Legal People

Chief Judge Gerald E. Rosen has announced the appointment of  retired judge Fred M. Mester as court ombudsman for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Mester served as a circuit judge for the Sixth Judicial Circuit of Michigan from 1982 to 2009. He is currently a certified mediator, arbitrator and facilitator, and a visiting circuit judge for the Sixth Judicial Circuit of Michigan.

Mester previously was an independent hearing officer for Blue Cross Blue Shield and court administrator for the Sixth Judicial Circuit of Michigan (1975-1982).

He was also chief of the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and an attorney for Chrysler Corporation. He served on a Merit Selection Panel for this Court to select a magistrate judge in 2011, and was appointed as a special grand juror in Hong Kong in 2004. He is a resident of Bloomfield Hills with an office in Birmingham.

Mester is an active member of the Federal Bar Association, both locally and nationally, serving as president in the local chapter in 1979-1980 and first vice-president of the national organization in 1982-1983. He is also a member of the American Judges Association, Michigan Judges Association, Oakland County Bar Association, and State Bar of Michigan, and is currently the treasurer at Wolverine Academy.

Mester is a U.S. Army veteran. His public service also includes an appointment by Governor Snyder as commissioner on the Michigan Community Service Commission, former president of the Central Michigan University Alumni Association, president of the Pontiac Alumni Association, founder and president of the Board of Directors for Reading to Reduce Recidivism, chairman of the Board of Directors for William Booh Legal Aid Clinic, and many more.

Mester has received many honors during his career including the 2006 State Bar of Michigan’s Champion of Justice Award, 2006 Women’s Bar Association Award, Central Michigan University’s Centennial Award, Earl W. Kinter Award for outstanding leadership and service to the FBA, and many more.

He was also named one of the top three civil and criminal judges in Michigan for 2005 and 2006, according to Detroit News readers.

According to Rosen, Mester will serve as an intermediary between judicial officers of the Eastern District of Michigan and the Bar.

He will act on an informal basis to interface and address those matters lacking an institutional mechanism or forum for redress. Mester will serve as Ombudsman without compensation. He succeeds attorney George Bedrosian who recently passed away.

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Laura Brodeur-McGeorge has joined the Detroit Office of Kotz, Sangster, Wysocki PC as Labor and Employment Law Practice Group Leader.

With more than 20 years of experience, Brodeur-McGeorge has served as a trial and supervisory trial attorney with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 

She most recently practiced at a prominent Detroit law firm where she was Of Counsel with the firm’s labor and employment department.

Brodeur-McGeorge represents employers in federal and state courts and before various administrative agencies in litigation involving anti-discrimination laws, contract disputes, trade secrets and restrictive covenants, FMLA, FLSA and whistleblower actions. 

Additionally, she counsels employers on day-to-day issues, drafts employment-related documents and policies, conducts workplace training, and assists in responding to administrative agency charges.  She also advises employers on workplace health and safety issues and responds to MIOSHA/OSHA notices and citations. 

In addition to her employment practice, Brodeur-McGeorge counsels property management and other companies on housing discrimination and accommodation issues and litigates claims before HUD and MDCR. 

Brodeur-McGeorge earned her law degree from Wayne State University Law School.

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Varnum is pleased to announce that veteran electronic transaction and aviation attorney Jill M. Miller has joined the firm’s Metro Detroit office.

Miller’s practice includes a focus on the credit card, debit card and electronic payment industry. She counsels independent sales organizations (ISOs), financial institutions,  merchant-acquiring businesses and others who work with mobile payments, electronic fund transfers, stored value cards, and other forms of electronic payment.

Her national practice includes drafting contracts and keeping clients apprised of legal and regulatory developments including compliance with major card vendor rules, licensed lender laws, unclaimed property laws and other laws affecting the payments industry.

In her aviation practice, Miller advises clients on aircraft acquisitions, disposition, operation, leasing and financing.

She is experienced in transactions involving corporate and private aircraft and businesses involved in the aviation industry, as well preparing FAA filings and handling International Registry requirements.

Miller joins Varnum from Jaffe, Raitt, Heuer, & Weiss where she was a partner. A graduate of Michigan State University College of Law, she is a member of the National Business Aviation Association, Women in Aviation and the Electronic Transactions Association, where she serves on the Technology Committee. She also serves on the Advisory Board of the Southeast Acquirers Association.

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Dickinson Wright PLLC attorney Brian Balow will address the HIMSS 2015 Conference on “The mHealth Policy Conundrum: Keeping Pace with Technology” on April 12 and participates in the “Healthcare Security Breaches” breakfast panel  on April 15 in Chicago.

In “The mHealth Policy Conundrum: Keeping Pace with Technology,” Balow will provide the audience with an update on changes to policy which impact the mobile and wireless space.

Topics that he will address during the one-hour conversation include finalization of the FDA Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA) Workgroup, other major policy changes implemented in 2014 and potential future changes over 2015 including updates to the Physician Fee Schedule, legislative efforts improving the use and definition of Telemedicine.

