Before law school, Mr. Bernard served as a United States Marine Corps officer for eight years, including service in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and was honorably discharged from active duty in 1996 after attaining the rank of captain.
Mr. Bernard represents and counsels clients in complex commercial litigation matters and routinely advises clients regarding contract and statutory issues. He has litigated a wide variety of cases at the trial court and appellate levels, with particular experience in breach of contract claims, ERISA litigation defense, health insurance coverage matters, class action defense, lender liability defense, and bankruptcy adversary proceedings (nondischargeability and preference actions).
He has extensive experience in matters related to supplier/distributor rights and obligations under the Michigan Liquor Control Code. He has successfully completed numerous license applications and transfer requests to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission. He has particular experience advising licensees in the wholesaler and retailer tiers of the Michigan controlled beverage system. Mr. Bernard has achieved successful resolution of licensing disputes through negotiation and litigation and successfully resolved a wine wholesaler case after securing partial summary judgment on an issue of first impression regarding wholesalers’ rights under the Code.
Mr. Bernard handles both trial court and appellate matters in the Michigan Court of Appeals, the Michigan Supreme Court, and the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. He drafted the appellate brief resulting in the first published Michigan Court of Appeals decision setting the standard for motions to decertify a class, Tinman v Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, 264 Mich App 546; 692 N.W.2d 58 (2004).
He serves as communications secretary of the Detroit Chapter of the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association and is treasurer of the Detroit Veterans’ Bar Association.
Mr. Bernard provides pro bono legal service to veterans. In March 2016 he was an inaugural recipient of the Lawyers for Warriors Award presented by the Wayne State University Law School Advocates for Warriors program.
BTI Consulting, a leading provider of strategic research to law firms and general counsel, named Mr. Bernard a "BTI Client Service All-Star" for 2014. BTI Client Service All-Stars are an elite group of attorneys nominated by clients in an objective, independent study for their exceptional client service. Mr. Bernard was one of 300 attorneys nationwide to be nominated for the "All-Star" designation that year. He is also listed as a "Future Star" in Benchmark Litigation and as a 2014 “Top Lawyer” by DBusiness magazine.
In law school, Mr. Bernard was a senior articles editor of the Wayne Law Review and was president of the Wayne State University Law School Student Board of Governors.
Honors, Awards, and Recognition
- Wayne State University Law School Advocates for Warriors, "Lawyers for Warriors" Award, 2016
- BTI Consulting, "BTI Client Service All-Star," 2014
- DBusiness Magazine "Top Lawyers" 2014
- "Future Star," Benchmark Litigation
Civic, Cultural and Community Activities
- Detroit Chapter of the U.S. Naval Acadamy Alumni Association, Communications Secretary
- Detroit Veterans' Bar Association, Treasurer
- Catholic Lawyers Society of Detroit, Board of Directors & Communications Secretary
- Anthony, a wheelchair-bound Viet Nam era veteran, was left without transportation when his specially-equipped vehicle was towed following a dispute with his landlord. Despite many obstacles, Chris was able to arrange the return of Anthony’s car.
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- 11/10/2015Bodman PLC Highly Recommended in Benchmark Litigation 2016
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- 02/07/2014G. Christopher Bernard Nominated as a 2014 BTI Client Service All-Star
- Wayne State University Law School, J.D., cum laude, Order of the Coif
- United States Naval Academy, B.S., with Merit
- Catholic Lawyers Society of Detroit
- State Bar of Michigan
- Washtenaw County Bar Association