Deanna Swisher

Deanna Swisher: Attorney with Foster, Swift, Collins & Smith, P.C.


Deanna’s practice focuses on the areas of commercial and employment litigation and her service as general counsel to fashion designers. Deanna leads Fosterfashion, the firm’s fashion and design law team.

She also handles alternative dispute resolution, primarily through service as an arbitrator as well as representing clients in a variety of real estate, mortgage, collection and creditor rights matters. She is a member of the firm’s Banking, Finance and Real Estate Practice Group, Employment Law, S.E.E.D. and Agricultural Law Group.

Deanna handles a broad range of commercial litigation matters including breach of contract litigation, defending contract and statutory claims arising from the mortgagee/mortgagor relationship, resolving real property easement, adverse possession, boundary and title disputes, enforcing the rights of parties to secured transactions, filing and defending actions for conversion, breach of fiduciary duty, tortious interference with contract as well as other business torts.

Deanna also drafts and negotiates licensing agreements, commission agreements, employment and independent contractor agreements and advises clients regarding the misclassification of employees. When out-of-court efforts and administrative proceedings fail to resolve disputes, she defends employers in state and federal courts in breach of contract discrimination and retaliation actions, and she files suits to enjoin violations of, covenants not-to-compete provisions and sales commission agreements.

Her work as a commercial litigator has earned the respect of her peers, as is demonstrated by her AV Preeminent Martindale-Hubbell rating and Best Lawyers in America recognition in Commercial Litigation since 2009. Deanna serves on the AAA Commercial Panel of Neutrals and serves as a mediator.

Prior to joining Foster, Swift, Deanna clerked for Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Carolyn Stell and worked for Varnum, Riddering, Schmidt & Howlet.

Admitted to practice in Michigan, she is a member of the Federal Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Ingham County Bar Association. Deanna is a member of the Fellows of the Michigan State Bar Foundation, and she is a former member of the State Bar of Michigan’s Client Protection Fund Committee and the Indiana University Law Alumni Board. In 2017, Deanna was admitted to the Texas Bar to practice law there.

Locally, Deanna volunteers her time to a variety of Lansing and Detroit area endeavors that support start-up fashion and design businesses, artists and a wide variety of makers. She also volunteers her time to The Friends of Reutter Park and to Operation Santa, a program that provides Christmas gifts to children of low-income families. She has served as the President of the Board of Trustees of Michigan Montessori Internationale, Inc., and she is a founding member of the Lansing Chapter of Inforum and AthenaWIN.

Born in Crawfordsville, Indiana, Deanna was a summa cum laude graduate of Ball State University, obtaining degrees in Political Science and the Honors College. She received her legal education and juris doctorate from Indiana University in 1985. She continued her legal education at Fordham Law, in 2014, attending its fashion law intensive summer program.

Honors & Recognitions

AV Preeminent Martindale-Hubbell

Best Lawyers in America 2009-2018 (Commercial Litigation)

American Arbitration Association Roster of Neutrals, Commercial Panel


Recent Blog Posts

Fosterfashion Blog

•Fashion Designer Khanh Nguyen Shares Her Passion and Wisdom with Michigan Fashion Startups
•The Perfect, Inspiring Break
•The FTC Cranks Up the Heat on Wool
•Grow Your Business with Foster Swift's SEED Group
•Are You Personally Liable for Your Business's Debts?
•Who Will be Next?
•Does your Design House have a Firm Foundation?
•Getting Your Design House in Order
•Labels: A Necessary Pain in the Neck
•Lansing, are you ready to roll. .. into production?


