Fabrizio & Brook is pleased to announce the hiring of attorney Brett Border as lead bankruptcy attorney for the Michigan based firm.  Border has focused his practice on bankruptcy law for over 12 years.

He is an active member of the American Bankruptcy Institute and the Consumer Bankruptcy Association.  He has been an adjunct professor at Madonna University since 2011 where he teaches Introduction to Bankruptcy for the paralegal program and has participated on the Mortgage Modification Committee as well as editor of the local Consumer Bankruptcy Newsletter.

Border received his law degree from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School and earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Michigan University.

•           •            •

Diane H. Fears, director of career services and the Student Voluntary Pro Bono Program at Wayne State University Law School, has been named to the 16-member Equal Justice Works National Advisory Committee.

Fears worked diligently with Wayne Law 2013 alumna Kimberly Adams to help her gain an Equal Justice Works Fellowship for a program helping veterans gain legal and support services.

“I worked closely with Kim from the time she began considering applying for fellowships and continue to lend support today as she winds down her Equal Justice Works Fellowship,” Fears said. “I counseled and advised Kim through the process of developing her proposal, identifying and landing a host organization, creating her application and interviewing for the fellowship.”

Adams’ program, Boots on the Ground, is just one example of the way Equal Justice Works helps lawyers help the community. Adams’ hard-won fellowship demonstrates the way Fears, a 1989 Wayne Law alumna, helps law students assist the community.

Fears is enthused about working more closely with Equal Justice Works. The organization’s mission is “to create a just society by mobilizing the next generation of lawyers committed to equal justice.” That fits right in with Fears’ own personal mission. She developed Wayne Law’s Student Voluntary Pro Bono Program in 2010 and has served as its director ever since.

“The program has exceeded my expectations,” Fears said. “Since the inception, more than 60 students and now graduates have successfully fulfilled the Warrior Pro Bono Pledge by rendering a minimum of 50 hours of pro bono legal services. I think we’ve reached a point where the pro bono spirit is a part of the Wayne Law culture. As we approach the five-year anniversary, I’d like to grow and expand the program. For example, I’ve considered adding a community service component to the program that would recognize students for community service projects that don’t involve the provision of legal services. Further, I’d like to work more closely with Wayne Law student organizations to help them develop and execute pro bono and community service projects.”

As a member of the Equal Justice Works National Advisory Committee, she’ll help the organization develop goals and initiatives to advance its mission and expand public interest opportunities for law students and lawyers across the country.

“In addition to serving in an advisory capacity, I’ll serve as an ambassador to the 200 Equal Justice Works member schools and the legal services community,” Fears said. “Both aspects of service will allow me to better advocate on behalf of Wayne Law students and graduates, as well as others, dedicated to public interest work.”

She’s been involved with Equal Justice Works since 2007 and promotes its programs and resources to students and graduates.

“It’s very gratifying to link a student or alum with resources that will allow him or her to pursue the calling of working in the public interest,” Fears said.

Wayne Law’s Legal Advocacy for People with Cancer Clinic grew out of an Equal Justice Works Fellowship awarded to Adjunct Assistant Professor and clinic Director Kathryn Smolinski when she was student at the Wayne Law. The medical-legal partnership between Wayne Law and Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center offers students legal skills training while providing an invaluable service to low-income cancer patients receiving treatment at the center.

“Kathy and I have worked together closely to encourage other students to apply for Equal Justice Works Fellowships and to support fellowship candidates,” Fears said.

Applications for the 2016 Equal Justice Works Fellowship and several other major fellowships are due in September and October, and registration for the Equal Justice Works Conference and Career Fair — the largest public interest career fair in the nation — opens in August.

“I encourage students with a desire to pursue a public interest career to visit the Equal Justice Works website ( and to schedule an appointment with me to develop and pursue a viable strategy,” Fears said.

•           •            •

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder recently announced the reappointments of Thomas Cranmer, Judith Gracey, and Thomas McNeill to the Appellate Defender Commission.

The seven-member commission develops a system of indigent appellate defense services and oversees the State Appellate Defender Office and Michigan Appellate Assigned Counsel System.

Cranmer is senior principal at Miller, Canfield, Paddock, and Stone PLC, and heads the firm’s Litigation and Dispute Resolution Group. He is a former assistant prosecuting attorney in Oakland County and a former assistant U.S. attorney. Cranmer is past president of the State Bar of Michigan, as well as the Oakland County Bar Foundation. He is listed in The Best Lawyers in America and is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. Cranmer earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a law degree from Ohio Northern University. He continues to represent the Michigan Supreme Court.

