Bodman PLC is pleased to announce that Michelle Thurber Czapski and Wendy L. Zabriskie, both members in the firm’s Troy office, have been named to the inaugural class of Crain’s Detroit Business “Notable Women Lawyers in Michigan” for 2017.

Czapski is chair of Bodman’s Insurance Practice Group and a member of the Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution Practice Group. She has more than 25 years of experience representing major corporate clients in litigation and alternative dispute resolution proceedings, including class actions. Czapski is lead trial counsel for several major insurance and financial services companies and has successfully represented Tier-1 automotive suppliers, pharmaceutical companies, and telecommunication providers in complex business disputes.

Czapski is listed in Michigan Super Lawyers under Business Litigation, Class Action/Mass Torts, and Insurance Coverage, in DBusiness Top Lawyers under Insurance Law, and in Benchmark Litigation as one of the Top 250 women litigators in the United States. She is active in the Defense Research Institute and chairs its 1,800-member Commercial Litigation Committee. She is on the board of the National Foundation of Judicial Excellence and is a frequent contributor to Bodman’s pro bono program.

Zabriskie, who leads Bodman’s Troy office, concentrates her practice in banking and real estate law. She has experience representing financial institutions in the structuring, negotiation, and documentation of middle-market commercial and real estate loans. She has negotiated and closed more than 100 lending transactions in recent years, including financing for some of the most high profile economic development projects in southeast Michigan.  She has also represented developers and investors in a broad range of real estate transactions and other business clients in general corporate law matters.

Zabriskie is listed in Chambers USA under Banking & Finance, in The Best Lawyers in America under Banking and Finance, and in Michigan Super Lawyers under Banking.  Super Lawyers has also honored her as one of the Top 100 attorneys, as one of the Top 50 women attorneys, and as one of the Top 25 women business attorneys in Michigan. Crain’s Detroit Business has previously honored her as one of metro Detroit’s leading Women in Law. Zabriskie is a member of the City of Birmingham Brownfield Development Authority and a volunteer coach for the Mercy High School Mock Trial Team.

In addition, Bodman is pleased to announce that the Urban League of Detroit & Southeastern Michigan, a non-profit organization whose mission is to enable African Americans and other persons of color in the Metro Detroit and Southeastern Michigan region to achieve their fullest potential, has named Bodman the recipient of its 2017 Corporate Community Service Award.

Bodman attorney Carl F. Stafford accepted the award at the Urban League’s 52nd Annual Guild Gala held at the Detroit Marriott-Renaissance Center on Saturday, Dec. 2.

The Corporate Community Service Award recognizes organizations that are heavily involved in service efforts that benefit the local community. Stafford and Bodman have served as general counsel to the Urban League of Detroit & Southeastern Michigan for more than five years. In that capacity, Stafford has attended all of the organization’s board meetings, reviewed contracts and leases, and resolved various business disputes, all on a pro bono basis.

The Corporate Community Service Award is the fifth significant honor so far in 2017 for Bodman’s multi-award winning pro bono program. The firm’s pro bono efforts are managed by a full-time pro bono counsel, Kimberly A. Paulson, under the guidance of a standing Pro Bono Committee chaired by firm members Susan M. Kornfield and Christopher J. Dine. Paulson is one of only three dedicated pro bono counsel to be employed by large Michigan law firms.

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DBusiness magazine recently named 13 metro Detroit attorneys from Plunkett Cooney to its 2018 list of “Top Lawyers.”

Below is a list of the Plunkett Cooney attorney who received the Top Lawyer honor from DBusiness:

• D. Jennifer Andreou (partner, Detroit) - Medical Malpractice Law

• Michael P. Ashcraft Jr. (partner, Bloomfield Hills) - Legal Malpractice Law, Professional Malpractice Law

• Douglas C. Bernstein
(partner, Bloomfield Hills) - Bankruptcy and Creditor/Debtor Rights Law, Banking and Financial Service Law

• Matthew J. Boettcher
(partner, Bloomfield Hills) - Real Estate Law

• Charles W. Browning (partner, Bloomfield Hills) - Insurance Law• Dennis G. Cowan (partner, Bloomfield Hills) - Corporate Law

• Lawrence R. Donaldson (Of Counsel, Bloomfield Hills) - Professional Malpractice Law

• Jeffrey C.  Gerish (partner, Bloomfield Hills) - Appellate Law

• Jeffrey S. Hengeveld (partner, Bloomfield Hills) - Legal Malpractice Law

• Robert G. Kamenec (partner, Bloomfield Hills) - Appellate Law

• Mary Massaron
(partner, Bloomfield Hills) - Appellate Law

• Saulius K. Mikalonis
(senior attorney, Bloomfield Hills) - Environmental Law

• Scott H. Sirich
(partner, Bloomfield Hills) - Construction Law

In addition, Plunkett Cooney partner Laurel F. McGiffert was recently selected by the editorial staff of Crain’s Detroit Business as one of Michigan’s 2017 “Notable Women Lawyers.”

