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  1. #1

    Default Michigan CEO: Soul-Crushing Sprawl Killing Business

    I know there are plenty of disbelievers who read these threads and think that "failed businesses" is largely a Detroit problem, and that "Oakland County is doing just fine". Allow me to offer evidence to the contrary, in the form of a letter from a partner in a Troy law firm who seems unable to recruit new employees.

    Read it and weep--and pour a glass of milk on the ground in memory of Pleasantville, USA.

    We’d like to stay in Michigan, but we have a problem. It’s not taxes or
    regulations. There’s lots of talk about these issues but they have no
    impact on our business. We spend more on copiers and toner than we do
    on state taxes.

    Our problem is access to talent. We have high-paying positions open for
    patent attorneys in the software and semiconductor space. Even though
    it is one of the best hiring environments for IP firms in 40 years, we
    cannot fill these positions. Most qualified candidates live out of state
    and simply will not move here, even though they are willing to relocate
    to other cities. Our recruiters are very blunt. They say it is almost
    impossible to recruit to Michigan without paying big premiums above
    competitive salaries on the coasts.

    It’s nearly a certainty that we will have to relocate (or at a minimum
    expand ) our business out of Michigan if we want to grow.
    People – particularly affluent and educated people – just don’t want to
    live here.
    http://rustwire.com/2011/03/11/michi...iving-us-away/

  2. #2
    DetroitPole Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ghettopalmetto View Post
    I know there are plenty of disbelievers who read these threads and think that "failed businesses" is largely a Detroit problem, and that "Oakland County is doing just fine". Allow me to offer evidence to the contrary, in the form of a letter from a partner in a Troy law firm who seems unable to recruit new employees.

    Read it and weep--and pour a glass of milk on the ground in memory of Pleasantville, USA.



    http://rustwire.com/2011/03/11/michi...iving-us-away/

    Wait, but that's not what Governor Snyder told me! It's the business taxes! They have to arbitrarily be lowered accross the board! Then Michigan will be the land of milk and honey!

  3. #3

    Default

    though its already so abundantly clear...we need to retrofit and infill our suburbs making them urbanized and walkable...woodward avenue & jefferson are our star corridors not big beaver and hall road

  4. #4

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    This is not the first time a business in the Detroit Metro area has mentioned their inability to attract top talent, but the region politically does not want to hear this because it means making Detroit city a better place to be as well as creating other things like urban density and mass transit.

  5. #5

    Default

    This guy isn't saying anything that isn't clearly apparent to professionals who live outside of Michigan. Maybe that's who the leadership should be consulting while they try to fix that boondoggle of a state.

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hybridy View Post
    though its already so abundantly clear...we need to retrofit and infill our suburbs making them urbanized and walkable...woodward avenue & jefferson are our star corridors not big beaver and hall road
    While I appreciate the attorney's situation, it's ironic that his SE Michigan office is located on ...
    .
    .
    .
    Big Beaver Rd in Troy!

    How about he puts his money where his mouth is, and locate in downtown Detroit, or at least downtown Ferndale/RO/Birmingham/etc.

  7. #7
    bartock Guest

    Default

    I don't see where people on here accuse Detroit of being the source of "failed business" and Oakland County "doing just fine." I think, comparatively speaking, there are those for reasons that are constantly discussed on these threads, would argue that Oakland County, Macomb County, and western Wayne County are more desireable places to live than Detroit city proper. There are 1.2 million people and 40 years of evidence to back that up. I think one of the general conclusions that most agree upon is that people go where the jobs are.

    So, to that end, it is difficult to consider an intellectual property firm with 16 attorneys based in Troy and Ann Arbor, and a Palo Alto implant of all of 5 years into Metro Detroit's letter as evidence of anything, frankly. This firm has been based in Troy since the late 1970's, which is ironic given the subject matter of the letter. The author mentions that he has been in Troy for 5 years, he doesn't even mention the Ann Arbor office, which is about as close to Palo Alto as Metro Detroit is going to get.

    As for his statement about being pikers compared to California. Perhaps Palo Alto, much like Ann Arbor, is an exception to the rule, but California and in particular Los Angeles, is much more sprawled and crawling with traffic, etc., than Metro Detroit. I'm moving to Shelby Twp., which is about 28 miles from my office in downtown Detroit and will take 45-50 minutes each way in commute. Someone living in, say, Calabasas and commuting to downtown L.A. has twice as long a commute for the same distance.

    I don't know what the author's unspoken agenda may have been, but I'd also point out that one of the largest IP firms in the country (and one of the few law firms in Metro Detroit of any kind that can say this) is in Troy - Harness, Dickey & Pierce. Given that the U.S. is putting a patent office in "Detroit" (not sure it might be metro Detroit), I question some of the conclusions. While patent lawyers are highly specialized and quite niche, I think you'd find a line up of students coming out of Wayne State, Cooley, U of D and other law schools around here for a job at a patent law firm.
    Last edited by bartock; March-16-11 at 09:33 AM. Reason: typo

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Det_ard View Post
    While I appreciate the attorney's situation, it's ironic that his SE Michigan office is located on ...
    .
    .
    .
    Big Beaver Rd in Troy!

