Trott & Trott PC, a Farmington Hills-based law firm serving the mortgage banking industry, has been named a recipient of USFN's 2012 Diamond Award of Excellence. Trott Managing Partner Jeffrey Raff made the announcement.

The USFN Award of Excellence program was initiated in 1993 to recognize and encourage member firms to develop and maintain high standards of excellence in service to industry clients and their communities. The Award of Excellence is given annually to USFN member firms who meet rigorous standards that evaluate professional activities, industry volunteerism, and community and charity involvement by the firm.

"Our team is comprised of dedicated individuals who continually strive to exceed the goals and standards set not only by our firm, but also by our industry and community," Raff said. "To have those efforts recognized with this prestigious award for the 15th consecutive year is truly an honor."

Recipients of this award are celebrated each year at USFN's Annual Member Education Retreat, held in the fall. Founded in 1988, USFN is a 50-state trade association serving the mortgage banking industry.

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Orlans Associates PC, a Michigan law firm specializing in serving the real estate financial industry, has been awarded the USFN Diamond Award of Excellence for the fourth year in a row. Recipients of this award are recognized for meeting rigorous standards regarding their professional activities, industry volunteerism, as well as community and charitable involvement by the firm. The USFN - America's Mortgage Banking Attorneys®, which bestows this award, is a resource network serving the mortgage industry focused on promoting competent, professional and ethical representation among its membership and for the real estate finance industry.

"We take great pride in having been recognized for our efforts to be both an excellent legal firm and community supporter," said Orlans Associates CEO Linda Orlans. "It is embedded in the Orlans culture to always strive toward betterment, while extending ourselves through our time and talents in order to help encourage and assist others."

Orlans Associates is recognized as an expert resource in real estate law with extensive experience representing investors, lenders, banks and servicers. Recognizing a need for a more efficient real estate title and closing services, Orlans established eTitle Agency, Inc. in 2000, also headquartered in Troy.

Linda Orlans has been a key promoter of education and home ownership in the region by leading efforts to bring resources to people who need the support. In addition to being a successful attorney and business leader, Orlans is focused on raising visibility within the community on the power of supporting others, spreading the word of sharing and service and the impact it can make.

Orlans Associates runs nearly continual philanthropic endeavors including food drives for Gleaners, providing support to Beyond Basics, E-Clutter Recycling for the Beaumont Foundation and more. An employee-run initiative called the Orlans Outreach runs various short-term fundraising efforts with Linda Orlans personally matching all funds dollar for dollar. The group then donates the funds to support families in crisis or other charitable endeavors.

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As part of the firm's ongoing commitment to recruiting, retaining and promoting team members who contribute to the highest level of professionalism, Potestivo & Associates PC is pleased to announce the hiring of attorney, Jaclyn C. Sullivan. Sullivan was promoted to the Attorney Team on Wednesday, Nov. 14. Based in the firm's Rochester Hills office, she serves as an associate attorney supporting the firm's Michigan Foreclosure Department.

Prior to her new role, Sullivan served as assignment coordinator in the firm's Foreclosure Department and quickly moved up the ranks to Jr. Foreclosure Coordinator and more recently was promoted to law clerk. In the Summer of 2010, Sullivan gained experience while participating in a study abroad program in Paris where she studied International Business Law.

She earned her law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Merchandising Management from Michigan State University.

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The law firm of Miller Canfield announces that Gayla M. Houser, director of business development (Troy office), has been elected to a one-year term on the board of directors of the Canada-United States Business Association (CUSBA).

She earned her B.A. from Wayne State University.

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Maddin, Hauser, Wartell, Roth, & Heller PC, a Southfield-based law firm, has named Kate S. Matlen as an associate attorney.

Matlen earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan and her law degree from Wayne State University Law School.

A member of the State Bar of Michigan, Matlen has been admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

In addition, Maddin Hauser is pleased to announce nine of its attorneys have been selected for inclusion in the 19th edition of The Best Lawyers in America® 2013.

Of the nine, Shareholders Harvey R. Heller, John E. Jacobs, Richard J. Maddin, and Steve M. Wolock were recognized in multiple practice areas.

The recipients and the respective categories in which they were honored include:

* Mark R. Hauser, managing director and executive management committee member; Real Estate Law.

