TRAVERSE CITY — Traverse City Area Public Schools has new legal representation for the first time in 65 years.

TCAPS Board of Education trustees Monday night unanimously voted to approve hiring Clark Hill PLC as the district's general legal counsel, making the move from Thrun Law Firm, which had held that role since 1953.

Board President Sue Kelly, along with former President Erik Falconer, Trustees Matt Anderson and Jane Klegman and Superintendent Paul Soma, as well as other members of the district's executive team, began the search in March last year and interviewed four potential firms Dec. 19. Clark Hill, Thrun, Lusk Albertson and Fierberg National Law all met with the committee before a proposal to hire Clark Hill was sent Jan. 4.

Kelly said Clark Hill's "client-based approach" put the firm over the edge.

"Although all firms were extremely professional and knew intuitively what we as a district were looking for, the Clark Hill group took their presentation a step forward," Kelly said. "They gave insight for what an ever-changing legal landscape we as a district are entering into. They are progressively working on a school district policy package that reflects this change in landscape in advance of any individual requests expecting to benefit all of their clients. This is a fresher, better approach."

Clark Hill has offices out of Grand Rapids, Lansing and Detroit. Attorneys Nancy Mullett and Jeff Butler were in attendance at the board meeting.