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If you are in the hospitality industry, you face a multitude of legal issues on a regular basis. From forming a business entity to financing, from labor and insurance matters to liquor licenses, you need legal insight and experience in a wide range of areas. You need legal advice from people who know your industry.

Varnum's work with resorts, casinos, nightclubs, restaurants and lodgings of all sorts has prepared us to handle the issues you deal with on a regular basis, as well as uncommon issues that may take you by surprise. Our clients include:

  • Hotels, motels and inns
  • Restaurants
  • Nightclubs
  • Resorts and golf courses
  • Casinos
  • Race tracks
  • Minor league baseball franchise
  • Campgrounds and recreational facilities

When you work with a Varnum attorney, you have access to the full resources of the firm. That means your attorney has a strong focus in the hospitality industry and can consult with others who practice in other sophisticated areas of hospitality law.

Our hospitality clients look to us for expert legal advice and representation in matters that include:

Organizational and Contract Matters

In a very real sense, the hospitality business is the people businessyour clients, your vendors, your business partners. Just as good fences make good neighbors, the documents that define your business will guide you when unforeseen circumstances arise. Varnum helps hundreds of business owners form legal entities every year, and we advise our clients on contract matters every day. We have a depth of experience to guide you as you make the decisions that will affect your business now and down the road.

Liquor Licensing Issues

Obtaining a liquor license can be crucial to the success of your business, and the rules and responsibilities of keeping a license are rigorous. Varnum attorneys have experience in all types of liquor licensing issues, and we have obtained hundreds of licenses for our clients. In addition to Class C and B, airport and municipal licenses, we closely monitor the availability of licenses created by state statute, such as Resort and Economic Development Corporation licenses.

We also have extensive experience representing license holders who face legal action. From application to qualifying to enforcement proceedings, we advise you on the best type of license for you and your business, and we work with you to keep it.

Labor and Employment Matters

Getting the right people, keeping the right people, managing the right people: it's complicated. The equation becomes even more complex when considering the formidable list of legal and regulatory concerns that employers face. Varnum attorneys have a national reputation for helping employers find solutions that meet their unique needs. With a Varnum attorney, you have access to one of the strongest labor practices in the state. From traditional labor work to workplace safety to employment litigation defense, we are experienced in all facets of labor and employment law (visit Labor and Employment Relations for more information).


The hospitality industry's need for seasonal workers has created a unique relationship with foreign workers. With our strong immigration practice, we are ready to help you process the H-2B temporary visa petitions necessary for your workforce. We also have substantial experience in other visa categories and permanent resident applications.

We know the ins and outs of the governmental agencies you need to work with in order to place essential personnel within U.S. operations. In addition, we counsel our clients on work authorization issues and compliance with immigration and labor laws.

Insurance Matters

When you make an insurance claim, your insurance company already has attorneys, accountants and adjusters in place. You need a team of experienced professionals with your best interests in mind to ensure the determination on your claim is fair and in line with your policy.

Varnum has significant experience in pursuing insurance coverage for individuals, businesses and corporations against their insurance companies. From the date of your loss through the entire litigation process, we assist you in securing the appropriate benefits under the terms of your policy.

Franchise Matters

Our franchise clients look to us for advice on entity formation, financing, purchasing and leasing matters, and a host of employment issues. Our franchise experience also includes obtaining new stores and territories, providing trademark searches and applications, developing acquisition strategies and representing individuals in entity splits.

Tax Issues

We are strongly positioned to work with you through tax matters ranging from state and local issues to civil examinations and criminal investigations. We frequently counsel our hospitality clients on issues involving the state and local taxation of partnerships, limited liability companies and subchapter S corporations.

Our property tax clients ask us to handle issues from valuation and taxable value disputes to tax abatement and exemption requests. We are experienced in taking matters all the way through full litigation in the Michigan Tax Tribunal and State Tax Commission. We also work on real estate tax issues in corporate acquisitions and divestitures for multi-state entities.

Land Use and Development

Zoning, planning, utility issues - your project must conform to myriad regulations and requirements well before actual building begins. In addition to our knowledge of land use and development legal matters, Varnum attorneys understand the importance of working closely with municipalities and neighborhood associations. We advise you, work beside you and represent you anywhere we're needed to see your project through the approval process.

Varnum's clients include large franchises and multi-million dollar resorts, but just as important is our representation of small and closely-held businesses who want world-class attention and service at affordable rates.


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