* Harvey R. Heller, shareholder and executive management committee member; Insurance Law and Legal Malpractice Law -- Defendants.

* John E. Jacobs, shareholder; Corporate Law and Real Estate Law.

* Charles M. Lax, shareholder; Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law

* Michael W. Maddin, president emeritus and executive management committee member; Real Estate Law.

* Richard J. Maddin, shareholder; Construction Law, Land Use & Zoning Law, Litigation -- Construction, Litigation -- Land Use and Zoning, Litigation -- Real Estate, and Real Estate Law.

* Lowell D. Salesin, shareholder and Executive Management Committee Member; Real Estate Law.

* Steven D. Sallen, president, CEO and executive management committee member; Real Estate Law.

* Steven M. Wolock, shareholder; Legal Malpractice Law -- Defendants, Professional Malpractice Law, and Professional Malpractice Law -- Defendants.

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Rogers Mantese, & Associates PC is pleased to announce that three of its attorneys, David L. Rogers, Theresamarie Mantese, and Rolf E. Lowe have been named 2013 DBusiness Top Lawyers in the Health Care Law category.

Rogers focuses his practice primarily on representing Michigan health care organizations, professionals and businesses in matters including contracts, third party payer audits and reimbursement, and legislative issues.

A graduate of Wayne State University Law School, he is the former chair of the State Bar of Michigan Health Care Law Section, of which he was named a Fellow in 2011. In addition, Rogers is a former faculty member in the Department of Internal Medicine Residency Program at the Wayne State University School of Medicine, chair of the University's Irvin D. Reid Honors College Board of Visitors, and member of the Healthcare Financial Management Association, American Health Lawyers Association, and Federal, Detroit Metropolitan, and Oakland County bar associations.

Mantese is also a shareholder in the firm. She represents health care providers, health care professionals and businesses in commercial litigation involving contracts and business transactions, employment, medical billing and licensing matters.

Mantese earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Missouri - St. Louis, and her law degree from the St. Louis University School of Law.

Currently, the she is a case evaluator of the commercial panels in Wayne and Oakland County circuit courts. She is affiliated with the State Bar of Michigan, Health Care Law Section, American Health Lawyers Association, Oakland County Bar Association, and State Bar of Missouri.

Lowe concentrates his practice primarily on representing health care providers and professionals in professional licensing matters, labor and employment matters associated with health care, civil rights claims, administrative actions, business matters, health care compliance matters and compliance committee operations, hospital staff privilege actions, civil litigation and mediation.

Lowe earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan and his law degree from Wayne State University Law School. He is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, American Health Lawyers Association, and Michigan Public Employers Labor Relations Association.

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Nichols, Sacks, Slank, Sendelbach, & Buiteweg PC, an Ann Arbor family law firm, has opened an office in Birmingham to serve its expanding client base in Oakland County. Attorney Elizabeth Solomon will base her practice in the new office, located at 209 N Old Woodward Avenue in downtown Birmingham.

Over nearly two decades, the firm has built a statewide reputation for successfully resolving family law matters with non-adversarial approaches that avoid the time and expense of going to court. Its attorneys have taken leadership roles to broaden the acceptance of mediation and collaborative practice among professionals and the public, and two of its partners are founding members of the Collaborative Practice Institute of Michigan.

"Today, many clients, especially those with young children, don't want a long, expensive court battle," Solomon said. "Our focus on resolution helps parents stay in control of their divorce and make family decisions that would otherwise be left up to a judge."

This practice philosophy has helped the firm earn a "Best of Michigan Business" award from Corp! magazine, and four of its partners have been recognized for multiple years as Michigan Super Lawyers, a distinction granted through peer ratings to only 5 percent of attorneys statewide.

The scope of family law matters handled by the firm includes divorce, custody and support, property settlements, prenuptial agreements, estate planning, and elder mediation. For consultations or information, call 248-594-5776 or email

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Varnum is pleased to announce its ranking as a 2013 Top Law Firm in the United States by Martindale-Hubbell.

In order to receive this honor, at least one-third of the firm's attorneys must achieve an AV Preeminent rating.

* Nancy L. Farnam (Employee Benefits; Labor and Employment Relations).

