LEGAL PEOPLE

Secrest Wardle

Secrest Wardle Executive Partner and municipal attorney Derk W. Beckerleg received the Distinguished Municipal Attorney Award from the Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys (MAMA) on September 13,

The Distinguished Municipal Attorney Award is given for outstanding contributions to the practice of municipal law on behalf of cities, townships and villages throughout Michigan, and acknowledges the highest level of professional accomplishment while also recognizing service to their colleagues through professional organizations such as MAMA and the International Municipal Lawyers Association.

The award ceremony and luncheon took place in Holland, MI at City Hall. In attendance from Secrest Wardle's Troy office were Mark Morley, senior partner and co-managing partner; Bruce Truex, senior partner, co-managing partner and president; Henry Emrich, executive partner; and Beckerleg's wife, Wendy. Tom Tanghe, Auburn Hills city manager, also attended the event. Beckerleg was nominated by both Tanghe and Truex for his dedication to representing numerous municipalities in virtually all aspects of municipal law.

Beckerleg is currently the city attorney for the City of Auburn Hills and the city attorney for the City of Bloomfield Hills. He is also the village attorney for the Village of Bingham Farms, the township attorney for Southfield Township and one of the township attorneys for West Bloomfield Township. Beckerleg is also the attorney for the North Oakland County Water Authority.

With more than 35 years of experience, Beckerleg has handled municipal matters including, but not limited to, zoning, condemnation and drafting of ordinances, resolutions and contracts. Beckerleg also has more than 28 years of experience handling property tax matters in the Michigan Tax Tribunal and appellate courts and is especially renowned for his expertise in this area of the law. As managing partner of the Municipal Law Practice Group at Secrest Wardle, Beckerleg is responsible for the general oversight of the attorneys in the practice group. In this position, he continually shares his knowledge of municipal law through mentorship of other attorneys in the group.

Beckerleg is active in the legal community through his memberships in the Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys, the Oakland County Bar Association, and the State Bar of Michigan - Public Corporation Law Section. He is also giving of his time and knowledge to clients and others in the municipal law community. He has conducted numerous seminars on a variety of municipal topics, including the Michigan Tax Tribunal and zoning board of appeals and planning commission practices and procedures.

"I am honored and humbled to receive this prestigious award. I thank and greatly appreciate the persons who nominated me and the MAMA Board for bestowing the award on me," said Beckerleg of receiving the Distinguished Municipal Attorney Award.

Secrest Wardle also welcomes two new associate attorneys to its Troy office.

Erin A. Moss Ferguson joins Secrest Wardle as an associate attorney. She has experience defending clients in diverse areas of the law including first and third party auto negligence, personal injury, contract and employment matters. Ferguson is a member of Secrest Wardle's Motor Vehicle Litigation Practice Group.

Ferguson is admitted to practice law in the State of Michigan and the United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan. Ferguson earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Industry Management from Michigan State University. She received her law degree from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School with a concentration in Business Transactions in 2012.

Cleveland B. Simmons joins the firm as an associate attorney. Simmons is a member of Secrest Wardle's General Negligence, Insurance Coverage, Motor Vehicle Litigation, Product Liability and Premises Liability Practice Groups. He has experience defending insurance companies, insureds and individuals in a variety of general liability defense matters including first and third party motor vehicle litigation and personal injury litigation.

Simmons received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Michigan and earned his law degree from Michigan State University College of Law.

Simmons is licensed to practice law in Michigan and was admitted to the State Bar of Michigan in 2013.

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Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss, P.C.

Judith Greenstone Miller, a partner in the Southfield office of Jaffe, Raitt, Heuer, & Weiss PC, is speaking at the upcoming National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges ("NCBJ") annual conference in Las Vegas. Jaffe CEO William Sider made the announcement.

The 91st annual NCBJ conference will take place at the Paris Resort in Las Vegas from October 8-11. The conference will cover a range of timely topics regarding bankruptcy, such as securities law, retail bankruptcies, lending and financing, litigation tactics and more. As a panelist speaker, Miller will share her expertise on the new domestic asset protection trust law ("DAPT") that passed in Michigan this year on the panel titled "Asset Protection Trusts-How to Make Them and How to Break Them."

"I'm pleased to share my insight about timely trends and new legislation impacting creditors' rights that bankruptcy practitioners need to know about in order to protect their clients' interests," said Miller. "I look forward to working with my fellow panelists to educate NCBJ attendees on asset protection trusts, and the benefits and ramifications associated therewith from both a creditor and a debtor perspective."

