Columns

GOP attacks against Kamala Harris were already bad – they are about to get worse

July 24 ,2024

Public opinion polls suggest that U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris is doing slightly better than Joe Biden was against Donald Trump, but Republican attacks against her are only now ramping up.
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Stephen J. Farnsworth
University of Mary Washington

(THE CONVERSATION) — Public opinion polls suggest that U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris is doing slightly better than Joe Biden was against Donald Trump, but Republican attacks against her are only now ramping up.

Even as a candidate for vice president, Harris was the target of an intense barrage of conservative attacks that claimed, among other things, that she slept her way to political prominence, a common slur against women in power. The anti-Harris rhetoric is part of what a report by the Wilson Center, a nonpartisan think tank, described as a broad pattern of gendered and sexualized attacks on prominent women in public discourse.

More recently, those comments were joined by conservative attacks branding Harris as the “border czar,” part of an effort to tie her to immigration, a hot-button topic for conservatives.

The intense attacks so far are only a fraction of what will come. Trump is skilled at both character assassination and political self-defense. Together, they translate into an exceptional ability to defeat his political rivals once they enter the presidential campaign arena.

But Harris also has sharp rhetorical skills that could make this a fierce election fight.

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Trump’s alternative facts


As I discuss in my book “Presidential Communication and Character,” Trump is highly skilled at both channeling white working-class anger into political support for himself and at convincing his supporters to disregard the former president’s own well-chronicled professional and personal failings.

Trump’s character generates enduring contempt among liberals, but those voters will back the Democratic nominee.

In 2016, Trump defeated Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. He also defeated several well-known Republican presidential hopefuls in the primary race, including Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas and former Governors Jeb Bush of Florida, John Kasich of Ohio and Scott Walker of Wisconsin.

Earlier in 2024, Trump easily dispatched another round of highly experienced Republicans, most notably Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.

Like those other opponents, President Biden has long endured Trump’s personal attacks. But in 2020, Trump’s original nickname of “Sleepy Joe” failed to become as effective as his insults aimed at other politicians, and Biden’s election marked Trump’s only electoral defeat.

As the 2024 election approached, Trump and conservative voices once again demonstrated their immense influence in shaping political narratives. They have convinced many voters this year to absolve Trump for his mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic, ignore that he designed a Supreme Court majority to overturn Roe v. Wade and agree with him that the 2020 election was stolen.

In an even more powerful demonstration of Trump’s skills at political marketing, polls show that many voters follow Trump’s lead and condemn Biden for U.S. economic conditions that in fact are quite good.

Unemployment is low. Job growth is booming. Infrastructure projects are underway. Inflation is much lower now than it was earlier in Biden’s term, and individual retirement accounts are flush thanks to large stock market gains.

Given Trump’s public relations mastery – and the great susceptibility of many voters to his false narratives – one can marvel about how the Biden campaign had been able to endure the never-ending rhetorical assault and keep the contest as close as surveys show it had remained until recently.

During a rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on July 20, 2024, Trump attacked both Biden and Harris, repeatedly calling Biden “stupid” and insulting his IQ. But Harris, Trump said, was “crazy.”

“I call her laughing Kamala,” Trump told the crowd. “You can tell a lot by a laugh. She’s crazy. She’s nuts.”

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A former prosecutor against a convicted felon


With Biden dropping out of the campaign, political developments suggest Trump may be in for a taste of his own medicine.

Harris’ previous career as a U.S. senator who challenged Trump administration officials and the former president’s judicial nominees demonstrates that she is among the most effective Democratic officeholders when it comes to holding Republicans accountable.

Her career as an attorney general and a prosecutor also allows her to use law-and-order themes to fight back against America’s first convicted felon former president.

Biden’s departure may provide another major opportunity for Harris to reset the character assassination narrative, as the focus on age can now boomerang against Republicans. Trump now holds the record as the oldest major-party nominee for president, and a key issue that he used against Biden is likely to be turned back toward the former president.

For voters, it promises to be a scorched-earth campaign season.


Buses weren’t the only civil rights battleground in Montgomery

July 23 ,2024

Montgomery, Alabama, touts itself as the birthplace of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. But although Montgomery now embraces its history of bus boycotts and protest marches, it remains one of the most segregated U.S. cities, and still struggles with racial inequality.
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Binita Mahato, Auburn University

(THE CONVERSATION) — Montgomery, Alabama, touts itself as the birthplace of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. But although Montgomery now embraces its history of bus boycotts and protest marches, it remains one of the most segregated U.S. cities, and still struggles with racial inequality.