* Richard T. Hewlett (Litigation and Trial Services; Employment Litigation Defense; Construction Law; Real Estate, Development & Construction; Public Sector/Municipal; Sports & Entertainment; White Collar Criminal Defense).

* Richard A. Hooker (Labor and Employment Relations; Union Negotiations; Automotive).

* Paul L. B. McKenney (Tax Planning, Compliance and Litigation; Federal Tax Law; Litigation and Trial Services; Estate Planning; Estate Administration).

* David K. McLeod (Business and Corporate Services; Real Estate, Development & Construction; Banking).

* Robert D. Mollhagen (Creditor's Rights; Mergers & Acquisitions; Real Estate Loan Workouts; Bankruptcy Services).

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Attorneys Patricia Nemeth and Linda Burwell, founding partners of Detroit-based employment law firm Nemeth Burwell PC, have been recognized by their peers as leading lawyers in DBusiness magazine's Metro Detroit Top Lawyers List for 2013. Both Nemeth and Burwell were included in the specialty area of labor and employment law.

Nemeth specializes as a litigator, consultant, negotiator and mediator. Her areas of expertise include all aspects of traditional labor and employment litigation law, including complex employment investigations and analyses, discrimination/harassment, age, disability, sex, race, whistleblowers, wrongful discharge, union organizing activities and union issues, and multi-party lawsuits. She is a certified mediator for all types of civil litigation, including employment.

Nemeth earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan and law degrees from Wayne State University School of Law. She is a member of the Michigan, Illinois, Federal and the United States Supreme Court bars.

Burwell specializes as a litigator, arbitrator and consultant, representing management in all aspects of labor and employment law. Her areas of expertise include wrongful discharge, discrimination, non-competition, harassment, interference with contract, equal pay, retaliation, whistleblowers, wage and hours, unfair labor practices, breach of contract, libel and slander, and invasion of privacy. She regularly counsels management on collective bargaining agreements, pre-employment, discipline, and pre-termination and post-termination matters. A nationally recognized speaker and author on employment law and risk management issues, Burwell often serves as the legal expert on panels involving employment laws.

She earned her law degree from Wayne State University Law School and a Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University. She is a member of the Michigan, Ohio, Federal, and the United States Supreme Court bars.

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The law firm of Cummings, McClorey, Davis & Acho (CMDA) is pleased to announce that attorney James R. Acho has been named 2013 DBusiness Top Lawyer in the Entertainment and Sports Field category.

Acho focuses his practice primarily in the areas of labor and employment law, entertainment and sports law, commercial law and personal injury law.

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Neuman Anderson PC, a Birmingham-based business law firm specializing in complex commercial litigation, announced that Leif K. Anderson has been recognized as a Michigan Super Lawyer for the fourth consecutive year.

Anderson has more than 15 years of legal experience and specializes his practice in the area of complex commercial litigation, with a focus on business, corporate, realestate and construction, and contract disputes.

Anderson is licensed to practice in all Michigan state and federal courts, and the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and Oakland County Bar Association (OCBA), serving as an Oakland County CircuitCourt case evaluator and a volunteer for the OCBA Pro Bono Mentor Match Program, which provides guidance to new lawyers.

An alumnus of Western Michigan University, Anderson is also a graduate of Wayne State University Law School.

Neuman Anderson also announced that Kenneth F. Neuman has been recognized as a Michigan Super Lawyer for the sixth consecutive time - this year earning an exclusive spot in the lists Top 100 lawyers.

Neuman concentrates his practice in complex commercial litigation and business consulting, with a focus on corporate, real estate/construction, accounting and forensic issues, and contract disputes. He has more than 25 years of litigation experience and has obtained multiple verdicts and arbitration awards in excess of $1 million, including an $11 million breach of contract action judgment and a $3 million judgment in a suit involving acivil fraud case.

Neuman is a registered certified public accountant and spent several years with one of the "big eight" accounting firms prior to beginning his legal career. He has been named a DBusinessmagazine Top Lawyer since 2012 and recognized in the 2012 and 2013 editions of The Best Lawyers in America®. Neuman is a member of the Oakland County Bar Association, State Bar of Michigan, Michigan Association for Justice, and American Association of Attorney-Certified Public Accountants.