The National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges is an association of the Bankruptcy Judges of the United States which has several purposes: to provide continuing legal education to judges, lawyers and other bankruptcy and insolvency professionals, to promote cooperation among the bankruptcy judges, to secure a greater degree of quality and uniformity in the administration of the bankruptcy system and to improve the practice of law in the bankruptcy courts of the United States.

Miller is a member of Jaffe's Bankruptcy & Insolvency and Privacy & Datasecurity practice groups, specializing in creditors' rights and commercial litigation. Her practice involves representing debtors, secured and unsecured creditors, creditors' committees, and trustees in bankruptcy proceedings-primarily involving Chapter 11 reorganizations.

Miller also represents parties in litigation in complex commercial disputes. She has testified numerous times on pending bankruptcy legislation before the National Bankruptcy Review Commission and the Judiciary Committees of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate.

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Plunkett Cooney

Plunkett Cooney partner and product liability attorney Matthew J. Stanczyk chaired the ALFA International Product Liability & Complex Torts Practice Group (PLCT) Seminar on Oct. 4-6. The seminar, titled "When Legal Nightmares Become Reality," took place at the Bacara Resort & Spa in Goleta (Santa Barbara), California.

"This event has been a year in the making and has one unique feature of a fact pattern running through the entire seminar" said Stanczyk, who also serves as the Product Liability Practice Group Leader at Plunkett Cooney. "The ALFA PLCT practice group membership is a virtual who's who in product liability work across the country so I was honored to be chosen to lead this seminar. I had a vision right off the bat of the framework and theme, but it took the tremendous hard work of the ALFA attorney and client panel members, our steering committee, client advisory board and ALFA staff to make it reality. We are all extremely excited to see the end results."

In his role as the PLCT program chair, Stanczyk is responsible for many aspects of the seminar, including location, creating various deadlines, development of the fact pattern, roughing out many topics, participating in selection of speakers, approving client attendees, approving social activities, review of written material and power points and a variety of other items necessary for the event. Following this event, Stanczyk will take over the role of vice chair of the practice group and in 2019 will become its chair.

A member of Plunkett Cooney's board of directors, Stanczyk concentrates his practice in various areas of complex litigation, including toxic torts, product liability, fire-related litigation, construction litigation and commercial warranty litigation. His clients include product manufacturers, general contractors, construction managers, transportation firms, property restoration and remediation firms, commercial property owners and managers with matters in Michigan and Ohio state and federal courts.

Stanczyk, who received his law degree from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law in 1986, is admitted to practice in state and/or federal courts in Michigan and Ohio. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan in 1983. In addition to his involvement with ALFA International, Stanczyk is a member of the Detroit and the American bar associations, the Negligence and Consumer Law sections of the State Bar of Michigan, the Southeast Michigan Chapter of the Building Owners and Managers Association, the North American Society of Scaffold Professionals, the Scaffold Industry Association, and the DRI The Voice of the Defense Bar.

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Western Michigan University Cooley Law School

Michael C.H. McDaniel, Western Michigan University Cooley Law School associate dean and professor of law, and retired brigadier general, was presented with the Champion of Justice Award during the State Bar of Michigan's annual meeting on Sept. 27 in Detroit.

The award is given to practicing lawyers and judges of integrity who adhere to the highest principles and traditions of the legal profession, superior professional competence and who have an extraordinary professional accomplishment that benefits the nation, state or local community.

In addition to teaching in the Constitutional Law department of WMU-Cooley's Lansing campus, McDaniel serves as director of the law school's Homeland and National Security Law LL.M. program, which he created in 2013. It is the only Homeland Security Law LL.M. program outside of Washington, D.C. and the only one completely online in the country.

Before joining the law school, he served as deputy assistant secretary for Homeland Defense Strategy, Prevention and Mission Assurance at Department of Defense. In 2003, he was also homeland security advisor to then-Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, and has been the chairperson for Great Lakes Hazard Coalition since 2012. He also served as the assistant adjutant general for Homeland Security with the Michigan National Guard.

McDaniel was a member of the National Governors Association's Homeland Security Advisors Council, was elected to its Executive Committee in 2006, and re-elected in 2008. He was named by the Office of Infrastructure Protection, Department of Homeland Security, as chair of the State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Government Coordinating Council in 2007.

McDaniel has served on the board of directors for the Infrastructure Security Partnership (TISP) since December 2012, assisting that organization in national infrastructure security and resiliency planning. In 2016, McDaniel was appointed by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to the Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee (FWICC) and helped to secure $100 million in funding from Congress. The funding sped up the process of removing hazardous water pipes, with over 600 pipes replaced by the end of 2016.

