Women Lawyers Association

of Michigan (WLAM)

The Women Lawyers Association of Michigan recently honored Oakland County Probate Court Chief Judge Kathleen Ryan with the 2019 Mary S. Coleman Award at their Annual Meeting in Traverse City.

Ryan was recognized by the association for her leadership and reputation as a judge and community activist and for her dedication to the legal community. The Mary S. Coleman Award is awarded to a judiciary whose leadership, talent, and significant contributions to women provide a role model for women in the profession and women in general.

"I am very flattered and humbled by this award" stated Ryan, "especially since my dad was on the Supreme Court with Mary S. Coleman and I had the opportunity to meet her several times when I was young. She was a great lady and a great jurist."

Ryan was elected to the Oakland County Probate Court bench in 2010 and re-elected in 2016. She currently serves as chief judge of the Probate Court after having served two years as chief judge pro tem. She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. Prior to taking the bench, Ryan was the managing partner of Ryan and Schouman PLC, and as a private practitioner she focused her practice primarily in probate and family litigation.


Bodman PLC

Bodman PLC is pleased to announce that Jacob J. Simon has joined the firm as an associate attorney.

Simon is a member of Bodman's Business Practice Group and is based in the firm's Troy office. He works with a variety of corporate clients on the structuring and negotiation of complex transactions and on general organizational and business matters.

Before joining Bodman as an associate attorney he served in the firm's summer associate program, gaining exposure to a range of legal services and clients. He also served as a law clerk with a highly regarded suburban Detroit law firm where he assisted in a multi-million dollar contract arbitration and drafted discovery motions and document requests in a trademark infringement case. He served a legal externship in the general counsel's office at Quicken Loans in Detroit and was a judicial intern to Wayne County Circuit Court Judge John H. Gillis Jr.

In addition to his law degree, Simon earned an M.B.A. and an undergraduate degree in Finance. He has served multiple business internships, including experience as a finance intern with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and as a research analyst with Michigan State University's International Business Center, globalEDGE.

Bodman is also pleased to announce that Marc M. Bakst, a member of the firm practicing in the Detroit office, has been elected to the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of Jewish Family Service of Metropolitan Detroit (JFS).

Bakst, who has served for several years as a JFS board member, was elevated to the Executive Committee at the board's annual meeting held on May 14 at the Jewish Community Center in West Bloomfield.

Established more than 90 years ago, JFS provides critical health and social services to more than 12,000 Jewish and non-Jewish people throughout metro Detroit each year. The organization's services are tailored to the specific needs of each individual or family, and center around three core areas: services for older adults, mental health and wellness, and safety net services.

In addition to his service to JFS, Bakst is a current member of the Advisory Board to Michigan Israel Business Accelerator. He served previously on the Community Advisory Board for the Detroit Jewish News, on the Board of Directors of the Detroit chapter of the American Jewish Committee, and on the City of Oak Park Zoning Board of Appeals. He also volunteers through Lakeshore Legal Aid to provide pro bono representation to individuals entitled under Michigan law to expungement of criminal records.

His legal practice is focused on creditors' rights, bankruptcy, reorganization, and insolvency matters, representing major financial institutions, automotive suppliers, health care providers, and a variety of other business clients. Bakst has been recognized as a distinguished practitioner in his field of specialty by the leading journals that rank business attorneys, including The Best Lawyers in America, Michigan Super Lawyers, and DBusiness Top Lawyers.


Jaffe Raitt Heuer

& Weiss, P.C.

Jaffe, Raitt, Heuer, & Weiss PC sponsored VC University LIVE (Midwest), part of the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) and the University of Berkeley's VC University Program. VC University LIVE is an opportunity for entrepreneurs, angel investors, VCs, fund managers and attorneys to sharpen their venture finance skills and connect with local leaders and influencers from Silicon Valley. The event took place from May 15 to 17 in Ann Arbor.

Sara Kruse, partner at Jaffe, offered insight on equity incentives alternatives at VC University LIVE. Kruse, a partner and co-chair of Jaffe's Emerging & Growth Business Practice Group, is an advisor focusing on mergers and acquisitions, restructurings, private debt and equity financings, venture capital, strategic partnerships, corporate governance and other general corporate matters.

Jyotsna Balakrishnan, partner at Jaffe, moderated a session of participants as they worked together to discuss and provide thought leadership around how talent and capital flows between the Midwest and Silicon Valley can be improved. Outcomes from this session will be compiled and used in articles/blogs posted by VC University.

Balakrishnan, a partner and co-chair of Jaffe's Emerging & Growth Business Practice Group, advises and counsels entrepreneurs and businesses from inception through all stages of their life cycle including business formation, capital raising, IP protection, financing, employee incentive plans, contract negotiation, strategic transactions and related legal issues.

In addition, Jaffe recently hired Michael Emmer as an associate in the firm's Real Estate Practice Group. In his new position, Emmer will concentrate his practice in the areas of commercial, industrial, retail and residential real estate to private and institutional developers, builders, management companies, real estate brokers and individuals.

Prior to joining Jaffe, Emmer served as corporate counsel at Saga Communications Inc. in Grosse Pointe Farms where he worked closely with corporate officers to facilitate corporate transactions, including asset purchase and real estate acquisitions.

Previously, while attending law school, Emmer served as a law clerk at Dawda, Mann, Mulchay, & Sadler in Bloomfield Hills. Prior to that, he served as a judicial intern for U.S. District Court Judge Patrick J. Duggan, Eastern District of Michigan.

Emmer earned a law degree from Wayne State University Law School and a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Michigan State University College of Social Science in East Lansing.


