Dickinson Wright PLLC

Dickinson Wright PLLC is pleased to announce that attorney Kathryn S. Wood has been selected as a "2018 Women in the Law" honoree by Michigan Lawyers Weekly.

Wood is a member and co-chair of the firm's Litigation South Region and Labor & Employment Practice Group. She focuses her practice in the areas of employment litigation, commercial litigation, and appellate practice. She has experience with discrimination, harassment, retaliation, whistleblower, complex commercial litigation, class and collective actions and defamation claims in Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. Wood also conducts harassment/discrimination investigations and provides employment counseling and litigation prevention.

Wood is a member of the Federal Bar Association and the Detroit Bar Association. She sits on the ICLE Labor and Employment Advisory Board. She is recognized as a leader in her field by Best Lawyers in America, Legal 500, and Michigan Super Lawyers. Wood received her B.G.S. from the University of Michigan and her law degree from the University of Michigan Law School.

The "2018 Women in the Law" will be honored at an annual luncheon and awards celebration on Sept. 20 at the Detroit Marriott in Troy.

In addition, Dickinson Wright is pleased to announce the appointment of the following practice division directors:

Thomas G. McNeill, a member in the firm's Detroit office, has been appointed director of the Litigation Division. With more than 30 years of trial, litigation and arbitration experience, he focuses his practice on middle market business cases, automotive supply disputes and complex financial litigation, including in the areas of securities, antitrust, banking, private equity, mergers and acquisitions and financial statement accounting. McNeill received his B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and his law degree from the University of Virginia.

Philip E. Rettig, a member in the firm's Troy office, has been appointed director of the Intellectual Property Division. He focuses his practice on all aspects of patent, trademark, trade secret and licensing matters as well as counseling clients in strategic portfolio management. He concentrates his practice on obtaining and enforcing patents, trademarks and copyrights for clients in various fields, with a particular emphasis in the automotive industry. Rettig received his B.S.M.E. from Kettering University and his law degree from Michigan State University College of Law.

Cynthia A. Moore, a member in the firm's Troy office, has been appointed director of the Regulatory-Administration Division. She is a national expert on fringe benefit plans and is counsel to numerous plan sponsors in the design and administration of qualified retirement plans and welfare benefit plans. She also counsels companies and compensation committees on the tax, ERISA, and securities law aspects of executive compensation programs, such as supplemental executive retirement plans, stock option plans, restricted stock plans, and non-qualified deferred compensation plans. Moore received her B.A. from Alma College and her law degree from The University of Texas at Austin.


Nemeth Law PC

Detroit-based management side labor and employment law firm Nemeth Law PC, is pleased to announce that Deborah Brouwer, a partner in the firm, has been included in the legal trade publication Michigan Lawyers Weekly Women in the Law class of 2018. All honorees will be recognized at a luncheon event on Sept. 20 at the Detroit Marriott in Troy.

Brouwer's practice at Nemeth Law focuses exclusively in labor and employment law, with particular experience in the defense of lawsuits against employers, including claims of race, age, religion, national origin, gender and disability discrimination, harassment and retaliation, as well as FLSA, FMLA and non-competition suits. She also provides harassment training and conducts discrimination and harassment investigations for employers. Brouwer has experience in appearing before administrative agencies, including the EEOC, MDCR, MIOSHA, OSHA, and the NLRB and also appears frequently before the Michigan Court of Appeals and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. She is a sought after speaker on legal issues impacting employers and insurers.

Brouwer is active in professional and civic activities. As chair of the Board of Directors for Assured Family Services, she recently led the search for a new CEO following the retirement of the agency's long-term CEO. She is also board treasurer of the Hannan Center, which provides services to senior citizens, and was recently elected secretary of the Board of Directors for the Michigan Defense Trial Counsel.

Brouwer set her sights on becoming a lawyer at an early age. For a junior high school assignment, she had to prepare a career notebook and interview someone in her chosen field. She interviewed a male attorney in her hometown of Midland, Michigan, who shared disheartening news-that as a woman, if Brouwer went into law, the only area she in which she had a chance of being successful would be divorce, and even then, only women would hire her. Because it was 1966, Brouwer believed him and abandoned her goal because she didn't want to limit herself to one legal practice area before even getting started. Ten years later, after college and graduate school, she realized that this attorney had been wrong; with new determination, Brouwer headed to law school.

