NALS of West Michigan honors Lachman, reverses state's swearing-in ceremony


by Cynthia Price
Legal News

Legal Secretary Carolyn Field contends that no one could have a better boss than Sara Latchman.

Field’s colleagues at NALS of West Michigan, the local affiliate of the national association for legal support professionals, agreed with that argument when they chose Lachman as the chapter’s Legal Professional of the Year on April 14.

Lachman, a civil litigator at Miller Johnson, is no stranger to awards, but she seemed particularly delighted with Field’s tribute, which came as a surprise to her. In her acceptance speech, she returned Field’s compliments.
In 2015, Lachman received the Athena Young Professional Award, was named to the 2014 Michigan Women in the Law list, was granted a fellowship to participate in the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, and also was given a number of honors when she studied for her J.D. at University of Michigan Law School in the early 2000s.

Lachman’s community activities, in addition to supporting her children’s sports, have included the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce's Center for Community Leadership; founding Good Seeds; serving on the Grand Rapids Public Museum board and the City of East Grand Rapids Planning Commission, and on the Event Committee for the Gazelle Girl Half Marathon; and being a member of Inforum professional women’s alliance..
She has also taken a wide variety of leadership roles in professional associations at the state and local levels, including chairing the litigation committee of the Grand Rapids Bar Association.

As reported in the April 13 issue of Grand Rapids Legal News, Lynn Philp of Warner Norcross and Judd, the outgoing Executive Secretary of the state NALS, administered the oath of office to Wil Antonides of Plunkett Cooney as he took office as the first male NALS state president.

As the two planned all along, Antonides turned around and swore in Philp as the NALS of West Michigan president.

Also sworn in were Karen Fortier, ALP, of The Law Offices of David Carrier as Vice-President; Tonya Mashue of Warner Norcross and Judd as Secretary; Suzie Christensen of Great Lakes Shortland as Treasurer; and Rebecca Quimby, also of Warner Norcross, as a director.

Mashue was given the Award of Excellence from the West Michigan group.

Also honored was Sherri Bowden of Clark Hill, a legal assistant who has spent years in the field and formerly worked for Smith Haughey Rice and Roegge. Bowden, who has played many roles in both the West Michigan chapter and the Michigan NALS, received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

NALS, which offers certifications and monthly education sessions, next plans a May 5 Law Day Luncheon, featuring WMU-Cooley Professor Tonya Krause-Phelan on the designated Law Day subject, “Miranda: More than Just Words.”