Dennis W. Archer

Dickinson Wright PLLC
Organization Type: Law Firm
Position/Title: Chairman Emeritus
Functional Area: Law Practice
Year of Induction: 2005

500 Woodward Avenue, Suite 4000
Detroit, MI 48226-3425

Business Phone: 313.223.3500
Fax: 313.223.3598

Dennis W. Archer graduated from Western Michigan University and earned his law degree from Detroit College of Law. Archer practiced law at a number of firms in the Detroit area through the mid-80s. He was appointed as Associate Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court in 1985, where he served for five years. After a period at Dickinson Wright PLLC, he served as Mayor of the City of Detroit for eight years. Under his leadership, the crime rate decreased in each year of his administration and the infrastructure of the city itself and its system of governance improved dramatically.

He returned to Dickinson Wright as Chairman in 2002, where he served until 2009.

In 2003, Mr. Archer was elected the first African American to serve as President of the American Bar Association. Additionally, he was the first African American President of the Michigan Bar.


For two decades, Dennis Archer has been a leader in the judiciary, local government, the legal profession and his own law firm. In every setting, he has lead with integrity and dedication. As a Justice, he was named the most respected judge in Michigan. In his bar involvement, he was elected to numerous leadership roles – culminating in his election as President of the American Bar Association. Throughout his career, Dennis has focused on various law practice management issues. For decades, he helped create and lead diversity initiatives like the ABA Commission on Minorities in the Profession. In 2004, he spearheaded and spoke at a national conference focused on how the legal profession can do better in the advancement and retention of women in the profession. Dennis has been recognized by major publications as one of the most influential black Americans and one of the 100 most powerful attorneys in the U.S. He currently chairs his 225-attorney law firm, Dickinson Wright, and will continue to lead and shape the future of the legal profession.
— 2005