LEGAL PEOPLE

Scott A. Goodwin, co-founder and managing partner of Birmingham-based Goodwin & Scieszka PC, has been named President-elect for 2013 of the Michigan Association for Justice.

The MAJ (formerly the Michigan Trial Lawyers Association) is a nonprofit organization of nearly 1,600 lawyers dedicated to promoting civil justice and equal access to the courts for all Michigan citizens. In addition to being its president-elect, Goodwin currently serves as chairman of MAJ's Judicial Qualifications, Media, and Community Action committees.

Goodwin founded the Goodwin & Scieszka Law Center, a personal injury law firm, in 1986 along with partner James Scieszka.

"Our goal was, and is, to be a positive force for change," says Goodwin. "Improving safety, advocating for victim's rights - I enjoy working for the underdog; stopping bullies like big insurance companies from taking advantage of the little guy."

As a parent, Goodwin can relate to families in crisis.

"People come to me for advice in the worst moment of their lives," he says. "Some have lost a breadwinner or had a child seriously injured by a drunk driver. It's my honor and privilege to help them legally, emotionally, and financially. I protect their rights and hopefully prevent what happened to them from happening to anyone else."

Demonstrating his commitment to the local community, Goodwin's firm has presented a free legal aid clinic called Law Day each spring for 26 years. This year's event attracted more than 1,000 visitors, and featured 20 attorneys meeting pro bono with clients. With an emphasis on child safety, Goodwin's Law Day has donated and expertly fitted 10,000 free bike safety helmets since 1987.

Lawyer's Weekly recently named Goodwin as "Lawyer of the Year," and DBusiness included his firm in their 2013 "Top Lawyers" list. Honors also include "Michigan Super Lawyer" (2006-2012) and the "AV Preeminent" rating from Martindale-Hubbell. He is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and ranked in the National Trial Lawyers' Top 100 Lawyers.

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DBusiness has named Paul Hage, a partner at Jaffe, Raitt, Heuer, & Weiss PC, a "Top Young Lawyer." Jaffe CEO Bill Sider made the announcement.

A member of Jaffe's Insolvency and Reorganization Practice Group, Hage represents asset purchasers, creditors' committees, debtors, secured and unsecured creditors, and trustees in bankruptcy proceedings nationwide.

A frequent writer and speaker in the area of bankruptcy law, Hage currently serves as newsletter editor of the American Bankruptcy Institute's (ABI) Unsecured Trade Creditor's Committee, a coordinating editor for the ABI Journal, a member of the editorial advisory board for the Norton Journal of Bankruptcy Law & Practice and a contributing editor for both the Norton Annual Survey of Bankruptcy Law and the Norton Bankruptcy Law & Practice 3d treatise.

Hage is currently serving as president of the Michigan Chapter of the Turnaround Management Association, which is a leading global organization dedicated to turnaround management, corporate restructuring and distressed investing disciplines. Additionally, Hage is the co-chair of the Claims and Priorities Subcommittee of the American Bar Association's Business Bankruptcy Committee.

Hage earned his bachelor's degree from James Madison College at Michigan State University and his law degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. Upon completion of law school, Hage continued his education and earned his master of laws in bankruptcy from St. John's University School of Law.

Additionally, Jaffe recently announced that Of Counsel David Steinberg has been elected to the board of directors for Crescendo Detroit, a nonprofit devoted to after school music education and educational tutoring in Detroit. Jaffe CEO Bill Sider made the announcement.

Serving a three-year term, Steinberg will focus on expanding Crescendo Detroit's presence in the community by serving as legal counsel to the organization and assisting with its development.

By focusing on neighborhood-based programs close to a student's home, Crescendo Detroit develops intense music and music related programs that promote artistic excellence and academic achievement.

Steinberg is a leader in the field of franchise law, representing numerous national franchisors and franchisees throughout North America. A graduate of the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and communications, Steinberg then went on to the University of Detroit School of Law. He continued his diverse education by earning a master's degree in international trade regulation from the Georgetown University Law School.

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Bowman and Brooke LLP is proud to announce that Executive Managing Partner Thomas Branigan, based in the firm's Detroit office, was individually recognized by Chambers USA in the Michigan General Commercial category.

As a firm, Bowman and Brooke was recognized for the second consecutive year in Band 2 of the Nationwide Product Liability category for its automotive and medical device work.

Bowman and Brooke has a history of defending household-name manufacturers in high-stakes product liability cases. The firm's clients include many of the nation's largest manufacturers and corporations, including companies in the automotive, recreational vehicle, industrial, medical devices, healthcare, and consumer products industries.

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Butzel Long was honored recently during the Lex Mundi Leadership Summit and Annual Meeting in Amsterdam for its participation in a transaction that received an award in the category of "Best Multijurisdictional Client Matter for 2012."

