Legal People (May 24)

Michigan Association for Justice

The Michigan Association for Justice conducted its 65th Annual MAJ Convention Rapid Fire Seminar on Friday, May 7, at the Hyatt Regency Dearborn featuring several speakers.

MAJ member Donna M. MacKenzie of Olsman, Mueller, Wallace, & MacKenzie in Berkley was the featured speaker on the subject of ”Liens.”

MacKenzie devotes a majority of her practice to representing individuals injured as a result of nursing home neglect and abuse as well as medical malpractice. She also specializes in the litigation of other personal injury matters including automobile accidents and senior investment fraud.

MacKenzie is an Executive Board member of the Michigan Association for Justice. She is also on the Board of Governors for the New Lawyers Division of the American Association for Justice and serves as a director of the Oakland County Bar Association New Lawyers.

Harvey R. Heller of Maddin, Hauser, Wartell, Roth, & Heller P.C. in Southfield was the featured speaker on the subject of Legal Malpractice Defense.

Heller is the shareholder in charge of our Insurance Coverage and Defense Practice Group. Harvey is the creator of our Result Focused Case Management System.

He is a graduate of Michigan State University, as well as the Detroit College of Law. In addition to being an active litigator, Heller is a member of the Michigan State Bar Foundation Fellows and the Michigan Defense Trial Council. On a national level, Heller is a member of the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Lawyers  Professional Liability, the Defense Research Institute, as well as the International Association of Defense Counsel.

MAJ member Robert B. Sickels of Sommers Schwartz in Southfield was the featured speaker on the subject of ”A Daubert Update.”

For more than 25 years, Sickels has been successful in handling complex personal injury matters, primarily in the areas of medical negligence and products liability. He has developed particular expertise in cases involving injuries to baby and mother during birth, brain damage during medical procedures, death or catastrophic injury due to other forms of medical negligence, defective products and defective premises.

He is currently a senior shareholder at Sommers Schwartz PC. and the chairperson of the Personal Injury Department. In addition, he is a member of the Executive Board of Directors of the Michigan Association for Justice.

MAJ member Albert J. Dib of Dib, Fagan & Brault in Royal Oak was the featured speaker on the subject of ”The Supreme Court Pilot Program — Jurors Asking Questions.”

Dib is a 1980 graduate of Wayne State University Law School. He has been adjunct professor of law at Wayne State and University of Detroit Mercy law schools, where he’s taught Medical Malpractice Law, Health Law, Litigation Skills, and Pretrial Advocacy.

He is past-president of the Wayne State University Law School Alumni Association, and currently a member of the Law School’s Board of Visitors. Dib focuses his practice in medical and professional negligence, including the highly specialized field of catastrophically injured children and Birth Trauma/Obstetrical Malpractice Litigation.

MAJ member Thomas R. Behm of Gruel, Mills, Nims, & Pylman LLP in Grand Rapids, was the featured speaker on the subject of ”New Techniques in VoirDire.”

Behm’s primary focus is in the area of personal injury, medical malpractice and complex commercial litigation. Behm has written and lectured on litigation techniques and served as a factual member of the Hillman Advocacy Program. He is a Fellow of the Michigan State Bar Foundation, Chairman of the Justice Foundation of West Michigan. He is a past board member for the Michigan Association for Justice.

Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Shalina Kumar was the featured speaker on the subject of ”Observations for the Bench.”

Kumar was previously an associate of the Southfield based law firm of Weiner & Cox PLC, specializing in complex civil litigation, medical malpractice and wrongful death actions with extensive trial experience. Kumar graduated with distinction from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in psychology and the University of Detroit-Mercy School of Law.

MAJ Past-President Robert Raitt of Gursten, Koltonow, Gursten, Christensen, and Raitt, PC in Southfield was the featured speaker on the subject of ”Third Party Case Evaluation: What You Need To Know.”

Raitt is a partner of Gursten, Koltonow, Gursten, Christensen, and Raitt PC, and recently finished a term as president of the Michigan Association for Justice. For the past five years, Raitt was a Michigan Association for Justice officer. Previously, he served on the Michigan Association for Justice executive board for several years.

He has been a speaker and moderator at various seminars for the State Bar of Michigan, the National Business Institute and the Michigan Association for Justice. He has also spoken before the Michigan Legislature on behalf of car accident victims who’ve had their rights stripped by the state’s auto threshold law.