For the “Healthcare Security Breaches” breakfast panel, Balow will join colleagues to discuss how to best address this major concern, including practical guidance from the frontline on how to overcome technical, cultural and operational challenges to achieve success.

The goal of the panel is to help the audience minimize their organization’s risk of breaches with a proactive, preventative approach that includes and goes beyond basic compliance, and requires substantial improvement in security and privacy posture.

Balow is a member in Dickinson Wright’s Troy office where he focuses his practice in the areas of information technology, technology transactions, corporate governance, international law, intellectual property, mergers & acquisitions, healthcare law, and franchise & distribution.

He has worked with Fortune 100 clients over the last 15 years on IT-related matters, including the drafting & negotiation of agreements, formulation & implementation of policies & procedures for the management of IT (including outsourcing-related issues), counselling & advising on privacy & data security issues, and assisting clients in favorably resolving disputes with IT vendors (including disputes with the BSA and SIIA).

Balow has spoken and written extensively on healthcare IT and telemedicine issues, and is a member of the mHIMSS Legal/Policy Task Force and MTAM’s mHealth Advisory Council.

He contributed the chapter entitled “Allocation and Mitigation of Liability” to the ABA Health Law Section’s “E-Health, Privacy, and Security Law” treatise. He regularly counsels clients across the United States on health IT and telemedicine-related matters.

In addidition Dickinson Wright is pleased to announce that attorneys Edward H. Pappas and Francis R. Ortiz have been appointed to the State Bar of Michigan’s 21st Century Practice Task Force.

Pappas has also been appointed co-chair of the Committee on Building a 21st Century Practice — Developing & Maintaining Professional Excellence in a Dynamic Marketplace.

The 21st Century Practice Task Force will recommend how the State Bar can best serve the public and support lawyers’ professional development in a rapidly changing legal marketplace.

The task force will also look at the potential for modernizing Michigan’s attorney regulation in response to those changes. The task force will work for a year and release a public report in March 2016.

State Bar of Michigan Past Presidents Bruce Courtade and Julie Fershtman will co-chair the task force.

Pappas is chairman of Dickinson Wright and is a member in the firm’s Troy office. He focuses his practice in the areas of commercial and business litigation, arbitration and mediation.

He is a Fellow in the International Society of Barristers, the Litigation Counsel of America, and the American College of Civil Trial Mediators. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

Pappas received his B.B.A. from the University of Michigan and his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School.

Ortiz is practice department manager for the firm’s Appellate Litigation, Insurance, Healthcare, Regulatory & Administrative, Schools & Education and Telecommunications Practice Groups.

He is a member in the firm’s Detroit office where he focuses his practice on appellate, commercial & business litigation, insurance & ERISA litigation, labor & employment litigation, and securities. He serves as an Executive Board Member for the Federal Bar Association’s Eastern District of Michigan Chapter and is an Officer and Director for the Hispanic Bar Association. Ortiz received his A.B. from the University of Michigan and his law degree from Harvard Law School.

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Douglas E. Kelin
has joined Honigman, Miller, Schwartz, and Cohn LLP as a partner in its Real Estate Department. He is located in the firm’s Detroit office.

Kelin focuses his practice on counseling clients with regard to acquisition, development, construction, leasing, financing and restructuring.

He represents clients in a variety of industries, including retail, office, industrial, multifamily, hospitality and construction.

Kelin was recognized as a “Rising Star” by Michigan Super Lawyers in 2013 and 2014. He is admitted to practice in Michigan, Illinois and Florida.

He earned law degrees from Boston University School of Law and Michigan State University College of Law. Kelin received a B.A. in international relations from Michigan State University.

He joins Honigman from Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer, & Garin PC in Bloomfield Hills.

Attorney T.J. Johnson has also joined Honigman as a member of its Intellectual Property Department. He is located in the firm’s Bloomfield Hills office.

Johnson focuses his practice on patent matters, particularly in the areas of mechanical, electrical and software arts. He is admitted to practice in Indiana.

He earned a law degree from the American University Washington College of Law and a B.S. in civil engineering and a minor in mechanical engineering from the University of Nevada, Reno.

Johnson joins Honigman from Ice Miller LLP in Indianapolis.

Honigman is also pleased to announce that Gabrielle L. Sims has joined its Corporate Department. She is located in the firm’s Detroit office.

Sims focuses her practice on corporate governance, private and public securities offerings, and compliance and disclosure under SEC rules and listing standards.

Her securities offering experience focuses on assisting issuers and underwriters in a variety of capital market transactions, including investment grade and high yield notes offerings and initial public and secondary stock offerings. Sims is admitted to practice in New York.

Sims earned a law degree from Howard University School of Law, where she was the executive publications editor for the Howard Law Journal. She received a B.B.A. from the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business.

She joins Honigman from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, & Flom LLP in New York City.