Michael J. Watza heads the governmental litigation and affairs practice at the Kitch firm. Mr. Watza's areas of concentration include litigated, legislative and administrative solutions on behalf of municipal, non profit and private sector clients in the areas of Telecommunications, Energy, Complex Litigation and Legislative Consulting.
Mr. Watza represents clients in state and federal trial courts throughout Michigan and has argued in both the State and U.S. Court of Appeals as well as attended to regulatory matters before the Michigan Public Service Commission, Tax Tribunal, Department of Labor and Economic Growth and Federal Communication Commission. Mr. Watza has also represented his clients' interests before the U.S. Congress and the Michigan State Legislature as a witness, client advisor, negotiator or drafter of legislation on various issues including energy, telecommunications, cable, pipelines, the formation of inter-governmental authorities and tort reform. Michael is also expanding his amicus appearances before the Michigan and Federal Appellate Courts on governmental and insurance matters.
Mr. Watza serves as general counsel for PROTEC, a consortium of several dozen Michigan municipalities with unique interest in local government right-of-way issues and as special projects counsel for the Michigan Municipal Risk Management Authority.
Mr. Watza serves as a member of the Michigan Gaming Control Board and as chairman of the City of Novi Economic Development Corporation. He also is a council member of the Michigan State Bar Association Public Corporation Law Section and Administrative Law Section, and a member of the Covenant House Central School Board of Directors in Detroit, Michigan.
Mr. Watza serves as chairman of a panel of the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission. He is an adjunct member of the Michigan State University Law School faculty, teaching "Ethics and the Practice of Law," and Communications Law and Policy and currently serves as a commercial mediator for the Wayne County Mediation Tribunal.
Mr. Watza was named a Michigan Super Lawyer in 2007 and 2012-2017. Only five percent of the attorneys in the state are named Super Lawyers. Also, Mr. Watza was selected by dBusiness Magazine as a Top Lawyer in Michigan in the field of energy law.
He is AV® Peer Review Rated by LexisNexis/Martindale-Hubbell. The AV Peer Review rating is the highest rating allowed. It attests to a lawyer’s legal ability and professional ethics, and reflects the confidential opinions of the Bar and the Judiciary.
Mr. Watza is a graduate of the Detroit College of Law and Michigan State University.
Recent Presentations and Publications:
WDET Interview, The Internet and E-Rate/Connect Ed Debate, July 2014
Metro Act Primer: Michigan Municipal League and Meridian Twp Training Webinar, June 2014
Comcast/Time Warner/Charter/Midwest Cable Deals Review: Michigan Municipal League Webinar, June 2014
Municipal Bankruptcy Primer for Municipalities, Creditors and Insurers: MMRMA Publication, Co-Authored with Michael Ellis, February 2014
Risk Transfer Legal Update (New Miss Dig Statute Implications and Child Waiver Amendments): MMRMA Winter Meeting, February 2014
Municipal Broadband as The Economic Development Tool: Michigan Municipal League Annual Meeting Detroit, MI September 2013
Municipal Broadband Primer: International Municipal Lawyer’s Association Annual Meeting San Francisco, Ca. September 2013
Pipelines: Critical Infrastructure Primer for Communities in Need of Education: International Municipal Lawyer’s Association Annual Meeting San Francisco, Ca. October 2013
12 Kitch Attorneys Honored as dBusiness Top Lawyers
Mike Watza Conducts General Session of the Telecommunications Committee at IMLA
Mike Watza Presents at Regional Training Webinar
Mike Watza Serves as Guest Moderator at NATOA Annual Meeting
Mike Watza Guides Township on Regulatory Process for Hi Speed, Low Cost, Fiber Based Internet Access
Mike Watza Participated as Webinar Panelist for Illinois Chapter of NATOA
Mike Watza Presented on Telecommunications Policy to IMLA in Washington D.C.
Kitch "Smart Communities" File Extensive Comments at the FCC in the Mobilitie Wireless Tower Docket No. 16-421
Michael J. Watza presented at the State Bar of Michigan Public Corporation Law Section Annual Winter Conference
Michael Watza Presents statewide PROTEC Municipal Telecommunications Update 2016
Affordable Care Act Held Constitutional With Some Limitation