Don Passenger Attorney

Donald H. Passenger (he prefers just “Don”) is an attorney with decades of experience. He regularly handles complex litigation in federal and state courts, and he helps medium, small and even mom and pop types with practical advice for their business, real estate, trust and estate planning.

About Don
Attorney Don Passenger
Don Passenger, Attorney

Before returning to private practice in 2017, Don served as a District Court Judge for over 20 years, presiding over many thousands of trials and tens of thousands of motions. As a leader in his six judge court, he served as the Chief Judge Pro-Tem for 12 years. He was also considered a leader-among-judicial-leaders statewide as he was chosen by his peers for a six-year stint on the Michigan District Judges executive committee, culminating in his selection as President in 2012.

In 2015, the City Attorney of Grand Rapids invited him to join her Enforcement Division where his energetic personality and thorough preparation worked to the people’s advantage in dozens of jury trials and hundreds of non-jury trials.

Don always stays active and involved in the legal and non-legal communities. He has been a member of ICLE’s Technology Law and Training Advisory Board and has been a frequent presenter on many topics for the State Bar of Michigan, ICLE, the Supreme Court Administrative Office, and the Michigan Judicial Institute. Don was selected by the Michigan Supreme Court to serve on the Collections Advisory Subcommittee. He has been active for many years in a variety of organizations in the West Michigan community. For over twenty years, Don served as a volunteer staff member at the Great Lakes Burn Camp where he worked with pediatric burn survivors as they regained self-esteem and confidence in a camp setting.

Don served as an adjunct professor at Davenport University in the Computer Information Systems and Legal Studies Departments from 1999 to 2003. He then served Davenport University for over 15 years as a member of its paralegal advisory team. In that role, he helped the program pass accreditation review several times. He has also been hired as the technical editor on dozens of published technology books.

Some of his past and present clients include:

  • The United States Marshal for the Western District of Michigan
  • Old Kent Bank and Trust
  • Caledonia Community Schools
  • Dozens of Credit Unions and Community Banks
  • The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA)
  • Hundreds of Small Businesses, Partnerships, LLC’s and Corporations
  • Saskatoon Golf Club
  • Doctors, Dentists, Chiropractors, Travel Agencies and other professionals
  • McDonald Plumbing
  • Seif and Sons Chevrolet
  • Hundreds of farmers
  • Robt. Grooters Development
Areas of Practice
  • Complex Litigation
  • Estate Planning, probate and trust work
  • Real Estate
  • Easement, Subdivision, Condominium and Commercial Development Law
  • Business Disputes and Formation including corporations and limited liability companies
  • Creditor’s Rights
  • Waterfront, Riparian and Littoral Rights
  • Construction Liens
  • General Practice
  • Burn Injuries
  • Bicycle Law
Litigation Percentage

50% of Practice Devoted to Litigation
50% of Practice Devoted to Real Estate, Business and Other Practice


Don is an SCAO trained mediator and also has worked on multiple arbitration matters. He brings many years of experience both as a practicing attorney, but also as a judge to the table and he can help you settle even a thorny case where others may fail.

Bar Admissions

Michigan, 1986
U.S. District Court Western District of Michigan 1986

  • University of Notre Dame Law School, Notre Dame, Indiana
    J.D. – 1986
  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
    B.S.N.R. – 1983
  • Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Rapids, Michigan
    A.A. – 1981
  • Caledonia High School, Caledonia, Michigan
    Graduate – 1978

Published Works

Ring in the New Year with Old Technology, Michigan State Bar Journal, 2003
with co-author Jeff Kirkey, Institute of Continuing Legal Education director of Technology

Un-canned Spam – Getting it Back in the Tin, Michigan State Bar Journal, 2003
with co-author Jeff Kirkey, Institute of Continuing Legal Education director of Technology

Technical editor for numerous published books on technology including in the areas of effective use of Windows operating systems, digital photography, web design, and office suites.

Classes / Seminars Attended OR PRESENTED

Michigan Association of Housing Officials (MAHO), Summer Conference, Topic: Courtroom Procedures, June 2023-Presenter

MCODSA Spring Training Seminar (Michigan Curt Officers, Deputy Sheriffs & Process Servers’ Association), April 2021-Presenter

Social Media Evidence Series, March 2021

Michigan Liquor Control Commission, March 2021

MIDC – Ethics and Evidence in Criminal Cases, MI Indigent Defense Commission, October 2019

Michigan Association of Housing Officials (MAHO) Speaker on Municipal Code Enforcement, Summer 2018-Presenter

Michigan Court Officer, Deputy Sheriff & Process Servers Association (MCODSA), Presenter on General Civil Matters and Process of Service, April 2018-Presenter

Drug Recognition Experts in Drugged and Drunk Driving Cases, August 2017, Michigan District Judges Association Annual Conference-Presenter

Technology Moderator, ICLE Small Business Technology, State Bar Annual Meeting

Sixty Technology Tips in Sixty Minutes, State Bar of Michigan Annual Meeting-Presenter

Select Landlord-Tenant Issues, Michigan Supreme Court Annual Judicial Conference, May 2006-Presenter

Developing Your Own Website, Grand Rapids Bar Association, June 1997-Presenter

Unraveling the Web, A Basic Internet Seminar, Grand Rapids Bar Association, June 1997-Presenter