Butzel Long, a member of Lex Mundi, a global association of 160 independent law firms, was the only U.S.-based law firm to work on a project receiving such an award for 2012.

The transaction, in the automotive climate control business, involved a company's acquisition of the shares of overseas subsidiaries based in 13 separate jurisdictions.

The client needed help with local due diligence, advice on transaction structure and related legal issues involving labor and employment, pension and real estate transactions as well as general contract law issues and required assistance and advice on formalities for implementation of the transaction in each jurisdiction, contract documents and closing the transaction in each jurisdiction.

Butzel Long worked on the project with other Lex Mundi member firms located in South Korea, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Japan, Mexico the Netherlands and Portugal to obtain the legal information and services needed to successfully complete the transaction.

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Varnum is pleased to announce that corporate law and taxation attorney Kevin DiDio has joined the firm's Metro Detroit office.

DiDio's practice focuses on corporate law and transactions. He has extensive experience in mergers and acquisitions, negotiated transactions, securities, joint ventures and strategic alliances. His practice also includes corporate finance, corporate structure and governance, and business taxation matters. DiDio regularly advises both domestic and foreign companies doing business in the U.S. Firm clients are represented in such industries as automotive, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, finance, health care, and high-tech.

DiDio formerly practiced for many years in the Detroit office of Butzel Long. For the past three years he managed his own boutique corporate law firm in Grosse Pointe. His professional experience also includes service as a Legislative Aid in the Canadian Parliament.

In addition to his legal practice, DiDio serves on the Boards of Directors of two public charities; Help For Our Disabled Troops and Friends of Kenyan Orphans. He is an active member of the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) Detroit.

DiDio proudly served in and was honorably discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps. He earned a B.A. in Economics from the University of Michigan and his law degree from Michigan State University Detroit College of Law.

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Bodman PLC attorney Alexander Simpson, of the firm's Troy office, has been appointed to the Wolverine Bar Association (WBA) board of directors. In addition, the WBA named Simpson its Member of the Year at the organization's annual President's Reception held June 28 at the Motor City Casino Hotel.

Simpson is a member of Bodman's Enterprise Procurement Group. He represents clients in the drafting and negotiation of a broad range of commercial contracts, including supply arrangements and vendor service agreements.

In addition, Bodman attorney Charles M. Russman has been elected co-chair of the Michigan American Jewish Committee (AJC) ACCESS Detroit region for a two-year term.

Established in 1906 by a small group of American Jews, AJC was founded to enhance the well-being of Israel and the Jewish people worldwide. Today, it serves as an international think tank and advocacy organization that focuses on problems such as anti-Semitism and bigotry, promotes pluralism, and works to advance human rights in the United States and abroad.

ACCESS was launched in 2005 as an AJC national initiative to empower young Jewish professionals to be active in global issues. ACCESS has recently piloted a "community service engagement" where members work alongside other ethnic groups to strengthen intergroup relations and promote cultural cooperation.

Russman, of Bodman's Troy office, is a member of the firm's Enterprise Procurement, Workplace Law, and Tax groups. He assists clients with employee benefit plans and executive compensation matters. He also assists clients with matters involving health care reform, HIPAA, fiduciary duty, withholding, and COBRA compliance. He negotiates agreements necessary to create, maintain, and terminate employee benefit and executive compensation plans.

He is the co-chair of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Glass-Sills Leadership Program. Similar to the AJC, ADL's mission is to fight anti-Semitism and discrimination, while improving relations between people of different backgrounds.

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Clark Hill attorney Reginald Turner has been selected as the recipient of the National Bar Association's (NBA) prestigious "Outside Counsel of the Year" award. Turner will receive the award during the NBA's annual meeting in Miami, Florida on July 30. Turner was selected, in part, due to his work in defending class action cases that have saved clients tens of millions of dollars in damages, as well as his pro bono publico service to the NBA and the community.

"I'm very honored to have been selected for this award," Turner said. "I would like to thank the NBA Commercial Law Section for choosing me, and I also thank my colleagues at Clark Hill, without whom, the accomplishments which led to my selection would not have been possible."

Turner is a member in Clark Hill's Detroit office, where he practices in both the Government and Public Affairs Group, as well as the Labor and Employment Group.

Turner is named in the peer review guides The Best Lawyers in America, Super Lawyers, and Crain's Detroit Power Lawyers. He is a past president of the National Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Barristers of the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association. Currently, he chairs the American Bar Association's Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession. He is a Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, an honor reserved to less than 1 percent of lawyers in each state and.

He's also an avid supporter of community organizations such as the United Way for Southeastern Michigan, the Old Newsboys' Goodfellow Fund and the Detroit Institute of Arts.

