James J. Murray represents private- and public-sector clients in a variety of transactional and litigation areas of practice.

He is a member of the firm's Real Estate/Transaction, Governmental Law and Banking, Bankruptcy and Creditors' Rights practice groups. With nearly 40 years of experience, Mr. Murray concentrates his practice in the areas of business law, real estate, municipal law, and commercial and title insurance litigation.

Mr. Murray currently serves as city attorney for the City of Petoskey, as well as for Bay Township. He has also represented numerous other municipalities in the defense of zoning and land use disputes. In addition, he a past member of the Board of Directors for both the Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys (MAMA) and for the Michigan Legal Defense Fund. He also has the distinction of serving as Chair of the Mackinac Island Community Foundation. 

Representative Client Work

  • Corporate counsel to manufacturing business with over $80 million in sales per year and plants located in Michigan, Tennessee, Indiana and Texas
  • Corporate counsel to ferry boat passenger service and other businesses located on Mackinac Island
  • Involved in franchise issues and proceedings before the Michigan Public Services Commission
  • Represents numerous banks and title companies
  • Serves as City Attorney to the City of Petoskey, providing legal services to all departments, prosecuting civil infractions, including zoning violations, and providing opinions on all legal affairs
  • Trial attorney who successfully defended the City of Manistee against environmental liability in the landmark case of Nemeth v Abonmarche Development, Inc., 456 Mich 851; 568 NW2d 89 (1997)
  • Pro bono legal services to many nonprofit organizations throughout the state of Michigan

Municipal Experience

  • Former City Attorney, Boyne City
  • Township Attorney, Bay Township
  • City Attorney, City of Petoskey
  • Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys (Former Member, Board of Directors)
  • Michigan Municipal League Legal Defense Fund (Former Member, Board of Directors)

Professional Affiliations

  • Emmet-Charlevoix County Bar Association (Past President, 1996-1997)
  • State Bar of Michigan
  • American Bar Association
  • Serves on the Grievance Panel for the State Bar of Michigan

Community Involvement

  • Les Cheneaux Community Foundation (Member, Board of Directors)
  • Mackinac Island Community Foundation (Board of Trustees, Chair, 2019 - present; Treasurer, 2016 - 2019)



  • Detroit College of Law, magna cum laude, J.D., 1987
  • Michigan State University, B.A., 1982


  • Michigan, 1987


Honors & Recognitions

  • "Go To Lawyer for Business Transactions," Michigan Lawyers Weekly, 2024
  • Detroit College of Law Review, 1985-1986
  • Dewitt C. Holbrook Scholar, 1985-1986