oakland County Circuit and District Courts, Mediator, 1986-present
  • Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan, 1994-present
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, 1986-present
  • United States Sentencing Commission, Practitioner’s Advisory Group, 2009-2011

Representative Cases

  • Healthcare Fraud – Criminal Litigation
    • Represented a healthcare CEO charged wth 128 counts of healthcare fraud, securing a not guilty verdict on all counts.
  • Perjury and Obstruction of Justice – Criminal Litigation
    • Represented an official of the United States Department of State for allegedly committing perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with the first post 9/11 terrorism trial in the United States, securing a not guilty verdict on all charges.
  • Patent Infringement Litigation
    • Represented a high technology corporation against a nine-figure patent infringement claim, successfully securing a no-cause verdict at trial.
  • Election Law Criminal Defense Litigation
    • Represented a client charged with violation of federal election laws, resulting in a not guilty verdict on all counts at trial.
  • Sanctions Violation Criminal Defense
    • Represented a university professor charged with violating sanctions against Iraq, securing a not guilty verdict on all counts.
  • Class Action Litigation
    • Represented a Fortune 500 electronics manufacturer in the successful defense of a shareholder derivative claim.
  • Criminal Antitrust Investigation
    • Represented a national road construction company in connection with a federal criminal antitrust investigation, successfully convincing the Department of Justice not to seek an indictment.
  • Patent Infringement Litigation
    • Represented an automobile supplier in connection with a patent infringement claim, successfully securing an eight-figure damages settlement.
  • Law Firm Professional Malpractice Defense
    • Represented an AmLaw 200 firm in the successful resolution of a legal malpractice action related to a patent infringement lawsuit.
  • University Internal Investigation
    • Represented a major university in connection with an internal investigation into its athletic department.
  • Insurance Fraud Criminal Litigation
    • Represented a large national insurance company as a plaintiff in connection with allegations of insurance fraud and the submission of false claims.
  • Securities Criminal and Civil Litigation
    • Represented an officer of a Fortune 500 company in a securities action and parallel investigation by the United States Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission successfully, convincing the government not to seek an indictment.
  • Civil RICO Litigation and Appeal
    • Represented a Fortune 100 company in a successful appeal of a civil RICO case before the Sixth Circuit en banc panel.
  • Shareholder Class Action Litigation
    • Represented a major financial institution in connection with a shareholder derivative claim and putative class action matter.
  • Involuntary Manslaughter Criminal Litigation
    • Represented an individual charged with involuntary manslaughter arising out of a trucking accident, securing a not guilty verdict at trial.
  • Pro Bono Criminal Law Representation
    • Represented one of two brothers falsely accused of felony murder, resulting in the ultimate dismissal of the charges after the client had wrongfully served more than 25 years in prison.
  • Tom has represented a broad range of corporations, partnerships, financial institutions and individuals in criminal and civil antitrust matters; intellectual property disputes; class action defense matters; income tax evasion; Medicaid, Medicare and healthcare fraud; Food & Drug Administration investigations; criminal OSHA, MIOSHA and state/federal environmental matters; Customs and Border Protection violations; bankruptcy fraud; mail and wire fraud; insurance fraud; bank fraud and embezzlement; defense contractor fraud; national security matters, securities fraud and matters with the SEC; public corruption; controlled substance and conspiracy matters; immigration matters, labor and employment litigation, ERISA litigation and police corruption.
  • He has extensive experience conducting internal corporate audits, independent audit committee reviews and corporate compliance programs.

