Legal People

Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP
Honigman, Miller, Schwartz, and Cohn LLP is pleased to announce that Nicholas B. Gorga, a partner in the firm’s Litigation Department, has been named the firm’s recruiting partner as of Jan. 1. In this position, he will be responsible for overseeing Honigman’s on-campus recruiting of law students, the summer associate program and the hiring of new associates and judicial clerks.

Gorga’s litigation practice at Honigman focuses on the representation of companies and their directors and officers in investigations by government agencies, disputes with competitors, and in class action lawsuits, often by the company’s shareholders. He has been named by “Michigan Super Lawyers” as a “Rising Star” in both 2009 and 2010.

Gorga, who has co-chaired Honigman’s Pro Bono Committee since 2008, serves on the Board of the Detroit Center for Family Advocacy, is a regional chair for Alumni Giving for Princeton University, and is a member of the Detroit Country Day School Alumni Council and the Board of the Princeton Club of Michigan.
Gorga earned his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School and an A.B. from Princeton University.

Additionally, Honigman would like to announce that it has been named the 2010 “Law Firm of the Year” by Community Legal Resources (CLR). The mission of CLR is to support and empower nonprofit community organizations in Michigan that serve low-income individuals and communities, with an emphasis on community economic development, by providing pro bono legal services and technical assistance.

Honigman Real Estate Partner Mitchell R. Meisner serves on the CLR Board of Directors and chaired the legal teams that drafted the FLOOR and ROOF agreements. I. W. Winsten and Gorga, both partners in Honigman’s Litigation Department, serve as co-chairs of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee. Other local attorneys involved in the project and their Honigman office location include:
• Rebecca L. Donnini.
• Thomas W. Forster II.
• Margaret E. Greene.
• Karl A. Hochkammer.
• Ann T. Hollenbeck.
• Karissa M. Holmes.
• Donald J. Kun.
• Jeffrey H. Kuras.
• A’Jené M. Maxwell.
• Kenneth J. Phillips.
• G. Scott Romney.
• Jill S. Schloff.
• Abby M. Stover.
• Kimberly A. Yourchock.


Michigan Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA)
The Michigan Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) recently announced its new officers.

Loretta M. Ames surrendered her president’s gavel to incoming president William F. Mills of Gruel, Mills, Nims, & Pylman  LLP at ABOTA’s Annual Meeting on Friday, Dec. 10.

Other officers assuming new positions on the Executive Board are:
• Cynthia E. Merry of Merry, Farnen, & Ryan PC became president-elect,.
• Joseph C. Smith of Smith & Gibson PC became treasurer.
• Thomas W. Cranmer of Miller, Canfield, Paddock, & Stone PLC became secretary,
• Kathleen L. Bogas of the Law Offices of Kathleen L. Bogas PLLC became membership chairperson.


Butzel Long
For the second year in a row, Butzel Long has been recognized for top client service in the Wellesley, Mass.-based BTI Consulting Group Inc. 2011 “Survey of Law Firm Client Service Performance.” Butzel Long ranked in the top third of firms from across the country that were ranked. Butzel Long ranked 93 out of 333 firms and second in the Detroit market among law firms on the list.


State Bar of Michigan
The State Bar of Michigan has hired Robert G. Mathis as pro bono service counsel. Mathis started service at the bar on Dec. 1. His prior work experience includes five years at Legal Services of South Central Michigan, most recently serving as managing attorney in the Battle Creek office.

In his role as pro bono service counsel, Mathis will oversee the growth and expansion of the State Bar’s pro bono initiative. He will work directly with legal aid providers to coordinate state-wide initiatives, and build pro bono relationships with law firms, corporations, law schools, and bar associations. He will seek pro bono volunteers and coordinate staff support for these volunteers. He will also help develop publicity for the bar’s pro bono program. Mathis’s past experience also includes working as an attorney at Elder Law of Michigan, Inc. and a law clerk at the Michigan Public Service Commission.

He earned his undergraduate degree in 1992 from College of Charleston, in Charleston, S.C., his law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 2003, and a Master of Public Administration from Western Michigan University in 2008.