    How about he puts his money where his mouth is, and locate in downtown Detroit, or at least downtown Ferndale/RO/Birmingham/etc.
    I did note that too. But he also said they have an office in Ann Arbor.

  9. #9
    bartock Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by iheartthed View Post
    This guy isn't saying anything that isn't clearly apparent to professionals who live outside of Michigan. Maybe that's who the leadership should be consulting while they try to fix that boondoggle of a state.
    or, maybe the leadership should figure out a way to make the corporate tax climate in this state friendlier to businesses who may actually put roots down here, as opposed to throwing a couple hundred million at a niche and transient industry. Oh wait, that's what those dumbasses are doing.

  10. #10

    Default

    It is not sprawl killing business,its more of a attitude aspect from city and state levels,I am beginning to wonder if there is an unwritten policy for the state to keep a ready supply of labor for a couple of large companies as to not inflate the labor demand.

  11. #11

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bartock View Post
    I don't see where people on here accuse Detroit of being the source of "failed business" and Oakland County "doing just fine." I think, comparatively speaking, there are those for reasons that are constantly discussed on these threads, would argue that Oakland County, Macomb County, and western Wayne County are more desirable places to live than Detroit city proper. There are 1.2 million people and 40 years of evidence to back that up.
    That's the entire point of the letter, bartock. Maybe YOU think Oakland County, Macomb County, and western Wayne County are desirable places to live. For those without a lifelong emotional attachment to Southeastern Michigan, though, it is clear they are not desirable AT ALL. There is 40 years of evidence to back that up. People with options seek quality of life. Michigan worries more about stadiums and casinos and demolishing old buildings and building freeways and cutting taxes than creating decent places.

    It would be nice, for once, if Detroiters assembled their collective "blue-collar mentality" and got together to work for solutions instead of excuses. All you're doing, bartock, is promoting the status quo, which is obviously far from ideal.

    And, did anyone stop to think that perhaps Big Beaver Road was the only appropriate office space this gentleman could find within a reasonable commuting distance of his home in Birmingham?
    Last edited by ghettopalmetto; March-16-11 at 09:48 AM.

  12. #12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Det_ard View Post
    While I appreciate the attorney's situation, it's ironic that his SE Michigan office is located on ...
    .
    .
    .
    Big Beaver Rd in Troy!

    How about he puts his money where his mouth is, and locate in downtown Detroit, or at least downtown Ferndale/RO/Birmingham/etc.
    Yeah, I got a kick out of that.
    Just about everything this guy is complaining about is supersized where his business is loacted.

    Is there any other road that gets goofed on more on this forum than 16 mile?

  13. #13

    Default

    this firm has been based in Troy since the late 1970's, which is ironic given the subject matter of the letter.
    Exactly. Nothing like whining about a problem you are directly responsible for creating. Where do the partners and associates live now? I'm betting not in any "urban" setting. Fuck you and your concern trolling. This about the same as Chrysler complaining about how Highland Park has really gone downhill.

    I think you'd find a line up of students coming out of Wayne State, Cooley, U of D and other law schools around here for a job at a patent law firm.
    True, but, generally engineering backgrounds are required thus the pool gets shallow very fast.

  14. #14

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bailey View Post

    I think you'd find a line up of students coming out of Wayne State, Cooley, U of D and other law schools around here for a job at a patent law firm.
    True, but, generally engineering backgrounds are required thus the pool gets shallow very fast.

    Yeah, and it's not like Detroit has one of the nation's best law schools and one of the nation's best colleges of engineering right in its own backyard.

    Forget people relocating to Michigan, for a moment. You can't even hold onto talent you *already have*.

    Keep on keepin on with your ostrich syndrome. We've seen how well that works. At least you'll have a vinyl-sided tract home a mere 5 miles down the 10-lane road from the nearest strip mall. And at the end of the day, isn't that what we all really want?
    Last edited by ghettopalmetto; March-16-11 at 09:58 AM.

  15. #15
    bartock Guest

    Default

    Bailey, I should have mentioned that those students would have had engineering backgrounds. There are, actually, quite a few engineering undergrads in those law schools because this is generally considered fertile ground for patent attorneys.

    GhettoP - I don't disagree with what you say, but I don't think that the author of the letter is in any position to comment, and I don't think his points are even valid. To say that this area is not desireable AT ALL is just wrong for any number of reasons, but I'm guessing you were trying to make a point. If my move to Shelby Twp is promoting the status quo, well, as much as 21/Hayes is not Vernier/Mack, it isn't 32/Romeo Plank, either.

