Bruce Thelen, '77, is a member of Dickinson Wright PLLC, where he chairs the firm's international practice team composed of lawyers from all of its substantive practice groups.
He represents clients throughout the world in a wide-ranging practice that includes cross-border acquisitions and direct investments, joint ventures and strategic alliances, distribution, marketing and licensing arrangements, cross-border debt financing and trade finance, customs and international trade, supply-chain management, and international regulatory compliance. Although his practice covers many industries, he has extensive background in the automotive sector, including representation of global vehicle and parts manufacturers and suppliers in manufacturing and distribution in all regions of the world, as well as specialty automotive projects involving amphibious vehicles, Formula 1 racing programs, startup electric vehicle manufacturers, and the manufacturer of the classic London taxi. For two years, while remaining a member of his firm, he served as in-house international counsel for Chrysler Corporation.
Thelen is currently a member of the International Bar Association's governing council and an officer of its North American Regional Forum, and has chaired the organization's International Sales Committee and its subcommittee on Financial Aspects of International Sales. In 1988, he worked with Michigan Law's late Emeritus Professor John Jackson in launching the Michigan Bar's International Law Section and later served as chair of the Section. He has been a frequent lecturer at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business and a member of the advisory council for the Ross School's Center for International Business Education and Research. Since 1995, he has served by appointment of the U.S. Secretary of Commerce on the Michigan District Export Council, a private sector advisory body for the Commerce Department's export promotion programs. He was the founder of the German American Chamber of Commerce of Michigan, the largest in the United States, and was awarded the Order of Merit (Bundesverdienstkreuz) by the president of the Federal Republic of Germany in acknowledgement of his work. Best Lawyers in America has recognized him as Detroit's 2017 "Lawyer of the Year" for international trade and finance.
Thelen began his legal career in New York with Dewey Ballantine Bushby Palmer & Wood. He is admitted to practice in Michigan, New York, and the U.S. Court of International Trade.