A seasoned litigator now, Brouwer was struck early on in her law career by how few female litigators she saw in court, especially given the relatively high numbers of women in law school even 35 years ago. She assumed the situation would change over time, and while it has to a degree, trial work remains heavily male dominated. While there were a few meaningful female mentor relationships along her early path, Brouwer had to learn how to navigate the legal environment largely on her own. When she joined Nemeth Law in 2004, Brouwer found new mentors at the woman-owned firm even though she was then decades into her career and continues to actively mentor the female (and male) attorneys and clerks in the firm by bringing them to court with her, working on briefs and motions together, an engaging them in challenging conversations. The mentoring of which she is most proud, though, is that of her 25-year-old son, who interned for Nemeth Law while in college and went on to Georgetown Law School. He is now practicing law in Washington, D.C. and tells his mom he regularly holds her up to his friends and colleagues as an example of a successful litigator who also happens to be a woman, and his mother.

Brouwer earned a law degree from Wayne State University Law School and a bachelor of arts and master of arts, both from the University of Michigan.


Weber & Olcese PLC

The JDRF Metro Detroit and Southeast Michigan Chapter, part of the leading global organization focused on type 1 diabetes (T1D) research, announced a new leadership role for Jeff Weber.

The chapter's Board of Directors has named Weber, partner at Weber & Olcese PLC, president-elect. He will lead the organization's board for a two-year term beginning in July 2019, when he will succeed Rich Hewlett, partner at Varnum LLP, as president.


Attorney Edward Gusky has joined the Varnum Real Estate Practice Team. He is based in the firm's Novi office.

Gusky has experience in real estate development, transactional, and finance law. He represents developers in acquisitions, sales, leasing and sophisticated financing transactions, as well as lenders, primarily in commercial real estate loans.

Gusky brings knowledge in representing borrowers in connection with multifamily loans insured by HUD/FHA under Sections 221(d)(4) and 223(f) of the National Housing Act, and Section 232 Healthcare Facility Insurance Program. He also serves as lead counsel on complex M&A transactions, including sophisticated stock and asset sales involving simultaneous multi-corporation closings.

Gusky is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and also received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan. He began his legal career at Bloomfield Hills-based Evans & Luptak PLC. Most recently, he was a partner at Kotz Sangster, where he led the firm's real estate practice group.

Gusky is recognized by DBusiness Magazine as a "Top Lawyer" in Real Estate Law (2018, 2017) and Banking & Financial Services Law (2018, 2017, 2016). He is rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell. Gusky is licensed to practice in both Michigan and New York.

In addition, Lena X. Gionnette has joined Varnum's Employee Benefits Practice Team. She is based in the firm's Novi office.

Gionnette works with employers, executives and third-party administrators on a wide range of issues relating to tax-qualified pension plans, 401(k) and profit sharing plans, non-qualified plans and health and welfare benefit plans. She advises clients regarding compliance with federal laws governing employee benefit plans, including the Internal Revenue Code, ERISA, PPACA, HIPAA and COBRA. She also counsels clients on benefits issues in connection with corporate transactions.

Gionnette attended the University of Cincinnati College of Law, where she graduated magna cum laude and served as articles editor for the University of Cincinnati Law Review. She received her undergraduate degree from University of Michigan. A native of Southeast Michigan, Gionnette joins the firm from Thompson Hine in Cincinnati where she has served as an associate for several years.


Ottenwess, Taweel, & Schenk PLC

Ottenwess, Taweel, & Schenk PLC is pleased to announce that Thomas P. Bruetsch has joined the firm as a partner to lead its growing commercial and governmental litigation practice. Bruetsch comes to the firm after an 18 year career at Bodman, where he was a member of that firm's Litigation, ADR, Appellate, and Municipal Law and Finance practice groups. Bruetsch has represented banks, sports franchises, political leaders, political action committees, governments, automobile manufacturers and suppliers, large corporations, family businesses, and public utilities.

Bruetsch has expertise in finance, fraud, franchise, and fiduciary issues and is a member of the advisory counsel for the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. He is also recognized as a leader in the field of municipal law, including election and campaign finance matters, and has handled construction, supplier, and contract litigation.

Bruetsch has tried or arbitrated complex litigation matters for publicly traded corporations in Michigan, Arizona, Texas, and the United Kingdom. Bruetsch also maintains an active and growing appellate practice, having argued before the Michigan Supreme Court.

Though he has tried many cases to verdict, Bruetsch also recognizes that sometimes the early resolution of a legal dispute can best serve the interests of his clients. He actively partners with his clients to define their goals, and maintains a problem solving approach throughout.

