Miller Canfield

U.S. News & World Report has named 107 Miller Canfield attorneys in Michigan, Illinois, and Florida on its Best Lawyers 2018 for their excellence in 58 practice specialties across the firm. Best Lawyers also recognized 11 Miller Canfield attorneys with Lawyer of the Year awards. Lawyer of the Year recognition went to:

• Thomas G. Appleman - Securities Regulation

• Brad B. Arbuckle - Corporate Governance Law

• William J. Danhof - Banking and Finance Law

• Irene Bruce Hathaway - Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions - Defendants

• Patrick F. McGow - Public Finance Law

• Megan P. Norris - Litigation - Labor and Employment

• Thomas C. O’Brien - Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants

• James A. Simpson - Banking and Finance Law

• Stanley J. Stek - Litigation - Municipal

• John G. Van Slambrouck - Trusts and Estates

• Richard A. Walawender - International Trade and Finance Law


Rotter & Stone PC

The Franklin-based matrimonial law firm Rotter & Stone PC is pleased to announce that, based upon independent surveys, Nancy K. Stone was named a Leading Lawyer in the field of Family Law by Leading Lawyers Magazine in its first published Michigan edition featuring top lawyers throughout the state.


Varnum LLP

A total of 78 Varnum attorneys have been selected by their peers for inclusion in the 2018 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

Local Varnum attorneys included in The Best Lawyers in America 2018 are:


• Richard A. Hooker: Employment Law – Management, Labor Law – Management, Litigation – Labor and Employment

• Terrence Miglio: Litigation – Labor and Employment

• Eric M. Nemeth: Litigation and Controversy – Tax


• Thomas H. Bergh: Trusts and Estates, Litigation – Trusts & Estates

• Dennis Devaney: Employment Law – Management, Labor Law – Management

• Richard T. Hewlett: Commercial Litigation, Construction Law, Litigation - Construction

• Paul L.B. McKenney: Litigation & Controversy – Tax, Tax Law

• David K. McLeod: Banking and Finance Law

• Julia A. Perkins: Family Law

• Brett Rendeiro: Commercial Litigation

In addition, Varnum corporate attorney Jill Miller has been named to the Class of 2017 “Women in the Law” by Michigan Lawyers Weekly.

Miller, whose practice focuses on electronic payments and data privacy and security matters, will be recognized with other women attorneys at an awards luncheon on Sept. 7 in Troy, where the “Woman of the Year” will be announced.

Miller works with clients in the electronic payment card processing industry on contractual and regulatory matters. She also has a unique background in aviation law, advising clients on aircraft acquisitions, leasing and financing, FAA filings, and International Registry requirements.

Her commitment to excellence is demonstrated by her dedication to providing training and education opportunities for the industry she serves. She is a member of the Electronic Transaction Association, serving on multiple committees over the past 12 years; a member of (women networking in electronic payments); and serves on the Advisory Board of the Southeast Acquirers Association (SEAA), an independent organization for acquiring bankcard professionals.

Throughout her career, Miller has been an advocate for other women lawyers, and has served as a mentor to many female associate attorneys, including international students who continue to look to her as an advisor and friend.

Miller’s community volunteer efforts include work with Great Lakes Boxer Rescue, providing monthly donation and transportation for dogs moving to foster homes, and as a classroom volunteer at Dodson Elementary School in Canton.


Bodman PLC

The Best Lawyers in America has named five local Bodman attorneys “Lawyers of the Year” for 2018: Robert J. Diehl Jr., David P. Larsen, Marguerite Munson Lentz, Dennis J. Levasseur, and Thomas Van Dusen.

