The Chamber Daily

Venerable Detroit Law Firm Berry Moorman PC Turns 90


Venerable Detroit Law Firm Berry Moorman PC Turns 90

As seen in Michigan Lawyer’s Weekly.

For more than nine decades, the firm has represented some of Detroit’s best-known companies, organizations, families, and patrons.

DETROIT – Like many of its clients, Berry Moorman is an iconic Detroit brand. During its 90-year history, the law firm has served the automotive industry, diverse businesses, charitable and philanthropic organizations, and notable citizens and families that together comprise our city’s rich tapestry of commerce and culture.

As Detroit rose to prominence during the first half of the Twentieth Century, the firm’s founders contributed to that growth:

  • 1926: As streetcars carried Detroiters up and down busy streets, Raymond Berry and other enterprising attorneys formed a new law firm in the city’s Penobscot Building. The Detroit Red Wings, then known as the Detroit Cougars, are officially added to the NHL. Harry Houdini gives his final performance at the Garrick Theatre in Detroit. Babe Ruth launched his longest career home run at Detroit’s Navin Field.
  • 1928: When the Bureau of Internal Revenue, later renamed the Internal Revenue Service, suspected Ford Motor Co. withheld profits from shareholders, Raymond Berry formed an association with former U.S. Tax Court Justice James S. Y. Ivins and past Yale President Kingman Brewster to argue on behalf of minority shareholders, including the John F. Dodge Estate Trust, before the U.S. Supreme Court. Ultimately, the young tax attorney from Detroit scored a significant victory for his clients, returning home triumphant and built his law office into a Detroit institution. At various times, Mr. Berry represented Henry Ford, Edsel Ford, and the Ford Motor Company, and served as Director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and President of the Detroit Board of Commerce.
  • 1949: Business litigation and tax attorney A. H. Moorman joined the practice, which later became Berry Moorman. The firm recruited additional attorneys to expand its services to include employment and labor law, estate and trust work, and civil and commercial litigation.

When the future of Detroit Institute of Arts’ world-class collection was called into question during the city’s recent bankruptcy, some prized art objects were protected. Robert Hudson Tannahill (1893-1969) was a renowned art collector and Detroit patron of the arts. In his will, he donated over 400 works of art to the DIA with the stipulation that the works not be sold. A predecessor firm that became a part of Berry Moorman prepared a no-sale agreement confirming the will provision and obtained Detroit City Council approval. The firm represents the Robert Hudson Tannahill Foundation, a charitable foundation now affiliated with the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, which benefits eight named area charities.

Berry Moorman’s current and former clients include some of our region’s most recognized and important names:

  • Vernors – maker of Detroit’s signature ginger ale, created in 1866 and now the oldest ginger ale sold in the United States.
  • The Detroit Athletic Club a Detroit institution and landmark housed in a building designed by the renowned architect Albert Kahn, now in its 129th year.
  • Kelsey-Hayes – established in 1927, a major supplier of wheels, brakes, and other components to the worldwide automobile industry.
  • Pewabic Pottery – nationally acclaimed ceramic studio founded in 1903 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1991.
  • Cadillac Coffee Co. – purveyor of premium coffee, tea, and related merchandise to cultured Michigan clientele since 1888.
  • A. Raymond – 150-year old international expert in fastening and assembly solutions, clipping systems, fluid connection and bonding applications.
  • Belle Tire – this tire retailer, established in 1922, now provides a variety of automotive repair services at more than 90 locations throughout the Midwest.
  • R. Hirt Jr., Co. a distributor of cheese and specialty foods throughout Michigan, this fourth-generation family business dates back to 1887.
  • Jones Lang LaSalle Americas, Inc. – a financial and professional services firm founded in London in 1783 that specializes in commercial real estate services and investment management with more than 62,000 employees around the globe.
  • NSK – 100-year old global manufacturer of ball bearings and linear motion and control products.

Reflecting on the firm’s milestone anniversary, President Randy Wright noted, “We are all proud of the long-standing tradition and success of Berry Moorman in representing stalwart Detroit businesses and families.” In addition to its Detroit presence, the firm’s reach extends across Michigan and around the world; since 1990, Berry Moorman has been supporting diplomatic relationships with Russia and, in 1994, it became the first Russian-American joint venture law firm in St. Petersburg. The firm also represents ZYNP International Corp. and Incodel Michigan LLC – key partners in a China-based supply line to the global automotive and truck industry.


Since 1926, Berry Moorman, P.C. has proudly served as trusted advisors to businesses, business owners, individuals, and families who rely on the firm for sage advice and practical solutions. One of Michigan’s oldest law firms, with offices in Detroit, Birmingham, and Ann Arbor, its practice includes estate and succession planning, litigation, family law, labor and employment, tax, business and corporate law, non-profit law, real estate, and international law. 

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