Lewis & Munday names new president and CEO

Lewis & Munday announced Tuesday that Blair A. Person, a 23-year veteran of the firm's real estate practice, has been named president and chief executive officer, effective immediately.

Person succeeds David Baker Lewis, a founding partner of the firm, who will remain chairman.

"Blair's selection to be the new president and CEO was a consensus choice by the shareholders of the firm who believe that he has the qualities and vision needed to move us forward," Lewis said. "Blair has always been willing to take on things that benefited the interests of the firm as a whole even though there was no direct personal benefit to him. He is a careful listener who processes information fully before making a decision and the right person to lead the next chapter in the history of Lewis & Munday."

"I've worked with Blair as far back as the 80's when we represented the City on the Chrysler Jefferson Avenue Assembly Plant Project," said shareholder Reuben Munday, who served as president and CEO of the firm for nine years. "I think that he has earned the opportunity to lead the firm."

Person, who has been with the firm for 23 years, has chaired Lewis & Munday's Real Estate Practice Group for the past 13 years. His area of real estate practice includes sales and acquisitions, affordable housing transactions, commercial mortgage loans, commercial leases, loan modifications, mortgage foreclosures, easement agreements, program management agreements and development agreements.

"I'm honored that my colleagues have chosen me as the firm's new president and CEO," Person said. "Lewis and Munday has played a pioneering role in Detroit's legal history and I look forward to playing a leadership role in the firm's next chapter."

Projects Person has assisted with include the Chrysler Jefferson Plant, a number of affordable housing projects administered by the City of Detroit, various real estate developments undertaken by Wayne State University, real estate matters on behalf of The Detroit Edison Company and projects involving the Detroit People Mover.

Lewis said Person's selection as president and CEO underscores the diversity that the firm has prized from its beginning.

"As an African American-owned firm, we have always been committed to maintaining a diverse workforce," Lewis said. "Following through on that commitment has contributed to a unique professional environment and collegiality at Lewis & Munday that has resulted in consistent national recognition for the excellent quality of our work.

"At the same time," he said, "shareholders in the firm who aren't African American have always bought into the importance of the identity of a firm like ours being African American-owned and have made a commitment to help maintain that identity. Just as there are diverse majority-owned firms, there are diverse African American-owned firms, with Lewis & Munday as a prime example."

Person is a graduate of the University of Detroit law school and earned a B.A. degree from the University of Michigan. He is a member of the Metropolitan Detroit Bar Association and the State Bar of Michigan.

Founded in 1972, Lewis & Munday is one of the oldest and largest firms founded by minorities in the United States. It has four primary areas of concentration: public law, corporate law, real estate law and corporate litigation. It was the first minority-owned law firm to be listed in the Bond Buyer's Directory of Municipal Bond Dealers, known informally as the "Red Book," and has been consistently recognized as one of the top 50 bond counsel firms in the United States.

The firm originally was known as Lewis, White & Clay. When founder Richard White became corporate counsel for AAA of Michigan and founder Eric Clay became a U.S. Appeals Court Judge, the firm was renamed Lewis & Munday.

Published: Wed, Jun 2, 2010

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