Michael Coleman is a partner and member of Ice Miller’s Public Affairs and Government Law Groups, and serves as the firm’s Director of Business and Government Strategies. Michael draws upon his experience as Mayor and Chief Executive Officer for the City of Columbus to guide clients through the challenges and opportunities of creating partnerships between business and government.
Coleman brings to Ice Miller’s clients his considerable experience in successfully matching the needs of businesses with the resources of government to build, grow and protect thriving communities.  Using his skills and relationships from more than 25 years in public service, along with his passion for job growth and development, Coleman works together with the lawyers and professionals at Ice Miller to deliver superior services for clients at a national, regional and local level.  
Michael served as Mayor of Columbus, Ohio from 2000 – 2015. As Mayor, Michael built Columbus’ reputation as one of the best cities in the nation by building stronger, safer neighborhoods, creating jobs and maintaining a high quality of life. Columbus is the 15th largest city in the nation, the largest city in Ohio and the fastest growing city in the Midwest. Michael was the longest-serving mayor in Columbus history and the longest-serving incumbent African-American mayor among major U.S. cities.
As Mayor, Michael led a city of 825,000 residents and 9,000 employees and was responsible for managing all financial and budgetary matters, economic development and sourcing of private investments in support of urban development initiatives. Among his greatest accomplishments, as Chief Executive Officer for the City of Columbus, Michael:

  • Led all the economic development, business expansion, relocation and job development efforts and activities, including zoning, planning and policy making for the City.
  • Leveraged private sector partnerships, real estate development transactions, economic policies and quality of life enhancements to create 40,000 net new jobs.
  • Pioneered an urban development strategy to attract new businesses and expand emerging companies within Columbus. Secured $7 billion in private investment support since 2000.
  • Transformed Downtown Columbus into a vibrant business and residential center. Procured $1.6 billion in new investments, created over 2,700 new jobs, decreased office vacancy rates to 11 percent from 24 percent since 2002, added new hotels and businesses and approximately 7,000 condos and apartments.
  • Gained national recognition for leading Columbus to the 4th best economy in the United States among all major cities.
  • Renovated and rejuvenated multiple distressed neighborhoods through new partnerships, employment, infrastructure, health care and housing programs that resulted in multiple thousands of new, affordable housing opportunities.
  • Maintained a AAA credit rating and a positive financial outlook from all three major rating agencies.
  • Implemented a $260 million in operating expense savings over ten years by aligning employee benefits with the market, limiting overtime, and investing in technology and energy efficiency. Michael also left a $69.8 million rainy day fund and saved over $187 million by spending less money than budgeted.
  • Developed and maintained 16 annual capital budgets ranging from $200 - $800 million per year.
  • Organized, cofounded or established 41 organizations, corporations or programs in support of economic development, housing, safety, education, health and diversity.
  • Led redevelopment of the downtown riverfront through the Scioto Mile and Scioto Greenways projects, attracting new residential expansion, tourism and local business.
  • Led the merger of the Columbus Airport Authority and the Rickenbacker Port Authority into the Columbus Regional Airport Authority in 2003. The new organization provided strategic operations and more efficient services.
  • Managed local water, energy, and sewer utilities within in a complex matrix of federal and state laws and regulations. 
Prior to his term as Mayor, Michael was a partner with the law firm of Schottenstein Zox & Dunn LLP (SZD), which combined with Ice Miller in 2012. As an attorney, Michael offered legal guidance to regional businesses and real estate developers in key areas including business law, zoning and securities law. Michael also managed mergers and acquisitions for domestic, multinational and minority-owned businesses.
Michael also served as City Council President for the City of Columbus, Ohio from 1997 – 1999 and as a member of City Council from 1992 – 1999. Early in his career, Michael was an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Ohio. He also served as a Legislative Assistant for two years before joining SZD as an Associate in 1984.
Michael has been recognized as a national leader by numerous media sources, including Time Magazine, the New York Times, the Columbus Dispatch, and Yahoo News. Michael earned EBONY magazine’s Power 100 designation for being one of the most influential and intriguing African Americans in the country, and was recognized by Government Technology magazine as one of the Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers.  Michael was also critically involved in the effort which ultimately earned the City of Columbus the designation as the Most Intelligent Community in the World by the Intelligent Community Forum.  
Michael is a frequent speaker on issues involving economic development, neighborhood revitalization, and environmental stewardship, and speaks regularly at conferences and events throughout the country. 
Michael earned his law degree from the University of Dayton Law School and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from the University of Cincinnati.
Published In
  • Coleman, M. (2014, August 24). Ferguson Has Important Lessons for Cities Nationwide. The Columbus Dispatch.
  • Coleman, M. (2014, April 9). Other Cities Should Help Detroit Get Back on its Feet. Detroit Free Press, pp. A11
  • Coleman, M. (2010, November 7). Mudslinging is Bad for Democracy. The Columbus Dispatch.
  • Coleman, M. (2008, November 9). Great Expectations of Black Community are a Hurdle for Obama. The Columbus Dispatch.
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