Law Department

Office of the Corporation Counsel

Coleman A. Young Municipal Center
2 Woodward Avenue - 5th floor
Detroit, MI  48226

Phone: (313) 224-4550 (VM)
Fax: (313) 224-5505
TTY: 711 or (800) 649-3777


Melvin Butch Hollowell
Corporation Counsel

Charles N. Raimi
Deputy Corporation Counsel

Ellen Ha
Chief of Staff

Edward Keelean
Chief Administrative Corporation Counsel

Pamela T. Parrish
Chief Legal Counsel, Transactional & Economic Development

David P. Massaron
Chief Assistant Corporation Counsel and Director of Transformational Projects

Mission Statement

Our mission at the Office of the Corporation Counsel is to provide the highest quality legal advice and services to our client, the people of the City of Detroit.  To that end, we will zealously defend all claims against the City and its agencies, and we will diligently prosecute violations of City Ordinances, and where applicable, State and Federal law, to protect the people of this City, and to aspire to our goal of equal justice under law.


On May 4, 1895, the city attorney and city counselor offices were merged to establish a Law Department. The Mayor was given the power to appoint a new corporation counsel, subject to the approval of the City Council. John J. Speed was the first city counselor and corporation counsel, who served until June 30, 1896.

Recent Updates

BlightRecent Victory in the City of Detroit Law Department Commercial Blight Litigation
The City of Detroit Law Department is pleased to announce a major victory in the first of many commercial blight litigation cases to be filed.

On June 23, 2014, the City of Detroit, by and through Deputy Corporation Counsel, Chuck Raimi and Supervising Assistant Corporation Counsel, Stanley DeJongh, filed suit under a common law nuisance abatement theory to have 139 Bagley declared a dangerous building and to have it immediately demolished. 

The 5-story structure, a monument to blight, stands without a roof and with falling bricks.  The condition of the building is so bad that it made the adjoining sidewalk a danger to the public; and a tree growing inside the building is an open eye-soar, by riders on the People Mover.

After an intense 3-days of evidentiary hearing, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Robert Colombo granted the City’s motion, ruling that 139 Bagley is an “Immediate, wrongful and continuing danger to the public welfare and safety.” The Court further ordered that Anthony Peroni, owner of the building, "[t]o commence demolition of the property no later than Friday, August 8, 2014" and that the demolition be completed within 56 days.  Otherwise, the City can demolish the building and that the City be reimbursed with the costs of the demolition within 35 days.

City of Detroit Law Department’s Joint Effort with the United States Department of Justice to End Federal Oversight of the Detroit Police Department
On August 8, 2014, the City of Detroit, by and through the Office of the Corporation Counsel,  and the United States Department of Justice filed a Joint Motion to Dismiss the Consent Judgment requiring federal oversight of the Detroit Police Department. 

The Motion requests the Court to close the case and to dismiss the Monitor, who receives an $87,825 monthly fee paid by Detroit City taxpayers.  Going forward, under a proposed Transition Agreement, the Justice Department will review the Police Department’s internal compliance audits for the next 6 quarters. 

The Detroit Police Department has fundamentally changed since this case was filed in June 2003.  Today, the department’s practices are consistent with constitutional policing standards.