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OVERVIEW

Aaron D. Lindstrom
Of Counsel

Grand Rapids

171 Monroe Avenue N.W.
Suite 1000
Grand Rapids, MI 49503-2694

P 616-742-3931

F 616-742-3999

OVERVIEW

Aaron D. Lindstrom
Of Counsel

Grand Rapids

171 Monroe Avenue N.W.
Suite 1000
Grand Rapids, MI 49503-2694

P 616-742-3931

F 616-742-3999

As the 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.

OVERVIEW

As the 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 15 times before the Michigan Supreme Court, argued en banc three times before the Sixth Circuit, and represented clients before the Ninth, Tenth, and D.C. Circuits, the Michigan Court of Appeals, and various state and federal trial courts.

Empirical studies of U.S. Supreme Court advocates have recognized Aaron for his success in persuading the Court to grant certiorari, for his win rate when representing amicus curiae before the Court, and for the quality of his writing.

Aaron’s writing has also garnered three Best Brief Awards from the National Association of Attorneys General (for U.S. Supreme Court briefs) and two 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.

Prior to 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

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

Honors

Michigan Super Lawyers, Rising Star, 2011
EXPERIENCE
EXPERIENCE

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, Aaron and his co-counsel 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 Aaron’s 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) – Aaron 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 with Aaron 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) - Aaron 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) – By drafting a successful petition for certiorari (over an opposition by the U.S. Solicitor General’s Office) and drafting the prevailing merits briefs, Aaron assisted the client in prevailing in the U.S. Supreme Court on a permitting issue under the Clean Water Act.
  • 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, Aaron identified a jurisdictional obstacle to the Court’s review, and the Court declined to hear the challenges.

Sixth Circuit

  • Bormuth v. County of Jackson (6th Cir. 2017) – Arguing before the en banc court, Aaron 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) – Aaron 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.

Michigan Supreme Court

  • In re Rasmer Estate (Mich. 2017) – Aaron 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) – In an elections case, Aaron, representing the Attorney General as an amicus curiae, 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) – Aaron successfully defended a breach-of-contract action on behalf of the state.
  • Yono v. Department of Transportation (Mich. 2015) – The Michigan Supreme Court agreed with Aaron 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) – In a case concerning how a use tax applied to an aircraft lease, Aaron prevailed on behalf of the state agency.

*These occurred prior to joining Barnes & Thornburg.

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