Robert J. Diehl Jr. was named 2018 Banking and Finance Law Lawyer of the Year for Detroit, an honor he also received in 2010. In 2012, he was named Litigation−Banking and Finance Lawyer of the Year for Detroit. Diehl represents clients in complex business law matters and commercial transactions with a focus on debtor-creditor rights and bankruptcy. He serves in leadership roles with numerous organizations, including the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion (member and past chair, board of directors), the Catholic Foundation of Michigan (founding member, board of directors), the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce (member, board of directors), Henry Ford Hospital Heart and Vascular Institute (member, board of advisors), VIP Mentoring (member, board of directors), and the Grosse Pointe Club (member, board of directors).

David P. Larsen was named the Litigation–Trusts and Estates Lawyer of the Year for Detroit. He represents high net worth individuals and financial institutions in the areas of estate planning, estate and trust administration, trust litigation, estate and gift tax, and closely-held business transactions and succession. Larsen was also recognized as 2016 Lawyer of the Year for Litigation-Trusts and Estates. He currently serves as a trustee of the Matilda Wilson Fund, a trustee of his alma mater, Alma College, and a board member of the Detroit Crime Commission.

Marguerite Munson Lentz has been recognized as the 2018 Trusts and Estates Lawyer of the Year for Detroit, an honor she also received in 2016. Lentz concentrates her practice in representing high net worth individuals in estate planning, probate, and trusts. She regularly advises nonprofit and tax exempt organizations regarding obtaining and maintaining exempt status, corporate governance, and general operational issues. She is a member of Inforum and a fellow of the American College of Trusts and Estates Counsel.

Dennis J. Levasseur was named 2018 Litigation–Banking and Finance Lawyer of the Year for Detroit. He also practices franchise/dealer litigation, complex commercial litigation, and securities litigation and arbitration, primarily for securities broker-dealers, in proceedings throughout the country. He was also the Detroit Lawyer of the Year for Litigation-Banking & Finance in 2016.
Levasseur is a founder of the Historical Society of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan and serves on the Executive Board of the Detroit Historical Society and as the Society’s Legal/Government Committee chair and vice president for legal affairs. He is city attorney for the City of Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan.

Thomas Van Dusen is the 2018 Troy Lawyer of the Year for Litigation–Trusts and Estates, an honor he also received in 2016. He concentrates his practice exclusively in litigation and alternative dispute resolution with a focus on insurance, commercial disputes, health care, class actions, and personal injury defense, including arbitration hearings, bench trials, jury trials, and appeals. He is a member of the National Diocesan Attorneys Association, the Defense Research Institute, the American Arbitration Association panel of arbitrators, and the Michigan Committee on Model Civil Jury Instructions.

In addition, Bodman is pleased to announce that Michelle Thurber Czapski has been named one of the “Top 250 Women in Litigation” in the United States by the internationally-recognized client and peer review journal Benchmark Litigation. 

Benchmark describes Czapski, who chairs Bodman’s Insurance Practice Group, as having “obtained extensive acclaim on resolutions for insurance and financial service companies, tier-one automotive suppliers, and pharmaceutical companies.”

In her legal practice, Czapski represents insurance and financial service companies, automotive and other product manufacturers, telecommunications companies, and pharmaceutical companies in matters involving product liability claims, consumer protection claims, insurance and ERISA disputes, contract matters, and a broad range of other commercial and business disputes. She serves as lead trial counsel and regional counsel for a Fortune 100 insurer and its family of financial services companies. Czapski is also the vice chair of the DRI Commercial Litigation Committee, and has chaired both the DRI Class Actions and Life, Health and Disability seminars. She is a case evaluator for the Oakland County and Wayne County Circuit Courts, where she sits as a commercial litigation panelist. 

Czapski is listed as a leading business litigation attorney in Michigan Super Lawyers 2009-2016, DBusiness “Top Lawyers” 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2016, and Benchmark Litigation 2013-2017. She is a fellow of the Michigan State Bar Foundation and has served as a Master of the Bench with the Detroit Bar Association chapter of the American Inns of Court. 

Czapski leads the Bodman associate training program and is a frequent speaker and author on litigation practice and procedure, insurance issues, and ERISA litigation.


