New leaders take the helm of State Bar


 Thomas C. Rombach of New Baltimore has been sworn in as the 80th president of the State Bar of Michigan. 

Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert P. Young Jr. officiated at the Sept. 18 ceremony that was held in conjunction with the SBM Annual Meeting at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids.

Rombach is a solo practitioner and focuses his practice on representing criminal and civil litigants.

Also sworn in as officers for 2014-2015 were President-Elect Lori A. Buiteweg of Ann Arbor, Vice-President Lawrence P. Nolan of Eaton Rapids, Secretary Donald G. Rockwell of Flint and Treasurer Jennifer M. Grieco of Birmingham.
Rombach will lead an organization of more than 43,000 members.

He has been involved in State Bar work for almost a decade and has served on many of its committees and groups. 

Rombach was elected to the SBM Board of Commissioners in 2006 and has served as treasurer, secretary, vice president, and president-elect.

He is an elected member of the National Conference of Bar Presidents and an elected member of the American Bar Association House of Delegates. 

Rombach was the chairperson of the SBM Representative Assembly in 2002-2003. 

He has served as president of the Macomb County Bar Association and as a member of the Macomb County Board of Commissioners. He has also served on the boards of directors of 15 charitable and civic organizations.

Rombach received his bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and his law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

In addition, Vanessa Peterson Williams of Southfield was sworn in as the chair of the State Bar of Michigan (SBM) Representative Assembly for 2014-2015. 

Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Cynthia D. Stephens officiated at the ceremony that also was held during the annual meeting.

The 150-member Representative Assembly (RA) is the final policy-making body of the State Bar. 

It was created in 1971 by the Michigan Supreme Court at the request of SBM’s Board of Commissioners in order to increase geographical representation and member participation in SBM policy. 

Williams served as editor-in-chief of “The Brief,” journal of the Tort Insurance and Trial Practice Section of the American Bar Association.

She has also served as president of the Association of Defense Trial Council, a member of the board of directors of the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association, and she serves on the ABA House of Delegates. 

Williams is a fellow of the Michigan State Bar Foundation and a fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

Since 2013, Williams has been the vice president, chief legal counsel and global privacy officer at iHS Automotive in Southfield. 

Prior to that she served as vice president, deputy general counsel and chief compliance officer at R.L. Polk & Co., a senior attorney at Michigan Basic Property Insurance Association, and an associate at Plunkett & Cooney PC.

Williams graduated from the University of Alabama in 1992, earned her law degree from the College of William and Mary – Marshall Wythe Law School in 1995, and received her M.B.A. from Wayne State University in 2008.