Legal People

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School

On Thursday, Feb. 25, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced the appointment of retired Brigadier General and Western Michigan University Cooley Law School Professor Michael C.H. McDaniel to the Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee (FWICC). McDaniel’s appointment is in addition to his role as lead for Flint’s Fast Action and Sustainability Team, where he serves as liaison between Flint Mayor Karen Weaver’s and Snyder’s offices, a post that he was appointed to in early February.

“I am honored to have been appointed by Governor Snyder to advocate for the City of Flint and Mayor Weaver as a member of the Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee. We are cooperatively developing our plans and efforts to move forward on lead service line removal,” said McDaniel.

The 17-member committee, housed within Michigan State Police, will make recommendations to the governor regarding the health and welfare of people exposed to lead, studies Flint’s water infrastructure and determines potential upgrades, reviews Flint Water Task Force recommendations, and recommends ways to improve communication between local and state government.

McDaniel is director of WMU-Cooley’s LL.M. program in Homeland Security and teaches in the school’s Constitutional Law department.  He joined WMU-Cooley’s faculty after serving as U.S. deputy assistant secretary for Homeland Defense Strategy, Prevention and Mission Assurance.  He was also former Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s Homeland Security Advisor in 2003, serving in that role until he joined the law school faculty.

McDaniel’s appointment to the FWICC is for three years, expiring Dec. 31, 2018. Member’s appointments are not subject to advice or consent of Michigan’s legislative bodies.


Plunkett Cooney

Attorney Lauren M. Studley recently joined Plunkett Cooney as a member of its Medical Liability Practice Group. 

Studley focuses her practice primarily in the area of medical malpractice defense. She also has experience resolving general liability claims, auto negligence matters, trucking/transportation law issues and contract law matters.

Studley’s clients include hospitals, physicians, nurses and other healthcare providers targeted by medical malpractice actions ranging from obstetrics to gynecology to emergency medicine to complex surgery. She has second-chaired complex medical liability jury trials, and she has won numerous dismissals on motions for summary disposition.

Studley received her law degree from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School in 2011. She received her undergraduate degree from Central Michigan University in 2006.


Criminal Defense  Attorneys of Michigan

The Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan’s Award Committee has selected Michael J. Komorn as the recipient of their Right to Counsel Award. This award recognizes the amazing contributions of a group or individual in the form of legal representation or other extraordinary service.

Said CDAM President Patricia Maceroni, “CDAM is delighted to recognize Michael Komorn for his extraordinary work in uncovering testing irregularities  at the Michigan State Police Forensic Crime Lab while representing his client, Max Lorincz, pro bono.”

While defending Lorincz, Komorn obtained emails through the Freedom of Information Act uncovering recent changes in Crime Lab policies. These policies allowed for the reporting of marijuana abstract residue as “origin unknown” allowing prosecutors to charge someone with having synthetic THC, a felony, rather than marijuana, a two year misdemeanor.

Said Komorn during a recent interview with Michigan Radio, “The lab specifically changed their policy to report these things in a way that they could arrest patients or caregivers, instead of honoring the protections of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act.”

In January 2016, Komorn was successful in getting Max Lorincz’ two year felony charge dismissed.

Komorn will be recognized at CDAM’s Annual Dinner and Awards Banquet, Friday, March 11, at the Troy, Marriott.  The Cocktail Reception begins at 6:15 with dinner at 7 p.m. For those interested in attending, visit and click Registration: Banquet Dinner tickets. Tickets are $65 per person.


Dickinson Wright PLLC

Dickinson Wright PLLC is pleased to announce that attorney Edward H. Pappas has been selected for National Law Journal’s ADR Trailblazers list. He will be featured in the February 29 issue of National Law Journal.

Pappas is chairman of Dickinson Wright and is a member in the firm’s Troy office. He focuses his practice in the areas of commercial and business litigation, arbitration and mediation. Pappas is a Fellow in the International Society of Barristers, the Litigation Counsel of America, and the American College of Civil Trial Mediators. He is a member, arbitrator and mediator of and for the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals, the International Institute for Conflict Preservation and Resolution, and the American Arbitration Association. He is a past president and a former member of the Board of Commissioners of the State Bar of Michigan. He currently serves on the State Bar of Michigan’s 21st Century Practice Task Force. In 2015, he received the Roberts P. Hudson Award, the State Bar of Michigan’s highest honor.
Pappas received his B.B.A. from the University of Michigan and his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School.