Law Offices of  Barbara B. Smith PLLC

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder recently announced the appointment of Barbara Smith to the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

Headquartered in Detroit, the Gaming Control Board is responsible for licensing and regulating the state’s commercial casino gaming industry.

Smith is the owner of the Law Offices of Barbara B. Smith PLLC, the owner of Smith Mediation Center, and a partner with Smith & Pazner PC. She has served as an administrative law judge, a magistrate for the 48th District Court, and president of Michigan Malpractice Mediators. Smith earned a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University, a teaching certificate from the University of Michigan, and a law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School. She will represent Republicans and fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Dale Zahn.

She will serve the remainder of a four-year term expiring December 31, 2020. Her appointment is subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.


Pitt, McGehee, Palmer, & Rivers

Cary McGehee, of Royal Oak-based Pitt, McGehee, Palmer, & Rivers, has been appointed chair of the Local Rules Advisory Committee for the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, by the judges of the court.

The one-year appointment, that began July 1, was announced by Chief Judge Denise Page Hood.

McGehee and Michael Pitt co-founded Pitt, McGehee, Palmer, & Rivers 25 years ago. She focuses her practice on civil and employment rights. The firm has won significant civil and human rights verdicts for its clients, including the landmark Neal vs. Michigan Department of Corrections case in which over $100 million was awarded to female inmates who had been sexually assaulted by prison guards.

McGehee and other firm attorneys are currently representing tens of thousands of Michigan residents in several high-visibility class action lawsuits against the State of Michigan related to the Flint Water Crisis and the false fraud allegations scandal at the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency.

She is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. In addition, McGehee has been named Trial Lawyer of the Year by the Public Justice Foundation and given the Lawyers for the People award by the National Lawyers Guild.

In 2016, she was selected Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers in America and has been named by Michigan Lawyers Weekly to its annual Women in the Law listing.

McGehee also serves on the Board of Trustees for Michigan State University College of Law; as chair of the Board of Directors of the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights; the Advisory Board of the American Civil Liberties Union; and the Employment Law Committee of the Michigan Association for Justice.

She is a graduate of Bowling Green University and Detroit College of Law (now Michigan State University College of Law).


The Law Firm of  John F. Schaefer

Best Lawyers of America and Leading Lawyers have recognized John F. Schaefer and The Law Firm of John F. Schaefer in its listings. Best Lawyers named Schaefer and the Law Firm of John F. Schaefer to its respective 2018 Best Lawyers and Best Law Firms lists; and Leading Lawyers listed Schaefer to its 2017 Michigan Leading Lawyers list.


Wayne State University Law School

Susan Cancelosi has been appointed associate dean at Wayne State University Law School.

Cancelosi was named interim associate dean in September 2016 and has worked with faculty and staff to oversee the law school’s academic programs. She has been a member of the Wayne Law faculty since 2006.

Cancelosi has taught courses on trusts and estates, federal income taxation, elder law and employee benefits. Her research focuses on employment-based retiree benefits, both health and pension. She speaks regularly on benefits-related topics involving the elderly.

In 2016, she was honored with the law school’s Donald H. Gordon Award for Excellence in Teaching and that same year the class of 2016 presented her with the Upperclass Professor of the Year Award.

Before joining the Wayne Law faculty, Cancelosi was a research professor with the Health Law & Policy Institute at the University of Houston Law Center, where she focused primarily on research into various health care finance issues and taught both employee benefits and elder law.

For the preceding five years, she was a director in Tax & Legal Consulting Services for Buck Consultants, a Dallas-based national human resources consulting firm. Before joining Buck, Cancelosi worked as a manager with Deloitte & Touche in its employee benefits consulting practice in Dallas.

She also has worked as an employee benefits attorney with Jones, Day, Reavis, & Pogue in Cleveland and Dallas, with the benefits practice at Taft Stettinius & Hollister in Cincinnati and as assistant general counsel for The Associates, a large publicly traded finance company based in Dallas. Her private practice work covered the full range of employee benefits issues, from traditional retirement plan benefits to all types of welfare benefits and executive compensation.