•An Ideal Time to Take on Your Accounts Receivable, Foster Swift Finance, Real Estate & Bankruptcy News, August 18, 2016
•Employee or Independent Contractor?, Foster Swift Agricultural Law News, January 29, 2016
•Trade Dress - A Good Fit for Fashion?, Ipls Proceedings - State Bar of Michigan, January 2015
•Financing the Creative, Foster Swift Finance, Real Estate & Bankruptcy News, August 26, 2014
•Is Your Independent Contractor Really an Employee?, Foster Swift Agricultural Law Update, January 16, 2014
•Mediation: A Viable Alternative to Litigation, Michigan Chamber of Commerce, 2008

News & Events


•46 Foster Swift Attorneys Named to 2018 Best Lawyers in America, August 21, 2017
•Business Attorneys Release an Additional Three Legal Basics Videos, October 12, 2015
•44 Foster Swift Attorneys Named to 2016 Best Lawyers in America Roster, August 21, 2015
•Runway's first sponsor renews: Foster Swift Continues Support of Lansing’s Fashion Incubator, April 24, 2015
•Fashion is alive in Michigan: Foster Swift Launches New Fosterfashion Blog, October 22, 2014
•Lights, Camera, Fashion: Foster Swift Partners with Runway Lansing, October 14, 2014
•45 Foster Swift attorneys named to 2015 Best Lawyers in America roster, August 19, 2014

Speaking Engagements

•The Business of Fashion, September 28, 2017
•Road to Retail Instructor, The Runway, Lansing's fashion incubator, June 17, 2016
•Panel Member M-Power Your Art, Detroit Startup Week, May 24, 2016
•A Pattern for Success, Industry Days: Design & Manufacturing, Detroit Design Festival, September 22, 2015
•Fashion Law, The Fashion Association of Merchandising and Design at Central Michigan University, November 4, 2014
•Proper Use of Email, Walsh College, March 10, 2011

Areas of Practice (8)

  • General & Commercial Litigation
  • Employment Law
  • Real Estate Litigation
  • Employment Litigation
  • Fashion and Design Law
  • Startup Entrepreneurial Emerging Development (S.E.E.D)
  • Collections / Creditor - Debtor Rights
  • Arbitration & Mediation

Education & Credentials

Contact Information:
517.371.8136  Phone
517.371.8200  Fax
University Attended:
Ball State University, B.S., summa cum laude, 1982
Law School Attended:
Indiana University School of Law, J.D., 1985
Year of First admission:
1985, Michigan; U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan; U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan; U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals


Memberships & Affiliations

Legal Affiliations:

•American Bar Association
•State Bar of Michigan
•Michigan State Bar Foundation, fellow
•Federal Bar Association
•State Bar of Texas

Community Involvement:

•Member, LEAP Board of Directors and Steering Committee
•Member, Friends of Reutter Park
•Member, Michigan Athletic Club

Reported Cases:
Representative Matters: Successfully defended a multi-million dollar action alleging breach of warranty, brought by a first tier supplier/manufacturer of injection molded automotive parts against a second tier supplier of thermoplastic. In addition to receiving a very favorable result, she protected proprietary client information from disclosure in federal district court by negotiating an agreement to arbitrate.; Obtained summary judgment for the employer/defendant in a same sex harassment and retaliation case, and successfully argued to affirm this favorable result before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.; Obtained summary judgment in a variety of lawsuits involving real estate disputes, to include actions asserting adverse possession and claims arising under the Michigan Sellers' Disclosure Act.
Payment Information:
  • Accepts
  • Peer Reviews

    • 5.0/5.0
    • A Martindale-Hubbell Peer Rating reflects a combination of achieving a Very High General Ethical Standards rating and a Legal Ability numerical rating.

    *Peer Reviews provided before April 15, 2008 are not displayed.

    Client Reviews

    This attorney does not have client reviews.

    Documents ({{amountArticles}})

    Documents by this lawyer on
    Other documents: ,

    Lansing, Michigan

    Contact Deanna Swisher

    Please correct the fields highlighted in red.

    By clicking on the "Submit" button, you agree to the Terms of Use, Supplemental Terms and Privacy Policy. You also consent to be contacted at the phone number you provided, including by autodials, text messages and/or pre-recorded calls, from Martindale and its affiliates and from or on behalf of attorneys you request or contact through this site. Consent is not a condition of purchase.

    You should not send any sensitive or confidential information through this site. Emails sent through this site do not create an attorney-client relationship and may not be treated as privileged or confidential. The lawyer or law firm you are contacting is not required to, and may choose not to, accept you as a client. The Internet is not necessarily secure and emails sent though this site could be intercepted or read by third parties.