Joel C. Knaack – Associate

Mr. Knaack was born in Flint, Michigan and raised in Lake Orion, Michigan. He attended Albion College in Albion, Michigan, where he graduated with a double major including a B.A. in Political Science and French, and minor in Philosophy in 2006. Prior to law school, Mr. Knaack worked as an IT project manager in the automotive and logistics industries. Mr. Knaack was awarded his juris doctorate by the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Lansing, Michigan in 2013, graduating cum laude. During his time at Cooley, Mr. Knaack served as an Associate Editor of the Thomas M. Cooley Law Review and was a finalist in the Intraschool Moot Court Competition, receiving the award for Best Oral Advocate.

Mr. Knaack is admitted to practice law in the states of California and Michigan. He is also a member of the Association of Defense Counsel of Northern California.

Mr. Knaack is experienced in many areas of law including civil defense, criminal prosecution, appeals, and military law. After law school, Mr. Knaack served as a Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable Michael F. Cavanagh and Honorable Richard H. Bernstein, Justices of the Michigan Supreme Court. Thereafter, Mr. Knaack joined the United States Air Force as a commissioned officer in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. While a member of the Air Force, Mr. Knaack served as a military prosecutor, advisor to Command, and represented victims of sexual assault as a Special Victims’ Counsel. As a military prosecutor, Mr. Knaack prosecuted 13 felony-level courts-martial and drafted, argued, and opposed countless motions. As a Special Victims’ Counsel, Mr. Knaack represented complaining witnesses under Article 6b of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and protected the privacy of his clients through motion practice at 7 courts-martial and at over 100 hearings.

After resigning his commission and separating from the Air Force in 2019, Mr. Knaack joined Bates, Winter & Talmachoff. His current practice focuses on general liability defense involving complex multi-party litigation, including commercial trucking and transportation, product liability, premises liability, toxic tort, and catastrophic injury cases. While at BWT, Mr. Knaack has successfully represented clients in complex law and motion matters, including at the appellate level, and as second chair at trial.

In his free time, Mr. Knaack enjoys rooting for the Detroit Red Wings and playing hockey in the local league.