"I am very excited to join my new partners at the Ottenwess firm," Bruetsch said. "In the current legal marketplace, small, elite firms with first-rate attorneys are able to deliver a higher, more personal level of service to our clients, while still getting the results they expect."


Plunkett Cooney

Attorney Katherine M. Nighswander recently joined the Transportation Law and Torts & Litigation practice groups of Plunkett Cooney.

Nighswander, who is a member of the firm's Bloomfield Hills office, focuses her practice in the areas of transportation law and litigation. She represents insurers and its insureds in matters involving no-fault law and motor vehicle negligence, premises liability, dramshop and general negligence allegations.

In addition to no-fault automobile and first-and third-party motor vehicle cases, Nighswander has experience defending personal injury claims, including dog bites; slips/trips and falls; falling objects; negligent hiring, training and supervision of employees; vicarious liability of employees; and product liability matters; as well as allegations of food contamination; foodborne illness; and foreign materials in food.

A member of the State Bar of Michigan and Oakland County Bar Association, Nighswander received her law degree from Michigan State University College of Law in 2013 and her undergraduate degree in 2010 from Saginaw Valley State University.


Maddin, Hauser, Roth & Heller PC

Southfield law firm Maddin, Hauser, Roth, & Heller PC is pleased to announce that the Jewish Historical Society of Michigan (JHSM) has honored Robert D. Kaplow with the Leonard N. Simons Lifetime Achievement Award.

This award was given in recognition of Kaplow's service and his lifetime commitment to the support and advancement of the mission and purpose of the Jewish Historical Society of Michigan. This is only the fourth time in its history that the JHSM has ever presented this award.

The announcement was made by the firm's president and CEO, Steven D. Sallen.

Kaplow is a shareholder whose practice is concentrated in estate planning, wealth preservation, and personal and corporate income tax planning. He serves as a member of the State Bar of Michigan (Taxation and Probate and Estate Planning sections), Oakland County Bar Association (Taxation Committee), and American Bar Association (Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section). He is a frequent lecturer before professional groups pertaining to tax and corporate matters.

Kaplow has been continuously selected by his peers for inclusion in the annual edition of Best Lawyers in America® since 2013, recognized in the Michigan edition of Super Lawyers® (2006, 2010-2017), named as a Top Lawyer by DBusiness Magazine and recognized as a Michigan Leading Lawyer. He is also listed in Who's Who in American Law and Who's Who of Emerging Leaders in America.

Serving as JHSM president in 2002, Kaplow oversaw a strategic update to the organization's mission statement, and prepared the organization to participate in "350 Years of Jews in America" celebrations. He helped launch "Settlers to Citizens: A 21st Century Tour of Historic Jewish Detroit" for religious school students, and oversaw the creation of JHSM's first-ever website.

In 2005, Kaplow helped to form the JHS of Michigan Heritage Foundation, an organization created to support JHSM's mission and operations. He has served as its chair since its founding. In addition to the various JHSM programs he works with, Kaplow also volunteers with JARC, is active with the Financial and Estate Planning Council of Metropolitan Detroit, the Planned Giving Advisory Councils of Detroit Public Television, and the Karmanos Cancer Institute.

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Bodman PLC is pleased to announce that retired Michigan Court of Appeals Chief Judge Michael J. Talbot has joined the firm as Of Counsel effective August 3. He will practice in Bodman's Detroit office.

He recently retired as chief judge of the Michigan Court of Appeals and Court of Claims. He was first appointed to the Detroit Common Pleas Court by Governor William Milliken in 1978 and served the people of Michigan on the bench for 40 years.

In 1998, he was appointed to a judge of the Michigan Court of Appeals First District, then in 2014 appointed as Michigan Court of Appeals chief judge.

Before then, he served as a judge in Wayne County Circuit Court and Detroit Common Pleas Court, the predecessor to the 36th District Court in Detroit.

During his tenure, Talbot presided in nearly all levels of Michigan courts and also served on the Judicial Tenure Commission. From the bench, he has been recognized for his commitment to guarantee victims a place in court and a voice at sentencing. As an administrator, Talbot has been praised for his dedicated efforts to transform the 36th District Court into a more efficient, customer-focused high volume urban court while at the same time balancing their budget. He also created a trial court the Court of Claims within the Court of Appeals to hear claims against the state and to decide them consistently and fairly.

Off the bench, among many other volunteer commitments, Talbot has chaired the Detroit Archdiocese Board of Review dealing with misconduct claims, was past chair of the Archdiocese Board of Education, and served as a trustee of Madonna University, Sacred Heart Seminary, and the Archdiocese Endowment Fund. In May, 2018 Gov. Rick Snyder appointed Talbot to the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board.