    ...and this gentleman could commute from Woodward/Maple to Royal Oak or Ferndale much faster than to Big Beaver and...anywhere in Troy. There is competitive space in those cities.

  16. #16

    Default

    Hypocrite or not, he's right. DYes tends to skew older and younger than I am -- retiring Boomers and Greatest Generation folks, and starry-eyed 20-somethings. There aren't as many folks in my age bracket, Generation X. Most of us are raising kids and trying to make something of ourselves in our fields. And staying in the Detroit metro is widely seen as something that folks can't afford to do if they have any choice or say in the matter.

    It's one thing to choose sprawl when you're well established. It's quite another if you're in your 20s and have paid half attention to where oil prices are going. Most middle class, upwardly mobile 20 somethings that I know (and have taught @ Michigan & WSU) value walkable, bike-able 'hoods. Of course we're going to lose them to Chicago... and an increasing number aren't willing to give up urban life because of parenthood. The Millennials are as different from the Boomers as the Boomers were from the Greatest in their choices... why would we expect them to keep sprawling into mid-Michigan? That just isn't where the trends are pointing.
    Last edited by English; March-16-11 at 10:14 AM.

  17. #17

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ghettopalmetto View Post
    Yeah, and it's not like Detroit has one of the nation's best law schools and one of the nation's best colleges of engineering right in its own backyard.

    Forget people relocating to Michigan, for a moment. You can't even hold onto talent you *already have*.

    Keep on keepin on with your ostrich syndrome. We've seen how well that works. At least you'll have a vinyl-sided tract home a mere 5 miles down the 10-lane road from the nearest strip mall. And at the end of the day, isn't that what we all really want?
    That is great that Ann Arbor has two really good schools. The percentage of those who are both engineers AND lawyers is pretty small. That was point I was making.

    Also, UM is not traditionally a place where the law grads had any intention of staying in Michigan in the first place 80% of the students are non-residents (that's from their own numbers btw...not some anecdote) not only that, but Detroit has never supported the type of wages one would see in the major markets for a top 25 law school grad.

    I'm not defending the status quo here. I'm objecting to out of state lectures from people directly fucking responsible for both the brain drain and the sprawl whining about how Detroit sucks. blow me senior partner, move your offices to downtown and be part of the solution or shut the fuck up.

    (ps. Bartok...I agree the grads are there, but I'm assuming this firm..since it has taken the time and spent the money on national recruiting firms, has no intention of interviewing local grads from tier 4 law schools.)
    Last edited by bailey; March-16-11 at 10:16 AM.

  18. #18

    Default

    I find it interesting that the same people who seem to be such experts on corporate tax structure have such TUNNEL VISION. Such BLINDERS to all other factors.

    Younger people are less interested in huge homes on sprawling lots:

    No McMansions for Millennials
    http://realestate.yahoo.com/promo/no...llennials.html


    Younger people simply aren't interested in cars the way older generations have been:

    Millennials Driven, Not Driving
    http://www.brandchannel.com/home/pos...en-Y-Cars.aspx

    Millennials Driving Less, Citing Cost, Digital Alternatives and the Environment
    http://blogs.edmunds.com/strategies/...vironment.html

    Study: 'Millennials' driving less, want alternatives
    http://www.metro-magazine.com/News/S...ernatives.aspx


    Younger people are less likely to care about easy parking:

    Why Millennials need less parking
    http://newurbannetwork.com/article/w...-parking-13229

    In short, there is all this research that you can do indicating that the population of the United States is gradually moving away from the sorts of car-centered culture we've spent years building here. Look at it. It doesn't look very good for the Commerces and Novis down the line, and jobs have little to do with it. We are talking about seismic shifts in what lifestyles and environments people prefer, and we actually have people who should know better on this forum saying, meh, it's OK. When the jobs machine gets turned back on, people will flock here. We don't need transit. We don't need to rebuild our city center. All we need are wide freeways and acres and acres of beautiful parking lots, and jobs to bring in the people.

    You almost get the feeling that somebody with that O.C. mentality in 20 years will be sitting in a cracked office in an empty office tower in Troy, saying, "Once we get that jobs machine turned back on, they'll just start SWARMING in. Any minute now. Just SWARMING in..."

  19. #19
    bartock Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bailey View Post
    That is great that Ann Arbor has two really good schools. The percentage of those who are both engineers AND lawyers is pretty small. That was point I was making.

    Also, UM is not traditionally a place where the law grads had any intention of staying in Michigan in the first place 80% of the students are non-residents (that's from their own numbers btw...not some anecdote) not only that, but Detroit has never supported the type of wages one would see in the major markets for a top 25 law school grad.