Dickinson Wright is also pleased to announce that attorney Philip Rettig has been appointed practice department manager for the firm’s Intellectual Property and Intellectual Property Litigation practices. His appointment is effective March 1. In this role,  Rettig will be responsible for managing Dickinson Wright’s team of Intellectual Property attorneys.

Rettig is a member in the firm’s Troy office and focuses his practice on all aspects of patent, trademark, trade secret and licensing matters as well as counseling clients in strategic portfolio management. Prior to beginning his legal career, he worked in the automotive industry and held various product engineering and sales positions. He began his legal career in 1988 and concentrated his practice on obtaining and enforcing patents, trademarks and copyrights for clients in various fields, with a particular emphasis in the automotive industry. In addition to more than 20 years as a partner at another IP law firm, he served as vice president, general counsel for a Tier I automotive supplier.

Rettig is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, the American Intellectual Property Law Association, and the Michigan Intellectual Property Law Association. He received his B.S.M.E. from Kettering University and his law degree from Michigan State University College of Law.


Butzel Long

Butzel Long labor and employment law attorneys Rebecca S. Davies, Gary W. Klotz, Scott T. Patterson, and Brett J. Miller were featured speakers during Walsh College’s Seventh Annual Human Resources Summit on March 4 at its Troy campus.

Davies, an adjunct faculty member, was again a co-chair of the event. She presented the annual employment law update. Klotz discussed the Department of Labor’s Plans to expand overtime pay eligibility. Patterson and Miller co-presented a program on the broadening scope of sex discrimination claims.

Davies concentrates her practice primarily in the areas of employment law and commercial litigation. Davies represents employers in federal and state court litigation and before state and federal administrative agencies. She regularly counsels employers regarding compliance under federal and state employment laws (including FLSA, FMLA, ADA and Title VII), drafts policies and procedures, and advises on preventative strategies.

Klotz has represented employers in labor and employment law matters for more than 30 years.  Klotz is the author of numerous articles about labor and employment law, and he regularly speaks at management education programs about labor and employment law issues. 

Patterson represents employers in labor and employment law and business-related immigration matters. Patterson has experience representing employers in state and federal courts and before government agencies in defense of employment-related claims such as those involving allegations of sexual harassment, race, age, gender and disability discrimination, wrongful discharge and alleged violations of various state and federal statutes.

Miller is group leader of the firm’s Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) Group. Miller focuses his practice on employment and labor law as well as fair housing litigation. In addition to representing clients in federal and state court venues, He has appeared before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. Miller also has also represented clients in labor arbitrations.


Oakland County Circuit Court

Oakland County Circuit Court Judge James Alexander has been named a 2016 Leader in the Law by Michigan Lawyers Weekly.  Alexander was appointed to the court by Governor John Engler in 2001 and has served on the court’s Family and Civil Criminal Divisions.  He and Judge Wendy Potts are currently the court’s Business Court judges.

At the time of his appointment to the bench, Alexander was serving as director of Governor Engler’s Southeast Michigan Office.  Prior to taking that post he was a shareholder at the Foster Swift law firm.

Alexander has served as presiding judge of the Family Division and chief judge pro tem of the circuit court.  He is a former president of the Michigan Judges Association and is immediate past chair of the Michigan Judicial Council.  He has also served as chancellor of the Oakland County Bar Association Inn of Court.

Prior to being named to his non-partisan position, Alexander served three terms as chairman of the Republican Committee of Oakland County, was a 1980 presidential elector, and was chair of the Michigan Board of State Canvassers.

Alexander earned an undergraduate degree from Miami (O) University and earned his law degree at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. 


Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP

Carl M. Levin, former U.S. senator, recently received the Dave Bing “Leadership” Award from the Detroit Police Athletic League. PAL is a non-profit organization that positively influences the lives of nearly 12,000 children each a year through athletic, academic and leadership development programs.

Levin was recognized for leading and securing a $3 million federal grant.  The grant is being used as part of Detroit PAL’s “Kids at the Corner” fundraising effort to redevelop the historic site of old Tiger Stadium into a safe and healthy playing field.  The permanent headquarters for Detroit PAL is going to be built alongside the field. During conversations with the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy providing the land to Detroit PAL, Levin was an integral part of that decision making process. Levin is an honorary co-chair for the fundraising campaign.

Levin, who served 36 years in the U.S. Senate, focuses his legal practice at Honigman, Miller, Schwartz, and Cohn LLP on assisting publicly and privately held companies in identifying and addressing legal, business and reputational risks that may bring them under public or government scrutiny and result in legal action or loss of business; providing strategic advice to companies regarding public policy and regulatory issues, and issues being considered by federal, state and local legislative bodies. He also provides mediation and alternative dispute resolution services regarding complex disputes, particularly in relation to governmental units.

