Introducing Rick Linnell & the Life on the Lakes column

Editor’s note: New for 2020, Oakland Lakefront Lifestyles is teaming up with local real estate law firm Linnell & Associates, PLLC, to talk about issues many lakefront property owners face. In this introductory article, founder Richard “Rick” Linnell explains a little more about himself and his background. Stayed tuned for more articles on topics concerning seawalls, use of bottom lands, docks, boat mooring and much more.

Having grown up on a lake and always being interested in all things real estate, I strive to better understand issues all property owners face. In fact, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t interested in real estate.

While working on my undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Michigan, I stayed awake in class by thinking of how some of the “drier” econ principles applied to real estate. I dreamed of buying, selling, investing and building commercial and residential real estate. My next step was law school at Wayne State University where I chose classes related to real estate.

During the summer after my second year of law school I worked for a development, construction and property management company. I liked it so much I continued to work there full-time, taking classes in the late afternoon and evening during my third and final year of law school. After passing the Michigan Bar, I was hired as associate general counsel for the same company. While there, I worked on a variety of commercial and residential real estate projects, not only as corporate counsel, but also for myself individually. I appeared before city and township boards seeking approvals such as rezoning, special land use, site plan approval and variances for our projects. I worked with governmental agencies, including the MDEQ (wetlands and environmental), county road commissions, county drain commissions and county health departments to obtain approvals and/or permits. Specifically, I have appeared in front of boards in Waterford, Independence Township, Springfield Township and White Lake for residential lakefront developments (single-family houses and condominiums.)

During this time, I also started my own development and construction firm to build several subdivisions. The recession of 2008 helped me to refocus and meet a new need: helping many people who were upside down with their mortgages. In 2009 I formed a law firm that specialized in assisting people with distressed properties (short sales, loan modifications, foreclosure defense.) Over the last ten years, my firm has expanded into all facets of real estate law, as well as civil litigation related to real estate. As the market has steadily increased since the low point of 2011, I have been able to return to a traditional real estate practice, utilizing those skills I obtained prior to the crash.

These days I am lucky enough to have a second home on Cass Lake, which I enjoy with my wife and five children whenever we can. My personal experiences, as well as my extensive real estate background, mean there are very few real estate issues I have not seen!

Join us this year as we focus on various issues including seawalls, docks, MDEQ concerns, boat mooring/storage and issues surrounding wetlands. We look forward to sharing with you the knowledge we have gained over these many years.

If there are topics you are interested in seeing in future editions, please feel free to email us at