Transitions Legal

Transitions Legal recently added Guardian Ad Litem services to its roster of offerings, to help support vulnerable individuals who need a voice in court.

The Birmingham-based family law firm is working with courts in Oakland County and Macomb County, assisting individuals who are deemed legally incapacitated or developmentally disabled and in need of someone to make good decisions on their behalf.

The firm's Guardian Ad Litem work involves assessing whether a given individual has the ability to make their own legal decisions. This can involve reviewing court filings, interviewing the individual in question, and canvassing the petitioner and other professionals involved in that person's life. Armed with complete information, the Guardian Ad Litem then makes an official recommendation to the court about the individual's ability to make informed decisions.

"Transitions Legal added Guardian Ad Litem services to our menu of offerings because we wanted to expand the ways in which we could help people make smooth and effective transitions in their lives," says Alisa Peskin-Shepherd, Transitions Legal founder and principal. "This is a meaningful pursuit, and a great way to use our talents and expertise to give back to the community. Our firm is dedicated to truly helping people in their time of need."


@Briefs Headline:<*C><s70>The Law Firm of John F. Schaefer

John F. Schaefer, founder of The Law Firm of John F. Schaefer, spoke at the 25th annual advanced-level family law seminar hosted by the Michigan Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), May 2, at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham.

The theme of the seminar was, "Handling the Complex Divorce Case" and Schaefer spoke regarding fee arrangements in domestic relations matters.

The AAML invites as guests all sitting family court judges, appellate judges and two referees from each of the Friend of Court offices to this seminar each year.

Schaefer, a family law expert, specializes in complex and high profile divorce cases and keeps offices in Birmingham, Grosse Pointe and Harbor Springs. The Michigan State University College of Law library is named after Schaefer, where he has served as trustee emeritus and adjunct law professor for more than 30 years.

Schaefer serves, and has served, on numerous professional boards and associations including the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the State Bar of Michigan, and Oakland County Bar Association, and currently serves on the board of the Michigan Humane Society.


Butzel Long

Butzel Long attorney Maura Corrigan has been named to Michigan Lawyers Weekly's inaugural Hall of Fame Class of 2019. She is among 20 attorneys who will be honored during a luncheon on May 30 at the Detroit Marriott in Troy.

Corrigan has been a trailblazer, visionary and thought leader. Her leadership and contributions in both the legal profession and in child welfare in Michigan has been exemplary.

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, former 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 reelected 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 to 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 five nonprofit boards. She is a past president of the Incorporated Society of Irish American Lawyers and the Federal Bar Association, Eastern District of Michigan Chapter.

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 to 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 was named to WJR-AM 760's 2018 Class of "Women Who Lead."

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


Plunkett Cooney

Attorney Michele Dunsky Adams recently joined the Transportation Law Practice Group of Plunkett Cooney.

A member of Plunkett Cooney's Bloomfield Hills office, Dunsky Adams focuses her practice in the areas of first- and third-party motor vehicle liability and no fault law, resolving medical provider and policyholder claims for personal injury protection benefits in automobile lawsuits. She also has experience handling legal issues that involve state and federal credit unions, family law, breach of contract disputes and personal injury claims.

A 2013 graduate from the Duke University School of Law, Dunsky Adams is admitted to practice in state and federal courts in Michigan, and she is a member of the State Bar of Michigan. Dunsky Adams received her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan in 2009.

Plunkett Cooney's Transportation Law Practice Group includes the talents of more than 20 attorneys across the states of Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. The group's members provide an array of litigation and risk management services, including expertise in the areas of trucking liability, first- and third-party auto liability, cross-border claims with Canada, fraud investigation services and emergency accident response.


McKeen & Associates PC

Brian McKeen, founder and managing partner of McKeen & Associates, spoke at the American Association of Justice (AAJ) seminar May 10.

The AAJ's educational seminar was held in Sante Fe, New Mexico, and is a returning, best-selling seminar based on Patrick Malone and Rick Friedman's book, "Rules of the Road." This year's seminar focused on discovery. McKeen's lecture was, "Using the 'Rules of the Road' to Win Your Case in Deposition."

AAJ is a legal association whose mission is promote a fair and effective justice system and support the work of attorneys in their effort to ensure that any person who is injured by misconduct or negligence of others can obtain justice in America's courtrooms, even when taking on the most powerful interests.

McKeen currently sits on AAJ's Board of Governors and has served as chair of the AAJ Professional Negligence Section, Medical Negligence Exchange Group and Birth Trauma Litigation Group. He also currently sits on the executive board of AAJ's Michigan chapter, (MAJ), where he served as past president. He has lectured internationally on medical malpractice topics, especially in regards to birth trauma.


Michigan Indigent Defense ­Commission

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the appointment of Kimberly Buddin to the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission.

Buddin is policy counsel with the ACLU of Michigan and a VAWA/U-Visa pro-bono attorney at the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center. She earned her law degree from Michigan State University College of Law. Buddin is appointed to succeed Brandy Robinson who resigned March 20, 2019, for a term expiring April 1, 2020.

The Michigan Indigent Defense Commission was created as a result of efforts to improve legal representation for indigent criminal defendants. The commission develops and oversees the implementation, enforcement, and modification of minimum standards, rules, and procedures to ensure that indigent criminal defense services providing effective assistance of counsel are delivered to all indigent adults in this state consistent with the safeguards of the United States Constitution, the State Constitution of 1963, and with the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission Act.

The appointment is not subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.

Published: Mon, May 20, 2019