"I am excited to join Bodman and put my judicial experience to work in a different way," states Michael J. Talbot. "Bodman is a long-standing and respected firm and I look forward to being a resource to the firm's attorneys and clients and working alongside such a talented group of people."

In addition, Bodman is pleased to announce member Damali Sahu has been selected as one of 30 lawyers comprising Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Women in the Law" Class of 2018.

"It is truly an honor to be named one of Michigan Lawyers Weekly 'Women in the Law,'" said Damali Sahu. "I have been fortunate to work with very passionate and knowledgeable women lawyers of whom I admire and respect. Sharing our strengths and serving makes working in this field even more rewarding."

Over the years, Sahu served as a volunteer mentor at VIP Mentoring in Detroit and served on the Board of Directors as vice president and treasurer of University YES Academy. Sahu has particular expertise in lending transactions involving venture capital-backed emerging and established companies in the technology, energy, and life science industries. She has more than a decade of experience in transactions with companies in all stages of growth from seed/early stage to established pre-public stage companies.

Sahu is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and the State Bar of California.

A luncheon celebrating the Class of 2018 will be held Thursday, Sept. 20, at the Detroit Marriott Troy.

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Elizabeth M. Malone joins Secrest Wardle's Troy office as a partner with more than 34 years of experience defending clients in a wide range of legal matters. Malone is a member of the firm's Employment and Commercial and Business Law Practice Groups. She primarily defends clients in the areas of employment, commercial and personal injury litigation.

Malone has experience representing employers and individuals in state and federal courts in age, race, sex, national origin, disability, whistle blower, sexual harassment and wrongful discharge litigation. She has additional experience practicing defense litigation in the areas of school law, nursing home law and general negligence. Malone has also handled first and third-party automobile negligence, premises liability and property loss cases.

Malone is admitted to practice law in the State of Michigan, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. She earned her law degree from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law in 1983. Malone is also an active member of the Oakland County Bar Association.

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Butzel Long attorney and shareholder Robin Luce Herrmann has been named a "2018 Honoree for Michigan Women in the Law" by Michigan Lawyers Weekly.

She is one of 30 female attorneys who will be honored during a luncheon on September 20, 2018 at the Detroit Marriott Hotel in Troy.

Herrmann concentrates her practice in the areas of media law, particularly defamation, privacy, and access issues; commercial litigation, including RICO; and civil rights. As the head of Butzel Long's Media Team, she advises and litigates defamation, privacy, and access issues, including the Freedom of Information Act and the Open Meetings Act. She conducts pre-publication review of stories/broadcasts and responds to subpoenas seeking information from the press and newsgatherers. The Media Team advises a broad array of clients, including digital media, emerging technology groups and digital businesses needing advice on First Amendment issues, data protection and cybercrimes.

At the same time, she serves as general counsel to the Michigan Press Association, the official trade association for the newspapers of Michigan, with more than 300 members throughout the state. Herrmann has trial and appellate experience in both state and federal courts in a variety of areas. Herrmann also is responsible for leading internal and external (client) teams involved in multi-million-dollar litigation to conduct discovery, develop strategy, and prepare for trial.

Herrmann was a professor, Law of the Press, Oakland University, Journalism Department. She has been a guest speaker on Law of the Press: Wayne State University, Central Michigan University, and Oakland University.

She also was co-editor, "The Developing Labor Law, Chapter 30: RICO, 2004-Present." Moreover, she was a contributing editor, "The Developing Labor Law, Chapter 30: RICO, 1999-2004."

Herrmann is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and served in leadership roles including chair: Law and the Media Committee 2013 to 2017; Publications and Website Advisory Committee, 2001-2009; and, editor of the Michigan Bar Journal.

She has co-authored numerous articles including, "Michigan Media Law-A News Room Guide"; "Media Law Resource Center Libel, Privacy and related surveys for Michigan the 6th Circuit since 1993"; and "Overview of Defamation Law," published by the Law and Media Committee of the ABA.

Herrmann is a member of the Executive Committee of The Defense Counsel Section of the Media Law Resource Center (MLRC). In addition to leadership roles with the MLRC, she has been a member of the Governing Committee of the ABA Forum on Communications Law since 2012 and is a past co-chair of its Women in Communications Law Committee. Herrmann has served as co-chair for the Forum's Diversity Moot Court Competition since 2016.

She also acted as Young Detroit Builders (YDB) pro bono counsel for more than a dozen years.

Herrmann earned a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Michigan and a law degree from the Detroit College of Law.