He is a graduate of Michigan State University and Wayne State University Law School.

Neuman Anderson also announced that Jennifer M. Grieco has been recognized as a 2013 Top Lawyer by DBusiness magazine in the practice areas of Business Litigation and Insurance Law. This is the second consecutive year that she has been honored.

Concentrating her practice in commercial litigation, Grieco possesses more than 15 years of trial experience and has been awarded multiple high-profile verdicts. Grieco's awards include Crain's Detroit Business, "40 Under 40" class of 2010, recognition as one of the Top 50 Women in Michigan by Super Lawyers for two consecutive years and a Michigan Lawyers Weekly Woman in the Law in 2011.

In 2011, Grieco won a contested seat as a commissioner on the State Bar Board of Commissioners and was appointed to the executive committee for 2012-2013. She is a past president of the Oakland County Bar Association and a member of the State Bar of Michigan Negligence Council. She previously served as president of the Oakland County Region of the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan from 2003-2004.

Grieco is a graduate of The University of Toledo and a graduate of The University of ToledoCollege of Law.

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Honigman, Miller, Schwartz, and Cohn LLP is pleased to announce that David W. Billings has joined its Corporate Department and will be located in the firm's Detroit office.

Billings' practice focuses on international corporate transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, private equity and financing transactions. He primarily represents financial institutions, funds and corporations. Billings is admitted to practice in New York and his admission in Michigan is pending.

He earned his law degree from New York University School of Law and a B.S.E. in computer engineering from the University of Michigan.

He joins Honigman from Sullivan & Cromwell LLP's London office.

Additionally, attorney Teymour El-Tahry has joined Honigman's Intellectual Property (IP) Department. He will be located in the firm's Oakland County office as a member of the firm's Patent Practice Group.

El-Tahry's practice focuses on preparing and prosecuting patent applications, preparing product clearance opinions and counseling clients on IP strategies and portfolio management. He is admitted to practice in Michigan and the USPTO.

He earned his law degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology and a B.S. in computer science from the University of Michigan.

El-Tahry joins Honigman from Harness, Dickey, & Pierce PLLC in Troy.

Also, three partners in Honigman's IP Department, J. Michael Huget, Anessa Owen Kramer and Emily (Zelenock) Tait, have been named to the first executive committee of the newly created Michigan Intellectual Property American Inn of Court (IP Inn of Court). All three have been personally involved in and committed to promoting the mentorship and development of high caliber intellectual property practitioners in the Metropolitan Detroit area and with several other local practitioners and U.S District CourtChief Judge Gerald E. Rosen , Eastern District of Michigan, worked to establish the first IP Inn of Court here.

Inns of Court are comprised of judges, lawyers, professors and law students who join together to discuss matters of skills, ethics and professionalism in a geographic area and/or a legal practice area.

Huget has been named president elect of the IP Inn of Court and is Honigman's Litigation Department co-chair and Intellectual Property Litigation practice chair. He has experience in high-stakes patent and trademark cases throughout the U.S. Huget serves clients in a number of industries, including publishing, advertising, automotive, technology, pharmaceutical, higher education, and media and entertainment.

He has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America since 2003, by Michigan Super Lawyers since 2007, and by DBusiness as a "Top Lawyer" since 2011.

Huget earned his law degree from Michigan State University College of Law and a B.A. from the University of Michigan.

Kramer has been named chair of the Membership Committee of the IP Inn of Court and is the co-managing partner for Honigman's Bloomfield Hills office and a partner in its IP Department. She is a trademark attorney who represents a number of owners of well-known brands, counseling them on issues such as global clearance and filing strategies, IP management, trademark enforcement and litigation, anti-cybersquatting, and trademark licensing. Kramer has also handled more than 100 U.S. trademark oppositions, and is a frequent speaker and author on IP issues.

She has been recognized as one of Detroit's "40 Under 40" people to watch by Crain's Detroit Business in 2007 and one of 25 "Leaders in the Law" by Michigan Lawyers Weekly in 2010. She also has been recognized by Michigan Super Lawyer since 2010 and as a DBusiness "Top Lawyer" for 2012 and 2013.

Kramer earned her law degree from George Washington University Law School and a B.A. from Michigan State University.