Gracey has spent more than 24 years as a sole practitioner in Michigan. She also served as a magistrate for the Oakland County 48th District Court for more than eight years.

Gracey is a former assistant city attorney for the city of Flint and adjunct professor at Oakland University and Madonna University. Gracey earned a bachelor’s degree from Brown University and a law degree from the University of Cincinnati. She continues to represent the State Bar of Michigan.

McNeill is a partner at the Detroit offices of Dickinson Wright PLLC where he has practiced for more than 30 years. He serves as a board member of the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association. McNeill earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and a law degree from the University of Virginia. He continues to represent the Michigan Supreme Court.

Appointees serve four-year terms expiring May 24, 2019. Appointments are not subject to the advice and consent of the state Senate.

•           •            •

James H. Combs,
a partner at Honigman, Miller, Schwartz, and Cohn LLP, was elected to the board of directors for the Children’s Hospital of Michigan. It was the first hospital in Michigan to be dedicated exclusively to the treatment of children. The hospital is part of the Detroit Medical Center.

Combs, the leader of Honigman’s Tax Practice Group, concentrates his practice on corporate taxation, mergers and acquisitions, tax credit projects, and financial products taxation. He also represents clients in connection with tax legislation matters, including drafting legislation and lobbying activities. In addition, Combs has experience obtaining private letter rulings from the Internal Revenue Service and representing taxpayers in federal income tax audits.

He earned a law degree from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law and a B.A. in political economy from Williams College.

In addition, Lynn A. Gandhi, a partner in the State and Local Tax practice at Honigman, was elected to the board of directors of the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. MOCAD’s mission is to present art at the forefront of contemporary culture.

Gandhi advises clients on a national basis regarding multistate tax strategies and represents taxpayers in state tax controversies. Her areas of concentration are state income and franchise taxes, sales and use taxes, gasoline, gaming and other excise taxes. Gandhi is also very experienced in unclaimed property matters and involved in investment incentive opportunities.  She is a certified public accountant and was named in the December 2014 State Tax Notes (a Tax Analysts publication) as one of the “best in the profession.” She also authors a State Tax Notes monthly column, “Smitten with the Mitten,” which discusses Michigan tax issues.

Gandhi has been recognized in Best Lawyers in America since 2010, in Michigan Super Lawyers since 2011, and as a DBusiness “Top Lawyer” since 2013.

She earned law degrees from Wayne State University Law School and New York University School of Law. Gandhi received a B.A. from Kalamazoo College.

Michigan Youth Arts, a statewide arts education nonprofit organization, recently elected Thomas Werner, an attorney for Maddin Hauser, to serve on its board of directors.  He was voted in on June 5, 2015, and will serve a three-year term.

Werner joined Maddin Hauser in 2011 as an associate in the firm’s Defense and Insurance Coverage Practice Group. Named a 2011 Rising Star by Michigan Super Lawyers, Werner specializes in civil litigation, and is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, the Oakland County Bar Association and the American Bar Association.

Werner graduated from the Indiana University School of Law-Bloomington (2004), and received a B.S. in Political Science and Creative Writing from Eastern Michigan University (1999).

“Throughout my life, my participation in the arts has taught me about professionalism, teamwork, and the value of practice, among many other invaluable skills,” said Werner. “I look forward to working with the board to ensure that all Michigan youths are afforded the same opportunities that made me the person I am today.”

•           •            •

Butzel Long attorney Ronald D. Bassey has reached a milestone in his career – 50-years as a member of the State Bar of Michigan. He is among a group of attorneys who will be honored during a special luncheon on October 9 at this year’s State Bar of Michigan Annual Meeting in Novi.

Bassey, based in the firm’s Bloomfield Hills office, also is a CPA. He has specialized experience in estate planning, corporate sales and acquisitions, and complex corporate and tax matters.

He has been recognized by Best Lawyers as among the Best Lawyers in America in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Named in 2013 by Leading Lawyers as included with the most peer recommended Will & Estate Planning Lawyers in Michigan and for inclusion in Leading Lawyers in Michigan 2014.

Bassey has been selected by American Registry for inclusion among Best Attorneys in Michigan and designated by Hour Media as a Top Lawyer by DBusiness magazine. He has been included in Who’s Who in the World among executives and professionals since 2007.