    I'm not defending the status quo here. I'm objecting to out of state lectures from people directly fucking responsible for both the brain drain and the sprawl whining about how Detroit sucks. blow me senior partner, move your offices to downtown and be part of the solution or shut the fuck up.

    (ps. Bartok...I agree the grads are there, but I'm assuming this firm..since it has taken the time and spent the money on national recruiting firms, has no intention of interviewing local grads from tier 4 law schools.)
    Good point, Baily. I'd also add with regard to U of M that hardly any of their graduates take the MI bar exam, for the reasons you mentioned.

  20. #20

    Default

    I understand the guy's point. Who wants to move here? Metro Detroiters have spent decades ripping on Detroit every chance they get. Some even have proudly stated that they never go to Detroit. Detroiters proper didn't do anything to prove the naysayers wrong. They went right along with the stereotyping.

    Imagine you were set to move to Illinois and Chicagoland residents told you not to go to Chicago because its too dangerous or its too ghetto or there is nothing to do there and you would have to settle for life in Joliet, would you look forward to going to Illinois? Hell naw, you wouldn't.

    Troy, Farmington Hills, Fraser, Walled Lake is foreign to anyone not living in Michigan. If you are living in South Dakota and you have a job offer in Southfield, MI, you want to know about Detroit because out of towners identify Michigan with Detroit and if you hear that Detroit is a sewer, it doesn't matter that you can move to Novi you aren't want to come to Michigan.

  21. #21

    Default

    Sounds like Andrew is trying to get affirmation that his move to Palo Alto was smart. Sure he can have a sattelite office there - but his comparison of Detroit to San Francisco is as insane as complaining Hermitage, TN doesn't have the same quality of life factors as Manhattan.

    His firm doesn't pay entry level law grads the 160 they get at other white toe law firms coming out of law school in Manhattan. The entry level price in San Fran of 135K would equate to 85K in Detroit. His comparison would be more valid if he was comaring Detroit to Denver, Phoenix or Philadelphia. http://www.averyindex.com/cost_of_living.php

    Most high performing 20 year olds when given the option of making 135K in San Fran or 85K in Detroit would choose San Fran - if just for the climate alone. Even if was a choice between San Fran and Chicago at 100K - the same 90% would choose San Fran. Moral of the story- I think this guy is just ranting because he wants us to feel sorry his pay of employees isnt adequate or the headhunters he hired are lousy. There's a reason people don't want to work at his firm. Location is the easy scape goat.

  22. #22

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by belleislerunner View Post
    Sounds like Andrew is trying to get affirmation that his move to Palo Alto was smart. Sure he can have a sattelite office there - but his comparison of Detroit to San Francisco is as insane as complaining Hermitage, TN doesn't have the same quality of life factors as Manhattan.

    His firm doesn't pay entry level law grads the 160 they get at other white toe law firms coming out of law school in Manhattan. The entry level price in San Fran of 135K would equate to 85K in Detroit. His comparison would be more valid if he was comaring Detroit to Denver, Phoenix or Philadelphia. http://www.averyindex.com/cost_of_living.php

    Most high performing 20 year olds when given the option of making 135K in San Fran or 85K in Detroit would choose San Fran - if just for the climate alone. Even if was a choice between San Fran and Chicago at 100K - the same 90% would choose San Fran. Moral of the story- I think this guy is just ranting because he wants us to feel sorry his pay of employees isnt adequate or the headhunters he hired are lousy. There's a reason people don't want to work at his firm. Location is the easy scape goat.
    The pay for patent lawyers doesn't diverge that wildly based on location (unlike corporate law, which is what bloats the pay stats for the coastal cities). According to simplyhired.com, the average salary for an IP patent attorney in Detroit is $88K/year and $89K/year in New York. In DC and SF the salaries are $102K and $101K, respectively. And in Chicago the average salary is $83K/year.

  23. #23

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by belleislerunner View Post
    Sounds like Andrew is trying to get affirmation that his move to Palo Alto was smart. Sure he can have a sattelite office there - but his comparison of Detroit to San Francisco is as insane as complaining Hermitage, TN doesn't have the same quality of life factors as Manhattan.
    EXACTLY. You get the point--Quality of Life. Which is precisely why you *don't* see people flocking from Manhattan to Hermitage, TN--taxes and cost-of-living be damned.

  24. #24

    Default

    A recommendation. Your kindly old Professor was impressed by the letter, so what he did was to send a copy of the letter to his State Representative and his State Senator, both of whom he knows personally.

    If you think this letter was on point, you might consider doing the same.

  25. #25

    Default

    The author, by the way, is also a forumer. He posted before about the Woodward Project, his campaign to urbanize Woodward from downtown out to Birmingham:

    http://www.detroityes.com/mb/showthr...odward-Project

    http://www.detroityes.com/mb/showthr...odward-Project

    Here's his website: http://www.woodwardproject.org/

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