Tait, a partner in Honigman's IP Department, has been named the Annual Dinner Chair of the IP Inn of Court. In this capacity, she organized the IP Inn of Court kick-off dinner to coincide with the Federal Bar Association seminar on the state of patent litigation held in Ann Arbor in September, an event which Tait was also instrumental in planning. The kick-off dinner was attended by nearly 100 guests, including Inn members, prominent local and national judges such as U.S. Court of Appeals Chief Judge Randall R. Rader.

Tait concentrates her practice on patent, copyright and trade secret litigation and related counseling. She also advises clients on licenses, joint venture agreements and intellectual property aspects of mergers and acquisition transactions.

She has been recognized by Michigan Super Lawyer as a "Rising Star" in 2012 and by DBusiness as a "Top Lawyer" for 2013.

She earned her law degree from the University of Michigan Law School and a B.S. from the University of Michigan.

Also, six new attorneys, who have recently been admitted to practice in Michigan, have joined Honigman in its Detroit office. All six were Honigman summer associates in 2011. Amber A. Hay was a summer associate in 2010 as well.

Hay is a member of Honigman's Corporate Department. She earned her law degree from the University of Michigan Law School and a B.A. in economics from the University of Michigan. Hay was the 2010 Jack Miller Memorial Scholar, a U of M. scholarship named in memory of one of Honigman's founding partners.

Ahmad Huda is a member of Honigman's Litigation Department. He earned his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a B.A. in English and American literature from New York University.

Ryan A. Jackson is a member of Honigman's Corporate Department. He earned his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School and earned his B.A. in economics from the University of Michigan.

Jeremy D. Lockhart is a member of Honigman's Litigation Department. He earned his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School and a B.A., cum laude, in sociology-criminology from Ohio University.

Janet Soave is a member of Honigman's Insurance Department. She earned her law degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law and her B.A. in English from the University of Michigan.

Alexander Whang is a member of Honigman's Corporate Department. He earned his law degree from the Indiana University Mauer School of Law and a B.A. in political science from the University of Michigan.

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Bowman and Brooke LLP has announced several honors for 2012, including its first-ever ranking in the National Tier One category for product liability by U.S. News - Best Lawyers® "Best Law Firms," its Band 2 recognition by Chambers USA in the Product Liability and Mass Torts category and its first-ever recognition by The Legal 500 for its Pharmaceuticals and Medical Device Practice.

Bowman and Brooke announced its first-ever recognition by U.S. News - Best Lawyers® as a National Tier One law firm in the category of Product Liability.

The firm also recently announced its first-ever recognition for its growing Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices practice by The Legal 500.

Earlier this year, Bowman and Brooke was also named to the "short list" of nominations for the Chambers USA Awards for Excellence 2012 in the category of Product Liability.

This year, Bowman and Brooke was recognized in Band 2 of the Nationwide Product Liability category, up from Band 3 in 2011 and Band 4 in 2009 and 2010. Local attorney Tom Branigan was recognized in the Michigan General Commercial category.

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Butzel Long attorneys Roberta Granadier and Jordan Schreier are the featured presenters for a half-day program titled, "Health Care Reform: Is Your Health Plan Compliant and Are You Prepared for 2013 and Beyond?" on Wednesday, Dec. 12, in Ann Arbor. The program is presented by Armstrong/Robitaille/Riegle and Butzel Long.

Based in Butzel Long's Bloomfield Hills office, Granadier practices in the area of employee benefits law. She has extensive experience in ERISA law, employee benefits, executive compensation and employment law. Her practice includes retirement and compensation planning, consulting and design of qualified and nonqualified plans, stock option and equity-based programs and compliance initiatives regarding fiduciary best practices and internal plan audits.

Schreier is based in Butzel Long's Ann Arbor office. He is the Practice Group Leader for the Employee Benefits Practice Group. Schreier represents clients primarily in the area of ERISA, employee benefits and compensation.

In addition, Butzel Long attorney and shareholder Robin Luce Herrmann has been named incoming co-chair for the American Bar Association's (ABA) Women in Communications Law Committee of the Forum on Communications Law.

"It is an honor to have the opportunity to serve in this key leadership role within the ABA," said Herrmann. "The Women in Communications Law Committee offers outstanding networking and professional development opportunities for women attorneys both locally and nationally."

