Persuasion: Area attorney relishes challenges of litigation

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

According to attorney Shaina Reed, the fun in litigation is persuasion.

“The law is a series of black and white dots — our job is to draw lines through the gray areas between them, to connect those dots in some meaningful way,” she said.

The art of persuasion was particularly in force when Reed successfully briefed and argued Niederhouse v Roscommon County before the Michigan Court of Appeals, a brief later published by the COA in its opinion.

The case was about an off-duty police officer assisting in providing airboat rides during Winterfest in Roscommon County, who lost control of the airboat and struck a snowmobile, pinning a bystander’s leg.

The bystander sued the officer for negligence, and the officer responded with a motion for summary disposition pursuant to MCR 2.116(C)(7) on the grounds of governmental immunity.

“When I argued before the Court of Appeals, two Cooley Law classes were in the gallery observing oral arguments,” Reed says. “Nothing like having 100-plus aspiring attorneys – in addition to a panel of three respected jurists – analyzing and critiquing your every word to get the adrenaline pumping.”    

An attorney with Fraser Trebilcock in Lansing, where she focuses her practice on civil litigation, employment and labor law, Reed started her career as a Spartan, earning her undergrad degree from Michigan State University’s James Madison College.    

“It was the best of both worlds — manageable class size and many familiar faces within the confines of a large university,” she said. “I learned to think, write and debate in a way that uniquely prepared me for law school.”   

She went on to earn her Juris Doctor from John Marshall Law School in Chicago, where she was awarded the Dean Merit Scholarship and received Best Opening Statement in her 1L mock trial competition.    

In addition to honing her brief-writing skills at a class action firm, and a personal injury law firm, Reed gained valuable pretrial experience clerking for Judge Diane Larsen of the Cook County Circuit Court Law Division in Chicago.    

“Clerking for Judge Larsen was an incredibly rewarding experience,” she said. “In an industry historically dominated by men, Judge Larsen served as a constant reminder that women are just as capable of succeeding in our profession.    

“Her attention to detail and willingness to give both parties a fair shake has stayed with me. She demonstrated how critical it is that we attorneys find a way to remain civil despite the adversarial nature of our work.”   

Named a “Rising Star” in Michigan for Civil Litigation, Employment and Labor, and Civil Rights for two consecutive years by Super Lawyers Magazine, and selected as an Hour Detroit 2015 Top
Attorney in Michigan “Rising Star,” Reed is admitted to practice law in both Illinois and Michigan.

She worked as an associate for Johnson, Rosati, Schultz & Joppich, P.C., in Lansing primarily focusing on municipal liability defense, before joining Fraser Trebilock. A native of DeWitt, north of
Lansing, Reed now makes her home near the River Trail in Lansing with her wife and two dogs.

Her leisure pursuits include traveling, running, and keeping her dogs from getting too close to skunks/deer/assorted wildlife.

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