Today, Montgomery’s population is almost 60% Black. The poverty rate among Black residents is 30.8%, compared to 10.6% among white residents. The city’s infrastructure is deteriorating, and its tax base is shrinking.
Cities with histories of segregation tend to suffer more from systemic racism that remains in the veins of their planning laws and policies. As a scholar of urban design and planning, I wanted to know more about how Montgomery’s history affected access to parks and public spaces there. My research explains how the city’s history still influences modern planning and creates unequal access to parks.

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Separate and unequal parks


In the Jim Crow era, from the 1870s through the mid-20th century, Southern cities enforced segregation in schools, transportation, recreational facilities and parks to prevent racial mixing. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed such practices, but they had lingering effects.

In 1957, Montgomery adopted an ordinance that made it a misdemeanor for any person to use public parks or other places except those assigned to their race. Four of the city’s 14 parks were designated as Black-only and 10 as white-only, although the population was almost 44% black.

Parks for Black residents were in much worse condition than those for white residents. Some white-only parks, such as Oak Park, were located in Black neighborhoods, but Black residents were subject to arrest for entering them.

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Tacitly maintaining segregation


In 1958, Black Montgomery residents filed a class action lawsuit challenging the park segregation policy. Montgomery officials responded by closing all city parks, although they continued to maintain them.

After a federal court in Alabama ruled for the plaintiffs in 1959, the city reopened some parks, but gave private segregated schools exclusive use of certain sites. It also renamed the Parks and Recreation Department as the Recreation Department, which enabled it to steer funding toward recreational facilities such as swimming pools that restricted access by requiring paid memberships.

Plaintiffs reopened the desegregation case in 1970, and it reached the Supreme Court in 1974. There, Justice Harry Blackmun described the city’s response to the 1959 ruling as “an elaborate subterfuge to anticipate and circumvent the court’s order.”

In the following years, desegregation laws spurred white flight to the suburbs. As Montgomery lost white residents and their tax payments, it annexed surrounding areas. This left the central city and its existing parks mainly to Black residents, while white residents resettled in suburbs with new parks.

Urban renewal initiatives in the 1950s and 1960s demolished, privatized or repurposed some of Montgomery’s high-quality parks. For example, Interstate Highway 85 was routed through Oak Park, a Black middle-class neighborhood. Urban planning scholar Rebecca Retzlaff calls this a deliberate effort to displace civil rights leaders and middle-class Black households. Building highways through Black neighborhoods in Montgomery and elsewhere also exposed these areas to increased noise and air pollution.

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Montgomery’s parks today


Today, Black residents of Montgomery have unrestricted access to the city’s 65 parks. However, in a 2019 report, Montgomery’s Recreation Department stated that while “overt and systemic regulatory structures based on race or ethnicity have been eliminated, the legacy of this framework can still be seen in many ways.”

To investigate current park resources in Montgomery, I surveyed 63 city parks using five criteria to measure access, quality and park conditions.

• Accessibility: the number of residents living within a half-mile walk of a park

• Recreational facilities: features like playing fields, playgrounds and swimming pools

• Other amenities: non-sporting facilities, such as picnic tables and rest rooms

• Natural features: landscaped areas, flower beds and ponds

• Incivility: the presence of trash, graffiti, noise or evidence of drug or alcohol use, such as empty liquor bottles and used needles

I found that 36 of the parks I assessed were within half a mile of majority-Black neighborhoods. This increased access partly reflects the growth of the city’s Black population as white residents moved to the suburbs.

However, my scoring ranked 83% of parks catering to Black residents as poor quality, with only 8% of mediocre quality and 9% of good quality. For parks catering to white residents, the comparable figures were 50% of poor quality, 31% of mediocre quality and 19% of good quality. The key factor behind this disparity was maintenance, as measured by the amount of trash, noise, vandalism and evidence of illegal activities.

Park size also matters. Most Black Montgomery residents live close to small neighborhood parks, which my survey found were in the most distressed condition. Larger community parks generate revenue from
community and sports events, so city officials tend to steer more money to these sites.

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Park access and environmental justice


Research shows that access to nature is important for people’s physical and mental health. This makes public parks vital resources, especially in urban areas. Poor people and people of color often have less access to parks, which tend to be in areas with high housing prices.