Her interest in elder law stems from years of volunteer work in Texas with The Senior Source, a United Way agency based in Dallas that focuses on serving the senior population of the North Texas region. In addition to offering pro bono advice at clinics for the elderly and speaking to numerous senior citizens’ groups, Cancelosi served for several years as a volunteer guardian for a senior citizen in a nursing home near Dallas.

Cancelosi graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas with a bachelor’s degree in history and a bachelor of business administration degree in marketing. She earned her law degrees from Cornell Law School and the University of Houston Law Center.



Dykema recently announced that 110 of the its attorneys, in multiple practice areas and markets, have been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© 2018 guide.

Additionally, 10 of the firm’s practitioners have been named Best Lawyers 2018 “Lawyer of the Year,” a special distinction conferred upon a single lawyer within a practice area and metropolitan market.

The local Dykema attorneys named Best Lawyers 2018 “Lawyers of the Year,” the practice area(s) for which they are being recognized and office location are:

• James P. Feeney – Bet-the-Company Litigation; Product Liability Litigation - Defendants, Bloomfield Hills

• Dennis M. Haffey – Litigation - Banking and Finance, Bloomfield Hills

• Kathryn J. Humphrey – Product Liability Litigation - Defendants, Detroit

• Howard B. Iwrey – Litigation - Antitrust, Bloomfield Hills

• D. Richard McDonald – Securities / Capital Markets Law, Bloomfield Hills

The Dykema attorneys listed in the 2018 Best Lawyers in America guide, identified by office location and the practice areas for which they have been recognized, are:
Bloomfield Hills

• Bowden V. Brown – Public Finance Law

• Brendan J. Cahill – Mergers and Acquisitions Law

• Amy M. Christen – Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law

• Michael G. Cumming – Trusts and Estates

• Stephen R. Estey – Land Use and Zoning Law

• James P. Feeney – Arbitration; Bet-the-Company Litigation; Commercial Litigation; Corporate Law; Product Liability Litigation - Defendants

• Adam M. Fishkind – Real Estate Law

• Fred J. Fresard – Product Liability Litigation - Defendants

• Alan M. Greene – Land Use and Zoning Law; Litigation - Land Use and Zoning; Litigation - Real Estate

• Dennis M. Haffey – Commercial Litigation; Litigation - Banking and Finance; Litigation - Mergers and Acquisitions; Litigation - Securities; Litigation - Trusts and Estates

• Kyle R. Hauberg – Project Finance Law; Real Estate Law

• Margaret Adams Hunter – Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law

• Howard B. Iwrey – Antitrust Law; Litigation - Antitrust

• Joanne R. Lax – Health Care Law

• Gerald T. Lievois – Mergers and Acquisitions Law; Securities / Capital Markets Law

• D. Richard McDonald – Corporate Law; Mergers and Acquisitions Law; Securities / Capital Markets Law; Securities Regulation

• Mark A. Metz – Corporate Governance Law; Corporate Law; Securities / Capital Markets Law; Securities Regulation

• Brian M. Moore – Commercial Litigation

• James D. Obermanns – Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law

• Sheryl L. Toby – Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/ Insolvency and Reorganization Law; Litigation - Bankruptcy

• Stephen L. Tupper – Information Technology Law


• J. Michael Bernard – Corporate Law; Mergers and Acquisitions Law

• Robert A. Boonin – Employment Law - Management; Litigation - Labor and Employment

• Michael P. Cooney – Product Liability Litigation - Defendants

• Samuel C. Damren – Commercial Litigation; Mediation

• Sherrie L. Farrell – Commercial Litigation

• Grant P. Gilezan – Environmental Law; Litigation - Environmental

• Steven E. Grob – Litigation and Controversy - Tax; Tax Law

• James F. Hermon – Litigation - Labor and Employment

• Kathryn J. Humphrey – Aviation Law; Product Liability Litigation - Defendants

• Mark D. Jacobs – Environmental Law

• Peter M. Kellett – Commercial Litigation; Litigation - Antitrust; Litigation - Securities; Mediation; Product Liability Litigation - Defendants

