Joe Lavigne

“The highest compliment that I can pay is the following: Joe Lavigne is the attorney I would use if I myself needed an attorney. Smart, conscientious, driven and unfailingly ethical, Joe is also the type of colleague who always will return a call or email. I consider him to be a standard-bearer for our profession.”

In-house Counsel

“He is a great lawyer with the utmost character and ethics.”

Government Counsel

“Thank you so very much for all of the assistance in getting my company up and running.”


Business client

“He is highly dedicated to all of his clients. Very professional and ethical. Always completely prepared.”


“Exemplary lawyer. In terms of personal character, legal knowledge, and client service, Mr. Lavigne is a superb attorney.”

Private Practice Lawyer

“A note of thanks. I was indeed dreading this process and desperately looked forward to putting it behind us. I feel like I have a new lease on life.  You exceeded my expectations.”


Civil litigation client

Joe is an experienced trial lawyer skilled in complex criminal, business and commercial litigation and appellate practice.

He employs his strong personal, professional and academic experience in the service of his clients every day. Having excelled in all phases of his career, Joe has established himself as a strong, effective advocate who gets results for those whom he represents. In addition to his exceptional qualifications, he consistently helps his clients see the big picture and provides honest, solid, accurate, and common sense advice that can be invaluable to clients who are often involved in difficult times.

His criminal experience includes handling all phases of cases at every level of the court system from minor offenses and drunk driving, to major felonies including first degree murder. He has tried more than 80 cases to jury verdict. His non-jury trial experience includes bench trials, evidentiary hearings, and substantial motion practice, as well as representing individuals and entities in the pre-charging investigatory stages of proceedings.

His business and commercial litigation experience include both transactional matters and lawsuits on behalf of high profile as well as individually owned companies and individuals in a variety of matters including complex commercial issues, shareholder disputes, unfair trade practices, breach of contract, defamation, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and insurance cases.

His other litigation experience includes handling both criminal and civil appeals, personal protection order matters, cases seeking injunctive relief, and a variety of other cases including arbitrations and facilitations before retired judges and other senior practitioners, as well as alternative dispute resolution.

Prior to opening his own firm, Joe was an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in Oakland County and a commercial litigation attorney for Maddin, Hauser, Wartell, Roth, Heller & Pesses, P.C.


University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, J.D., cum laude, 1996

Michigan State University, B.A., 1993

Bar Admissions


Court Admissions

United States Supreme Court

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan

All Michigan courts

• Assistant Prosecuting Attorney; Oakland County, Michigan. While there, Joe served as a trial attorney in both the Circuit Court and District Court divisions, and gained experience in the investigation and charging process in the Warrants Division. He was also one of three founding members of the state’s first Internet Crimes Task Force.

• Commercial Litigation Attorney; Maddin, Hauser, Wartell, Roth & Heller, P.C. At the boutique law firm of Maddin Hauser, Joe worked on a broad variety of subject matters in all aspects of civil litigation, from preparing the lawsuit, to the discovery process, as well as motions, depositions, trial, post-judgment collection, appeals, and all other phases of the litigation process.

• Partner and Founding Member; Lavigne & Sawicky, PLLC. Partner in general practice law firm specializing in criminal and civil litigation, juvenile and immigration law and appellate practice, representing clients throughout the state of Michigan as well as nationally.

Mr. Lavigne has also served the following offices of government:

  • Michigan Supreme Court, Michigan Judicial Institute, New Judges’ School
  • United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan, Appellate Division.
  • Wayne County Prosecuting Attorney.
  • The Honorable Joe Knollenberg, Member of Congress.
  • Michigan State University Department of Police and Public Safety.
  • Certified by the Michigan State Police as a Class II DataMaster Operator–the same certification police officers need to give a suspected drunk driver an evidential breath test.
  • Founding member of the Oakland County Internet Crimes Task Force–extensive knowledge of computer and internet-related crimes, as well as with high-tech evidence.
  • Former Legal Instructor at the Oakland Police Academy–taught constitutional law, focusing on its application to the area of search and seizure, along with drunk driving related issues.
  • Experienced litigator, with trial experience in Michigan’s District, Circuit, Probate and Federal Courts–has also handled thousands of other criminal and civil matters in adversarial hearings and proceedings short of trial.
University of Detroit Mercy School of Law
Detroit, Michigan

