Robert W. Parker professional image

Robert W. Parker

Attorney - Shareholder


Office: Traverse City

tel. 231.486.4504

fax. 231.929.4182




Betsy Bunn

tel. 231.486.4524


Robert is a seasoned attorney with over 30 years of experience representing landowners, developers, business owners, lenders, municipalities, and individuals throughout Michigan. A significant portion of his practice is devoted to real estate and land use issues including residential real estate closings, the purchase, sale or lease of commercial property and real property taxation issues. He has successfully litigated issues related to the enforcement and interpretation of easements, restrictive covenants, zoning restrictions, actions to quiet or clear title, and foreclosure of mortgages and construction liens. Robert represents commercial lenders in real estate transactions and clients before the Michigan Tax Tribunal. Robert has been the Managing Partner for Smith Haughey’s Traverse City office for many years and previously served as the firm’s CEO.

Robert is a life-long resident of Traverse City, Michigan, where he lives with his wife and also raised their three children.


  • University of Michigan (B.A., cum laude, 1977)
  • Wayne State University Law School (J.D., 1980)

Admitted to Practice

  • State Bar of Michigan, 1980
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan, 1985
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, 1987


  • "Contesting Property Tax Increases," Traverse City Industrial Council, November 2008.
  • “Plat and Subdivision Law,” Lorman Education Services, October 2006
  • “Easements, Encroachments, Acquiescence and Adverse Possession,” Michigan Land Title Association, April 2003
  • “Law of Easements: Legal Issues and Practical Consideration in Michigan,” Lorman Education Seminar, June 2003 and 2006
  • “Buying and Selling Vacation Property: What Every Lawyer Should Know,” ICLE February 2002

Client Successes

  • Robert and Jon Siebers represented a group of landowners in negotiating a form wind lease to be used in a 56-turbine wind project in the northern Lower Peninsula.
  • Robert, Jon VanderPloeg, and Scott Harvey successfully represented their client in Taylor v City of Traverse City, in which the Michigan Court of appeals held that the death of a joint-tenant owner of real property was not a "transfer" subjecting the property to property-tax "uncapping." In this case, the father owned a lakeshore residence that he deeded to himself and his daughter in joint tenancy. This conveyance was within the joint tenancy exception to the uncapping statute. But when the father died, leaving his daughter as sole owner, the city took the position that the father's death was a transfer to her, subjecting the property to uncapping. The city then sought to collect taxes at the much higher uncapped rate. The daughter opposed and contended that her father's death was not a transfer subject to uncapping. The Court of Appeals has now agreed with the daughter, and the taxes must be collected at the lower, capped rate.

Smith Haughey Publications

Type Date Title
Newsletter 7/7/2013 Business & Real Estate Newsletter
Newsletter 1/31/2013 Real Estate Law Newsletter
Legal Alert 8/15/2012 Agribusiness Law Update
Legal Alert 8/22/2011 Uncertainty Surrounds the Farmland and Open Space Preservation Act
Legal Alert 7/27/2011 Agribusiness Law Update
Legal Alert 3/29/2011 Real Estate & Estate Planning Legal Alert (Mar. 2011)
Legal Alert 11/15/2010 Agri-Business Update (November 2010)
Legal Alert 9/15/2010 Real Estate Law Update (Sept. 2010)
Newsletter 11/6/2008 Legal Ease Fall 2008 Newsletter
Legal Alert 7/23/2008 Construction Law Update (July '08)
Newsletter 3/16/2007 Legal Ease Spring 2007 Newsletter
Legal Alert 11/21/2006 Legal Ease Fall 2006
Newsletter 2/12/2004 Legal Ease Winter 2004
Newsletter 10/1/2003 Legal Ease Fall 2003
Legal Alert 5/1/2003 Toxic Mold Claims
Legal Alert 5/1/2000 A Deadline is a Deadline
Legal Alert 7/1/1999 What is As Is?
Legal Alert 4/1/1999 Divisions Under Michigan's Land Division Act: All or Nothing?

Professional Affiliations

  • American Bar Association (member, sections on: Probate & Property)
  • Grand Traverse/Leelanau/Antrim Bar Association
  • State Bar of Michigan (member, sections on: Real Property; Probate and Estate Planning)
  • Michigan Land Title Association
  • Grand Traverse Area Estate Planning Council

Community Affiliations

  • Appointed county representative, Northern Lakes Community Mental Health Board
  • President, Traverse Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors
  • Past Director and Chairperson of the Grand Traverse Commons Redevelopment Corporation, 1991- 1999
  • Past Member and Chairperson of the Traverse City Historic Districts Commission
  • Approved counsel for Michigan State Housing Development Authority

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