Super citation: Attorney honored to serve at two notable firms

By John Minnis

Legal News

Lou Theros isn't the only Super Lawyer at Butzel Long, but he is probably the only one to have achieved that designation as partner at two downtown Detroit law firms.

Theros is one of 17 Butzel Long attorneys in the Detroit office alone that are listed in Super Lawyers 2012. But Theros stands out for many reasons. He was first named a Super Lawyer back in 2007 as a partner with Dickinson Wright. The same year he listed in Best Lawyers in America.

Just shy of his 20th anniversary at Dickinson Wright, Theros left to join Butzel Long as a shareholder. After just 18 months with his new firm, he was elected to the Butzel Long board of directors, where he serves as vice president.

"Well, I was told such," Theros says when asked if it is unusual to be elected to the board as a relative newcomer to the firm. "I mean, I obviously hadn't been here before, so I wouldn't have known what was usual or unusual. They appreciated what I had to say about my views of how a law firm should be run."

Theros grew up in Grosse Pointe, the son of Greek immigrants who actually met in the United States. His father was an accountant with an office run by both his parents. He earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Michigan before earning his J.D. at Vanderbilt University School of Law in 1989.

He worked as a summer associate at Dickinson Wright, and accepted a full-time position when it was offered. He worked 4 1/2 years in the Detroit office before being sent to the Chicago office for several years. He is still a member of the Illinois bar.

While still in Chicago, Theros met his future wife, Patti, of Sterling Heights. The long-distance courtship led to marriage in August 1996. He moved back to Dickinson Wright's office in Detroit, and the young couple eventually bought a home in Grosse Pointe Farms, where they are raising two teenage boys, Jonathan and Evan.

While at Dickinson Wright, Theros specialized in labor and employment law and defense. He also served as the firm's "hiring partner" as chair of the Recruitment Committee. He was also member on the Associate and Diversity Committees.

During that time, he was very involved in the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association, where he served as president in 2005-06. He recalls helping lead a major membership drive.

"I instruct young lawyers when it comes to advancing their own careers," Theros says. "I always tell them, 'Do good work.' ... And then, additionally, you need to be out and about. You need to go to the events the bar holds or philanthropic events."

Theros says it was a difficult decision leaving Dickinson Wright just a month short of 20 years with the firm. He left on good terms, maintaining many friends and colleagues there.

His more than two decades of experience includes first-chair trial and appellate responsibilities in employment discrimination and harassment matters and large class action lawsuits. He has extensive arbitration and alternative dispute resolution experience in collective bargaining and unfair labor practices complaints. He has served as counsel on traditional labor issues, including organizational campaigns and collective bargaining agreement negotiations and implementation.

Theros has published a number of scholarly articles on various aspects of labor and employment law and is a frequent lecturer on a wide range of employment and labor issues, including the FMLA and ADA.

He serves as counsel to several mid-sized entrepreneurial and institutional clients on day-to-day employment-related issues. He has handled various employment dispute resolution matters, including claims filed with state or federal Departments of Labor and Civil Rights.

Back in Grosse Pointe, Theros fills his non-billable hours serving on the Grosse Pointe Farms City Council for 11 years (two years as mayor pro tem) and as chair of the Audit and Budget and Ordinance Committees and a member on the General Employees Pension Board.

"So when I came here," Theros says of election to the Butzel Long board, "I really had a strong background in finance. It was kind of interesting. We were able to dovetail my experiences."

Theros is also active in the Greek community and his church, Assumption Greek Orthodox Church.

Having two teenage boys active in sports is another major draw on Theros's time. Between the boys, there is a game or practice nearly every weeknight and weekend.

Theros is not merely a spectator. He is vice president of the Michigan Ice Hawks Hockey Club and has been a coach on his sons' baseball teams.

"I joke that my kids don't quite understand how dad gets paid; it's by the billable hour," Theros says. "So when I spend billable time leaving early -- having a wonderful time with my kids -- you know, it costs me money.

"But I've taken the attitude that once they're in college, I can work many hours. You can't recapture these years."

Theros is philosophical about being chosen by his peers as a Super Lawyer in his field.

"At a certain point in your career, you hope that there is some recognition that you've done it right, that you've become an expert in the field you've chosen," he says. "And when you get recognized like that ... it gives you a sense of accomplishment."

Published: Thu, Dec 13, 2012

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