• Joel D. Kellman – Litigation - Real Estate; Real Estate Law

• Jin-Kyu Koh – Corporate Law; Mergers and Acquisitions Law; Securities / Capital Markets Law

• Cameron H. Piggott – Litigation - Real Estate; Real Estate Law

• Carl Rashid Jr. – Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law; Litigation - Real Estate; Litigation and Controversy – Tax; Real Estate Law; Tax Law

• Thomas M. Schehr – Commercial Litigation

• Thomas S. Vaughn – Corporate Law; Securities / Capital Markets Law

In addition to all of the local lawyers listed above, Dykema is proud to note that a recently retired local attorney has earned recognition from Best Lawyers as well:

• Eric Thomas Carver – Litigation - Trusts and Estates; Tax Law; Trusts and Estates


Maddin, Hauser, Roth, & Heller PC

Maddin, Hauser, Roth, & Heller PC is pleased to announce that Best Lawyers® has recognized Mark R. Hauser as the 2018 Detroit Real Estate Law “Lawyer of the Year” and Charles M. Lax as the 2018 Detroit Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law “Lawyer of the Year.”

Hauser is a founder, CFO and Executive Committee member of the firm who specializes in the areas of real estate, partnerships, finance, corporate, business, taxation and estate planning law. He and his team have handled numerous multi-state, multi-property acquisitions and dispositions including acquiring financing for many of these transactions. Hauser’s clients include both local and national real estate investors and developers. He has experience in the sale and purchase of manufactured homes, supermarket chains, drug stores and newspapers.

Hauser has been selected by his peers for inclusion in the annual edition of Best Lawyers in America® annually since 1999 in the area of Real Estate Law. He has also been recognized in the Michigan edition of Super Lawyers® from 2007-2016, as well as Chambers USA. A past president of the United Jewish Foundation of Metropolitan Detroit, Hauser has also served as a national vice chairman and member of the Executive Committee of Jewish Federations of North America.

Lax is a shareholder of the firm who practices primarily in the areas of employee benefits, taxation, corporate law and mergers and acquisitions. He has authored numerous articles appearing in legal and public accounting journals and has lectured extensively on qualified retirement plans and other tax topics before the Michigan Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants, American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries, and other professional groups. Lax has experience in representing clients in tax controversy matters before the Internal Revenue Service and Tax Court of the United States.

Selected by his peers for inclusion in the annual edition of Best Lawyers in America® annually since 2006 in the area of Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, Lax was also recognized in 2011 and 2016 as the “Detroit Lawyer of the Year” in employee benefits law. Lax has also been recognized by Chambers USA, selected for inclusion in the Michigan edition of Super Lawyers® from 2006-2016 (one of the top 100 lawyers in the State of Michigan for 2008), and named as a Top Lawyer by DBusiness Magazine.

In addition, Maddin, Hauser, Roth, & Heller PC is pleased to announce that 14 of its attorneys have been named to the 2018 Edition of Best Lawyers®.

Of the 14, Harvey R. Heller, John E. Jacobs, Robert D. Kaplow, Kathleen H. Klaus, Richard J. Maddin, Richard F. Roth and Steven M. Wolock were recognized in multiple practice areas.
Maddin Hauser’s 2018 Best Lawyers recipients, respective categories, and years honored, include:

• Stuart M. Bordman, shareholder and chairman of Franchise and Distribution Practice Group: Franchise Law (2013-2018)

• Mark R. Hauser, firm co-founder, CFO and Executive Committee member: Real Estate Law (1999-2018); Best Lawyers® 2018 Detroit Real Estate Law “Lawyer of the Year”