A senior trial attorney representing clients in the public and private sectors, McGiffert concentrates her practice primarily in the areas of medical liability, labor and employment law, municipal law, civil rights and general litigation. In addition to her successful trial practice, she has experience representing clients involved in Michigan’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) system. McGiffert also has the distinction of serving as an independent arbitrator and mediator in ADR hearings.

A member of Plunkett Cooney’s Detroit office, McGiffert is a founding member of the firm’s diversity committee and a former member of the firm’s board of directors.  Her involvement in professional organizations includes the State Bar of Michigan, the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association, the Wolverine Bar Association, the American Board of Trial Advocates and the Michigan Defense Trial Counsel. McGiffert also serves on the Board of Directors for the Oakland Mediation Center and the Power Company Kids Club.

Listed among the Best Lawyers in America for Medical Malpractice Law, McGiffert has received Martindale-Hubbell’s highest rating-AV Preeminent Peer Review rating, and she received an award of excellence from the Negligence Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan. McGiffert was also named among the 2015 “Women in the Law” by Michigan Lawyers Weekly, and she also received the Michigan Association for Justice Respected Advocate Award in 2012.

McGiffert is a 1980 graduate of Wayne State University Law School, and she received her undergraduate degree from Vassar College in 1970.

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C. Thomas Ludden,
head of the Appellate Practice Group at Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer, & Garin PC, recently submitted an amici curiae brief to the United States Supreme Court in Brott v. United States, Supreme Court Docket No. 17-712. In their brief, the amici, National Federation of Independent Business Small Business Legal Center, the Southeastern Legal Foundation, and the Cato Institute, contend that the Seventh Amendment Guarantee of a jury trial applies in lawsuits against the United States seeking vindication of a citizen’s constitutional rights. They further argue that the United States cannot condition the right to seek relief for violation of constitutional rights upon the waiver of the right to a jury trial.

“For over 800 years, the jury trial has been one of our fundamental guarantees of liberty,” says Ludden. “The Supreme Court should agree that the Constitutional guarantee of a jury trial applies to lawsuits by American citizens seeking to recover compensation for unconstitutional takings of their property by the federal government.”

A decision on whether the United States Supreme Court will accept this case for full briefing should be made by this coming spring. If granted, the United States Supreme Court could hear oral argument as soon as October 2018.

Ludden specializes in appellate law, commercial litigation, and professional liability. Ludden also handles a broad range of commercial disputes, including commercial lease and other contractual disputes and intellectual property matters. Ludden was appointed by the Michigan Supreme Court to serve on the state’s Committee on Model Jury Instructions; the appointment is for a three-year term ending Dec. 31, 2018.

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Associate attorney Brett P. Windecker joined Secrest Wardle in 2017 and is a member of the Firm’s Motor Vehicle Litigation Practice Group in the Troy office. He has experience managing first-party PIP claims, complex priority disputes and insurance coverage issues from pre-suit through trial and appellate solutions.

Windecker received his Bachelor of Science degree in History and Political Science from Eastern Michigan University and earned his law degree from the University of Toledo College of Law.

Windecker is licensed to practice law in Michigan. He was admitted to the State Bar of Michigan in 2015. He is a member of the Oakland County Bar Association.

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Two Kerr Russell members, Kate McCarroll (immigration) and Joanne Swanson (antitrust litigation and appellate law) were named among Crain’s Business Detroit’s Notable Women Lawyers in Michigan - 2017.

Swanson is the past chair of the State Bar of Michigan’s Antitrust, Franchise & Trade Regulation Section.  She is a current council member of the Appellate Practice Section of the State Bar of Michigan and a member of the Detroit Bar Association Board of Directors. She chairs the editorial board of the Detroit Bar Association’s Detroit Lawyer magazine. On September 29, Swanson as the chair-elect of the Appellate Practice Section assumed leadership as chair at the Section’s Annual Meeting (State Bar NEXT Conference in Detroit). She moderated the Annual Meeting program that was sponsored by the Appellate Practice Section. Swanson is a fellow of the Michigan State Bar Foundation and the Detroit Bar Association Foundation.

Swanson has more than 30 years of experience as a litigator and appellate attorney. Her civil litigation practice primarily involves complex commercial disputes, antitrust, class actions, business torts, legal malpractice and other related matters.

Swanson also devotes a significant percentage of her professional time to state and federal appellate practice involving issues across the spectrum of subject areas, including insurance disputes, constitutional challenges, questions of statutory interpretation, business torts, commercial disputes, medical and legal malpractice, real estate disputes, and civil procedural questions.

She has authored numerous published articles related to her areas of practice, and she has lectured on topics related to litigation and the appeals process. She contributed the Michigan chapter to the recently published “Practitioner’s Guide to Class Actions,” 2nd edition from the ABA’s Tort Insurance and Trial Practice Section. She also served on the editorial board for the book. Swanson wrote the Michigan chapter and served on the editorial board for the first edition, as well.