In addition to Turner's successful representation of corporate clients in litigation, he assists them with important public policy and government contracting matters. Turner has government experience at the federal, state and local levels. He has served as a special assistant to Secretaries of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros and Andrew Cuomo, as a member of the Michigan State Board of Education, and on several local government boards and commissions.

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Dickinson Wright PLLC is pleased to announce that attorney Peter H. Webster has been appointed chairperson of the Board of Ethics by Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan.

The seven-member board serves as an advisory and investigatory committee, which determines the ethical conduct of classified and unclassified state employees and public officers in the executive branch of state government. Webster will serve as chairperson of the board at the pleasure of the governor.

Webster is a member in Dickinson Wright's Troy office. He focuses his practice in the areas of real estate litigation, eminent domain, antitrust & trade regulation, commercial & business litigation, and schools & educational institutions. He serves as counsel to various real estate interests. He successfully counseled the startup of many charter schools, including the Public School Academies of Detroit, initiated by the Thompson Educational Foundation and the nationally innovative Clara B. Ford strict discipline academy and Vista Meadows public school academy in collaboration with the Vista Maria organization.

Webster is a Fellow of the State Bar of Michigan Foundation, the Oakland County Bar Foundation, and the American Bar Foundation. He is listed in the Best Lawyers in America and Michigan Super Lawyers publications. Webster serves on the Board of Directors of Automation Alley, is involved with the Oakland County Business Roundtable, and is chairperson of the Oakland County Brownfield Development Authority. He is also a former Oakland County commissioner.

Webster earned his B.S. from the United States Merchant Marine Academy and his law degree from Wayne State University Law School.

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The Michigan State Bar Foundation Trustees unanimously selected Chad C. Schmucker for the Foundation's 2013 Access to Justice Award. The award, which will be presented Sept. 18 during the State Bar's annual meeting in Lansing, honors an individual who has significantly advanced access to justice for the poor in Michigan.

Schmucker was named state court administrator by the Michigan Supreme Court in 2011. He oversees administration of all the state's trial courts, four regional SCAO offices and all SCAO divisions, including the Michigan Judicial Institute, Judicial Information Systems, Child Welfare Services, Friend of the Court Bureau, Office of Dispute Resolution, Statistical Research, and Trial Court Services.

The Foundation's Award acknowledges Schmucker's long public service as a judge and now as state court administrator in helping those with barriers to access the courts. The Foundation particularly cited Schmucker's leadership for increased and improved assistance to self-represented persons who are unable to afford a lawyer.

Schmucker was a circuit judge in Jackson County from 1991 to 2011, serving as that court's chief judge from 1996 to 2001 and 2004 to 2009. He implemented that court's family division and started the Jackson County SMILE (Start Making It Livable for Everyone) program for families undergoing divorce. He also helped found the Jackson County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council, which he chaired from 1996 to 2001. Since 2007 he also served as a judge of Jackson County's "Recover Court," a rehabilitative program for offenders with substance abuse problems, and he helped pioneer that court's domestic violence, family dependency, and mental health court programs. As a member of the Jackson County New Jail Project, he led a successful effort to reduce jail overcrowding.

Schmucker is a frequent lecturer for the Michigan Judicial Institute (MJI) and the Institute for Continuing Legal Education. He has helped train new judges and made numerous presentations on domestic violence, family law, case and time management for judges, evidence-based sentencing, trial advocacy, alternative dispute resolution, and mental health courts. He chaired the Michigan Judges Association's Technology Committee and served on the Supreme Court's Technology Advisory Group. He has also served on the Michigan Department of Corrections Evidence-Based Sentencing Committee, the MJI Education Advisory Board, and the Criminal Justice Information Systems Advisory Board.

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Lawyers of Color (LOC) recently named 100 early- to mid-career minority attorneys under 40 from the Midwest Region to its inaugural Hot List. Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC is very pleased to announce that Evonne Xu has been named to this group.

Quarles & Brady's Chicago office is hosting a reception and photo shoot for the honorees, who will also be profiled in Lawyers Of Color's inaugural Hot List Special Issue (July 2013).

Xu is a member of the Corporate Advisory Services Practice Group at Howard & Howard and concentrates her practice in the areas of automotive, manufacturing, technology and international law. She has been successful in uniting and providing legal services to Chinese and U.S. entities involving transactions in intellectual property commercialization, real estate transactions, foreign investments, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, and labor and employment. In addition, Xu deals with domestic and international general corporate issues and provides legal opinions for tax matters.

Prior to joining Howard & Howard, Xu's work experience included working as in-house counsel at a major Internet company in Shanghai and as a practicing lawyer in People's Court in Ningbo, China.

Xu earned her law degrees from Fordham University School of Law in 2012 and from Shanghai University School of Law in 2011. She is a board member of the Detroit Chinese Engineers Association. Xu is licensed to practice in Michigan and New York as well as in the People's Republic of China.

Published: Mon, Jul 29, 2013