In addition, Butzel Long attorney Maura Corrigan has been named to the 2018 Class of "Women Who Lead" by WJR-AM 760. Corrigan is one of 12 Women of the Great Lakes who will be honored in October during a special broadcast and breakfast during the Paul W. Smith Show. Corrigan was recently interviewed by Ann Thomas, host, "Women Who Lead" podcast (

Based in Butzel Long's Detroit office, Corrigan concentrates her practice in litigation and appeals.

Corrigan served as a law clerk to Michigan Court of Appeals Judge John Gillis. She then became a Wayne County assistant prosecuting attorney in 1974, and chief of appeals in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Detroit in 1979. In 1986, she was promoted to chief assistant U.S. attorney, the first woman to hold that position. She became a partner at Plunkett and Cooney in 1989.

In 1992, Governor John Engler appointed her to the Michigan Court of Appeals. In 1997, the Supreme Court named her chief judge of the appeals court. She was elected to the Michigan Supreme Court in 1998 and re-elected in 2006. Corrigan is the only person ever to serve as chief judge of both the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. She served two terms as chief justice.

Corrigan left the court on January 14, 2011, to become the director of the Michigan Department of Human Services under Governor Rick Snyder.

From 2015-2016, Corrigan was a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank in Washington, D.C. where she worked on poverty and child welfare issues. In that role, she testified in Congress, authored papers and book chapters, and served as liaison to state secretaries of human services.

Corrigan has participated in numerous community and professional activities. She currently serves on seven nonprofit boards. She is a past president of the Incorporated Society of Irish American Lawyers and the Eastern District of Michigan Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. She served as a public member of the Michigan Law Revision Commission from 1991-1998, as an executive board member of the Michigan Judges Association, and as a member of the Judicial Advisory Board of the Center for Law and Organizational Economics at the University of Kansas Law School. She was vice-president of the Conference of Chief Justices from 2003-2004. She is a published author in the legal and child welfare fields. She holds seven honorary doctorates from Michigan colleges and universities, among numerous honors and awards.

Corrigan earned her law degree from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law and her B.A. degree from Marygrove College.

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The Michigan Municipal League has selected long-time municipal attorney and former Northville Mayor Christopher J. Johnson as the organization's new general counsel.

As general counsel, Johnson will provide legal advice to the League's executive director and board of trustees, and oversight of legal programs and staff. Johnson also will play an integral role in the ongoing development, implementation and evolution of the League's overarching mission. He succeeds William Mathewson, who retired from the League as general counsel this summer after serving the organization in a variety of roles for more than 40 years.

Johnson comes to the League from the law firm of Johnson, Rosati, Schultz, & Joppich PC where he was a founding partner. For more than 30 years, Johnson has been active in the defense of municipalities in civil litigation throughout the state of Michigan. He maintains specialties in the fields of municipal law, school law, legislation, liability and insurance defense. He is admitted to all state and federal courts in the state of Michigan as well as the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. He is a member of the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police and has served as a member of the State of Michigan's Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Commission from 2001-2007. He has been an active member of several League legislative committees for years. In addition, he has served as general counsel in a number of non-profit capacities in Michigan.

In addition, Johnson is a seasoned presenter and a graduate of Michigan State University College of Law (formerly Detroit College of Law) and the University of Michigan.

He served as the mayor of Northville from 1987 to 2015 and was awarded the Citizen of the Year by Northville Chamber of Commerce (2015). He served on the Northville Board of Education from 1976 to 1987. In 2010, he was named Top Lawyer by Hour Magazine and DBusiness.

"I've worked closely with the League both as a former mayor and as an attorney for years and to now be a part of the outstanding League staff is truly an honor," Johnson said. "I look forward to helping the League serve its member communities."

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Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC is pleased to announce that attorney Michelle Wezner was selected to Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Women in the Law" Class of 2018 which will be honored at a special luncheon on September 20 at the Detroit Marriott in Troy.

Wezner focuses her practice in commercial litigation, corporate and creditors' rights. She has a broad range of experience in negotiating and litigating business disputes for Fortune 100 companies, including contract disputes, commercial collections, vendor disputes, sales representative commission actions, intellectual property disputes, and mortgage fraud actions.

Outside of her law practice, Wezner has been a mentor to female law school students in a program sponsored by the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan and has served in volunteer positions on the board of directors for a non-profit formed for the prevention of domestic violence and for Rochester-based Leader Dogs for the Blind. She practices out of the firm's Royal Oak office.

Published: Mon, Aug 13, 2018