Matthew J. Zalewski is an associate at the firm, providing general counsel and litigation services to municipalities, and specializing in land use, zoning, real estate, and constitutional law. He has spent his entire legal career in municipal law, having previously served as a law clerk and Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Dearborn.
Matt has handled litigation and appeals in state and federal courts on subjects including takings, ordinance validity, sign regulations, permit and inspection procedures, nuisances, code enforcement, dangerous building demolition, development contracts, speech, religion, equal protection, due process, discrimination, harassment, police conduct, negligence, and personal injury. He is experienced in handling matters in the Michigan Tax Tribunal, defending municipal interests in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, and prosecuting code enforcement cases.
In his general counsel capacity, Matt has advised communities on matters including zoning, development, building codes, nuisance abatement, condemnation, property taxation, administrative searches, First Amendment policies, special assessment districts, wetlands, land transactions, contracts, library law, and compliance with the Freedom of Information and Open Meetings Acts. He has substantial experience working with municipal boards and commissions, defending their actions, and designing rules of procedure to guide their activities. He is skilled at drafting ordinances and policies that are compatible with substantive law and that comply with due process requirements.
Matt carries his passion for government into the community and the classroom. He serves as Vice Chairperson of the Dearborn Planning Commission and was appointed by Governor Rick Snyder in 2018 to represent the general public on the Michigan Residential Builders’ and Maintenance and Alteration Contractors’ Board. He has taught courses on constitutional and administrative law at Michigan State and Eastern Michigan Universities, including a course he designed on law for public administrators that he continues to offer. In addition to providing opportunities to give back to the community and profession, these activities provide Matt with firsthand governing experience and up-to-date knowledge that he draws upon to support his clients.
- General Municipal Law
- Constitutional Law and Civil Rights
- Zoning and Land Use
- Real Estate and Construction
- Taxes and Assessing
- Michigan State University (Political Science), M.A., 2015
- Wayne State University Law School, J.D., 2008
- Oakland University (History & Political Science), B.A., 2004
- State Bar of Michigan
Government Law Section
- Oakland County Bar Association, Municipal Law Committee
- American Planning Association
- Michigan State University Department of Political Science
- Eastern Michigan University Department of Political Science
Admitted to Practice
- All courts in the State of Michigan
- United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
- United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
- “City Assessments and Local Policy Preferences: The Relative Roles of Demographics, Ideology, and Civic Culture.” Journal of Urban Affairs (with Laura Reese), 2018
- “Campaigning for the State High Court Bench.” Ch. 4 in Judicial Elections in the 21st Century, ed. Chris Bonneau and Melinda Gann Hall. New York: Routledge (with Melinda Hall), 2017
- “Substantive and Procedural Tolerance: Are Diverse Communities Really More Tolerant?” Urban Affairs Review, 51(6): 781-818 (with Laura Reese), 2015.
- “Random Strikes or Targeted Hits? Attack Advertising in State Supreme Court Elections,” Presentation to the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Philadelphia, PA, September 4, 2016.
- “Political Activism or Active Representation? The Nature of State Interests Represented by State Attorneys General in Federal Affordable Care Act Litigation.” Presentation to the Annual Conference of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, IL, April 18, 2015.
- “Home Rule or Judge Rule? State Supreme Court Behavior in Local Government Regulation Cases.” Presentation to the Annual Meeting of the Southern Political Science Association, New Orleans, LA, January 17, 2015.
Community Activities / Involvement
- Michigan Residential Builders’ and Maintenance and Alteration Contractors’ Board
Public Member, 2018-present
- Dearborn Planning Commission
Vice Chairperson, 2012-present
- Madison Heights Library Advisory Board
- Madison Heights Historical Commission
- Madison Heights Youth Assistance Board of Directors
Past Chair, Vice Chair, and Secretary, 1998-2004