My research shows how systematic disinvestment can perpetuate unequal park access in cities with histories of segregation. With limited funding, cities such as Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia have tended to invest in large community parks. Many small neighborhood parks, which are crucial for equal access, need improvement.

Montgomery’s comprehensive plan, Envision Montgomery 2040, calls for upgrading parks and recreation facilities and maintaining them more effectively. Involving residents in setting priorities for park projects could help make these investments more equitable – especially if they target small parks in distressed neighborhoods, where the legacy of segregation still lingers.

Until 1968, presidential candidates were picked by party conventions – a process revived by Biden’s withdrawal from race

July 23 ,2024

Now that Joe Biden has dropped out of the 2024 presidential race and endorsed Vice President Kamala Harris to be the nominee, it will ultimately be up to Democratic National Convention delegates to formally select a new nominee for their party. This will mark the first time in over 50 years that a major party nominee was selected outside of the democratic process of primaries and caucuses.
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By Philip Klinkner
Hamilton College

(THE CONVERSATION) — Now that Joe Biden has dropped out of the 2024 presidential race and endorsed Vice President Kamala Harris to be the nominee, it will ultimately be up to Democratic National Convention delegates to formally select a new nominee for their party. This will mark the first time in over 50 years that a major party nominee was selected outside of the democratic process of primaries and caucuses.

Many Democrats had already begun discussing how to replace Biden. They worried that having the convention delegates, the majority of whom were pledged at first to Biden, select the nominee would appear undemocratic and illegitimate.

The Republican Speaker of the House has claimed that having the convention replace Biden would be “wrong” and “unlawful.” Others have conjured up the image of the return of the “smoke-filled room.” This term was coined in 1920 when Republican party leaders gathered in secret in Chicago’s Blackstone Hotel and agreed to nominate Warren G. Harding, a previously obscure and undistinguished U.S. senator from Ohio, for the presidency. He won that year, becoming a terrible president.

The tradition of picking a nominee through primaries and caucuses – and not through what is called the “convention system” – is relatively recent. In 1968, after President Lyndon B. Johnson announced he would not run for reelection, his vice president, Hubert Humphrey, was able to secure the Democratic nomination despite not entering any primaries or caucuses. Humphrey won because he had the backing of party leaders like Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, and these party leaders controlled the vast majority of the delegates.

Many Democrats saw this process as fundamentally undemocratic, so the party instituted a series of reforms that opened up the process by requiring delegates to be selected in primaries or caucuses that gave
ordinary party members the opportunity to make that choice. The Republican Party quickly followed suit, and since 1972 both parties have nominated candidates in this way.

Some Democrats are worried that a new nominee, selected by the convention, will, like Humphrey, lack legitimacy since she or he will have secured the nomination without direct input from Democratic voters around the country.

In response, they’ve suggested what’s being called a “blitz primary” in which Democratic voters will decide on a nominee after a series of televised candidate town halls hosted by politicians and celebrities like Barack and Michelle Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey and Taylor Swift.

From the perspective of a scholar who studies political parties and elections, this proposal seems like wishful thinking since there’s no mechanism for setting up a workable election process in such a short period of time. The usual process of primaries and caucuses takes months, if not years, of preparation.

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Some good picks in the past


While many associate the convention system with less than impressive nominees, like Harding, the record isn’t that bad.

At the very first convention, held by the National Republicans – ancestors of today’s Republican Party – party leaders and insiders nominated Henry Clay for president. Although Clay lost to Andrew Jackson the following year, he is considered one of the greatest politicians of the 19th century.

The convention system in both parties went on to nominate Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy, all of whom were elected president.
Of course, conventions also nominated lesser figures like Horatio Seymour, Alton Parker and John W. Davis.

But who’s to say that the current system has done any better to produce electable candidates?

Yes, there’s Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama, but there have also been less successful candidates like George McGovern, and weaker presidents like Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush.

Furthermore, had the old system been in place this year, there’s a chance that the Democrats might have avoided their current predicament.

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A way to avert trouble


To the extent that Democratic Party leaders were aware of Biden’s decline, they might have been able to ease him out in favor of a better candidate – if they had been in control of the nominating process. In fact, party leaders in previous decades often knew more about the candidates than the public at large and could exercise veto power over anyone they thought had serious vulnerabilities.

For example, in 1952, U.S. Sen. Estes Kefauver of Tennessee came into the Democratic National Convention the clear favorite in party-member polls. He also won the most primaries and had the most delegates.