Herrmann also leads the ABA's First Amendment and Media Litigation Committee's Diversity Outreach Subcommittee. She is a member of the ABA's Woman Advocate Committee of the Litigation Section; a past member and Vice-Chair of the ABA Law and Media Committee; and, is active in the Media Law Resource Center.

Herrmann, a Practice Group leader for one of Butzel Long's two Business Litigation Groups, concentrates her practice in the areas of media law, particularly defamation and access issues; commercial litigation, including RICO; non-competes and trade secrets; and civil rights.

Herrmann also is general counsel of the Michigan Press Association.

In addition, Herrmann previously taught Law of the Press in the Journalism Department at Oakland University. She has been a guest speaker on Law of the Press at Wayne State University, Central Michigan University, and Oakland University.

In 2011, Herrmann was appointed to the State Bar of Michigan Law and Media Committee.

Herrmann is a 1984 graduate of the University of Michigan and a 1993 graduate of the Detroit College of Law.

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Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC is pleased to announce that Alex G. Cavanaugh has joined the firm. He will practice out of the firm's Royal Oak Office.

Cavanaugh concentrates his practice in commercial and corporate litigation. Prior to joining Howard & Howard as an associate, he worked as a summer associate with the firm. Cavanaugh also worked as a law clerk in the Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture Division of the Michigan Attorney General's Office. Prior to practicing law he worked as a broker in the freight industry at Command Transportation LLC.

Cavanaugh received his B.A. from Michigan State University's Eli Broad College of Business in 2008 and his law degree from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law in 2012. He is licensed to practice in the State of Michigan.

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Collins, Einhorn, Farrell, & Ulanoff PC earned recognition on national and local levels from U.S. News - Best Lawyers® Best Law Firms in the publication's annual rankings.

The Southfield-based law firm earned its first national ranking as a Tier 1 firm in the area of professional malpractice law -- defendants.

Locally, Collins Einhorn was selected as a Tier 1 firm in the Detroit metropolitan rankings in three practice areas: professional malpractice law -- defendants, ethics andprofessional responsibility law and legal malpractice law -- defendants.

The firm also earned recognition as a Tier 2 firm in appellate practice and product liability litigation - defendants.

"Being listed again among the 'Best Law Firms' means that we are continuing to deliver results to our clients," said Collins Einhorn President Michael J. Sullivan. "To know that five of our practice areas have been recognized on this list, including one nationally, speaks to the level of our staff and the abilities of this firm."

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The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan announced that Vice President of Philanthropic Services Robin Ferriby was selected to serve as a member of the Michigan Nonprofit Council for Charitable Trusts.

A past shareholder of Berry Moorman PC and a former senior associate at Clark Hill PLC, Ferriby also serves on the Legislative and Regulatory Action Team of the Community Foundation Leadership Team of the Council of Foundations, Washington, D.C. In this role, he provides comment on federal legislation and regulation affecting charitable giving and tax-exempt organizations.

Ferriby currently is the president of The Advancement Network, Inc. ("AdNet"), a national nonprofit educational organization for development and donor service officers at community foundations, and is a former member of the Council of the Probate and Estate Planning Section of the State Bar of Michigan. His past legislative involvement includes serving as co-author of the repeal of the Michigan inheritance tax, testifying on the repeal of the Michigan intangibles tax, and significant participation in the drafting and passage of the Michigan Estates and Protected Individuals Code (the probate code).

He also is a member of the Probate and Estate Planning and Taxation Sections of the State Bar of Michigan and the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law and Taxation Sections of the American Bar Association. He is a frequent lecturer and author on the topics of estate planning, estate and gift tax planning, charitable organizations and planned giving.

Ferriby graduated from the University of Detroit School of Law and Michigan State University.

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Gov. Rick Snyder recently announced chief regulatory officer and director of the state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) Steve Hilfinger is leaving his post to become chief operating officer at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) effective Dec. 10.

Hilfinger will oversee several internal administrative functions and help drive best practices and operational effectiveness to support business growth and the creation of more and better jobs throughout Michigan. He will continue to play a key role in the state's Economic Growth Executive Group.

