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Aaron Lindstrom, Grand Rapids Attorney

Aaron D. Lindstrom


Grand Rapids

171 Monroe Avenue NW
Suite 1000
Grand Rapids, MI 49503-2694

P 616-742-3931

F 616-742-3999

As a former Michigan Solicitor General, Aaron Lindstrom is an experienced appellate attorney whose strength and skills in the courtroom are a result of his years as chief appellate lawyer for the state of Michigan, as an attorney in private practice, and as an officer serving in the U.S. Army.


As a former Michigan Solicitor General, Aaron Lindstrom is an experienced appellate attorney whose strength and skills in the courtroom are a result of his years as chief appellate lawyer for the state of Michigan, as an attorney in private practice, and as an officer serving in the U.S. Army.

Aaron has successfully represented a wide range of clients—states, countries, Fortune 100 companies, law firms, and individuals—in cases of great significance, spanning numerous areas of law, including administrative, constitutional, contract, criminal, environmental, and tax.

Specifically, he has represented clients in complex litigation at all levels of the state and federal courts, including in 13 cases on the merits at the U.S. Supreme Court, twice presenting oral argument. He has been counsel of record on over 90 U.S. Supreme Court briefs. He has also argued 16 times before the Michigan Supreme Court, argued en banc three times before the Sixth Circuit, and represented clients before the Second, Third, Fifth, Seventh, Ninth, Tenth, and D.C. Circuits, the Michigan Court of Appeals, and various state and federal trial courts.

Aaron’s writing has also garnered three Best Brief Awards from the National Association of Attorneys General (for U.S. Supreme Court briefs) and three Distinguished Brief Awards from the Western Michigan University-Cooley Law Review (for Michigan Supreme Court briefs). And he has been invited to speak at various law schools, including Stanford, the University of Chicago, and the University of Michigan, at the Sixth Circuit’s Appellate Practice Institute, and to various public-interest organizations.

Before joining Barnes & Thornburg, Aaron served as Michigan’s Solicitor General for five years; as the state’s chief appellate lawyer, he represented the State of Michigan and its agencies and oversaw appellate matters for the Michigan Department of Attorney General. Before that, he practiced law in the Grand Rapids office of a Michigan law firm and in the Washington, D.C. office of a global AmLaw 20 firm.

Before law school, Aaron attained the rank of captain in the U.S. Army while assigned to the Second Squadron, Third Armored Cavalry Regiment, in Fort Carson, Colorado. He held a top-secret clearance and served in the regiment as an armor officer for five years.

Professional and Community Involvement

Former member, Sixth Circuit’s Advisory Committee on Rules

Former co-chair, Supreme Court Subcommittee of the American Bar Association Section of Litigation's Commercial and Business Litigation Committee

Fellow, Michigan Bar Foundation


Best Lawyers in America, 2020–2024

Grand Rapids Magazine Top Lawyers, 2021–2023

Michigan Super Lawyers, Rising Star, 2011


Aaron’s representations include the following:

U.S. Supreme Court

  • Michigan v. EPA (U.S. 2015) – Arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of 21 States and over the opposition of the U.S. Solicitor General and 16 other States, persuaded the Court to hold unlawful an EPA regulation that imposed $9.6 billion in annual costs on the electric-utility industry.*
  • Woods v. Etherton (U.S. 2016) – Based on the briefs alone, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the client, issuing a unanimous summary reversal in a habeas case concerning ineffective-assistance-of-counsel and Confrontation Clause claims arising from a felony drug offense.*
  • Coleman v. Tollefson (U.S. 2015) – Obtained a 9-0 victory after oral argument in the U.S. Supreme Court in a statutory-interpretation case concerning the Prison Litigation Reform Act’s “three strikes” rule.*
  • Woods v. Donald (U.S. 2015) – In another 9-0 summary reversal, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously agreed and reversed the Sixth Circuit’s decision to grant habeas relief, thereby upholding a first-degree-murder conviction against a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel.*
  • Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians v. Patchak (U.S. 2012) – Served as the primary drafter of a merits brief that prevailed over the U.S. Solicitor General’s Office and preserved an individual’s right to bring an administrative-law claim without being subject to the immunity provisions of the Quiet Title Act.*
  • Southeast Alaska Conservation Council v. Coeur Alaska, Inc. (U.S. 2009) – Assisted the client in prevailing in the U.S. Supreme Court on a permitting issue under the Clean Water Act by drafting a successful petition for certiorari (over an opposition by the U.S. Solicitor General’s Office) and drafting the prevailing merits briefs.*
  • When the Supreme Court called for a response to six certiorari petitions filed on behalf of 17 major companies and a national law firm that all challenged a Michigan tax statute and that sought a return of more than $1 billion in taxes, identified a jurisdictional obstacle to the Court’s review, and the Court declined to hear the challenges.*

Second Circuit

  • In 2022, persuaded the appellate court to affirm on alternate grounds a district court’s dismissal for lack of jurisdiction in a case of an alleged violation of a bankruptcy stay.

Sixth Circuit

  • Successfully defended, in 2019, a district court’s award of summary judgment in favor of the client in a contract dispute involving a commercial-property listing agreement.
  • Bormuth v. County of Jackson (6th Cir. 2017) – Arguing before the en banc court, represented 22 states in a religious-liberty case, and the court agreed with the states and with the county and upheld the practice of legislative prayer.*
  • Self-Insurance Institute of America v. Snyder (6th Cir. 2014) – Successfully defended a state tax statute designed to bring in $400 million a year against a challenge that a federal statute, ERISA, preempted the law.*

Seventh Circuit

  • Successfully defended, in 2022, a district court’s denial of class certification in a case under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
  • Secured dismissal of an employment dispute from the Seventh Circuit in 2020, as the court agreed that it lacked jurisdiction to hear the appeal.

Ninth Circuit

  • Acting as a friend of the court, filed a brief on behalf of a national association in support of a state regulatory board, to assist in defending a state law against a preemption challenge. In 2020, the Ninth Circuit ruled in favor of the state board, concluding that a federal drug law did not preempt the state law.
  • In 2020, persuaded the Ninth Circuit, based on the briefs alone, to reverse a district court’s grant of summary judgment against a client, a technology company, which allowed it to continue to pursue its insurance claim against its insurer.

Michigan Supreme Court

  • Persuaded the Michigan Supreme Court in 2020 to grant oral argument on an application in a case addressing a statute that governs tax foreclosures. 
  • In re Rasmer Estate (Mich. 2017) – Successfully defended the Medicaid estate-recovery program that Michigan implemented to comply with federal law.*
  • Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Constitution v. Secretary of State (Mich. 2018) –Represented the Attorney General as an amicus curiae, in an elections case, and defended the Secretary of State’s decision that a proposed amendment creating a redistricting commission did not qualify as a ballot measure.*
  • Michigan Association of Government Employees v. State of Michigan (Mich. 2016) – Successfully defended a breach-of-contract action on behalf of the state.*
  • Yono v. Department of Transportation (Mich. 2015) – Secured agreement from the Michigan Supreme Court that governmental immunity barred a tort claim against the state and did not fall within the highway exception to immunity.*
  • NACG Leasing v. Department of Treasury (Mich. 2014) – Prevailed on behalf of the state agency, in a case concerning how a use tax applied to an aircraft lease.

*These occurred prior to joining Barnes & Thornburg.

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