Legal People (June 7)

Dickinson Wright PLLC
Dickinson Wright PLLC Trusts and Estates attorney Henry M. Grix presented at the annual LEAVE A LEGACY Program’s Development Day, a day of networking and skill building for professionals who are engaged in the nonprofit sector.

Development Day took place on Thursday, June 3, at the Fairlane Club in Dearborn. According to LEAVE A LEGACY, Development Day offers a year’s worth of the insight and advice nonprofit development professionals need to be successful. Top national and regional experts – including Grix, who spoke on Charitable Lead Trusts – convened to discuss the latest tips, trends and tax rules for planned giving that affect nonprofit organizations and donors.

Grix is a member in the Dickinson Wright’s Bloomfield Hills office and focuses his practice on estate planning, trusts and taxation. He received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Michigan and is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. He also served as a former chair on the Probate and Estate Planning Council of the State Bar of Michigan, Probate and Estate Planning Section. He has been named to the “Michigan Super Lawyers” and the “Best Lawyers in America” lists, and was named the “Detroit Area Best Lawyers Trusts and Estates Lawyer of the Year” for 2010.

Additionally, Dickinson Wright PLLC attorney Mark R. High will moderate a live audio Webcast panel on shareholder agreements for the American Bar Association on Wednesday, June 9. The Webcast and accompanying teleconference will begin at 1 p.m. EST.

This Webcast will review topics that can be covered in shareholders agreements, and will discuss specific strategies that can be used to solve issues. Participants will learn what must be covered in buy-sell provisions, what should be covered, and what can happen without coverage; what other topics can be included; how to address funding issues among related companies upon an owner’s death; how private equity investors use shareholder agreements; and the ethical issues involved in drafting shareholders agreements. Visit for more information.

In his practice, High counsels buyers and sellers in mergers and acquisitions in a number of industries. He also serves as counsel to closely-held corporations, private equity firms and domestic offices of Canadian and other foreign businesses.

High has a B.A. from The College of Wooster, Ohio, and his law degree from Duke University School of Law. He has served as a council member and is a past chair of the Business Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan. He serves on the Business Law Advisory Board of the Institute of Continuing Legal Education and is co-chair of the Corporate and Securities Committee of the U.S. Law Firm Group.

Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP
Honigman, Miller, Schwartz, and Cohn LLP ranked highly in the first quarter 2010 and annual 2009 rankings recently released by SNL Financial, a leading provider of financial information. Honigman was ranked first among all U.S. law firms for its number of bank mergers and acquisitions transactions in the SNL Financial League Tables list for Bank and Thrift Financial Advisers in the first quarter of 2010. According to SNL, the list includes deals as of March 31 with terminated deals excluded.

Honigman was also among the top law firms in SNL’s annual rankings for Whole-Institution Acquisitions in its “SNL Financial Institutions Deal Book” for 2010, which represents data from the year 2009.

The deals used in all the rankings were completed by Honigman’s Community Banking Practice Group, a part of the firm’s Corporate and Securities Department. Honigman represents multi-bank holding companies, as well as individual community banks. Honigman also assists clients in establishing, capitalizing and restructuring banks and bank holding companies to meet the changing demands of this complicated industry. Honigman banking attorneys are regularly assisted by members of the firm’s Tax, Real Estate and Litigation practice groups, as well as its general corporate lawyers.

Varnum is pleased to announce that Dennis B. Schultz has joined the firm. Schultz, a respected litigator who has practiced law for more 30 years in Southeast Michigan, will be based in Varnum’s Novi office.

Schultz’ arbitration and lead counsel experience includes numerous trials and litigation of major business disputes including claims on major construction projects, shareholder class actions, corporate hostile take-over actions, commercial contract disputes and trade secret/intellectual property cases.

Most recently at the firm of Dawda, Mann, Mulcahy, and Sadler PLC, Schultz was at Butzel Long for 31 years until May, 2009.

Prior to obtaining his law degree, Schultz spent many years in construction and real estate development where he developed feasibility analyses, prepared pro forma financial statements, and analyzed tax aspects of real estate investments.

Schultz is a graduate of Wayne State University and the Detroit College of Law at Michigan State University. A member of the American Bar Association and State Bar of Michigan, Schultz is also a member of the Construction Law, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Real Estate, and Litigation sections of the State Bar of Michigan.

Third Circuit Court
Third Judicial Circuit COURT of Michigan Judge Deborah A. Thomas received and accepted a personal invitation from the Secretary of the Air Force to attend the 57th Annual National Security Forum at the Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, located in Montgomery, Alabama.

During the week of May 17-21, Thomas was among civilian leaders in business, education, and government from all over the United States, meeting with senior military leaders to explore current and future national security issues facing the nation. The National Security Forum provided a great opportunity for an open and candid exchange of ideas among invitees, senior military, civilian leaders, and students attending the Air War College held at Air University.

