First elected to the Wayne County Circuit Court in 1981, Judge Kaufman quickly established a reputation for fairness while also demanding preparation and dedication from the attorneys that appeared before him.
In 1986, he took on the additional challenge of Chief Judge, elevating the Circuit Court to one of the country’s most efficient urban trial courts and a model for others, and also serving as a Visiting Judge with the Michigan Court of Appeals in 1986 and 1992.
Over the course of his career on the bench, he earned accolades and awards from numerous organizations such as the State Judicial Council, State Bar of Michigan Family Law Council, Michigan Lawyer’s Weekly, and Monthly Detroit Magazine, and was a member of the Advisory Board of the National Center for State Courts’ Institute for Court Management.
It was also during this time, that he hired a young law clerk named Gary August, in whom he saw great talent and promise.
Interested in a new challenge that also allowed him to serve the community, the judge accepted the job of General Manager of Metro Detroit’s SMART transportation system, where he again drew from his leadership and management skills to improve its operations and public services. Despite having left the bench, attorneys sought him out to resolve their cases as a private mediator and facilitator.
In 1998, Judge Kaufman capitalized on an opportunity to work alongside Gary August and Mark Zausmer, two attorneys whom he deeply respected and admired. A new firm with a new approach to client service was formed, and it continues to grow with a family of skilled, smart, and collegial professionals.
Judge Kaufman concentrates his practice on alternative dispute resolution, as well as complex business and commercial litigation and class action cases. In addition to the counsel and facilitation he provides to the firm’s clients, he is often appointed by various courts to serve as a Special Master and Receiver.
He has spoken before hundreds of groups and conferences, and his articles have appeared in publications ranging from the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press to various legal and business trade journals.