Steven L. Barney

True North ADR, LLC
Gaylord, Michigan 49735


Areas Of Practice

Civil Rights
Divorce Modification and Enforcement
Electronically Stored Information
Professional Liability
Real Estate
Trusts and Estates


My entire legal career has been almost exclusively devoted to litigation where I have represented business and individuals in a variety of areas: Professional Liability, including Attorneys, CPAs, Appraisers, and Realtors; Construction Liability, including Architects, Engineers & Contractors Products Liability, including Aircraft, Firearms, Chemicals & Machinery; Complex Commercial & Property Liability; General Liability & Business Torts; Transportation, including Trucking, Aircraft, ATVs and Autos; Oil & Gas field operations and leasing; and, domestic relations.

My Alternative Dispute Resolution practice began more than 20 years ago when I was accepted as part of a pilot program for mediation through the Western District of Michigan’s U.S. Federal District Court. I have also been a panel member of the American Arbitration Associations’ Commercial Arbitrators for the past twenty years.

I am currently Of Counsel to Plunkett Cooney but devote the majority of my time to Mediations, Arbitrations and other related dispute resolution processes. I market and make my services available through True North ADR. My ADR practice is statewide with some regional and national experience.

My mediation practice has been extensive and diverse over the past 20 years. I have mediated several hundred cases involving all the areas noted above including employment matters. I have also acted as both a sole and panel arbitrator in a number of cases. I am current on all the AAA’s requirements to remain listed as a Commercial Arbitration panel member.

The following is an overview of my litigation and ADR experience:

Professional Liability:

  • Representation of attorneys in professional negligence matters involving domestic relations, employment, commercial contracts, personal injury, real estate and criminal law
  • Representation of realtors and appraisers in a variety of matters including negligent appraisals, breach of professional responsibilities and unauthorized practice of law
  • Representation of accountants in the defense of claims involving audits, business planning and commercial transactions
  • Representation of Pharmacists in matters relating to negligent dispensation of prescriptions.

Construction Liability:

  • Commercial Construction – Architectural and Structural
  • Mechanics Lien
  • Contract Administration and Interpretation Disputes
  • Construction Arbitration Proceedings
  • Soil, Erosion and Underground Utilities
  • Zoning and Permitting
  • Electrical and Mechanical including HVAC
  • Flooring Systems – Design and Installation
  • Roofing Systems – Design and Installation
  • Construction Accidents including Coverage and Indemnity Issues
  • Residential Homes – Design and Construction

Products Liability:

Personally handled hundreds of products liability cases including the following examples:  stamping presses, wood molding machines, autos, farm equipment, ATVs, motorcycles, automatic sensing equipment, electrical conduits and wiring, fire and explosions including chemicals, mechanical presses, fire suppression systems and chainsaws.

Complex Commercial & Business Torts:

Cases litigated include commercial lending, commercial contracts, personal and business defamation and employment.

Transportation & Auto:

Representation of a number of companies and carriers in a variety of cases including commercial trucking, farm equipment, ATVs, autos, hitched trailers, off-load vehicles, motorcycles and golf carts.

Mediation & Arbitration Practice:

  • Approved Arbitrator: American Arbitration Association National Roster of Arbitrators and Mediators, Commercial Panel Member
  • Certified Mediator/Facilitator, United States District Court Western District of Michigan
  • Certified Mediator, Michigan Supreme Court’s Community Dispute Resolution Program
  • Chartered Institute of Arbitrators’ Associate Member
  • Completion of Defense Research Institute’s Mediation Seminar
  • Completion of Harvard Law School’s Program of Instruction for Lawyers-Mediation Workshop
  • Completion of 2nd Annual Advanced Negotiation & Dispute Resolution Institute Mediation Training
  • Completion of American Arbitration Association’s Commercial currency training requirements (March 2014)
  • Completion of United States District Court, Western District of Michigan’s Advanced, Refresher Mediator Training (March 2014)

Professional Affiliations:

  • Fellow, American College of Trial Attorneys (
  • American Bar Association (
  • American Board of Trial Advocates, Michigan Chapter (
  • Defense Research Institute (
  • Emmet/Charlevoix Bar Association
  • Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel (FDCC) – Past President (
  • Lawyer-Pilots Bar Association (Past)
  • Michigan Bar Association (
  • Michigan Defense Trial Counsel (Past President) (

