Changing of the guard: T.J. Reed settles in as Three Rivers city attorney

Three Rivers City Attorney T.J. Reed

The City of Three Rivers recently welcomed T.J. Reed as its newly appointed city attorney following the retirement of J. Patrick O’Malley. A Centerville resident but already-familiar face to the town, Reed’s extensive experience in municipal law should benefit Three Rivers as he begins his new role. 

Reed began his college education at Western Michigan University where he studied psychology. Simultaneously working part-time for the St Joseph County Sheriff’s Department, he developed an interest and passion for the criminal justice system, and later received his law degree from the Michigan State University School of Law. 

Reed has most recently been practicing law at Bird, Scheske, Reed & Beemer, P.C. (located in Sturgis), and does not intend to reduce his case load. Citing the help of his colleagues, Reed told Watershed Voice, “While I may be the named city attorney, my office works as a team to ensure all the needs of the city are met. Obviously representing a municipality such as Three Rivers brings increased responsibility and work. However, with five Attorneys in the firm we are able to ensure all the needs and tasks are met while still providing a high level of representation to all of our other clients, both new and existing.”

No stranger to the duties of a city official, Reed previously served as deputy city attorney for the City of Sturgis, where he prosecuted all municipal zoning and ordinance infractions. Additionally, he has been serving as deputy city attorney for Three Rivers since May 2022. Reed believes this prior knowledge, combined with his history of high-profile court cases, will aid in a smooth transition. “My approach is to work hard and seek a positive outcome for all clients. Obviously, the subject matter of the representation will be different, but those previous cases and situations give me experience to draw on, and hopefully make me a better attorney and more effective for the city.”

A personal and professional relationship with O’Malley has also proven vital to the transition of power. Considered a mentor by Reed, O’Malley has been a family friend since Reed’s childhood, advising Reed prior to applying for law school, and serving as a valuable source of information and guidance over the years. “Since the transition, Pat has been extremely gracious and outgoing to ensure a smooth transition and to guarantee the city is in a good position to move forward and is not affected by his departure. However, with that being said, no amount of guidance and assistance will replace his nearly 50 years of knowledge and experience with the City.”

Beca Welty is a staff writer and columnist for Watershed Voice.