Following Lansing's 2013 power outage when 96,000 customers - 40 percent of Lansing's Board of Water and Light's customers - went without power for up to 11 days, McDaniel was named leader of the Community Review Team that investigated and reported on BWL's response to the outage. McDaniel's team issued a report with 75 recommendations to the BWL. The report was endorsed by the Public Service Commission, and all recommendations were implemented by the BWL.

McDaniel graduated from Case Western Reserve University in 1982. He has been with WMU-Cooley Law School since 2011.

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Butzel Long

Butzel Long attorney Jennifer Dukarski has been appointed co-chair of the Women in Communication Law Committee in the American Bar Association (ABA) Forum on Communication Law. She will remain a member of the Governing Committee for the next three years.

Dukarski focuses her practice at the intersection of technology and communications with an emphasis on emerging and disruptive issues in traditional and digital media, cybersecurity, infotainment, and connected and autonomous cars.

In her practice, she assists clients in traditional media issues including defamation, privacy, access, the Freedom of Information Act and Open Meetings Act issues. She has negotiated contracts for autonomous vehicle components, reviewed contracts involving wireless updates to in-vehicle technology, and has addressed multiple vehicle component recalls.

Dukarski has become a national leader in legal issues facing emerging automotive technology and is the leader of Butzel Long's connected and autonomous car working group. She also has spearheaded the reporting efforts for two national data breaches and focuses on the threat vectors facing automotive component design.

A self-titled "recovering engineer," Dukarski serves as counsel to the OESA's Product Development Council and has spoken on First Amendment issues ranging from newsgathering in the digital age to the impact of the FBI iPhone strategy. She has been a panelist at the North American International Auto Show for the last two years, covering a broad variety of legal concerns focused on the autonomous and connected car. She has appeared on several television programs, including Autoline and AutoBeat, and in many print interviews (including CIO Magazine, PC World, Bridge Magazine, Computer World and Automotive News) discussing emerging technology and its related legal issues.

Prior to joining Butzel, she gained automotive manufacturing and design experience as a result of high-level quality management and engineering positions. She has worked extensively on successful automotive product launches, managing vendors and Tier One manufacturing facilities. A Six Sigma Master Black Belt, she applies her experience to create innovative approaches to the protection of IP assets and disruptive technology.

Dukarski has experience with field recalls and was a representative to the University of Michigan's CIREN (Crash Injury Research & Engineering Network) and UMPIRE (University of Michigan Program for Injury Research and Education). Working as a design engineer, she received multiple Record of Invention Awards for contributions to patents and trade secrets.

Last year, she was named a "2016 Honoree for Michigan Women in the Law" by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. She also is among Michigan Super Lawyers "Rising Stars" and DBusiness "Top Lawyers." She is a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). She serves as a Working Group member with IEEE PAR 1912 (Privacy and Security Architecture for Consumer Wireless Devices) which is focused on setting standards for privacy and security protocols. She also coaches and mentors' women engineers.

Moreover, Dukarski is an adjunct professor in the Paralegal Program, Intellectual Property at Baker College.

She is a graduate of the University of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law (2010). She's also a graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy College of Engineering and Science (1996).

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Warner, Norcross, & Judd LLP

Jeena S. Patel, a partner at the law firm of Warner, Norcross, & Judd LLP, has been named a Crain's Detroit Business "40 under 40" honoree.

Based in the Southfield office of Warner Norcross, Patel is a member of the firm's Automotive Industry and Litigation Practice groups and has become a go-to legal authority within the automotive supplier community. From defending clients in multi-million dollar lawsuits to negotiating long-term contracts with vehicle manufacturers, Patel focuses her practice on high-stakes commercial and automotive supplier matters.

Active professionally, Patel serves as vice president and outside general counsel for the Automotive Women's Alliance Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of women in the global automotive industry. She is a member of Inforum, another organization focused on the development of professional women, and a graduate of its Executive Leadership Program. Patel is also a graduate of the Original Equipment Suppliers Association Young Leadership Council program and a 2016 graduate of Leadership Detroit.

Patel is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and the American Bar Association. She has been recognized multiple times as a Michigan Super Lawyers "Rising Star," was named an "Up and Coming Lawyer" by Michigan Lawyers Weekly and was included in the 2017 Oakland County "Elite 40 under 40" awards. Patel earned her undergraduate degree and law degree from the University of Michigan.

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The Dobrusin Law Firm PC

The Dobrusin Law Firm PC founder and shareholder Eric M. Dobrusin and shareholders Kristen L. Pursley and Daniel P. Aleksynas have been selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2018, in the practice of Patent Law in Pontiac. Best Lawyers also recognized Eric Dobrusin as "Lawyer of the Year" 2018 for Patent Law.

