Photo of I. W. WinstenPhoto of I. W. Winsten

I. W. Winsten



Wayne State University Law School, J.D.
  • magna cum laude
  • Wayne Law Review
Wayne State University, B.A.
  • with distinction

Bar Admissions

Court Admissions

Professional Affiliations

Historical Society for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

  • President, 1998-2000
  • Trustee, 1994-present

Wayne State University Law School

  • Board of Visitors
    • Chair, 2008-2010
    • Executive Board Member, 2002-present
  • Alumni Association
    • President, 1997-1998

State Bar of Michigan

  • Pro Bono Involvement Committee
    • Chair, 1991-1996

American Inns of Court

  • Master of the Bench
News & Resources


Mr. Winsten is described by his peers as an “outstanding trial lawyer,” "phenomenally talented," and “effective, smart and innovative,” according to Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business. He successfully employs creative strategies to achieve (or exceed) his clients' goals through trial, motion practice or settlement in a wide range of cases, including disputes involving the sale of businesses, shareholder disagreements, supply arrangements, lending relationships, real estate development, non-competes and constitutional matters.

Mr. Winsten has numerous trial victories and is often asked to teach trial skills to other lawyers.

Mr. Winsten is also frequently retained as a mediator to apply his broad experience and common sense and tenacious approach to help other parties settle their disputes.


  • Obtained $33 million from a Native American tribe for breaching its agreement to share settlement proceeds from a prior lawsuit that challenged the award of the Detroit casino licenses
  • Obtained jury verdict of $8.6 million for distributor against manufacturer for breach of exclusive distribution arrangement
  • Obtained jury verdict of $5.5 million for automotive supplier against steel mill that breached requirements contract
  • Obtained arbitration award of $4.8 million for breach of purchase agreement
  • Obtained jury verdict of $3.1 million for bank against its borrower's insurer which had denied coverage for arson fire
  • Obtained jury verdict at second trial for full policy limits of $1.2 million for fire loss for business owner against insurer which claimed owner was responsible for the fire; the owner, using other counsel, lost the first trial
  • Obtained $1.9 million award at bench trial arising out of dispute between partners in real estate ventures
  • Obtained dismissal on summary judgment of suit by beneficiary against bank trustee for breach of fiduciary duty and conflict of interest arising from bank's loan of $75 million to the corporation it controlled, as trustee, for transactions the beneficiary claimed were imprudent
  • Defended libel suit by public official against newspaper; case dismissed after two-month jury trial
  • Defended breach of fiduciary duty claim by corporation against its former CEO arising from CEO's alleged theft of corporate opportunity and establishment of competing business; after trial, CEO used profits from his new business to acquire his former employer
  • Successfully defended beneficiary at jury trial against trustee's claim she should return $5 million the trustee mistakenly distributed to her from a trust
  • Successfully defended at arbitration anchor tenant's $2.1 million lost profits claim against shopping center owner and obtained dismissal and award of attorneys' fees
  • Obtained dismissal on summary judgment of suit by disappointed bidder for City of Detroit cable TV franchise which claimed that First Amendment required the grant of multiple franchises
  • Successfully defeated lawsuit brought by 5-Hour Energy against its former bottler to enforce a non-compete and confidentiality agreement
  • Successfully defended on appeal the retroactive Michigan Nonrecourse Mortgage Loan Act against the lender’s assertion that it was an unconstitutional impairment of contract

News & Resources


Press Releases


  • Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, 2012-2016
    • Recognized as one of America's leading business lawyers in the General Commercial Litigation field in Michigan; Chambers adds:
      • 2016 – “has been providing counsel in sophisticated commercial litigation matters for over three decades. He is famed for his advocacy skills at trial and often appears as a mediator in multiparty settlements."
      • 2015 – “I. W. Winsten is a trial attorney who also has experience in arbitrations. He has a fine track record for his counsel in high-value business disputes." 
      • 2014 – “focuses his practice on class actions, securities and corporate governance litigation. He recently represented Cherryland Mall in commercial mortgage-backed securities loan litigation, and is described as ‘effective, smart and innovative.’”
      • 2013 – "I.W. Winsten is described by his peers as 'phenomenally talented.' He litigates a broad range of issues, with a focus on contractual disputes and breach of fiduciary duty claims."
      • 2012 – "I.W. Winsten is considered an 'outstanding trial lawyer' who is 'always very well prepared, smart and hardworking.' He is known for handling a diverse range of cases relating to the automotive, banking and real estate sectors."
  • Michigan Super Lawyers, 2006-2016
    • Recognized in the Top 100 rankings, 2007-2012 and 2014-2016
  • The Best Lawyers in America, 2005-2017
    • Currently recognized for Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Mergers and Acquisitions Litigation, and Appellate Law
  • DBusiness, Top Lawyers, 2010-2016
  • Distinguished Alumni Award, Wayne State University Law School, 2004 
  • Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award, Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association, 1998 and 2007

Academic Appointments

  • Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Instructor
    • Annual Deposition Workshop
    • Rules of evidence
  • Federal Bar Association, Instructor, trial advocacy program
  • National Institute of Trial Advocacy, Instructor, expert witness program
  • University of Michigan Law School, Guest Lecturer, advanced corporate law seminar on litigation between shareholders in closely held corporations
  • Wayne State University Law School, Guest Lecturer, pre-trial advocacy class
  • University of Detroit Mercy Law School, Guest Instructor, trial skills