Before becoming an auto accident attorney, Raitt graduated from both the University of Michigan and Wayne State University Law School.

MAJ Executive Board member Wayne Miller was the featured speaker on the subject of ”A First Party Update.”

Miller is a graduate of the University of Michigan (1976) and Wayne State University School of Law (1979). He has served as an adjunct professor of Law at Wayne Law School, where he has taught the class in Michigan’s no-fault auto insurance law since 1998. The textbook used in the three Michigan law schools that teach no-fault insurance is co-authored by Miller.

Miller is chief operating officer and chairman of the Board of Miller & Tischler P.C. and a member of its Management Committee.

MAJ member Michael J. Morse of Michael J. Morse PC in Southfield, was the featured speaker on the subject of ”The Top Ten Tech Tools You Are Not Using.”

Morse is a personal injury attorney with offices located in Southfield and Warren. He began his education at the University of Arizona where he earned a Bachelors of Science in business. He graduated in 1989, and then earned a law degree from the University of Detroit School of Law, emphasizing his studies on automobile, motorcycle, and truck accident insurance claims.

From 1992 through 1995 Morse was employed with a medium sized personal injury law firm. Then, in September of 1995 he opened his own firm and today proudly employs a staff of 44 including 12 attorneys.

Trott & Trott, P.C.
Farmington Hills-based Trott & Trott, P.C. recently announced the addition of attorneys Bree Anne Stopera and Jacqueline Kontry to the firm’s Litigation and Title Departments. Trott & Trott President and Managing Partner David A. Trott made the announcement.

Stopera joins Trott & Trott as a litigation attorney from Kresch Oliver PLLC in Southfield where she conducted general civil law. She graduated magna cum laude from Eastern Michigan University and earned her law degree in 2007 from Wayne State University Law School. Stopera is a member of the State Bar of Michigan.

Kontry joins Trott & Trott as a title attorney. Kontry earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and her law degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. She is a member of both the State Bar of Michigan and the State Bar of Illinois.

Brooks Kushman P.C.
Brooks Kushman P.C., a specialized intellectual property (IP) and commercial law firm, recently hired Christopher C. Smith as an associate to further strengthen the firm’s litigation practice. The announcement was made by Mark Cantor, president of the firm. Smith will be based in the firm’s Southfield office, but will work seamlessly with the firm’s Los Angeles office as a member of the California State Bar.

In his new role, Smith will further bolster the IP litigation practice and will work with senior litigators at the firm on every aspect of the firm’s cases, including discovery, depositions and trial preparation.

Before joining Brooks Kushman, Smith was an associate with Kirkland & Ellis LLP in Los Angeles, where he worked closely with experts on their reports and deposition preparation, conducted depositions, participated in trials and drafted motions.

While in law school, Smith served as a judicial extern for the U.S. Federal District Court Judge R. Gary Klausner, Central District in Los Angeles, as well as a law clerk for Dobrusin & Thennisch PC in Birmingham. Further, in conjunction with his undergraduate engineering education, he also held undergraduate and post-graduate positions at TI Automotive in Warren, The Goldman Group in Ann Arbor and American Axle & Manufacturing in Rochester Hills.

Smith earned his law degree from the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law and a Bachelor of Science in engineering from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He is admitted to the State Bar of California, United States Patent & Trademark Office, Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, as well as the U.S. District Court for the Central, Eastern, Southern and Northern Districts of California.

Hall, Render, Killian, Heath & Lyman, P.C.

Hall, Render, Killian, Heath, & Lyman, P.C. announced the hiring of associate attorney, Tina M. Allen, in the Health Section of its Troy office this April.

Allen most recently served as assistant general counsel for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Before that, she served as a judicial law clerk to Michigan Supreme Court Justice Maura D. Corrigan, and then as an associate of Dickinson Wright PLLC.

Allen earned her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and her law degree from the University of Detroit-Mercy School of Law. She is a member of the State Bar of Michigan Bar.

The firm also hired associate attorney, Martha Rabaut Boonstra in the Health Law Section of its Troy office this March.

As a long time registered nurse, Boonstra brings a unique understanding of a variety of clinical settings to her practice. Prior to entering private practice, Boonstra was a clerk to United States Court of Appeals Judge David. W. McKeague, Sixth Circuit.

