Conor is a skilled litigator who draws on his years of experience with the Department of Justice and in private practice to help navigate clients from a lawsuit’s inception through its successful completion. Conor expertly tries cases, frames the issues in the trial court for potential appeal, and develops a successful appellate strategy.
Conor has a varied litigation practice. He has tried multiple federal cases and handled significant pre-trial discovery and motions practice. In one federal civil trial, Conor wrote the post-trial brief that helped convince the United States District Court to pierce the veil of the defendant-corporation and allow the plaintiff to recover on a nearly decade-old judgment.
Conor is considered one of Michigan’s top appellate advocates. Clients come to him with high-stakes appeals in both federal and state courts. Conor has handled numerous appeals involving financial disputes between sophisticated banks and companies, criminal constitutional law questions, bankruptcy issues, insurance coverage disputes, trust and estate matters, and a variety of other legal issues. Conor has argued cases in the United States Courts of Appeals for the First, Second, Fifth, Sixth, Ninth, Eleventh, and Federal Circuits; the Michigan Court of Appeals and Supreme Court; and the Illinois Court of Appeals. He possesses a deep knowledge of the Michigan appellate bar and bench, having served as an interviewer and author of a regular feature on Michigan appellate judges for the Michigan Appellate Practice Journal.
Conor has received recognition for his written and oral advocacy. In 2015, Conor received the Amicus Service Award from the International Municipal Lawyers Association for an amicus brief he wrote in the United States Supreme Court. In 2017, Conor received WMU-Cooley Law Review’s Distinguished Brief Award for a brief he drafted in the Michigan Supreme Court. And in 2022, after a Michigan Supreme Court argument, a justice described Conor’s oral argument as “excellent,” and “textbook,” and called it “one of the best rebuttals” the justice had ever seen. Conor is also often consulted before appeal to assess a client’s likelihood of success or to preserve issues in the trial court.
In addition to his robust litigation practice, Conor has an active investigative and white-collar practice. Conor has led Title IX Investigations, advised on the applicability and ramifications of FERPA, Title IX, and federal and state discrimination law, and offered crisis counseling to educational institutions. Conor has tried federal criminal jury trials to verdict, handled numerous criminal appeals, and advised individuals and organizations facing federal and state investigations. In 2022, Conor briefed and argued People v. Taylor in the Michigan Supreme Court, which established new precedent for juvenile criminal defendants in Michigan.
Outside of the litigation, investigative, and white-collar realms, Conor has served as a trusted advisor to religious organizations. For over a half-dozen years, Conor has served as the Outside General Counsel to a Catholic diocese. Conor’s counseling of religious institutions has included advising them on how to manifest their missions in light of federal and state law and their special constitutional protections and counseling on employment and regulatory issues.
Prior to joining SouthBank Legal, Conor clerked for then-Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr. on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and served for seven years at the U.S. Department of Justice, much of that time as an attorney in the Civil Rights Division’s Appellate Section, with a nearly year-long detail at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia as a Special Assistant United States Attorney. In DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, Conor handled numerous criminal and civil appeals in almost every circuit in the United States. As a Special Assistant United States Attorney, Conor directed or oversaw numerous criminal prosecutions, investigations, and sentencing matters and served as co-counsel on two felony jury trials, which both resulted in convictions. During his tenure at DOJ, Conor received a Special Achievement Award from the Attorney General.
After his time at DOJ, Conor joined an appellate boutique in Washington, D.C., before moving back home to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Conor practiced in two of Michigan’s largest law firms.