University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, J.D.
University of Michigan, A.B.
  • with distinction

Prior Employment

  • Thompson & Knight, LLP, Partner, 2011-2014
  • Butzel Long, Associate, 1972-1978; Shareholder, 1978-2010

Bar Admissions

Court Admissions

Professional Affiliations

American College of Trial Lawyers

  • Fellow
  • Executive Committee, Member, 2011-2013
  • Board of Regents, Member, 2005-2009

U.S. Supreme Court Historical Society

  • Trustee
  • Secretary
  • Executive Committee, Member

The International Society of Barristers

  • Fellow

International Academy of Trial Lawyers

  • Fellow

American Bar Foundation

  • Life Fellow

Michigan State Bar Foundation

  • Life Fellow

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

  • Judicial Conference, Life Member

The National Judicial College

  • Board of Visitors, Member, 2007-2010

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

  • Local Rules Committee, Former Member and Chair

Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law (part of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law)

  • Appeal Board
  • Development Board

U.S. International Rule of Law Project Inc. (U.S. affiliate of the Bingham Centre)

  • Board of Directors
    • Chair and President
News & Resources


Philip Kessler is a leading trial lawyer with a national practice and more than 40 years of experience. He focuses his practice on the prosecution and defense of claims on behalf of public and private companies, individuals, and partnerships in a broad range of business and intellectual property issues.

  • Possesses extensive experience in litigation, including claims involving antitrust, audit malpractice, contracts, securities fraud, corporate control contests, fiduciary matters, and intra-corporate and partnership disputes
  • Litigates intellectual property claims regarding copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, unfair competition, and patent infringement 
  • Represents clients in numerous industries, including automotive, advertising, health care, pharmaceutical, financial services, real estate, and manufacturing
  • Acts as lead counsel in litigation matters throughout the U.S.


  • Acted as counsel in high-profile, high-risk international arbitrations, working with a prominent barrister at 12 Gray’s Inn Square in London
  • Represented a critical parts supplier as plaintiff in federal court litigation against a Fortune 100 company involving claims of breach of a long-term requirements contract in a one-month trial; obtained an eight-figure jury verdict for the client; affirmed on appeal
  • Represented a privately held company as claimant in an arbitration against an international actuarial firm for malpractice and obtained a substantial award for the client
  • Defended a Fortune 100 company in a suit brought by a competitor for patent infringement in a three-week jury trial with a nominal verdict for the plaintiff
  • Defended the University of Michigan through the United States Supreme Court as co-counsel in landmark federal court cases challenging the University's affirmative action policies in student admissions
  • Defended the American subsidiary of China's third largest privately held company in an automotive supplier dispute in federal court involving breach of contract claims; summary judgment for the defendant; affirmed on appeal
  • Obtained a substantial verdict for a public company automotive supplier as plaintiff in a federal court for breach of contract; affirmed on appeal
  • Successfully defended through trial a private corporation in former executives' federal court suit alleging breach of a deferred executive compensation plan
  • Successfully defended a national health care certifying board in a federal court jury trial alleging antitrust and federal false advertising claims, resulting in one of the leading Sixth Circuit decisions on false advertising law
  • Successfully defended a major regional hospital system in a federal antitrust suit alleging a conspiracy among a hospital and physicians to exclude a cardiologist from the hospital staff; affirmed on appeal
  • Successfully defended a public company semiconductor manufacturer in a federal trademark infringement action; affirmed on appeal
  • Successfully defended a prominent California real estate developer in a complex partnership dispute concerning one of San Francisco’s most important luxury residential high-rise projects

News & Resources



Seminars & Events


  • Listed in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business since 2003
    • Recognized in the top tier of lawyers in the General Commercial Litigation field in Michigan; Chambers USA states:
      • 2017 – "Philip Kessler has over four decades' experience representing individuals and businesses, both public and private, in a range of IP litigation. He also acts on trade secret cases, and in one such matter recently defended UPS Midstream Services following its hiring of a number of former Arkos employees. Clients say: 'He's very thorough, very efficient, knows our business intimately, and provides GC-level guidance.'"
      • 2016 – "[Philip's] 'performance has been outstanding,' say sources, who go on to note that he is 'very proactive, thorough and timely in his responsiveness.' He has over four decades of experience in handling a range of copyright and trademark matters, as well as private and public company contract disputes."
      • 2015 – "[Philip] 'provides outstanding advice' and is 'very thorough and adept when it comes to exploring all legal matters.' He is recognized for his courtroom expertise and is well versed in a wide variety of disputes, including IP, antitrust and securities fraud."
      • 2014 – "[Philip] is recognized as a 'quality trial attorney' and focuses his practice on business and IP litigation. Sources say he is 'extremely effective in the courtroom.'"
  • The Best Lawyers in America, 1987-2018
    • Recognized in practice areas of:
      • Commercial Litigation
      • Litigation - Antitrust
      • Litigation - Intellectual Property
  • Leading Lawyers Magazine Michigan, 2017
    • Recognized in practice area of Commercial Litigation 
    • Top-listed in several areas, including:
      • Top 10 Leading Business Lawyers
      • Top 10 Leading Business Litigators
      • Top 100 Leading Lawyers 
      • Top 100 Leading Business Lawyers 
  • DBusiness, Top Lawyers, 2014-2017
  • Michigan Super Lawyers, 2006-2016
  • Who's Who in American Law
  • Who's Who in the World
  • Who's Who Legal (The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers)
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated 

Academic Appointments

  • Detroit College of Law, Contract and Business Litigation, Associate Professor