Miller Canfield
The law firm of Miller Canfield announces that it has been highly recommended as a leading litigation firm in Michigan in the 4th edition of the “Benchmark Litigation: The Guide to America’s Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys,” published by Legal Media Group.

The 2011 guide gives special recognition to Miller Canfield litigators Thomas W. Cranmer (Commercial Litigation and White-Collar Crime); Gregory L. Curtner (Commercial Litigation, Intellectual Property); Donna J. Donati (Civil Litigation); Michael W. Hartmann (Commercial Litigation); A. Michael Palizzi (Commercial Litigation); Clarence L. Pozza Jr. (Commercial Litigation, Securities) and Carl H. von Ende (Antitrust, Intellectual Property, Securities).


Olsman, Mueller, Wallace & MacKenzie
Wolfgang Mueller, was unanimously re-elected to the position of vice chairperson of the Michigan Unarmed Combat Commission, the state commission that oversees professional boxing and mixed martial arts in Michigan. 

Mueller, an attorney with Olsman, Mueller, Wallace, & MacKenzie PC, was appointed to the UCC by Governor Jennifer Granholm, and was first elected as vice chairperson in 2009.


Plunkett Cooney
Determined by employee surveys and independent research, Plunkett Cooney recently ranked seventh on the Detroit Free Press’ 2010 list of “Top Places to Work” for midsize companies. This is the firm’s third consecutive honor, but its first top 10 finish.

“Receiving this recognition three years in a row is a great honor and continues to validate that the firm is moving in the right direction,” said Henry B. Cooney, the firm’s president and CEO. “Being among the top 10 mid-size companies is very exciting and something we can build on for the future.”

The Free Press partnered with WorkplaceDynamics of Exton, PA to conduct the survey of 202 regional employers in three categories ranging in size from small businesses to employers with more than 500 workers. Of the 132,000 workers employed in the participating industries, 41,291 voluntarily completed the extensive Free Press survey.

Plunkett Cooney maintains a firm wide “Great Place to Work” program to enhance the work experience for all employees. This program goes beyond compensation to focus on added value benefits beyond traditional health, vision, dental and insurance plans offered by most companies. The program includes such opportunities as continuing education, special events, employee convenience services, diversity recruitment and retention, mentoring, wellness programs and much more.

Plunkett Cooney has been recognized recently by several organizations for its employee retention programs, including the Michigan Business & Professional Association, which named the firm, for six consecutive years (2005-2010) as one of its “101 Best & Brightest Places to Work For.”


Vercruysee Murray, and Calzone, P.C.
Kathleen Saenz Poppenger, attorney and shareholder of Vercruysse Murray, and Calzone, P.C., was recently elected president of the Livonia Bar Association.

Poppenger has experience in the field of immigration and citizenship law. A member of the State Bar of Michigan and the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Poppenger focuses her practice in the area of employment based immigration matters, including H-1B workers, L-1 intra-company transfers, E1/E2 treaty trader/investors, NAFTA visas, multinational managers as well as employment-based permanent residence, I-9 compliance and family-based green card matters.

Poppenger is a specialist in the field of health care-related immigration matters as well as complex citizenship issues. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Wayne State University Law School, is a member of the American Bar Association, and is listed on the Metropolitan Registries “Who’s Who for Executive Professionals.”


Clark Hill PLC
Clark Hill attorney Reginald M. Turner has been re-elected to serve as Michigan’s State Delegate to the American Bar Association (ABA) House of Delegates. Reginald will lead Michigan’s 14 member delegation and act as the state’s representative to the Nominating Committee of the House of Delegates, which elects the officers of the ABA. He will also serve as chair of the House of Delegates Committee on Issues of Concern to the Profession.

Turner is a litigator and lobbyist. He is a member of Clark Hill’s Executive Committee, its Government Policy Group and its Labor and Employment Group. Reginald is named in the peer review guides “The Best Lawyers in America” and “Super Lawyers.” He is a life fellow of the American Bar Foundation, an honor reserved to less than one percent of lawyers in each state. He was named to Crain’s “Power Lawyers 2008.” Turner is a past president of the National Bar Association and past president of the State Bar of Michigan.