Boonstra earned her law degree from Michigan State University College of Law. She specializes in the provision of health care related legal services, including counseling clients on health care compliance and regulatory matters involving HIPAA, Stark law and fraud and abuse issues. Boonstra also offers guidance with regard to a wide variety of health care related transactional and litigation matters.

Additionally, Tara L. Slone was hired in the Employee Benefits section of the firm’s Troy office also in March.

Slone earned her law degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

Slone previously worked in private practice from 2001-2009 and most recently at Butzel Long. She is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and the American Bar Association.

Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP
Honigman, Miller, Schwartz, and Cohn LLP partner Margaret E. Greene was recently a featured speaker in the Executive Strategy Session at the Energy Conference and Exhibition 2010 hosted by DTE Energy and the Engineering Society of Detroit. Greene, who is a partner in the firm’s Real Estate Department and co-chair of its Sustainability and Renewable Energy Practice Group, discussed current trends in commercial real estate energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives, and the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

Greene has earned designation by the U.S. Green Building Council as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Accredited Professional.

Greene helped lead Honigman’s efforts in organizing its interdisciplinary Sustainability and Renewable Energy Practice Group, a team of experienced attorneys from Honigman’s Environmental, Tax, Real Estate, Energy/Regulatory, Investment Incentives and Tax Savings, Corporate and Securities, and Intellectual Property and Technology practice groups. The Sustainability and Renewable Energy Practice Group counsels clients on a wide array of legal and regulatory issues that arise in connection with sustainability matters, including reporting requirements, the generation and distribution of renewable and alternative energy resources, energy efficiency initiatives, LEED-certified high performance buildings, and other “green” real estate development projects, along with the development and financing of new sustainability technologies.

Greene earned her law degree from the University of Michigan Law School and an M.A. and a B.A. from Western Michigan University.

Additionally, the firm is pleased to announce that Sheldon P. Winkelman, a partner in the firm’s Real Estate Department, has been elected chairman of the Board of the Michigan Housing Council (MHC) for a term ending in 2011. Winkelman has been a member of the MHC since its inception and was the first attorney to be elected president, a post that he held for two terms ending this year.

Winkelman has more than four decades experience working on a wide variety of commercial real estate and financing transactions with an emphasis on government-assisted housing. He has represented a broad range of clients, including developers, lenders, owners, managers, borrowers and investors. His experience also encompasses government, quasi-government, private agency and institutional housing programs.

Along with the MHC, Winkelman’s professional involvement includes membership in the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, The National Leased Housing Association, the Institute for Responsible Housing Preservation and The Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development Law.

Winkelman is a member of both the State Bar of Michigan and the District of Columbia Bar Association. He earned a B.A. from Wayne State University and his law degree from the Wayne State University Law School.

Miller Canfield
Miller Canfield principal Matthew F. Leitman (Troy office) was recently elected to a four-year term on the Harvard Law School Association Council. The council consists of law school alumni from around the country who advise the Association and the Harvard Law School administration concerning alumni affairs.

Leitman, who graduated from Harvard Law School in 1993, has also served as the president of the Harvard Law School Association of Michigan for the past three years.

At Miller Canfield, Leitman practices in the areas of criminal defense, complex commercial litigation, and appellate litigation. He has been recognized in “Best Lawyers of America” and as a “Michigan Super Lawyer” for his work in litigation and criminal defense.

Brooks Wilkins Sharkey & Turco PLLC

Julie Kosovec joined Brooks, Wilkins, Sharkey, & Turco PLLC on May 19. Kosovec was previously a shareholder with Hyman Lippitt PC, also in Birmingham, where she concentrated her practice in complex commercial litigation.

Kosovec earned a law degree from Wayne State University. Her areas of litigation expertise include shareholder, employment, construction and real estate disputes. Kosovec is a member of the Oakland County Bar Association, Negligence and Litigation Section of the State Bar of Michigan, Oakland County Chapter of the Womens Lawyers Association of Michigan, and the Oakland County Chapter of the American Inns of Court.

Brooks Wilkins Sharkey & Turco is located at 401 South Old Woodward Ave., Suite 460, Birmingham, MI 48009.  To learn more about the firm, visit www.bwst-law.com or call (248) 971-1800.