Richard Hurford


President – January 2013 to present
Specializes in providing mediation and arbitration services, proportionate and effective ADR methodologies, and neutral services to disputants; works with organizations to develop strategic dispute resolution systems with critical stakeholders; conducting internal, confidential investigations of potential violations of corporate policies, state and federal laws; consults with legal departments and law firms in process improvement, project management, and the development of best practice processes.



Shareholder – June 2009 to January 2013

Practice focused on (i) representing employers in employment disputes (state, federal courts and agencies), (ii) conducting confidential internal investigations of suspected violations of corporate policies state and federal laws, and (iii) providing counsel on system designs, including litigation and claims protocols, telecommuting policies, dispute resolution programs, internal reporting processes, and proprietary and confidential information protection programs. Member of the firm’s Process Improvement Committee.



Director of Litigation – 2000 to June 2009, 

Corporate Counsel - 1994 to 1999

Managed the in-house litigation department of a Fortune 200 Company, responsible for processing all litigation, confidential internal investigations, and dispute resolution activities throughout the United States, Europe, and Canada. Implemented “dashboards” to measure the performance of retained counsel. Worked closely with the HR, Risk Management, and Internal Investigation Departments to ensure the coordination in all aspects of: (i) the due diligence process and the evaluation of the “risk profile” of acquisition targets, (ii) Sarbanes-Oxley processes and compliance, (iii) system based claims and litigation programs; (iv) the development of internal fraud protocols, a corporate hot-line, and internal investigation programs, (v) trade secret and proprietary information protection protocols, (vi) mandatory pre-dispute mediation and arbitration programs for employees and other critical corporate stakeholders, (vii) insurance coverages, (viii) construction dispute and litigation protocols, (ix) drafting a construction contract negotiating handbook, and (x) the risk management of the company. Developed, implemented, and oversaw dispute resolution processes and protocols in all forms of agreements.


DYKEMA GOSSETT PLLC, Detroit, Michigan

Partner – 1987 to 1994, Associate – 1980 to 1987

Represented the interests of businesses in diverse sectors and individuals in the litigation and resolution of employment, labor, medical malpractice, general commercial, trade secret, non-compete, and business to business contract disputes. 



  • EASTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY, Executive MBA Program, magna cum laude

  • UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT SCHOOL OF LAW, Juris Doctor, summa cum laude

  • OAKLAND UNIVERSITY, Master of Arts in History, summa cum laude

  • UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, Bachelor of Arts in History



  • Legal Lean Sigma Green Belt (LSSO Institute)

  • Certified Civil Mediator (Michigan Supreme Court Administrative Office)

  • Advanced Mediation & Arbitration Training (Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Pepperdine University School of Law)

  • Court Approved Mediator

    • Oakland County Circuit Court

    • Macomb County Circuit Court

    • Wayne County Circuit Court

    • United States District Court

  • Business Court Neutral

    • Macomb County Circuit Court

    • Wayne County Circuit Court



  • Michigan Lawyers Weekly Hall of Fame (2019)

  • Member, National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals (2017 to present)

  • Fellow, International Academy of Mediators (2015 to present)

  • Best Lawyers™ in America:  Top Tier awards in the areas of Litigation and Labor & Employment (2011 to present)

  • Legal Leaders - Top Rated Lawyer in Labor & Employment (2015)

  • dBusiness Top Lawyer, ADR (2015)

  • State Bar ADR Section, Distinguished Service Award (2014)

  • Macomb County Bar Association, Distinguished Service Award (2014)

  • Martindale Hubbell:  AV Preeminent rating (1995 through the present)



  • American Arbitration Association’s Michigan Advisory Committee

  • American Association for Justice

  • American Bar Association

  • Association for Conflict Resolution

    • Southeastern Michigan Chapter (President)

  • Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association

    • ADR Committee (Past Chair) 

  • Engineering Society of Detroit

    • ADR Committee (Past Chair)

  • Federal Bar Association - Eastern District of Michigan

    • ADR Committee (Past co-Chair)

  • International Academy of Mediators

  • Macomb County Bar Association

    • ADR Committee (Past Chair)

  • Michigan Defense Trial Counsel

  • Michigan State Court Administrative Office

    • Task Force on Early ADR

  • Michigan Supreme Court Task Forces

    • Diversity in ADR

    • Early ADR

    • Formulation of the Mediation Court Rule

    • Summary Jury Trial

  • Professional Resolution Experts of Michigan (PREMi)

  • Oakland County Bar Association

    • ADR Committee (Past Chair)

  • State Bar of Michigan

    • ADR Section (Past President)

    • Business Law Section

    • Employment & Labor Section

    • Insurance & Indemnification Section

    • Litigation Section

    • Negligence Section


  • "Is It Time for Litigators to Reconsider the Benefits of Legal Process Improvement?" Michigan Bar Journal (March 2018)