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Bodman PLC

Bodman PLC is pleased to announce that Rebecca D'Arcy O'Reilly, co-chair of the firm's Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice Group, has been named to the 2017 "40 Under 40" list by Crain's Detroit Business.

A member of Bodman, O'Reilly is a leader of the firm's Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan client service team. She represents employee benefit plans service providers, employers, boards, and benefit plan committees regarding complex ERISA issues and benefits plan arrangements. She also advises on matters concerning fiduciary obligations, the handling of plan assets, ERISA disclosure requirements, and service provider compensation arrangements and assists organizations with internal ERISA compliance audits. She handles federal investigations and voluntary corrective action with the Department of Labor and Internal Revenue Service.

O'Reilly has been honored as a "Future Star" in Michigan by Benchmark Litigation and has been ranked as a "Rising Star" by Michigan Super Lawyers.

O'Reilly is active in the legal community as co-chair of the Federal Bar Association's Eastern District of Michigan Chapter Appellate Practice Committee. She is a member of the City of Grosse Pointe Foundation Board of Trustees and a governing member of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

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Dickinson Wright PLLC

Dickinson Wright PLLC is pleased to announce that attorney Aaron Burrell recently was elected clerk of the State Bar of Michigan's Representative Assembly.

The State Bar of Michigan's Representative Assembly is the ultimate policy making body of the State Bar of Michigan. As an officer, Burrell will serve as clerk of the Assembly for the 2017-2018 term and as chair of the Assembly during the 2019-2020 term. Burrell will also serve a three-year term on the Board of Commissioners of the State Bar of Michigan.

Burrell was previously elected to the State Bar of Michigan's Representative Assembly for the 3rd Judicial Circuit, where he served as chair of the Special Issues Committee.

At Dickinson Wright, Burrell practices complex commercial litigation, labor and employment law, appellate law, and minority business enterprises. He has defended clients in a wide range of discrimination and unfair labor practice claims in state and federal court, as well as before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights and the National Labor Relations Board.

Burrell is an active member of the Detroit Bar Association, the Wolverine Bar Association, and the American Bar Association. He serves on the board of directors of the Oakland County Bar Association. He previously served as co-chair of the State Bar of Michigan's Equal Access Initiative, is a past president of the D. Augustus Straker Bar Association, and was an affiliate representative of the National Bar Association.

Burrell has been named by Michigan Lawyers Weekly as an "Up and Coming Lawyer" and a "Rising Star" by Michigan Super Lawyers. He earned his law degree from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School in 2010.

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Dykema

Dykema announced that the firm has selected several members to serve on its Executive Board for a three-year term commencing on January 1, 2018. Among the attorneys selected is Brendan J. Cahill of the firm's Bloomfield Hills office.

Cahill serves as director of Dykema's Automotive Industry Group. He focuses his practice on mergers and acquisitions and joint venture transactions; business planning and general corporate counseling. His experience includes middle market acquisitions and dispositions for strategic and private equity clients, with particular experience in the automotive and manufacturing industries.

Cahill earned his law degree from the University of Michigan and a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame.

In addition, Dykema announced that Bonnie Mayfield, a Bloomfield Hills-based member in Dykema's Litigation practice, was recently named chair of the International Association of Defense Counsel's (IADC) Diversity Committee. A longstanding member of the IADC, Mayfield also previously held positions as the Diversity Committee's vice chair of programs and vice chair of initiatives.

The IADC's core purpose is to enhance the development of skills, professionalism, and camaraderie to serve and benefit its members and their clients, as well as the civil justice system, the legal profession, and society in general.

"I am excited about being the chairperson of the Diversity Committee," said Mayfield. "As I mentioned in my Chair Corner article, the Rule of Law is intertwined with diversity and inclusion and civility is fundamental to dialectical discussion and forward movement of our society."

Mayfield added, "The Diversity Committee's work this year will expand on and show how diversity and inclusion and the pursuit and enhancement of the Rule of Law connect us, both professionally and personally. As a powerful, international legal organization, the IADC continues to lead in advancing and valuing diversity, inclusion, and civil discourse."

Mayfield is a seasoned business savvy trial and appellate lawyer who has received client recognition for building diverse and inclusive teams. In her practice, she has successfully litigated employment discrimination, labor, hybrid §301, retaliation, wage and hour, whistleblower, tort, product liability (automotive, pharmaceutical, medical device, chemical and toxic tort), and commercial matters. She regularly advises and counsels clients on administrative, internal and labor matters.

Mayfield received her B.A. from Dillard University and her law degree from New York University School of Law.

Published: Mon, Oct 09, 2017

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