In 2014, Bassey joined Butzel Long from the law practice of the tax oriented firm of Bassey and Selesko PLC, which was ranked by U.S. News - Best Lawyers as among the Best Law Firms in America.

Early in his career, Bassey spent eight years as a tax specialist, leaving Touche Ross & Co., CPAs, as tax manager. He has taught seminars of the Michigan Association of CPAs, the Institute of Continuing Legal Education of the Michigan State Bar and has spoken extensively on topics dealing with taxation before conferences of the American Bar Association Tax Section, and accounting, banking, and insurance organizations.

He also has published articles on taxation in the Journal of Taxation, Michigan State Bar Journal, the Michigan CPA, the professional journal of the Michigan State Bar Taxation Section, Maryland C.P.A., Life Association News, Medical Economics, Detroiter, and Michigan Tax Lawyer.

Bassey is a member and an active contributor to the professional activities of the American Bar Association, the American Institute of CPAs, including its Board of Examiners, Business Law Subcommittee and the Michigan Association of CPAs. He also is a member and has served as a director of the Financial and Estate Planning Council of Metropolitan Detroit, a member of the Detroit Economic Club and its reception (chairman) and advisory committees and has served as an officer and director of the Harvard Club of Eastern Michigan and is a director of the Small Business Council of America. Moreover, he has served on the Royal Oak Township Housing Commission and was formerly associated with the National Labor Relations.

Bassey earned degrees from Harvard Law School and the business school at the University of Michigan (B.B.A., with a major in Accounting).

•           •            •

Dickinson Wright PLLC is pleased to announce that attorney Katheryne L. Zelenock has been selected as a “2015 Women in the Law” honoree by Michigan Lawyers Weekly.  The “2015 Women in the Law” will be honored at an annual luncheon and awards celebration on September 10 at the Detroit Marriott in Troy.

Zelenock is a member in the firm’s Real Estate Group in the Troy office and serves as chair of Dickinson Wright’s Women’s Network. In her practice, she leads a team that closes commercial and multifamily mortgage loans across the country on behalf of leading national lenders as well as smaller regional and local banks, including multifamily and manufactured housing community loans originated for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. She is also experienced in matters related to troubled properties and owners, and the modification, restructuring and workout of financing arrangements, including related litigation and due diligence.

Zelenock is a member of the American Bar Association, the Mortgage Bankers’ Association of America, Commercial Real Estate Finance Council, International Council of Shopping Centers, and the Oakland County Bar Association. She is an elected member of the American College of Mortgage Attorneys and is recognized as a leader in her field by Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Michigan Super Lawyers, and DBusiness magazine.

Zelenock received her B.A. from the University of Michigan and her law degree from the University of Notre Dame Law School.

•           •            •

Collins, Einhorn, Farrell PC
is pleased to announce that  Shannon M. Kos has been named a 2015 Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s Women in the Law.

Kos, a shareholder of the firm, specializes in defending property owners, contractors, product manufacturers and suppliers in a variety of contexts including asbestos and other toxic torts, mold, and fire and explosion litigation. She provides personal representation and defense to expert witnesses throughout the country in challenges to expert fees, scope of work and retainer agreement disputes, discovery issues, and qualifications and opinions.

Kos plays a major role in the firm’s national Asbestos and Toxic Tort Practice Group where she has been appointed the National Coordinating Council for a client in national asbestos litigation. In addition, Kos leads the firm’s Fire and Explosion Practice Group. She has experience in fire and explosion defense, including certification as a Fire and Explosion Investigator by the National Association of Fire Investigators.

Kos has been instrumental in the advancement of women in the legal profession. Within the firm, she helped establish a path for female attorneys who want to continue working in the profession while raising a family.

Kos will be formally honored at an awards ceremony hosted by Michigan Lawyers Weekly on September 10 at the Detroit Marriott Troy.

•           •            •

Robert Labe,
a shareholder with Williams, Williams, Rattner, &?Plunkett PC in Birmingham, published a Top Tips for the Institute of Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) on “Drafting a Trust for the Business Owner.”

Labe is a frequent lecturer and author on topics pertaining to his areas of practice including “Irrevocable Trusts,” a national teleconference sponsored the National Business Institute and simulcast through West Legal Ed Center as a webcast (Dec. 2013); “What’s New in Estate and Gift Tax Law,” State Bar of Michigan (Apr. 2011); Prenuptials, Post Nuptials, and Spousal Rights, ICLE (Sep. 2008);  “Estate Planning for the Terminally Ill of Disabled Client,” 30th Annual Practitioners Conference Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants (Aug. 2007); and “Buy-Sell Agreements for the Closely Held Business,” 2nd Annual Closely Held Business Institute, ICLE (Nov. 2006).  He is a co-presenter of the Tax Update for the Financial and Estate Planning Council of Metropolitan Detroit.

Labe practices in the areas of estate planning, trusts and estates, probate disputes, tax planning, and business law.  He sits on the ICLE Business Law Advisory Board.  He is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

Labe has served as chair of the Oakland County Bar Association Probate, Estate, and Trust Committee and the Business Law Committee.  He served on the board of directors of the Financial and Estate Planning Council of Metropolitan Detroit.

Labe is included in Michigan Super Lawyers, Leading Lawyers, and Matindale Hubbell Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers.

•           •            •

Professional Resolution Experts of Michigan (PREMi)
is pleased to announce that mediator and arbitrator Robert E.L. Wright has joined the organization.

Over his 35-year legal career, Wright has helped thousands of parties resolve their differences outside the courtroom by using mediation and arbitration, two speedy and cost-effective alternatives to traditional litigation. He often mediates discrimination claims and employment matters involving Ferris State University, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights and the U.S. Postal Service.

Wright is a frequent speaker on dispute resolution topics, and has trained and coached hundreds of lawyers and mediators throughout Michigan. In recognition of his efforts, he has received awards from the State Bar of Michigan, the Grand Rapids Bar Association, and the Michigan State Court Administrative Office, and has been named a “Best Lawyer in America” and a Michigan “Super Lawyer” in the area of ADR.

“I am honored to be among such accomplished men and women,” explains Wright. “Throughout my years in practice, these have been the people other lawyers and ADR professionals look to as experts in the field.”

PREMi is an association of legal professionals with numerous years of experience in dispute resolution and a large breadth of subject matter knowledge. PREMi’s attorneys work with parties in conflict across Michigan and around the country, utilizing creative approaches and processes to achieve meaningful results.

•           •            •

Starr Kincaid, a partner at Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer, Garin PC, will be a featured panelist on the topic “The Impact of Social Media in the Workplace and the National Labor Relations Board’s Continued Scrutiny Over Employers’ Practices and Policies” at the American Conference Institute’s 23rd National Forum on Employment Practices Liability Insurance.  The conference will be held July 27-28 at the Carlton Hotel in New York, NY.

As a member of this panel, Kincaid will address insurance professionals and attorneys on a variety of issues, including: the use of social media in employment decisions; recent NLRB decisions impacting what is and is not permissible in the social media context; EPLI coverage as it relates to the use of social media by employers and employees; and best practices employers should consider for the use of social media.

Kincaid regularly defends insurance companies and corporations throughout the country against employment practice claims and is recognized as an emerging leader in employment practices and professional liability law.  Thompson Reuters has designated her as a Rising Star in her field. Kincaid currently serves as chair of the State Bar of Michigan’s Client Protection Fund Committee.

•           •            •

Holli Targan, a partner at Jaffe Raitt Heuer, & Weiss PC, has been appointed presidential advisor to the Merchant Acquirers Committee Board of Directors.

The Merchant Acquirers Committee (MAC) is an organization dedicated to providing universal risk management solutions through ongoing communication and cooperation among acquirers, card associations and enforcement agencies. In her role as presidential advisor, Targan will advise the president of MAC and participate in deliberations of the MAC board of directors.

Targan is chairperson of Jaffe’s Electronic Payments Group, and specializes in credit and debit card processing, stored value, merchant cash advance and payment systems law. As counsel to companies in the card processing industry domestically and internationally, she advises clients on compliance, contract issues, strategic direction and merger and acquisition transactions, assisting in buying and selling portfolios and companies.

In addition to her position with MAC, Targan is a frequent author and speaker at industry forums. She is founder and a member of the Board of Directors of W-net: Women’s Network in Electronic Transactions, a past president of the Electronic Transactions Association and past chairman of the Certified Payments Professional Commission.
Targan has been named a Best Lawyers Best Lawyer in America, dbusiness Top Lawyer, and PaymentSource Most Influential Women in Payments.

•           •            •

Plunkett Cooney’s Energy, Sustainability and Environmental Law Practice Group Leader Saulius Mikalonis was recently elected to the EcoWorks Board of Directors.
Established in 1981, EcoWorks (formerly WARM Training Center) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Detroit. It creates opportunities to learn and practice the sustainable use of energy and natural resources through innovative education, job training, consulting, social business and advocacy.

“EcoWorks has been a tireless advocate for sustainability and job training in Detroit for decades. I am honored to be a member of the board and am looking forward to helping guide EcoWorks toward future successes,” said Mikalonis, a senior attorney in the Bloomfield Hills office of Plunkett Cooney.

As a member of the EcoWorks Board of Directors, Mikalonis will be responsible for planning and overseeing the development of the organization, fundraising, selecting officers and executive directors, and promoting the group and its objectives.

In addition, Mikalonis serves on the planning committee for the EcoWorks’ 7th Annual Breakfast on Friday, Sept. 18, at the Garden Theater in Detroit. It will feature keynote speaker Jennifer Granholm, the former two-term governor of Michigan.

As a member Plunkett Cooney’s Corporate and Transactional Practice Group, Mikalonis advises clients and represents their interests in litigation and administrative hearings on issues related to environmental liability and compliance, natural resources and energy law with particular emphasis on greenhouse gases, renewable energy and green building/LEED.

Mikalonis also represents clients in commercial and real estate transactions involving the development of environmentally sensitive and Brownfield sites, and he assists clients with completing due diligence in complex transactions, including the identification, allocation and reduction of environmental risks.

Mikalonis has published extensively on environmental law and green topics and is a frequent speaker on these topics for professional and business organizations. He received his law degree from the University of Oregon Law School in 1986 and his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan in 1980.

A prolific “green” blogger, Mikalonis blogs about sustainability issues, alternative energy and environmental law for Crain’s Detroit Business.

His “Essential Environment & Energy Blog” posts can also be found at

Admitted to practice in Michigan, the District of Columbia and Michigan federal courts, Mikalonis is a member of the State Bar of Michigan’s Environmental Law Section, the District of Columbia Bar Association and the American Bar Association’s Section on Environment, Energy and Resources. He is also a former member of the board of directors for the Detroit Regional Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council and currently acts as its general counsel.

•           •            •

The Michigan Supreme Court announced that Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Christopher M. Murray has been named president of the Michigan Board of Law Examiners.  Murray succeeds Gerald Marcinkoski who recently retired after a decade of service on the board.

The Michigan Board of Law Examiners is responsible for administering examinations to applicants to the state bar in order to ensure competence in the legal profession.

Members of the Board are nominated by the Michigan Supreme Court and appointed by the governor.

As president of the Board of Law Examiners, Murray’s duties will include leading board meetings and acting as the presiding officer at the Board of Law Examiners Character and Fitness Hearings.

Murray has served on the Michigan Court of Appeals since 2002 and is currently chief judge pro tem.  He previously served as a Wayne County Circuit judge, as deputy legal counsel for Governor John Engler, and as an attorney in private practice.

Murray is a member of numerous organizations, including the State Bar of Michigan; the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association; the Catholic Lawyers Society; and the Michigan Chapter of the Federalist Society, for which he serves as chair of the Board of Advisors.

A graduate of Hillsdale College, Murray received his law degree from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.

•           •            •

Potestivo & Associates PC
is pleased to announce the promotion of Andrea M. Paravano as evictions manager on July 6.

Paravano joined the team at Potestivo & Associates PC in 2008 as one of the firm’s file clerks. Since that time, she has worked her way up through the Evictions Department, moving from file clerk to evictions supervisor. With her recent promotion to evictions manager she has taken on a more supervisory role within the department.

Paravano completed her A.S. in General Studies at Macomb Community College in 2012. She then earned her A.S. in Applied Science in both Restaurant Management and Culinary Arts from Macomb Community College.  Recently, she completed her B.S. in Hospitality & Tourism Management at Madonna University.

Paravano views her tenure within the Evictions Department as being integral to supervising her staff’s performance. Furthermore, it has enhanced the ability to tailor eviction processes and promote a consistently effective work environment. She has recently attended in-depth training seminars with the Michigan Court Officers, Deputy Sheriff’s, and Process Servers Association (MCODSA) further developing the relationships she has been building over the years with the court officers and bailiffs working with on our firm’s eviction matters.

Paravano is part of the Michigan Chef’s de Cuisine Chapter of the American Culinary Federation. In the past, she has worked with a variety of talented chefs and their various organizations, including Forgotten Harvest and No Kid Hungry.