Experienced Attorneys

Our Attorneys have a wide range of experience representing public bodies, businesses, nonprofits, and estates as both general counsel and litigators.

John A. Carlson

Senior Partner

  • State Bar of Michigan
  • Oakland County Bar Association
  • National Association of Bond Lawyers

  • Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, University of Minnesota, 1975
  • Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, University of Minnesota, 1970

  • Michigan
  • United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
  • United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee)

  • Recognized by dbusiness as a Top Lawyer in Public Finance Law, 2014 and 2017
  • SuperLawyer Rated in 2018

  • Oakland University School of Education, Graduate Course on School Law 1979-1983
  • Guest Lecturer 1985, Eastern Michigan University, Legal Problems of Education of The Handicapped
  • Michigan School Business Officials (MSBO) , Convention on School Finance 1984
  • Various In-services For Teachers and Administrators

  • Treasurer, Friends of the Farmington Library, Inc., 1984 to 2013

My Specialities

John A. Carlson joined Shifman & Carlson, P.C., in 1977, after serving as a prehearing attorney and law clerk in the Michigan Court of Appeals. During his forty-plus years of practicing law, Mr. Carlson has handled nearly every matter conceivable for his clients, including wills, trusts, probate for estates, nonprofit formation, construction disputes, real estate sales negotiations and closings, and so on. In addition to directly serving clients, he has managed the business of the firm and overseen the work of the associate attorneys in recent years.

Through drafting and amending many wills and trusts over the years, Mr. Carlson is an expert in estate planning, as well as probating estates, and has made numerous presentations on those subjects to a variety of groups. He has also expanded his real estate practice so that in addition to having extensive experience in real estate transactions, he has also represented condominium developers and homeowners’ associations. Mr. Carlson has been general counsel to numerous nonprofit entities and public bodies for many years, and his broad expertise in the areas of municipal, school, and other public sector law includes qualification as nationally recognized bond counsel.


Mr. Carlson regularly advises his clients on:

  • Real estate transactions, including sales negotiations, examining closing documents, and resolving clouds on title.
    • Estate planning and probate, including drafting wills and trusts and administering probate estates and trusts.
    • Non-profit and public sector general counsel services, including start-up, corporate governance, articles of incorporation, bylaws, and compliance.
  • Contract negotiations and review, including leases, equipment purchases, and the like.
    • Construction Law
  • Small Business and Franchise Law
  • Municipalities and Schools, including traditional school districts, charter schools, and private schools.
    • Bond and note counsel for issuance of municipal and school district obligations and follow-up advice, including arbitrage issues.
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Our Practice Area

  • Business & Franchise

    As both a small business and a law firm, Shifman…

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  • Municipal & School Finance

    Shifman & Carlson, P.C., is qualified and experienced to advise…

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  • Education Law

    Shifman & Carlson, P.C. is a law firm that specializes…

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  • Probate & Estates

    As probate attorneys, Shifman & Carlson, P.C. has been assisting…

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  • Nonprofits & Charities

    Religious organizations, community foundations, professional fundraisers, volunteers and other nonprofit…

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  • Real Estate

    The real estate team at Shifman & Carlson, P.C. has…

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  • Municipal Law

    Shifman & Carlson, P.C. represents and advises cities, villages, and…

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  • Serving MI Since 1963 – 100+ Years of Combined Experience

  • Top Rating For Ethics & Legal Ability (AV® Rating)

  • Selected for Inclusion in DBusiness Top Lawyers

  • Two Office Locations: Farmington Hills & Grand Rapids

  • Representing Individuals, Businesses, Municipalities & Schools

We proudly serve clients in Wayne County, Oakland County and Macomb County

Contact Us

Contact Our Farmington Hills Attorney at Shifman & Carlson, P.C. Today!