Swanson is listed in The Best Lawyers in America, Woodward/White, Inc.; was named a “Best Michigan Attorney”; honored by Corporate Counsel Magazine as a “Super Lawyer”; and selected by DBusiness Magazine as a “Top Lawyer.” She has been ranked as a “Michigan Super Lawyer” by Thomson Reuters. She also received the Thomas M. Cooley Law School Distinguished Brief Award. She was just named a 2017 Super Lawyer in Civil Litigation Defense (named every year since 2006), and she received the 2018 Best Lawyers Litigation - Antitrust “Lawyer of the Year” for Metro Detroit. Only a single lawyer in each practice area and community is honored with a “Lawyer of the Year” award. She was also named a 2017 DBusiness Magazine Top Lawyer: Appellate, Litigation - Antitrust (5th consecutive year; 6th overall recognition). She is AV-rated by Martindale-Hubbell.

McCarroll practices in the area of immigration and nationality law and leads the firm’s Immigration and Nationality law group. She has experience in employment-related immigration law, including inbound and outbound immigration; I-9 and immigration-related compliance training; and, assisting corporations with Department of Labor/Department of Homeland Security audits.  McCarroll has also handled immigration matters involving criminal and inadmissibility issues; family-based immigration; and asylum proceedings.

McCarroll is an adjunct professor at the University of Detroit Mercy. She is a mentor through the American Immigration Lawyers Association, where she answers questions from new and seasoned attorneys from around the country. She also provides pro bono support to military families through AILA and the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center and serves on the International Medical Graduate Taskforce, where she lobbies on behalf of physician-related immigration issues.

In 2012, she was named to the Michigan Super Lawyers’ Rising Stars list. In 2016, McCarroll was selected as a “Michigan Super Lawyer” in immigration law.  She was nominated as one of the “10 Best” Immigration Attorneys for Michigan by the American Institute of Legal Counsel, Immigration Division, in 2016.

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Foster Swift shareholder Julie I. Fershtman has been named to Crain’s Detroit Business magazine’s inaugural list of the “2017 Notable Women Lawyer in Michigan.”

Fershtman represents clients in business, contract, equine and insurance litigation. Her leadership includes serving as president of the State Bar of Michigan (2011-2012), only the fifth woman in 80 years to be elected to this role, and as co-chair for its 21st Century Practice Task Force (2015-2016). Her commitment to mentoring young attorneys and educating both clients and collegues has captured the admiration of her peers.  Previously, Fershtman was named the “2016 Woman of the Year” for the State of Michigan by Michigan Lawyers Weekly.

Fershtman practices out of Foster Swift’s Southfield office. A lawyer for 31 years, she has tried cases before juries in four states and has been a speaker at conferences in 29 states.  She has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America since 2013 in the categories of Commercial Litigation and Insurance Law.     

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Justin G. Klimko, president and managing shareholder of Butzel Long, has been appointed to the TriBar Opinion Committee.

The TriBar Committee fosters national standards for legal opinions in business transactions through discussions, programs and a number of influential reports on issues relevant to opinion practice.  It was originally composed of members of the Special Committee on Legal Opinions on Commercial Transactions of the New York County Lawyers’ Association, the Corporation Law Committee of the New York City Bar and the Special Committee on Legal Opinions of the New York State Bar Association.  Membership of the TriBar Committee has been expanded to include attorneys from a limited number of additional jurisdictions. Klimko is the only member from Michigan.

Klimko, based in the firm’s Detroit office, has experience in securities regulation, corporate financing, mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance and general corporate matters, areas in which he has practiced since 1980. He has received numerous awards and recognitions for business law matters and is ranked as one of Michigan’s leading corporate and M&A lawyers.  He has also chaired the State Bar of Michigan Business Law Section’s Ad Hoc Committee on Legal Opinions, which has issued reports to address opinion issues in business transactions, including issues specific to Michigan law.

He previously taught corporation law as an adjunct professor at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, frequently lectures and authors articles on business law subjects and has served as general editor of a treatise on Michigan Business Forms and as a contributing author for a treatise on Michigan contract law.

Klimko is a past chair of the Business Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan. He serves as chair of the Section’s Corporate Laws Committee, which prepares amendments to Michigan corporate statutes for legislative approval to keep Michigan corporate law current with modern trends and developments.

He also is a member of the Legal Opinions Committee, the Negotiated Acquisitions Committee and the Federal Regulation of Securities Committee of the American Bar Association.

Klimko is included in the publication The Best Lawyers in America and enjoys an “AV” rating from the Martindale-Hubbell rating system. He is rated one of Michigan’s top Corporate/M&A attorneys by Chambers USA Guide of America’s Leading Lawyers for Business and is listed in Michigan Super Lawyers (Mergers and Acquisitions).

In 2016, Klimko received the Meritorious Service Award from the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) Detroit. He is a board member and secretary of ACG Detroit.

Klimko was the recipient of the 2009 Stephen H. Schulman Outstanding Business Lawyer Award from the Business Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan and was named Best Lawyers’ 2012 Lawyer of the Year in Detroit for Corporate Governance Law, 2014 Lawyer of the Year in Detroit for Corporate Law, 2015 Lawyer of the Year in Detroit for Corporate Governance Law and 2016 Lawyer of the Year in Detroit for Mergers and Acquisition Law.