Speaking Engagements

  • Negotiating Plea Agreements in the Era of Advisory Sentence Guidelines,” Wayne County Criminal Advocacy Program, August 2015
  • “Evidence Boot Camp,” Advanced Criminal Defense Practice Conference for the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan, November 2014
  • “Governmental and Internal Investigations: What In-House Counsel and Outside Counsel Need to Know,” State Bar of Michigan, Business Law Section, November 2014
  • “Brave New World of Federal Practice,” The Rutter Group, June 2014
  • “What Other ADR Tools Are in the Litigator’s Toolbox?” 13th Annual ICLE Advanced Negotiation & Dispute Resolution Institute, March 13, 2014
  • “Opening With Your Best Shot,” Michigan Defense Trial Council, June 21, 2013
  • “Getting In and Out of Federal Court: New Rules, New Solutions,” The Rutter Group, 2013
  • “How to Prepare Your Client to Testify at Trial,” Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan Masters Class, 2012
  • “Age-Old Ground Rules Have Changed!,” The Rutter Group, 2012
  • “E-Discovery Update 2012 – ESI & the Government,” Webinar, Institute of Continuing Legal Education, February 29, 2012
  • “Game Changers,” New Federal Rule Amendments and Cases, The Rutter Group, 2011
  • “Major Changes in Federal Practice,” The Rutter Group, 2010
  • “Crime and Punishment: Legal Essentials for Physicians,” Oakland County Bar Association-Oakland County Medical Society, 2009.
  • “The Latest in Aggressive Healthcare Fraud Investigation and Law Enforcement,” Miller Canfield, 2009.
  • “Prosecution of White Collar Crime,” Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants, 2009
  • “Revisiting Irving Younger’s Ten Commandments of Cross Examination,” State Bar of Michigan, Young Lawyers Seminar, 2009
  • “Home Run Motions in Federal Court,” The Rutter Group, 2009
  • “Criminal Law & Opening Statements,” State Bar of Michigan, Young Lawyers Seminar, 2008
  • “Recent Changes in Federal Rules of Civil Procedures and Local Court Rules,” The Rutter Group, 2008
  • “Federal Trial Practice,” The Rutter Group, 2004-2007
  • “Survival Skills in U.S. District Court,” The Rutter Group, 1995; 2003
  • “Conducting an Effective Cross-Examination,” Lorman Education Services, 2003
  • “Federal Civil Trials,” The Rutter Group, 2002
  • “A Day of Criminal Law in Genesee County: Issues in Sentencing and Criminal Practice and Procedure Update,” Institute of Continuing Legal Education, 2002
  • “Criminal Practice and Procedure Update,” Institute of Continuing Legal Education, 2002
  • “Federal Litigation a Cyberworld,” The Rutter Group, 2001
  • “What Makes Juries Listen? – Connecting With the Jury,” Institute of Continuing Legal Education, 2001
  • “Federal Rules of Evidence Complex Issues – Practical Solutions,” The Rutter Group, 1999
  • “How to Win Your First Jury Trial,” Institute of Continuing Legal Education, 1999
  • “Representing Criminal Defendants,” Institute of Continuing Legal Education, 1997
  • “Destination Federal Court,” The Rutter Group, 1996
  • “Evidence: Sharpening Your Direct and Cross-Examination Skills,” Institute of Continuing Legal Education, 1995


  • “Civil Trials and Evidence,” West Publishing, (2001) co-author with the Honorable Gerald E. Rosen, Honorable Kurtis T. Wilder and Rodger D. Young, Esq.
  • “Federal Civil Procedure Before Trial/Sixth Circuit,” Lawyers Cooperative Publishing, (1996) contributing author
  • “Federal Criminal Practice Rules,” James Publishing, Editorial Advisory Board (1996)
  • “How to Handle the Media in a High-Profile Case,” Ann Arbor Area Business Monthly, May 2005
  • “Safeguarding Your Company: Key Factors Influencing Sentencing of Business Organizations,” Midwest In-House, April 2005
  • “The Art of Cross-Examination,” Michigan Bar Journal, August 2013

Service Activities

  •  Teaching
    • Thomas M. Cooley School of Law, Adjunct Professor of Law, (teaching Evidence), 2005-present
    • University of Detroit Mercy Inn of Court, 1996-present
    • Oakland County Bar Association Inn of Court, Founding Member, 2004-present