Turner has litigated in state and federal civil courts, state and federal administrative tribunals, and grievance and interest arbitrations. His experience includes defense of class action cases in state and federal courts. He regularly counsels clients in negotiation, drafting and administration of labor and employment contracts in the private and public sectors.

He is a member of the labor and employment sections of the American Bar Association, the National Bar Association and the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association. Also certified in arbitration by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, Turner previously served on the Board of Directors of the American Society of Employers, the American Arbitration Association’s Michigan Employment Advisory Council and the State Bar of Michigan’s Labor and Employment Section Council.

Turner regularly counsels clients and advocates for them on matters of public policy. He has governmental experience at the federal, state and local levels. In 1996-97, he completed a White House Fellowship in Washington, D.C., managing a Presidential Task Force and working as an aide to former Housing and Urban Development Secretaries Henry Cisneros and Andrew Cuomo.

Turner remains active in public service and civic and charitable organizations. He is chairman of the City of Detroit Board of Ethics. In 2003, Governor Jennifer Granholm appointed Turner to the Michigan State Board of Education and he won a statewide election for a full term in 2006.

From 2000-2003, he represented Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer on the Detroit Board of Education. He is secretary of the Greater Wayne County Economic Development Corporation and General Counsel of the Wayne County Business Development Corporation. He is vice chairman of the Detroit Police Foundation. He is a director of Comerica, Inc., the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, and a trustee of the Hudson-Webber Foundation. He formerly served on Governor John Engler’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Michigan Gaming and on the City of Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Advisory Committee. He is a past chairman of the United Way for Southeastern Michigan.


Law Offices of Jermaine A. Wyrick, PLLC
The Law Offices of Jermaine A. Wyrick PLLC is pleased to announce that attorney Jermaine A. Wyrick was selected in the 2010 College World Reporter Readers Poll for the “Best Article Written” for his article, “The Mother’s Milk,” which discussed the watershed Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission U.S. Supreme Court case, that allows corporation and unions to spend money from their general treasury funds to influence federal campaigns, which was prohibited beforehand.

The College World Reporter (CWR) is an online empowerment magazine for college students. Wyrick is the CWR legal advisor columnist based upon his commitment and passion to empower the students with legal information to educate them about their basic rights.

Wyrick is a 1993 graduate of the University of Michigan, where he earned his bachelors degree in Political Science and a 1996 graduate of Wayne State University Law School.

Wyrick has practiced law since 1997. His  chosen areas of practice include Civil Litigation, Criminal Defense, Family, Police Misconduct, and Probate Law. In January 2003, he was certified as a mediator by the Institute of Continuing Legal Education.

He is currently a member of the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan, the National Bar Association, and the Wolverine Bar Association.

He has lectured for several organizations, including, the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association, Lorman Education Services, and the NAACP George W. Crockett Community Law School. His civic activities, includes the Coleman A. Young Scholarship Foundation – Board of Directors, the Detroit Jaycees, and the American Inn of Court for the University of Detroit Mercy Law School.

His awards include the University of Michigan, African American Alumni Council “Five Under Ten” Award, and the United States Attorney Office Black History Month Award.


Plunkett Cooney
Plunkett Cooney insurance coverage attorney, Nicole E. Wilinski, was recently named an “Up & Coming Lawyer” by Michigan Lawyers Weekly (MLW), a publication serving the state’s legal community.

A member of the firm’s Bloomfield Hills office, Wilinski focuses her practice in the area of insurance coverage litigation. She represents insurance providers in coverage cases throughout Michigan and the Midwest. Wilinski’s experience includes the defense of complex insurance coverage disputes in the areas of environmental and construction law.

She also defends clients in construction, commercial and personal injury litigation.

Willinski is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and American Bar Association (Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section’s – Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee), as well as the Oakland County Bar Foundation, DRI – The Voice of the Defense Bar and the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan (WLAM). She is also the past president of the Women’s Bar Association – Oakland Region of WLAM.

Wilinski earned her undergraduate degree from University of Michigan in 1997 and graduated from Wayne State University Law School in 2000.