Detroit—June 14, 2021—Lawrence Opalewski, a zoning, land use, and religious property attorney at Dalton + Tomich, has been named an Up and Coming Lawyer by the legal trade publication Michigan Lawyers Weekly. This award acknowledges legal practitioners who—in their first 10 years of practicing law—are establishing a name for themselves through their achievements; have a reputation for going above and beyond; and display ambition, drive and determination that set them apart from their peers. Opalewski and his fellow honorees were recognized in a virtual awards ceremony on June 10 and in a special Michigan Lawyers Weekly section profiling the Class of 2021, which can be viewed here.
Only eight years out of law school, Opalewski was named a partner at Dalton & Tomich in 2021, where he started his legal career as a law clerk. He represents religious organizations in land use disputes, private property owners in zoning, site plan and easement disputes, and privately held businesses as general counsel, and is the author of Dalton & Tomich’s practical guide, How to Win Planning Commission Approval. Opalewski’s strong interest in the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) of 2000 has helped the firm’s religious land use practice garner a national reputation in the pursuit of religious freedom for all faiths by furthering their faith community missions and representing their RLUIPA property rights against township and city zoning laws.
Opalewski additionally leads client engagements in a variety of niche legal areas including the firm’s riparian (water rights) practice—an area that has grown significantly as second homeowners fled to their lake houses during the pandemic—andthe firm’s new surplus proceeds practice, an effort that came about following the Michigan Supreme Court case of July 2020, Rafaeli LLC v Oakland County. The ruling held that in situations where properties were seized by the county for lack of property tax payments, the county could not keep surplus proceeds when the property was sold at auction. As a result, Opalewski is working with clients to regain their often-significant amounts of money lost in the tax foreclosure process.
Opalewski is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and the Detroit Bar Association; he is admitted to practice in the Sixth Circuit and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeal. While he enjoys advocating for his clients through litigation, he also seeks to solve problems less contentiously outside the courtroom as a State of Michigan certified civil mediator. He has been listed as a Michigan Super Lawyer-Rising Star since 2017.
Opalewski received his Juris Doctor from Detroit Mercy Law in 2013, where he served as Law Review Title Editor. He received his undergraduate degree from Oakland University.
Larry has been a member of the Clinton Township Planning Commission since 2017 and enjoys guiding the planning efforts of the community where he lives. He is active in his church, Woodside Bible Church of Romeo, and regularly participates in volunteer community efforts organized by Woodside.
About Dalton + Tomich
Serving as a partner to religious organizations, Detroit-based Dalton + Tomich is a national leader in religious property law land use, notably with cases related to the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) and denominational splits. The firm also represents private property owners in site plan approvals, zoning appeals and land use disputes involving zoning, easements, boundary line disputes and access to water. Additionally, the firm works with privately held businesses, lending institutions and businesses in Michigan and Illinois. Learn more about our services for businesses and religious organizations at https://www.daltontomich.com/.
The attorneys of Dalton & Tomich, PLC have the experience and the knowledge to work with you to develop a legal solution that helps accomplish your goals. Our collaborative approach has helped leaders like you grow businesses and banks, develop and expand churches, and build nonprofit organizations nationwide.
In my role as Administrative Bishop for the Church of God, quite often we are faced with issues that involve local governments and municipalities. Many of these issues that arise in dealing with entities are land use related. I have found Dalton & Tomich’s experience and expertise in this area to be a valuable resource and asset in every situation.
Never one time during a year-long litigation process did Dalton & Tomich demonstrate anything other than Christ-like professionalism. They managed the legal details, while we continued to do church. How they managed themselves, managed our case, and represented our church set the table for me and our church to be where we are today.
Dalton & Tomich’s expertise and experience helped us through a very difficult legal journey, ultimately achieving a favorable outcome. Their personal interest in helping us went “above and beyond” just the call of duty.