As chief regulatory officer at LARA, Hilfinger had principal oversight of licensing and regulatory functions of the state of Michigan, including: Licensing and Regulatory, Office of Regulatory Reinvention, Michigan Administrative Hearing System, and Employment Security and Workplace Safety.

Previously, he focused a 23-year legal career on corporate and securities law matters, including mergers and acquisitions, corporate restructurings, private equity and venture capital transactions, debt and equity finance transactions, business formation and corporate governance, and general corporate and contract counseling. A partner at Foley and Lardner LLP in Detroit, his practice included representation of automotive suppliers and other manufacturers, medical device makers, private equity and venture capital funds, financial institutions, and other publicly and privately held businesses.

Hilfinger obtained his B.B.A. degree (concentration in accounting) from the University of Michigan in 1984. He graduated with a law degree from Northwestern University in 1987. He is admitted to practice law in Michigan and Illinois and is a member of the Business, Health Care, and Administrative Law Sections of the State Bar of Michigan.

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Kemp Klein Law Firm celebrates attorneys William B. Acker, Irwin M. Alterman, Joseph P. Buttiglieri, Alan A. May, Stuart Sinai, Amy A. Stawski, and Thomas V. Trainer for being selected by their peers for inclusion in the DBusiness list of Top Lawyers for 2013.

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A comprehensive book about appellate law recently published by the American Bar Association (ABA) features one chapter co-authored by Plunkett Cooney attorneys Mary Massaron Ross and Hilary Ballentine.

Sponsored by the ABA's Council of Appellate Lawyers, the book, titled "Appellate Practice Compendium," informs general practitioners about appellate practice rules and procedures in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., all federal circuit courts, and the U.S. Military Appellate Court. Massaron Ross and Ballentine co-authored the seventh chapter titled "Sixth Circuit."

"This was an opportunity for us to be involved in one of the most trusted resources for appellate law attorneys," said Massaron Ross, who serves as the firm's Appellate Law Practice Group Leader. "The compendium really is an insider's guide to the processes and procedures that can help attorneys plan their appeal anywhere in the country."

The compendium provides tips on the use of video recordings, access to appellate records, page limits, oral arguments, abstracts, deadlines, addendums, formatting and much more. The 65-chapter book also provides a complete list of appellate resources for every jurisdiction, including Web sites, dockets, practice guides and more.

A member of the firm's Bloomfield Hills office, Massaron Ross currently serves as president of DRI - The Voice of the Defense Bar. She is a past chair of the Appellate Practice Section of the State Bar of Michigan, DRI's Appellate Advocacy Committee, and the ABA Council of Appellate Lawyers (CAL), a division of the Appellate Judges Conference. A member of the prestigious American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, Massaron Ross co-chairs the Michigan Appellate Bench Bar Conference Foundation, an organization of Michigan appellate judges and lawyers. She is also a former chair of the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Amicus Curiae Briefs, the five-member committee that oversees preparation of ABA briefs for filing in the U.S. Supreme Court.

A member of the firm's Bloomfield Hills office, Ballentine concentrates her practice in appellate law with emphasis on claims involving such areas as property disputes, municipal law, constitutional law, and medical liability appeals. Ballentine has handled numerous appeals in the state and federal appellate courts, including the Michigan Court of Appeals, the Michigan Supreme Court, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Ballentine is active in the Michigan Defense Trial Counsel and serves as co-chair of its amicus section. As a member of DRI, she co-authored an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Delbert Williamson v. Mazda Motor of America, Inc, et. al. Ballentine has also authored several publications, including another guide to appellate practice in the Sixth Circuit.

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Attorneys Michael D. Fishman, R. Terrance Rader, Michael B. Stewart, and Glenn E. Forbis of Rader, Fishman, & Grauer PLLC have been named to the list of Best Lawyers in America for 2013.

Fishman is named Best Lawyer in the area of trademark law and is named "Lawyer of the Year" in the area of trademark law for his geographic location. Fishman has filed, prosecuted and maintained thousands of trademark applications and registrations in more than 200 jurisdictions worldwide. Fishman eaned his law degree and Bachelor of Science from Wayne State University.