Party leaders, however, had serious reservations about Kefauver since they considered him too much of a maverick who might alienate key Democratic constituencies. The party bosses also knew that Kefauver had problems with alcohol and extramarital affairs.

As a result, party leaders coalesced around Illinois Gov. Adlai Stevenson, who was not even a candidate before the convention started. Stevenson ran a losing but respectable race against the immensely popular and probably unbeatable Dwight D. Eisenhower. In addition, Stevenson’s eloquence and intelligence inspired a generation of Democratic Party activists. Not bad for a last-minute convention choice.

With Biden’s withdrawal, it remains to be seen if the new Democratic nominee will be a strong candidate or, if elected, a good president. But there’s no reason to think that this year’s unusual path to the nomination will have any effect on those outcomes.

Massive IT outage spotlights major vulnerabilities in the global information ecosystem

July 22 ,2024

The global information technology outage on July 19, 2024, that paralyzed organizations ranging from airlines to hospitals and even the delivery of uniforms for the Olympic Games represents a growing concern for cybersecurity professionals, businesses and governments.
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Richard Forno
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

(THE CONVERSATION) — The global information technology outage on July 19, 2024, that paralyzed organizations ranging from airlines to hospitals and even the delivery of uniforms for the Olympic Games represents a growing concern for cybersecurity professionals, businesses and governments.

The outage is emblematic of the way organizational networks, cloud computing services and the internet are interdependent, and the vulnerabilities this creates. In this case, a faulty automatic update to the widely used Falcon cybersecurity software from CrowdStrike caused PCs running Microsoft’s Windows operating system to crash. Unfortunately, many servers and PCs need to be fixed manually, and many of the affected organizations have thousands of them spread around the world.

For Microsoft, the problem was made worse because the company released an update to its Azure cloud computing platform at roughly the same time as the CrowdStrike update. Microsoft, CrowdStrike and other companies like Amazon have issued technical work-arounds for customers willing to take matters into their own hands. But for the vast majority of global users, especially companies, this isn’t going to be a quick fix.

Modern technology incidents, whether cyberattacks or technical problems, continue to paralyze the world in new and interesting ways. Massive incidents like the CrowdStrike update fault not only create chaos in the business world but disrupt global society itself. The economic losses resulting from such incidents – lost productivity, recovery, disruption to business and individual activities – are likely to be extremely high.

As a former cybersecurity professional and current security researcher, I believe that the world may finally be realizing that modern information-based society is based on a very fragile foundation.

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The bigger picture


Interestingly, on June 11, 2024, a post on CrowdStrike’s own blog seemed to predict this very situation – the global computing ecosystem compromised by one vendor’s faulty technology – though they probably didn’t expect that their product would be the cause.

Software supply chains have long been a serious cybersecurity concern and potential single point of failure. Companies like CrowdStrike, Microsoft, Apple and others have direct, trusted access into organizations’ and individuals’ computers. As a result, people have to trust that the companies are not only secure themselves, but that the products and updates they push out are well-tested and robust before they’re applied to customers’ systems. The SolarWinds incident of 2019, which involved hacking the software supply chain, may well be considered a preview of today’s CrowdStrike incident.

CrowdStrike CEO George Kurtz said “this is not a security incident or cyberattack” and that “the issue has been identified, isolated and a fix has been deployed.” While perhaps true from CrowdStrike’s perspective – they were not hacked – it doesn’t mean the effects of this incident won’t create security problems for customers. It’s quite possible that in the short term, organizations may disable some of their internet security devices to try and get ahead of the problem, but in doing so they may have opened themselves up to criminals penetrating their networks.

It’s also likely that people will be targeted by various scams preying on user panic or ignorance regarding the issue. Overwhelmed users might either take offers of faux assistance that lead to identity theft, or throw away money on bogus solutions to this problem.

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What to do


Organizations and users will need to wait until a fix is available or try to recover on their own if they have the technical ability. After that, I believe there are several things to do and consider as the world recovers from this incident.

Companies will need to ensure that the products and services they use are trustworthy. This means doing due diligence on the vendors of such products for security and resilience. Large organizations typically test any product upgrades and updates before allowing them to be released to their internal users, but for some routine products like security tools, that may not happen.

Governments and companies alike will need to emphasize resilience in designing networks and systems. This means taking steps to avoid creating single points of failure in infrastructure, software and workflows that an adversary could target or a disaster could make worse. It also means knowing whether any of the products organizations depend on are themselves dependent on certain other products or infrastructures to function.