Juris Doctor, cum laude, 1996

  • Graduated in the top 10% of class
  • Justice Frank Murphy Honor Society
  • Member, Law Review
  • Member, National Entertainment & Communications Law Moot Court Team 1994-95, 1995-96
    • Runner-up best oralist and team quarterfinalist, 1994-95
  • Staff Writer, Michigan Business Law Journal
  • Vice President, Entertainment & Sports Law Society
  • Academic Achievement Award: Business Organizations


Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan

Bachelor of Arts, 1993


  • Michigan Super Lawyers, Criminal Defense
  • AV/Preeminent Rating (Martindale Hubbell)
  • National Association of Distinguished Counsel (selected among top 1% of attorneys in the United States following review by attorneys and judicial review board)
  • Avvo Perfect 10.0 / Superb rating (Criminal Defense, DUI, Juvenile, Business, and Litigation)
  • Distinguished Service Award (Oakland County Prosecuting Attorney)

Professional and Academic Activities (past and present)

  • Past Chair, Criminal Law Committee, Oakland County Bar Association (2011-2012)
  • Defense Advisor, Sobriety Court, 51st District Court (2003-present)
  • Master, American Inn of Court, Oakland County Bar Association (2014-present) (credential based selection; by invitation only). Also served as an Associate 2002-2006.
  • Criminal Assignment Committee, Oakland County Circuit Court (2011-2013) (by appointment; oversees the court-appointed attorney system in Oakland County Circuit Court)
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan
  • Oakland County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (2011-2012) (by appointment; organization to manage jail overcrowding, pre-trial risk assessment, and alternative disposition programs)
  • State Bar of Michigan
    • Criminal Law Section
    • Business Law Section
  • Oakland County Bar Association
  • Scribes–The American Society of Writers on Legal Subjects (requires multiple legal article authorships; by invitation only)
  • National District Attorneys Association
  • National College of District Attorneys
  • Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan
  • Who’s Who Among American Colleges and Universities (credential based selection; by invitation only)
  • Who’s Who: American Law Students (credential based selection; by invitation only)


  • Life Fellow, Oakland County Bar Foundation (by invitation only; open to no more than 5% of practicing attorneys)
  • Secretary, Board of Directors, Building Bridges of Hope, Inc.
  • Knights of Columbus (former officer; previously Knight of the Year)
  • Archdiocese of Detroit Archives Advisory Committee
  • University of Detroit Mercy School of Law Alumni Association
  • Life Member, Michigan State University Alumni Association
  • Elementary Mock Trial Liason, John F. Kennedy Elementary School, Ferndale, Michigan


  • Instructor, Michigan Supreme Court – Michigan Judicial Institute District Court Judges’ School; Lansing, Michigan.
  • Guest Lecturer, Wayne State University Law School; Detroit, Michigan.
    • Controlled Substances and Juvenile Justice (2014)
    • Criminal Justice Internship Seminar (2012)
  • Legal Instructor, Oakland Police Academy; Auburn Hills, Michigan.
  • Lecturer, Continuing Legal Education Series; Oakland County Bar Association; Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
    • Computer and Internet Related Crimes
    • Evidentiary Issues in Criminal Cases
    • Confessions and Admissions
    • Similar Acts Evidence
  • Violence in the Workplace, Theft, Embezzlement, and Employment Based Crimes; Employment Law Symposium; Novi, Michigan.
  • Youth Law Conference, Oakland County Bar Association; Troy, Michigan.
  • Circuit Court Skills Seminar, Oakland County Bar Association; Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.



Concealing the Truth from the Jury: The Irreconcilable Differences of Voluntary Confessions and the Exclusionary Rule, Laches (Dec. 2000).

A Misapplication of the Exclusionary Rule to Voluntary Confessions: The Fallacy that Knowingly and Intelligently Made Statements are Constitutional Prerequisites to Admissibility, 1999 L. Rev. Mich. St. Univ. Det. C.L. 677 (2000).

The Ever-changing Evidentiary Law of OUIL Cases: Standards for the Admissibility of Blood Alcohol Test Results, Laches (Dec. 1999); reprinted in The Emmett-Charlevoix Bar Association Newsletter.

Michigan Criminal Law: 1996-97 Survey, 44 Wayne L. Rev. 655 (1998).

Comment, For Limited Times? Making Rich Kids Richer Via the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1996, 73 U. Det. Mercy L. Rev. 311 (1996).

A Business Lawyer’s Guide to Empowerment Zones: What’s In It For You, 17 Mich. Bus. L.J. 3 (Mar. 1996); reprinted in 19 Gen. Practitioner 15 (May 1996).

Case Digest, Doe v. Ewing, 16 Mich. Bus. L.J. 32 (Jan. 1995).

Contact Joe directly


Joseph A. Lavigne