The Air War College is the senior professional development school in the Air Force officer education system as a part of Air University. It educates selected senior officers to lead at the strategic level in the employment of air and space forces. The curriculum focuses on national security issues and coalition war fighting, with emphasis on the effective employment of aerospace forces in joint and combined combat operations.

Air University is a major component of Air Education and Training Command and the intellectual and leadership center of the Air Force. Air University’s eight colleges and schools provide the full spectrum of Air Force education, from pre-commissioning to the highest levels of professional military education, including degree granting and professional continuing education for officers, enlisted and civilian personnel throughout their careers.

The forum provided presentations from General Norton A. Schwartz, chief of staff, U.S. Air Force; Michael Donley, secretary of the Air Force; and other nationally recognized leaders in the fields of Economic Crisis and National Security.

Thomas is now an alumnus of the Air College, and will receive monthly updates and will participate in future National Security Forums sponsored by the Air University, Department of the Air Force.

Barris, Sott, Denn & Driker PLLC
Detroit law firm Barris, Sott, Denn, & Driker PLLC is pleased to announce that one of its members, Morley Witus, was installed as president of the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association (DMBA) on May 27. Witus has been active in the DMBA serving on the Board of Directors for several years and on the Executive Committee for the last two years.

Witus concentrates his practice in commercial litigation. He has experience in a wide variety of complex business disputes, including contract, real estate, probate, securities, municipal, insurance, legal malpractice, intellectual property, and employment cases.

Nemeth Burwell P.C.
Detroit-based employment law firm Nemeth Burwell PC announced recently that immigration attorney Ingrid Brey has joined the firm of counsel. According to Nemeth Burwell President Patricia Nemeth, the addition of Brey is a complement to the firm’s existing management employment law practice.

Brey’s legal work experience includes solo practice as well as serving as immigration counsel at large law firms. She is an AV–rated attorney and was        named to the Michigan Super Lawyer list in 2006 and the Best Lawyers in America list from 1999 to present for immigration law.

Brey is an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and has served as chair of AILA’s Michigan Chapter (1999-2001) and as chair of the National Physician’s Committee in 2003. She has also served on various national liaison committees, including the Department of Labor, Nebraska Service Center, and Department of State, where she was charged with liaisoning with the Waiver Review Division on J-1 visa waiver issues. In 2007, Brey acted as AILA liaison with the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City.

She has published numerous articles on immigration law, including a chapter in the Institute of Continuing Legal Education’s handbook, Employment Law in Michigan. In January 2009 Brey’s article, “Immigration Law for the Employment Lawyer,” appeared in the Michigan Bar Journal. She is a frequent speaker on immigration law and presents yearly at the national American Immigration Lawyers’ Conference and other national immigration conferences throughout the U.S.

Brey earned her law degree, from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School and her master’s degree in labor law from the Georgetown University Law Center. She earned her bachelor’s degree in social science from Michigan State University.

Hall, Render, Killian, Heath & Lyman, P.C.
Hall, Render, Killian, Heath, & Lyman announced the hiring of Jennifer H. Gonzalez in the Labor and Employment section of the firm.

Gonzalez focuses her practice on employment litigation and advising corporate clients on best practices to reduce potential litigation. She represents clients in complex employment disputes, litigating claims of retaliation, discrimination, harassment, trade secret misappropriation, breach of non-competition and non-solicitation agreements, and other employment claims.

Gonzalez earned her law degree from Santa Clara University School of Law. She is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, Federal Bar Association, Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association, University of Michigan Alumni Association, and Phi Delta Phi International Legal Fraternity.

Lewis & Munday
Lewis & Munday recently announced that Blair A. Person, a 23-year veteran of the firm’s real estate practice, has been named president and CEO, effective immediately.

Person succeeds David Baker Lewis, a founding partner of the firm, who will remain chairman.

Person has chaired Lewis & Munday’s Real Estate Practice Group for the past 13 years. His area of real estate practice includes sales and acquisitions, affordable housing transactions, commercial mortgage loans, commercial leases, loan modifications, mortgage foreclosures, easement agreements, program management agreements and development agreements.

“I’m honored that my colleagues have chosen me as the firm’s new president and CEO,” Person said. “Lewis and Munday has played a pioneering role in Detroit’s legal history and I look forward to playing a leadership role in the firm’s next chapter.”

Projects Person has assisted with include the Chrysler Jefferson Plant, a number of affordable housing projects administered by the City of Detroit, various real estate developments undertaken by Wayne State University, real estate matters on behalf of The Detroit Edison Company and projects involving the Detroit People Mover.

Lewis said Person’s selection as president and CEO underscores the diversity that the firm has prized from its beginning.

Person is a graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law and earned his B.A. degree from the University of Michigan. He is a member of the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association and the State Bar of Michigan.


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