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Niehoff, Leonard

Professor from Practice

971 Legal Research
Leonard M. Niehoff joined the Michigan Law faculty as a Professor from Practice in 2010 after eight years as an adjunct faculty member. In June 2011, he also became of counsel to Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP. He practices in Honigman’s litigation department, co-chairs its appellate practice group, and chairs its higher education law practice group. Prof. Niehoff previously practiced with the Butzel Long law firm for 26 years, at various times chairing its appellate, media, and higher education practice groups.

Prof. Niehoff has handled libel, privacy, and access matters for such media clients as The Detroit News, CBS, Scripps-Howard, and "60 Minutes." He has also represented many institutions of higher education, including the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Wayne State University, and Yale University. This included service on the team that defended the University of Michigan's use of affirmative action in its admissions policies. Over the years, Prof. Niehoff also has maintained an active pro bono docket, representing individuals in free speech cases and working in cooperation with such organizations as the ACLU, the Anti-Defamation League, and the NAACP. Publications such as The Best Lawyers in America and Chambers USA have long recognized Prof. Niehoff as a leading trial and appellate advocate. In 2010, he was elected to the board of directors of the National Association of College and University Attorneys and to the board of governors of the American Bar Association Forum on Communications Law.

Prof. Niehoff also has a deep interest in legal scholarship. He is the author or coauthor of more than 100 publications, including a treatise on the rights of publishers and reporters, a monograph on the attorney-client privilege, several book chapters, and dozens of law review and bar journal articles on wide-ranging issues. He frequently contributes guest editorials and letters to online and print publications. And he communicates about current legal issues through a variety of social media, including His research interests span the fields of civil procedure, ethics, evidence, First Amendment, higher education law, legal philosophy, and Supreme Court history.

Prof. Niehoff received his BA and JD degrees from the University of Michigan. He has also pursued post-graduate study in philosophy and theology.

Recent Publications

"Training the New Litigator: Some Assembly Required." Litigation 40, no. 4 (2014).​

"Material Falsity in Defamation Cases: The Supreme Court's Call for Contextual Analysis." Tobin, Charles D., Comm. Law. 30, no. 3 (2014).​

"Three Puzzling Things about New York Times v. Sullivan: Beginning the Anniversary Conversation." Comm. Law. 29, no. 3 (2013): 10.
Full Text: Westlaw

"Opinions, Implications, and Confusions." Comm. Law. 28, no. 3 (2011).

"When the Supreme Court Came to Michigan." The Court Legacy 17, no. 2 (2010): 1-7.

"Soft-Core Perjury." Litigation 36 (2010): 8.

"Of Tweets and Trials." Comm. Law. 27, no. 3 (2010): 10.


Moderated ABA Teleconference, "One Size Does Not Fit All: Comparing and Contrasting Appeals Among State and Federal Intermediate and High Appellate Courts," September 2014. ​

Participated with Erwin Chemerinsky in a webinar about the Supreme Court decision Fisher v. University of Texas that was conducted by the National Association of College and University Attorneys, July 2013.

Presented "Ethics for Lawyers New to the Practice of Higher Education Law" and "The Diversity Challenge: Affirmative Action in Higher Education and Fisher v. University of Texas" at the annual meeting of the National Association of College and University Attorneys, June 2013.

Spoke on "Legal Ethics for Media Lawyers" at the annual Media Law Conference sponsored by the Media Law Resource Center, the Newspaper Association of America, and the National Association of Broadcasters, Reston, Virginia, October 2012.

Spoke to print and broadcast reporters about the basics of civil procedure during a Federal Bar Association program called “A Backstage Pass for Journalists Covering the Federal Courts," October 2012.

Presented "Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission: A Fugue in Two Voices," Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, November 2011.

Moderator, "Social Media: Faculty and Student Rights and Responsibilities," National Association of College and University Attorneys Annual Conference, San Francisco, June 2011.

Moderator, "Send Lawyers, Guns, and Money: The Second Amendment on Campus," National Association of College and University Attorneys Annual Conference, San Francisco, June 2011.

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