Melvin Butch Hollowell serves as Managing Partner of The Miller Law Firm Detroit where he oversees the firm’s practice at its downtown Detroit location. He specializes in complex commercial litigation, class actions, government regulation and public law, sensitive investigations and election law. He represents clients ranging from Fortune 500 and publicly traded companies such as GFL U.S.A. and the Detroit International Bridge Company (Ambassador Bridge), to top tier universities and colleges, national real estate development companies, major Foundations and nonprofits, and governmental agencies and public officials across the United States and Canada.
He recently helped lead the trial team in successfully representing the interests of Michigan’s Governor and County Prosecutors in the nationally-watched injunction trial defending a woman’s right to choose under the Michigan constitution. The presiding judge cited Hollowell’s cross examination of opposing counsel’s chief witness, concluding that as a result of the questioning he should give “zero” weight to the witnesses testimony. The Michigan Court of Claims appointed Hollowell to leadership in the litigation arising out of the catastrophic flooding in mid-Michigan caused by the failure of the Midland and Edenville dams in 2020.
Immediately prior to his association with The Miller Law Firm, Hollowell completed a four-year term as Corporation Counsel of the City of Detroit, the City’s chief legal officer. There Hollowell reduced annual litigation payouts by 50%, won the case ending 11 years of Department of Justice oversight of the Detroit Police Department, and managed the City’s legal process through the 2014 Chapter 9 bankruptcy proceedings, including the recoupment of $20 million from consultants for overbilling. As Corporation Counsel he created “Project Clean Slate,” a first-in-the-nation program providing free legal representation in non-violent criminal expungements.
Upon stepping down from his position at City Hall, Mayor Mike Duggan’s stated was, “Under Butch Hollowell’s leadership, not only has the city saved millions of dollars in lawsuit settlements that can be used for critical city services, his vigorous efforts to address the issues of commercial blight, illegal graffiti and illegal dumping have greatly improved the quality of life in Detroit’s neighborhoods. It’s no surprise The Miller Law Firm recognized Butch’s outstanding abilities as a lawyer and administrator and recruited him to their team.”
Attorney Hollowell presently serves on the Board of the Directors of the City of Detroit’s Downtown Development Authority and the Board of Directors of the City of Detroit Public Lighting Authority.
Hollowell served for many years as General Counsel of the Detroit Branch NAACP, the nation’s largest chapter, and served on the National NAACP Legal Committee. In 1995 and again in 2018, Hollowell was appointed General Chairman of the Detroit Branch NAACP Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner, the largest sit-down dinner in the world, and the largest annual fundraiser for civil rights in the United States. He was elected the first African American Chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party, was a Member of the Democratic National Committee, and was elected to the Rules Committee of the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
Hollowell was appointed Insurance Consumer Advocate for the State of Michigan by then Governor Jennifer Granholm, now U.S. Secretary of Energy.
Hollowell is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan, and the courts of the State of Michigan. He is a Life Member of the Judicial Conference of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Awards & Recognition
Hollowell is a “Fellow” of the Michigan State Bar Foundation, a recognition reserved for the top five percent of Michigan lawyers, and a member of the State Bar Diversity and Inclusion Committee. He received the Michigan Lawyers Weekly “Leader in the Law” award, and for many continuous years is the recipient of coveted peer review professional recognitions such as “Leading Lawyer,” “Super Lawyer” and “AV Preeminent” by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest possible rating for attorneys in the United States and Canada. He received the Wolverine Bar Association’s “President’s Award,” the Association’s highest honor.
- Albion College, BA, 1981
- University of Virginia School of Law, JD, 1984
Hollowell received his Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1984 where he was President of the Black Law Students Association. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Albion College in 1981 where he was elected commencement speaker. He is a graduate of the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy, Class of 1977.