Bernard Fuhs, Butzel Long Photo

Bernard (“Bernie”) Fuhs is renowned by clients and the legal community—in Michigan and across the US—as a go-to emergency litigator when a lawsuit is looming and the stakes are high. Mr. Fuhs is a nationally recognized “Bet-the-Company” litigator specializing in non-compete and trade secret matters and complex shareholder disputes. He has litigated matters or counseled clients in all 50 states. Mr. Fuhs is a Shareholder and Vice President of Butzel and serves on the firm’s Board of Directors. 


Clients have come to trust Bernard (“Bernie”) Fuhs for his deep expertise and substantial legal prowess developed over his nearly two decades in practice. Whether initiating or defending litigation, or providing legal advice on the best means to protect sensitive business information or strategically navigate a complex business dispute, his clients gain peace of mind by knowing that their interests are protected—always in the most efficient and cost-effective manner.

Bernard’s practice is focused on non-compete and trade secret matters, complex shareholder disputes, and franchise litigation. Entities such as start-ups and closely-held businesses, individuals such as sports and fitness industry professionals, and others, have all benefitted from his legal expertise and the enviable track record of success he has accumulated during his career.

Mr. Fuhs is a practice leader of the firm’s Trade Secret & Non-Compete Specialty Team. He has been recognized year-after-year by numerous highly-regarded industry publications for his expertise in the areas of Business Litigation, Trade Secret, and Franchise Law.

Bernard is a graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law (magna cum laude) and the University of Detroit Mercy (UDM) (summa cum laude). While in law school he interned for Chief Justice Maura Corrigan of the Michigan Supreme Court. During his years at UDM he was a four-year player on the Division 1 Men's Basketball Team and while at UDM School of Law served as President of the 2nd Year Class, on Law Review, as a member of the Justice Frank Murphy Honor Society, and as a member of Beta Gamma Sigma and Beta Alpha Psi.



University of Detroit Mercy 2003, B.S. (summa cum laude)

University of Detroit Mercy School of Law 2006, J.D. (magna cum laude)



  • State Bar of Michigan
  • American Bar Association - The Forum on Franchising
  • American Bar Association - ERR Non-Compete and Trade Secret Subcommittee
  • Leadership Oakland - Class XXIII
  • Macomb-OU INCubator Business Advisory Board
  • University of Detroit-Mercy Titan Club - Board of Directors
  • Sheriff Oakland County PAL Program – Board of Directors
  • University of Detroit-Mercy School of Law Alumni Association - Board of Directors
  • Detroit Athletic Club
  • St. Michael’s the Archangel – Head Coach Girls’ Varsity Basketball Program

Awards & Recognitions

Awards & Recognitions

America’s Top 100 Bet-the-Company Litigators (Michigan) 2022-2024 – Business Litigation, Trade Secret Litigation, and Business Litigation

Chambers USA, Commercial Litigation 2023

Crain’s Detroit Business 40 Under 40, Class of 2012

DBusiness Top Young Lawyers, 2013

DBusiness Top Lawyers in Metro Detroit, Business Litigation, 2012; Trade Secrets, 2014, 2016-2019, 2022-2023; Franchise Law, 2016-2019, 2022-2024

Michigan Super Lawyers, Rising Star in Business Litigation, 2011-2012

Michigan Super Lawyers, Business Litigation, 2013-2023

Oakland County Executive’s Elite 40 under 40 - Class of 2013

University of Detroit Mercy (UDM) – Captain, UDM Division 1 Men's Basketball Team, 2002/2003

UDM - Wall Street Journal Award recipient for recognition as Top Student in the UDM College of Business Administration

UDM - Financial Executives International Award for most outstanding undergraduate student in Accounting and Finance

UDM - Beta Alpha Psi Award for highest scholastic average in an undergraduate program

UDM - All Horizon League Athletic Academic Team, 2002-2003

UDM - President's and Horizon League Honor Roll all four years

UDM - William Ebben Award for athletic and academic excellence

UDM and UDM School of Law - Dean's list all years attended

UDM School of Law - Cavanaugh Scholarship recipient


  • 2.4.2020
    Successfully obtained summary disposition on behalf of Detroit-based Casino in a $4,000,000 lawsuit in WCCC; affirmed by Michigan Court of Appeals, Stephen Swirple et. al. v. MGM Grand Detroit, LLC, Case No. 345284, LC No. 17-010953-CZ (February 4, 2020)
  • Successfully defended trustee in highly complex, contentious shareholder/probate dispute alleging ~$13,000,000 in damages from purported shareholder oppression; negotiated dismissal of all $13,000,000 in claims, instead payment to client of $750,000
  • National litigation counsel for franchisor (fitness/stretch training industry) obtained immediate cooperation agreements re: non-compete, confidentiality and trademark obligations with franchisees located in Michigan and Florida
  • Obtained ex parte TRO, preliminary & permanent injunctions (global franchisor/moving ind) v former franchisee/direct competitor prohibiting operation of moving co w/in restricted territory, violating obligations u/ Franchise Agreement/related contract
  • Obtained permanent injunction (national insurance sales system) v former franchisee w/ 4 locations in NV ordering compliance with post-termination non-compete obligations under Franchise Agreements; resolved by amicable transfer of locations to franchisor
  • National litigation counsel/franchisor massage therapy industry obtained preliminary/permanent injunctions, E.D. Mich Fed Ct v former franchisees in FL prohibiting use of franchisor’s trademarks & operating competing entity in restricted territory
  • Obtained $2,400,000 judgment/MI-based premium metalworking fluids/industrial cleaners/corrosion mgt solutions co v former consultant & US/Canadian entities, OCCC re claims for breach of contract, tortious interference action, unfair competition
  • Obtained ex parte TRO/preliminary/permanent injunction (meteorology software co) v former employee/direct competitor prohibiting use/provide services/develop product disclosing confidential trade secrets/copyright infringements, disparaging client
  • Successfully obtained numerous injunctions on behalf of a Fortune 500 staffing services company against former employees (ranging from regional managers to recruiters) relative to their non-compete, non-solicit, non-disclosure, and trade secret violations
  • Successfully defended national forklift distributor in Federal Court in Florida against claims for tortious interference with a non-compete agreement and trade secret theft under the Florida Uniform Trade Secret Act
  • Lead litigation counsel in multi-million dollar shareholder oppression action on behalf of minority shareholder client in the importer-distributor of consumer products to big box retailer industry, secured settlement valued at nearly $8,000,000 for client

News & Events

Speaking Engagements

  • Speaking Engagement, 10.2021
    “Trade Secrets Law Update,” ICLE On-Demand Webcast
  • Speaking Engagement, 11.2019
    “What To Do When Your Company’s Most Valuable Assets Are at Risk,” Butzel Long Labor & Employment Seminar, Detroit, Michigan
  • Speaking Engagement, 5.2019
    “Hiring the Competition: Proven Strategies to Acquire and Retain Top Talent While Protecting Your Company’s Most Valuable Assets,” Walsh College
  • Speaking Engagement, 1.2019
    “The Secrets to Starting a Successful Business: How to Increase Your Chances of Start-Up Success from Idea to Launch (and Beyond),” Webinar Presented by Butzel Long

Alerts & Publications


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