Publications & Lectures:

Various publications and in conjunction with personal presentations, most recently on facilitation, products liability, technology, Internet discovery, etc. including:

  • What’s Working – What’s Not in ADR
  • ADR Section of the State Bar of Michigan, Preparing Yourself and Your Client for Facilitative Mediation
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution for the South Dakota Defense Lawyers Association
  • How to be a Better Advocate in Facilitated Mediations
  • Discovery of Electronic Information: How to Discover and Retrieve Evidence From Opponent’s Computer and Draft or Respond to Electronic Discovery Requests
  • Using Technology to Reduce Your Litigation Costs
  • How To Digest Written Discovery Requests
  • Products Liability: Benefits of Early Detection and Investigation
  • Avoiding Sanctions in Discovery, Joint International Conference, Barcelona, Spain
  • Discovery in the International Setting – E-Discovery, British Insurance Law Association, London, England

Prepared and presented numerous presentations for the FDCC and others on legal malpractice, products liability, electronic discovery, foreign discovery, etc. most recently including:

  • Technology and the Business of Litigation
  • Surf and Turf: Cyberspace from the Ground Up – The Issues (Legal and Otherwise) of Electronic Information
  • Case Evaluation Software
  • Ethics Issues for the Defense: You Be the Judge
  • How to Prepare Your Client and Yourself for Mediation

FDCC Litigation Management College – Faculty member.

Other Memberships (Past and Present)

  • Petoskey Area Chamber of Commerce (Past)
  • Petoskey Bay View Country Club (Past Board Member)
  • Petoskey Housing Commission (Past)
  • Top of Michigan Trails Council (President)


Preparatory Education:

  • Davenport University (A.S., 1966)
  • Memphis State University (1967)
  • Michigan State University (1968)
  • Ferris State University (B.S., 1969)

Legal Education:

  • Michigan State University, Detroit College of Law (J.D., 1972)

Honors and Awards:

  • Graduated cum laude - Michigan State University/Detroit College of Law
  • Who's Who Among American University & College Students 1969-1976
  • Lederle Scholarship (DCL) 1971
  • American Jurisprudence Award - 1971 (DCL)
  • Named a “Super Lawyer”, Michigan 2006-2014


  • Omicron Beta Kappa
  • Pi Kappa Delta

Admission to Bar: 1972, Michigan

Personal Interests:

Enjoy golfing, motorcycling, hunting and fishing.

Steven L. Barney – Trial Lawyer, Mediator, Arbitrator

Bring forty years of trial experience to your negotiation process.

Steve's trial skills and courtroom experience have consistently lead him to recognition by his peers. He is a Fellow of the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers ( and the American Board of Trial Attorneys (  He has repeatedly been named a Super Lawyer and has served as President of both the FDCC ( and the Michigan Defense Trial Counsel. (  Steve's vast years of courtroom work with judges and juries allows him to bring a perspective to the table that will help you, your clients and your adversaries reach resolutions that may seem impossible. 

Steve has mediated hundreds of cases over the past 20 years and is known for his unique ability to relate to all kinds of personalities. His people skills are well recognized by those who have used him as a Mediator.  Steve is a Certified Mediator for both State and Federal Courts.  He is a graduate of Harvard University's Mediation Program and has completed additional training from nationally recognized insitutions.  

Steve has been successful in resolving both litigation and pre-litigation matters involving:

  • Commercial & Business Disputes
  • Municipal & Government Matters
  • Real Estate & Land Disputes
  • Professional Practice Disputes – including Brokers, Lawyers, Doctors, Insurance Agents, Contractors, Engineers, Surveyors and Other Professionals
  • Employment
  • Domestic Relations
  • Oil & Gas Disputes
  • Personal Injury Litigation
  • Products Liability

In addition to Steve's Mediation practice, he is qualified to serve in the following capacities:

  • Arbitrator (American Arbitration Association, Commerical Panel Memer)
  • Consultant for conflicts in the business environment
  • Special Master for electronic and complex discovery
  • Consultant to attorneys on case evaluation and trial strategy

Phone: 231-838-1500

[email protected]

PO Box 961
Petoskey, MI 49770