• Harvey R. Heller, shareholder, Executive Committee member and chairman of Defense and Insurance Coverage Practice Group: Insurance Law and Legal Malpractice Law - Defendants (2003-2018); Best Lawyers® 2015 Detroit Insurance Law “Lawyer of the Year”

• John E. Jacobs, shareholder: Corporate Law and Real Estate Law (2009-2018)

• Robert D. Kaplow, shareholder: Tax Law and Trusts and Estates Law (2013-2018)

• Kathleen H. Klaus, shareholder: Legal Malpractice Law - Defendants; and Professional Malpractice Law - Defendants (2013-2018)

• Charles M. Lax, shareholder: Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law (2006-2018); Best Lawyers® 2011, 2016 and 2018 Detroit Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law “Lawyer of the Year”

• Michael W. Maddin, founder, president emeritus and Executive Committee member: Real Estate Law (2003-2018)

• Richard J. Maddin, Of Counsel: Construction Law; Land Use & Zoning Law; Litigation –Construction; Litigation - Land Use and Zoning; Litigation - Real Estate; and Real Estate Law (2008-2018); Best Lawyers® 2013 Detroit Litigation - Land Use and Zoning “Lawyer of the Year”

• Julie Chenot Mayer, shareholder: Professional Malpractice Law - Defendants (2015-2018)

• Richard F. Roth, shareholder: Real Estate Law and Trusts and Estates Law (2013-2018)

• Steven D. Sallen, president, CEO, Executive Committee member, and co-chairman of Real Estate Practice Group: Real Estate Law (2010-2018)

• Ronald A. Sollish, shareholder, Executive Committee member and chairman of Corporate/Employment Practice Group: Employment Law — Individuals (2013-2018)

• Steven M. Wolock, shareholder: Legal Malpractice Law – Defendants; Professional Malpractice Law - Defendants (2008-2018)


Foster Swift

Ten attorneys from Foster Swift’s Southfield office were selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2018 list. Firm-wide, 46 Foster Swift attorneys were included.

Listed are local attorneys and their areas of practice:

• Dirk H. Beckwith, Construction Law

• Michael R. Blum, Employment Law – Management, Labor Law – Management

• Julie I. Fershtman, Commercial Litigation, Insurance Law

• Gilbert H. Frimet, Health Care Law

• Lisa J. Hamameh, Municipal Law

• John M. Kamins, Corporate Law

• Frank T. Mamat, Labor Law – Management

• Paul Millenbach, Mass Tort Litigation

• Brian J. Renaud, Administrative/Regulatory Law

• Bruce A. Vande Vusse, Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants


Thomas Komjathy, an experienced operations director and strategist, has joined Warner, Norcross, & Judd LLP as director of Southeast Michigan operations.

In his new role for the firm, Komjathy will develop and help implement business strategies to support the firm’s continued expansion in Southeast Michigan.  He will be based in the firm’s Southfield office and will work closely with attorneys and executive partners in both Southfield and Macomb County, coordinating with practice groups and industry teams to further expand the growing footprint of Warner Norcross in the region.

Komjathy brings nearly two decades of expertise in engineering, strategy, project management and operations in energy and automotive – two key practice areas of the firm – to Warner Norcross.
Prior to joining Warner Norcross, Komjathy served as manager of group performance for DTE Energy. In this position, he developed the vision and strategy that led to dramatic improvements in service reliability through the turnaround of the organization’s $75 million vegetation management program. During his tenure with DTE, Komjathy also developed one of the largest wind projects in Michigan, managed operations for Detroit Edison’s fleet of renewable energy generation assets and led DTE Electric’s outdoor lighting business.

Komjathy also contributed his financial and operational experience as a board member for the Utility Wind Integration Group, a nonprofit industry association with more than 160 members throughout North America, Asia, Europe, and Australia.

Trained as an engineer, Komjathy also worked as a plant manager for Akzo Nobel Automotive Plastic Coatings in Pontiac and in various engineering and consulting roles for BASF Corp.