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Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys

Press Release


Matt Bach
Director of Communications
Michigan Municipal League
(734) 669-6317; C: (810) 874-1073;


Southeast Michigan Municipal Attorney Derk W. Beckerleg Honored by Peers

City Attorney for Auburn Hills and Bloomfield Hills Receives Award from Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys

HOLLAND, Michigan (Sept. 13, 2017)—The Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys (MAMA) has awarded the Distinguished Municipal Attorney of the Year Award to Michigan long-time municipal attorney Derk W. Beckerleg of Secrest Wardle.
Beckerleg has over 35 years of experience representing numerous municipalities in virtually all aspects of municipal law, including, but not limited to, zoning matters, condemnation matters and drafting of ordinances, resolutions and contracts. He was honored during the Michigan Municipal League’s 2017 Convention at an award ceremony and luncheon that took place in Holland, Michigan, Sept. 13.

Beckerleg was nominated by Tom Tanghe, Auburn Hills City Manager, for his dedication to representing numerous municipalities in virtually all aspects of municipal law. Bruce Truex, senior partner, president and co-managing partner at Secrest Wardle, also nominated him for the Distinguished Municipal Attorney Award. Beckerleg is currently the city attorney for the City of Auburn Hills and the city attorney for the City of Bloomfield Hills. He is also the village attorney for the Village of Bingham Farms, the township attorney for Southfield Township and one of the township attorneys for West Bloomfield Township. He is also the attorney for the North Oakland County Water Authority.

“Simply put, Mr. Beckerleg is the best of the best,” Tanghe said. “His passion for representing local government is only surpassed by his dedication and attentiveness to the service he provides to our community. He is a trusted advisor to our elected officials and management staff and is respected throughout our organization.”

Truex added, “Derk Beckerleg has been a friend and colleague for over 35 years. It was my honor to nominate Derk as he is a renowned expert in municipal law, possesses the utmost in character, both personally and professionally, is a dedicated advocate for his clients, and is an exemplary leader of our Municipal Law Practice Group. I can think of no one more deserving of this award.”

Beckerleg also has over 28 years of experience handling property tax matters in the Michigan Tax Tribunal and appellate Courts and is especially renowned for his expertise in this area of the law. As managing partner of the Municipal Law Practice Group at Secrest Wardle, he is responsible for the general oversight of the attorneys in the practice group. In this position, he continually shares his knowledge of municipal law through mentorship of other attorneys in the group.

In addition, Beckerleg is active in the legal community through his memberships in the Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys, the Oakland County Bar Association, and the State Bar of Michigan - Public Corporation Law Section. He is also giving of his time and knowledge to clients and others in the municipal law community. He has conducted numerous seminars on a variety of municipal topics, including the Michigan Tax Tribunal and zoning board of appeals and planning commission practices and procedures.

“I am honored and humbled to receive this prestigious award,” Beckerleg said. “I thank and greatly appreciate the persons who nominated me and the MAMA Board for bestowing the award on me.”

Beckerleg received his bachelor of arts degree from Michigan State University in 1978 and his juris doctor from the University of Detroit Law School in 1981. He is licensed to practice law in the state of Michigan and is a member of the State Bar of Michigan (admitted 1982). Attending the awards luncheon along with Beckerleg were his wife, Wendy Beckerleg, Tanghe, Truex, Mark Morley, senior and co-managing partner at Secrest Wardle and Henry Emrich, executive partner at Secrest Wardle.

The award is given for outstanding contributions to the practice of municipal law on behalf of cities and villages throughout Michigan, and acknowledges the highest level of professional accomplishment while also serving their colleagues through professional organizations such as MAMA and the International Municipal Lawyers Association. View past recipients here:

Download photos of Beckerleg receiving the award from this album on flickr:

About the Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys: The Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys (MAMA) is a chartered section of the Michigan Municipal League, which is a Michigan nonprofit corporation. MAMA was established in 1935 as an affiliated organization of the League. The Association is governed by a board of directors elected by the member municipal attorneys. Membership consists of every city and village attorney who represents a member of the Michigan Municipal League, their deputies and assistants, and League staff members duly admitted to practice law in the state of Michigan. Any attorney admitted to practice law in Michigan who has a substantial interest in municipal law may become an associate member upon application and approval by the board of directors. Any student enrolled in a recognized law school may be a law student member upon application and approval by the board of directors.

Michigan Municipal League is dedicated to making Michigan’s communities better by thoughtfully innovating programs, energetically connecting ideas and people, actively serving members with resources and services, and passionately inspiring positive change for Michigan’s greatest centers of potential: its communities. The League advocates on behalf of its member communities in Lansing, Washington, D.C., and the courts; provides educational opportunities for elected and appointed municipal officials; and assists municipal leaders in administering services to their communities through League programs and services. Learn more at




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