Rader is named Best Lawyer in the areas of patent litigation and intellectual property litigation. In addition, he was named "Lawyer of the Year" in 2012 in the area of patent litigation for his geographic location. He has been trial counsel in more than 400 federal intellectual property lawsuits, and has obtained numerous multi-million-dollar verdicts and settlements for plaintiffs and defendants. He earned his law degree from American University and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

Stewart was named Best Lawyer in patent litigation and in patent law. He prosecutes domestic and foreign patents and trademarks in a wide variety of disciplines including IT, e-commerce, telecommunications, aerospace and nuclear engineering. He also advises companies on managing large global intellectual property portfolios. Stewart earned his law degree, a Bachelor of Arts in English, a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering, all from University of Michigan.

Forbis was named Best Lawyer in intellectual property litigation. He litigates patent and trademark disputes in federal court nationwide, and advises companies on managing and expanding their domestic and foreign patent portfolios. Forbis earned his law degree, a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science, all from University of Michigan.

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Gifford, Krass, Sprinkle, Anderson, & Citkowski PCis pleased to announce that Mark D. Schneider has been named by DBusiness as Top DBusiness Lawyers in Metro Detroit 2013 in the Intellectual Property Law category. Schneider is a shareholder with Gifford Krass and focuses his practice on Patent, Trademark, Copyright and related litigation.

* * *

Varnum, with offices in Grand Rapids, Grand Haven, Kalamazoo, Metro Detroit and Lansing, is pleased to announce a new management structure which will take effect in January. Under the new structure:

* Larry Murphy, whose current term as managing partner expires at the end of the year, will continue to oversee the firm's business development, client service and community partnerships.

* Scott Huizenga will become chair of the Partnership and Policy Committee. Varnum's Policy Committee is the firm's internal management body and is primarily responsible for firm strategy and partner compensation.

* Tom Kyros will serve as executive partner, responsible for policy implementation, lean processes, and firm administration.

The new structure allows each of the three to continue to focus on their legal practices while ensuring that client service, management functions and community partnership responsibilities are thoroughly fulfilled.

"As we consider evolving client expectations regarding legal service delivery, we recognize that our management structure should evolve as well," said Murphy. "We believe this team approach will increase our responsiveness and flexibility in critical areas."

The shared management structure is not entirely new to Varnum. At various times over the past 20 years, the firm has utilized a dual management model, including Managing and Administrative Partners. Having responsibilities further shared among three partners will allow deeper representation of firm internal and external constituents and a continuation of Varnum's commitment to the broader community.

"The new structure streamlines decision processes, which will allow us to respond to opportunities and challenges quickly and efficiently," said Kyros. Noting that the firm will celebrate its 125th anniversary in 2013, he added: "Thinking in new and non-traditional ways has been a significant factor in Varnum's success and longevity."

The new management structure received overwhelming support from the firm's partnership, which Huizenga said is indicative of the firm's culture of embracing innovation.

"For as long as I've been with the firm, there has been a willingness to think creatively and support new ideas and perspectives," Huizenga said. "We believe this new structure will have a significant positive effect on our internal culture as well as our service to clients."

Huizenga is former chair of Varnum's Corporate Services group. He provides business counsel to clients in a variety of industries, with a focus on transactional work. In addition to his practice, he serves as a member of the board of directors of St. Cecilia Music Center and is a past chairman of the Better Business Bureau of West Michigan. He has also served on the boards of Opera Grand Rapids, Michigan Campus Compact and the Grand Rapids Symphony.

Kyros has served as chair of the firm's Estate Planning, Tax and Benefits Group and as a member of the firm's Policy Committee. His practice focuses on advising families and small business owners on estate and wealth planning matters. In addition, he is currently vice chair of the DeVos Children's Hospital Foundation, vice president of the Hope College Alumni Association, and a member of the East Grand Rapids Schools Foundation.

Murphy is an experienced trial attorney with a focus on employment litigation. In addition to serving as Varnum's managing partner for the past five years and a member of the firm's Policy Committee for seven years before that term, his community involvement includes serving as secretary of Grand Rapids Community College Foundation Board and on the Leadership Council for Talent 2025. He is a member of the boards of The Right Place, Grand Rapids Symphony, Degage Ministries, and Ehlers Transit Partnership - the Rapid. Murphy also serves on the West Michigan Policy Forum-Steering Committee.

Published: Mon, Dec 10, 2012


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