  • "Negotiation: Practical Tactics for the Business World," Inc. Magazine Growth Conference (May 2017)

  • "Business Courts & Early ADR," Joint Meeting of the State Bar of Michigan ADR and Business Law Sections (November 2015)

  • “Considering the Bigger Picture of Early Case Assessment,” Michigan Supreme Court Judicial Conference (October 2015) 

  • In-House Counsel Forum on the use of ADR, Oakland County Bar Association (May 2015)

  • Bench and Bar Meeting on ADR, Macomb County Bar Association (March 2015)

  • "ADR Within ADR: The Business Courts -- a Laboratory for Litigation Process Improvement," Richard L. Hurford and the Hon. John C. Foster, Michigan Bar Journal (January 2015)

  • "What the Business Courts Mean to Litigators and their Clients," PREMi Seminar (September 2014)

  • "Are Fast Track Jury Trials Another ADR Option?", ADR Quarterly (August 2014)

  • "The Trial Courts as Dispute Resolution Advisors," Michigan Lawyer’s Weekly (July 2014)

  • "Early ADR for the Courts," Michigan Judicial Institute (February 2014)

  • "Arbitration: Is it Losing Its Way as a Cost Effective, Speedy and Efficient Resolution of Disputes," LSSO RainDance Conference (June 2014)

  • ANDRI 15th Annual Conference, Institute for Continuing Legal Education (2013) (Moderated and Presented, Litigator’s Track)

  • "Early ADR," National Judicial College/Michigan Judicial Institute (October 2013)

  • Early ADR Summit, SCAO Office of Dispute Resolution (September 2013)

  • "Interest Based Bargaining," Michigan Judicial Institute (July 2013)

  • "A Taxonomy of ADR," (co-author) published by the Macomb County Bar Association (September 2013)

  • “Ready or Not, Here They Come: Business Courts and ADR,” Michigan Lawyers Weekly (May 13, 2013)

  • “Promoting Early Facilitation and Mediation,” 12th Annual Advanced Negotiation & Dispute Resolution Institute, Institute for Continuing Legal Education (March 21, 2013)

  • “Future Employment and Labor Law Trends and the Role of the Legal Department in Risk Management,” Association of Corporate Counsel Quarterly Program (2012)

  • “Systemic Employment Risks in the Health Care Industry,” American Society of Employers Annual Program (2012)

  • “Early Case Evaluation in Determining the Client’s Objectives and Effective Project Management,” ANDRI 14th Annual Conference, Institute for Continuing Legal Education (2012)

  • “SMART Conflict and Dispute Resolution,” Ann Arbor Chamber of Commerce (2012)

  • ”Process Improvement and Project Management Principles and Techniques – What the Legal Profession Can Learn,” Raindance Annual Conference (2011)

  • “Process Improvement for the Legal Profession,” Hildebrandt Institute (2011)

  • “Driving Profitability through Process Improvement,” LMA Institute (2011)

  • “ADR Techniques,” Detroit Public Radio Program (2011)

  • “SMART™ Dispute Resolution & Conflict Management,” Ann Arbor Professional Association Summer Program (2011)

  • “Managing Risk in the Negotiation Process - Analyzing the Risk,” 10th Annual Advanced Negotiation & Dispute Resolution Institute, Institute for Continuing Legal Education (March 17, 2011)

  • "Reefer Madness," National Law Journal (2011)

  • "Unemployment Compensation in Michigan," Practising Law Institute (2011)

  • “FIRE Up That Joint: New Twists Have Companies Smokin' With Reefer Madness,” Corporate Counsel Magazine (March 10, 2010)

  • “The Power of the Team and the Evolution of the Virtual Team,” Raindance Annual Conference (2010)

  • “Managing and Processing the Business Risk and Litigation Portfolio,” Crain’s Detroit Business General Counsel Summit (2010)

  • “Labor and Employment Due Diligence,” “The Efficacy of Mandatory Dispute Mechanisms for Employees,” and “Protecting Your Client’s Proprietary and Confidential Information,” State Bar of Michigan Labor & Employment Section/Institute of Continuing Legal Education Conferences (2010 and 2011)

  • “How Business Clients Systematically and Strategically Evaluate Risk” and “Effective Use of Facilitative Mediation in Achieving Cost Effective Dispute Resolutions that Meet Your Client’s Objectives; and Factors to Consider When Drafting Arbitration Agreements,” State Bar of Michigan ADR Section/Institute of Continuing Legal Education Conferences (2010 and 2011)

  • “SMART Conflict Management and Dispute Resolution,” Michigan Bar Journal (June 2010)

  • “Alternative Dispute Resolution,” Institute for Continuing Legal Education (main volume and yearly updates, 2000-2010)

  • “The Vanishing Jury Trial and Judicial Practice,” Federal District Court Judicial Conference (2009)