Thomas G. Kienbaum


Tom Kienbaum

Mr. Kienbaum has over 50 years’ experience representing employers nationally in significant labor and employment disputes. His background includes traditional labor matters, employment class actions, as well as individual plaintiff litigation and arbitrations.

Mr. Kienbaum served as President of the State Bar of Michigan, the Metropolitan Detroit Bar Association, and the Barrister’s Association. He served on and was Chair of the Michigan Attorney Discipline Board, currently Chairs the Attorney Grievance Commission, and on the Board of Visitors of Wayne State University Law School. Mr. Kienbaum has been named in Best Lawyers and Super Lawyers since their inception, and is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.

Mr. Kienbaum graduated magna cum laude from Wayne State University Law School in 1968, having served on its Law Review, and was awarded the Order of the Coif. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1965. Mr. Kienbaum was born in Berlin, Germany, and immigrated to the United States in 1957. He maintains fluency in German.

Mr. Kienbaum has tried over 200 cases before juries, judges, and arbitrators. His engagements have included the following:

  • During the 1980s, he defended several major Michigan employers against what were then the first massive employment discrimination class actions in the federal courts.
  • During the 1990s, he was instrumental in helping shape the Michigan state courts’ approach to class action certification, resulting in denials of class certification and appellate affirmance in a number of such cases.
  • More recently, he has represented employers in high-exposure retiree health care class actions, resulting in modification of the liability standard previously set by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
  • He defeated class action certification in large FLSA-type actions in Ohio and Michigan, which were dismissed following appellate affirmance of the trial courts’ denial of class certification.
  • Numerous published federal and Michigan appellate decisions in which Mr. Kienbaum represented the employer have resulted in employer-favorable developments in the law.
  • Over the years, Mr. Kienbaum has lectured on class action and other trial practice subjects on behalf of the National Employment Law Institute, as well as the Institute of Continuing Legal Education.

  • Michigan
  • Illinois
  • United States Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Tennessee
  • State Bar of Michigan
  • Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association
  • Oakland County Bar Association