Levin earned a law degree from Harvard Law School and a B.A. from Swarthmore College.


Miller Canfield

Miller Canfield has announced that it has added several attorneys to the firm’s Michigan offices. The announcement was made by Miller Canfield CEO Michael McGee.

Additions to the firm’s local offices include:

• Senior Counsel Christina Marshall, a former Summit County, Ohio, assistant prosecutor, and most recently an attorney at the Sutter O’Connell firm in Cleveland, has joined the Product Safety practice in Miller Canfield’s Troy office. Marshall has tried criminal and civil cases and has successfully argued in front of the Supreme Court of Ohio and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

• Also in the Troy office, Zlatina (Tina) Georgieva has joined the Product Safety practice as a senior attorney. Georgieva was with Bowman and Brooke in Detroit where she practiced product liability litigation, class action and multidistrict litigation. Her practice encompassed multidistrict litigation, serial product liability cases and single-incident loss cases in the United States and Canada.

• James M. Crowley and Alan D. Szuma, formerly with Clark Hill, have joined Miller Canfield’s Public Finance group as principals. They will both work in the Detroit office. They have maintained a robust school finance practice, representing school districts, charter schools and other educational institutions in Michigan.

• Jeff Aronoff is rejoining Miller Canfield’s Public Finance group as a principal after a three-year absence, during which he headed the nonprofit D:hive, and launched Sidewalk Ventures, which helps businesses find and secure non-traditional funding sources. Aronoff has worked on challenging projects such as the restructuring and redevelopment of Cobo Hall.


Bowman and Brooke LLP

Bowman and Brooke LLP is proud to announce that Matthew G. Berard has joined the firm’s Detroit office as an associate.

Berard focuses his practice on automotive, aviation and drone law. As an FAA certified private pilot, he leverages his flight knowledge and mechanical and technical training to defend major product manufacturers in complex product-related claims.

Practicing in both state and federal courts, Berard represents clients in litigation arising from personal injury, product defect, property damage and an assortment of other claims. He primarily defends the design and manufacture of motor vehicle components such as airbags, electrical systems and seat belts. Berard has experience conducting depositions of critical fact witnesses, as well as performing case evaluations, arguing motions and attending status and settlement conferences. His background also includes defending insurance companies in various coverage disputes.

When he’s not practicing law or flying his Cessna 172, Berard participates in many aviation-centered legal organizations and authors articles addressing issues with respect to insurance, aviation and drone law. He received his law degree from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.


State Board of Ethics

Gov. Rick Snyder recently announced the appointment of Patrick Barrett, of Birmingham, and the reappointment of Albert Nelson Jr., of Troy, to the State Board of Ethics.

The seven-member board serves as an advisory and investigatory committee which determines the ethical conduct of classified and unclassified state employees and public officers in the executive branch of Michigan state government.

Barrett is a consultant at Patrick M. Barrett PLLC.  He has been appointed to the State Bar of Michigan Professional Ethics Committee and selected as “Best Lawyers in America” each year from 1995-2002. Barrett earned his bachelor’s degree in English literature from the University of Michigan and his law degree from Wayne State University Law School. He will represent Democrats and replace Joseph Walker.

Nelson is president of the defense practice firm Albert Taylor Nelson Jr. PLC, and has been of counsel to Giarmarco, Mullins, & Horton, and PC since 2001. He previously served as a partner at Evans, Nelson, Pletkovic, and Hays and senior partner at Kemp, Klein, Umphrey, & Endelman. Nelson earned both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in public administration from the University of Detroit and his law degree from Wayne State University Law School. He will continue to represent Independents.


Howard & Howard

Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC is pleased to announce that Jonathan F. Karmo has joined the firm.  He will practice out of the firm’s Royal Oak Office.

Karmo concentrates his practice in commercial and corporate litigation in the federal and state courts in Michigan. Prior to joining Howard & Howard, Karmo gained litigation experience working as a judicial law clerk for two federal judges at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan: Judge George Caram Steeh (2014-2016) and Judge Avern Cohn (2012-2014).  While in law school, Karmo worked at the same court as a judicial intern for Judge Marianne O. Battani.   Karmo’s experience also includes serving as a law clerk for the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission and the Wayne County Corporation Counsel, as well as working at a local law firm specializing in litigation and at a plaintiff’s-side personal injury firm.  

Karmo received his law degree from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law in 2012 and his B.S. from Wayne State University in 2008. He is licensed to practice in the State of Michigan and before the United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan.