Gov. Rick Snyder recently announced the appointment of Laura Reyes-Kopack to the Michigan Civil Rights Commission.

The eight-member board protects civil rights and investigates alleged discrimination. No more than four members can be from the same political party.

Kopack is the director of governmental affairs and community relations for the Mechanical Contractors-Detroit. She has been a practicing attorney for more than thirty years and also serves as president and legal counsel of Latin Americans for Social and Economic Development Inc.

Kopack earned a bachelor's degree from Wayne State University and a law degree from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.

She represents Republicans and fills the vacancy created by the resignation of Augustin Arbulu.

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Bodman PLC is pleased to announce that Damali A. Sahu has been appointed to the firm's Executive Committee.

Sahu is a member of Bodman's Banking Practice Group and is based in the firm's Detroit office. The fourteen-member Executive Committee guides Bodman's strategic direction, policies, and business operations.

In addition to her service on the Executive Committee, Sahu will continue as co-chair of Bodman's Diversity Committee and as a member of the Associate Review and Compensation Committee and the Lawyer Recruiting and Personnel Committee. She is a past member of the Strategic Planning Committee.

Sahu concentrates her legal practice in representing lenders in commercial loan originations. She represents major lenders nationally with a particular focus on loans to companies in the technology and life sciences sector. Sahu is listed in The Best Lawyers in America under Banking and Finance. She has been recognized by Michigan Super Lawyers as a Rising Star in Banking Law and by DBusiness magazine as a Top Lawyer. In 2008, Michigan Lawyers Weekly named her one of Michigan's "Up & Coming" lawyers.

She is secretary, treasurer, and a founding member of the board of directors of University YES Academy, a college preparatory public charter school in Detroit. She is also an active volunteer with VIP Mentoring, a Detroit-based nonprofit that matches at-risk children with adult mentors.

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Gov. Rick Snyder recently announced the reappointment of Fred Gruber to the Governor's Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect.

The 11-person board promotes the health, safety and welfare of Michigan's children and families by funding local programs and services that prevent child abuse and neglect.

Gruber is the co-founder and executive director of Michigan Children's Law Center, a group of 25 attorneys who represent children in neglect and delinquency cases in the Wayne County Juvenile Court, custody cases in the Wayne County Family Court, and in delinquency and custody cases in the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court.

Gruber earned a bachelor's degree in economics from Wayne State University and a law degree from the University of Michigan Law School. He continues to represent child advocates.

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An attorney in the area of estate planning and elder law, Andrew M. Hopko recently joined the Trusts & Estates Practice Group of Plunkett Cooney.

Hopko, who is a member of the firm's Bloomfield Hills office, practices in the areas of estate planning, probate and trust administration, elder law, special needs planning and probate litigation. He works with clients in all aspects of estate planning and probate law, from helping clients identify and create their estate plans to post-death administration of trusts and estates. Hopko also has experience in guardianship and conservatorship proceedings.

Hopko works extensively with elder law clients to protect their assets while establishing eligibility for Medicaid and other government programs to help with the costs of long-term care. In the area of special needs planning, he works with clients to create plans that provide continuing long-term financial support while helping beneficiaries retain eligibility for government benefits. Additionally, Hopko has experience in family law and residential real estate.

Hopko is a member of the Macomb County Probate Bar Association and the Probate & Estate Planning, Elder Law & Disability Rights and Family Law sections of the State Bar of Michigan. He received his law and undergraduate degrees from Wayne State University and a Master of Science degree from Syracuse University.

In addition, Plunkett Cooney employment law attorney, Courtney L. Nichols, was recently named an "Up & Coming Lawyer" by Michigan Lawyers Weekly (MLW), an industry publication serving the state's legal community.

A member of the firm's Bloomfield Hills office, Nichols represents employers in workforce-related litigation, including disputes involving allegations of wrongful termination, discrimination and whistleblower claims. She also represents and advises employers on important employment issues pertaining to various state and federal statutes, including ELCRA, FMLA, ADA, FLSA and Title VII.

Nichols received her law degree, cum laude, from Chicago-Kent College of Law. She received her undergraduate degree from the James Madison College at Michigan State University in 2008.

Prior to joining the firm, Nichols completed an externship for U.S. District Court Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan, Northern District of Illinois.

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Gov. Rick Snyder recently announced the appointment of Milton Mack to the Mental Health Diversion Council.

The council is housed within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and helps strengthen the state's mental health system. It offers solutions to improve services for Michiganders living with mental health conditions to help ensure better quality of life, safety, and independence.

Mack is the state court administrator of the Michigan Supreme Court. He previously served as the chief judge of Wayne County Probate Court, as counsel to Petersmarck, Callahan, Bauer & Maxwell, and as a special assistant attorney general. He serves on the board of directors of Southwest Solutions and as a trustee of the Eastern Michigan University Foundation.

Mack earned a bachelor's degree from Eastern Michigan University, a law degree from Wayne State University, and a Taubman Fellowship for the Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard University/Kennedy School of Government.

He represents the State Court Administrative Office and fills the vacancy created by the resignation of John Hohman Jr.

Mack will serve the remainder of a four-year term expiring Jan. 30, 2016. His appointment is not subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.

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Foster Swift is excited to announce the addition of Rachel Gizicki to the firm's Farmington Hills Office.

Gizicki joins the General Litigation practice group. A graduate of Michigan State University College of Law, she also received her bachelor's in Political Science from Michigan State University. Gizicki previously served as an extern for the Michigan Supreme Court.

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Butzel Long attorney Roxana Zaha has been selected to participate in Leadership Oakland's LOXXVI Class.

Zaha concentrates her practice in the area of commercial real estate. She assists clients in all aspects of acquisition, disposition, leasing and financing real estate transactions. She advises clients regarding title matters and regularly works with title insurance companies and land surveying companies. She also has represented purchasers of distressed real estate assets. She represents borrowers and lenders in multi-million dollar real estate financing transactions.

She is certified by the National Association of Development Companies (a trade association of companies that have been certified by the U.S. Small Business Administration to provide funding for small businesses) to close SBA loans under the SBA's 504 Loan program.

Zaha also represents clients in residential real estate matters, including purchasing and selling residential property, drafting lease agreements and representing both landlords and tenants in lease disputes litigated in landlord-tenant court.

She is admitted to practice in Michigan State Courts and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. She is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, the Federal Bar Association, and the American Bar Association.

Zaha is a graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law and a graduate of Oakland University.

Prior to joining Butzel Long, Zaha worked as an assistant prosecuting attorney at the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office, where she prosecuted criminal cases in district court and tried jury and bench trials.

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Attorneys Hamid M. Soueidan and Dena H. Shuayto have joined Varnum's Detroit office.

Both attorneys formerly practiced with At Law Group PLLC, a firm which Soueidan founded. They are the first attorneys to join Varnum since the September opening of the firm's Detroit office.

Soueidan is a business lawyer representing clients in tax, insurance and international law matters. Shuayto is a litigator with a focus on representing home and business owners in property insurance matters.

In addition to his work with corporate clients, Soueidan has also represented individuals under investigation by the IRS Criminal Investigation Unit and represents pharmacies in insurance audits. He developed international experience while serving as a summer associate in Beirut, Lebanon, assisting clients from the Middle East and Africa to establish a presence in free trade zones. Prior to entering private practice, Soueidan served for eight years as field director of Constituent Services for the Speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives.

Shuayto primarily represents clients in insurance matter litigation. She has an extensive background in public work, including clerking for the ACLU of Ohio, serving as an intern with Disability Rights Ohio, and serving as a judicial extern for The Domestic Relations Division of Franklin County (Ohio) Court of Common Pleas.

Shuayto also served as a judicial intern for the Supreme Court of Ohio under Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor and as an intern for Congressman John Dingell's office. She served as an intern for a law firm in Lebanon, and speaks fluent Arabic.

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Brian McKeen, managing partner of McKeen & Associates of Detroit (, was honorably mentioned for the Daniel J. Wright Lifetime Achievement Award for his work on behalf of children with birth injuries.

McKeen's law firm specializes in securing compensation for children who are victims of medical negligence to ensure their proper care throughout their lifetimes. McKeen and his associates have obtained millions on behalf of children who obtained lifelong disabilities through medical negligence during birth. McKeen, a nationally renowned speaker and author on the subject has appeared on numerous radio talk shows and news outlets throughout the country to educate the public on medical accountability.

The Wright award recognizes outstanding work for Michigan's children and is named for Daniel J. Wright, a former Michigan Lawyer of the Year who led the state's efforts to upgrade Michigan's child support enforcement system by federally mandated deadlines and later created Michigan's "Adoption Forums" to work through adoption barriers that were stranding children in foster care. Wright also worked on legislation to give foster children a greater voice in their life decisions.

"I'm humbled and honored this venerable organization recognized my work on behalf of children disabled through medical negligence," said McKeen. "It has, and continues to be, my lifelong commitment to ensure these children are recognized and properly taken care of throughout their lives."

McKeen & Associates PC represents individuals injured by the negligence of others particularly in or by hospitals and physicians. In addition, McKeen & Associates PC has successfully represented clients injured in a variety of other circumstances. Based in Detroit, McKeen & Associates represents clients in both federal and state courts brought throughout Michigan and the United States.

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Brooks Kushman attorneys Tiffany A. Fidler and Lauren B. Rennert have been selected to serve on American Intellectual Property Law Association's (AIPLA) Women in IP (WIIP) Law Committees. Fidler will serve as the social media chair and Lauren will serve on the Outreach Subcommittee.

As social media chair, Fidler will assist the Presence & Branding subcommittee with member newsletters, committee reports, branding efforts, and liaise with other AIPLA committees. She will take the lead on the committee's social media responsibilities and serve as the main point of contact for managing and promoting the group's messaging through various social media outlets.

As outreach subcommittee member. Rennert's responsibilities include planning the regular WIIP committee breakfast meetings, various community service and international AIPLA networking events throughout the year, and coordinating the annual WIIP Global Networking dinner with women from over 20 countries in over 60 locations. Rennert will assist with finding speakers and coordinating with other countries and their respective organizations to execute a collaborative IP event.

Fidler focuses her practice on domestic and foreign patent prosecution and counseling for clients ranging from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies in mechanical matters, electromechanical matters, and systems. Her practice also includes design patent prosecution and she has experience protecting intellectual property rights in automotive technologies, aviation technologies, alternative energy, optics, and the consumer products industry.

Rennert focuses her practice on intellectual property litigation including matters regarding patent, trademark, copyright infringement, trade dress, trade secret and contract related matters. She also has experience with post-grant review proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board on behalf of both the patent owner and petitioner. Her practice extends beyond litigation and includes clearance, procurement, maintenance, licensing and enforcement of trademark rights for global portfolios.

The AIPLA Women in IP Law Committee works to facilitate the practice of IP law by women through educational events, networking and mentoring, including a nationwide networking dinner to help connect female IP attorneys in key geographic areas and empower and foster successful professional relationships. The group consists of inspiring and dedicated individuals whose mission is to facilitate and empower women in their practice of intellectual property law.

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Wayne State University Law School Assistant Professor Kirsten Matoy Carlson was selected to present a paper at the Association of American Law Schools annual meeting in January in New York City.

She will be presenting "Gambling on Congress: Indian Nations' Federal Recognition Strategies" at the association's Legislation and Law of the Political Process section.

The paper empirically investigates the strategies used by non-federally recognized tribes in pursuing recognition of their sovereign status by the U.S. government. It questions the conventional wisdom that politically disadvantaged groups don't use legislative strategies and reveals that tribes use legislative strategies to educate the public, leverage institutional politics and achieve recognition.

At Wayne Law, Carlson teaches American Indian Law and Civil Procedure. She serves on the State Bar of Michigan Standing Committee on American Indian Law.

Her research focuses on legal advocacy and law reform, with particular attention on the various strategies used by Indian nations and indigenous groups to reform federal Indian law and policy effectively. Carlson's research integrates traditional legal analysis with social science methodologies for studying legal and political advocacy.

From May 2014 through July 2016, she has a National Science Foundation Law and Social Science Program grant to fund her research project, "Legal Mobilization, Rights Claims, and Federal Indian Policy Reform." Carlson previously received a National Science Foundation dissertation research grant to study the constitutional entrenchment of aboriginal and treaty rights in Canada. As a Fulbright Scholar, she researched attitudes toward the Waitangi Tribunal and the treaty claims settlement process in New Zealand.

Her articles have been published in the University of Colorado Law Review, American Indian Law Review, Georgia State Law Review, Michigan Law Review and Michigan State Law Review.

Prior to joining Wayne Law, she advocated nationally and internationally to protect the rights of Indian nations as a staff attorney at the Indian Law Resource Center. She led the center's advocacy efforts to restore criminal jurisdiction to Indian nations to end violence against women in Indian Country.

Carlson earned a bachelor of arts degree in international studies from Johns Hopkins University; master of arts degree in Maaori studies from the University of Wellington, New Zealand; and law degree and doctorate in political science from the University of Michigan.

Published: Mon, Dec 14, 2015


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