Organizations will need to renew their commitment to best practices in cybersecurity and general IT management. For example, having a robust backup system in place can make recovery from such incidents easier and minimize data loss. Ensuring appropriate policies, procedures, staffing and technical resources is essential.

Problems in the software supply chain like this make it difficult to follow the standard IT recommendation to always keep your systems patched and current. Unfortunately, the costs of not keeping systems regularly updated now have to be weighed against the risks of a situation like this happening again.

Tacos al pastor with pork and pineapple

July 22 ,2024

Tacos al pastor is a dish from Mexico with Levantine roots stemming from the 19th century when Lebanese immigrants arrived, bringing their tradition of vertical spits for roasting lamb shawarma. Not finding much lamb, cooks switched to pork, and instead of sandwiching the meat in flatbread, they used tortillas.
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Christopher Kimball

Tacos al pastor is a dish from Mexico with Levantine roots stemming from the 19th century when Lebanese immigrants arrived, bringing their tradition of vertical spits for roasting lamb shawarma. Not finding much lamb, cooks switched to pork, and instead of sandwiching the meat in flatbread, they used tortillas. Subsequent generations added pineapple and dried chilies.

In this recipe from our cookbook “Milk Street 365: The All-Purpose Cookbook for Every Day of the Year,” we combine tender pork tenderloin, spicy chilies and smoky-sweet charred pineapple for a weeknight-friendly take on tacos al pastor.

For everyday ease, the pork tenderloin is pounded and briefly marinated in a puree of tenderizing pineapple, brown sugar, garlic, chipotles and adobo, cumin and ancho powder, then broiled until lightly charred in spots and barely pink at the center.

Pineapple slices are charred under the broiler while the meat marinates, then chopped and mixed with cilantro and lime juice and served as an accompaniment for the tacos, along with the tortillas, finely chopped onion and lime wedges.

For extra color and crunch, offer finely shredded red cabbage for sprinkling. To simplify prep, you can buy fresh pineapple that has already been peeled, cored and sliced.

Tacos al Pastor


Start to finish: 1 hour

Servings: 4

Ingredients


1 medium pineapple, peeled

1/4 cup grapeseed or other  neutral oil, plus more for the baking sheet and pineapple

1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

8 medium garlic cloves, peeled

4 chipotle chilies in adobo, plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce

4 teaspoons ground cumin

4 teaspoons ancho chili powder

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

2 tablespoons lime juice, divided, plus lime wedges, to serve

1-1/4-pound pork tenderloin, trimmed of silver skin and halved lengthwise

1/3 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro, chopped

8 corn tortillas, warmed

Finely chopped white onion, to serve

Directions

Slice the pineapple into seven 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Quarter two rounds, trimming and discarding the core. In a food processor, puree the quartered pineapple slices, oil, brown sugar, garlic, chipotles and adobo, cumin, ancho powder and 2 teaspoons salt until smooth, about 1 minute. Pour ½ cup into a baking dish; pour the rest into a medium bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon of the lime juice. Set both aside.

Place the tenderloin halves between 2 large sheets of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet, pound the pork to an even ½-inch thickness. Season both sides of each piece with salt and pepper, place in the baking dish and turn to coat with the puree. Let marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the broiler with a rack about 4 inches from the element. Line a broiler-safe rimmed baking sheet with extra-wide foil and mist with cooking spray. Arrange the 5 remaining pineapple slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the slices with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then broil until charred in spots, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer the pineapple to a cutting board and set aside; reserve the baking sheet.

Transfer the tenderloin halves to the same baking sheet and broil until charred in spots and the center reaches 140°F or is just barely pink when cut, 7 to 10 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes.

While the pork rests, chop the pineapple into rough ½-inch cubes, discarding the core. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the cilantro and the remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice, then taste and season with salt and pepper.

Cut the pork crosswise into thin slices on the diagonal. Transfer to a medium bowl, then stir in any accumulated pork juices along with 3 tablespoons of the reserved pineapple puree. Serve the pork, chopped pineapple and remaining pineapple puree with the tortillas, chopped onion and lime wedges.

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For more recipes, go to Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street at 177milkstreet.com/ap

LEGAL PEOPLE

July 22 ,2024

Butzel attorney and shareholder Mitchell (“Mitch”) Zajac was elected chair of the Cooley Law School Board of Directors. He joined Cooley’s Board of Directors in 2020 and was elected vice-chair in 2022.
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Butzel

Butzel attorney and shareholder Mitchell (“Mitch”) Zajac was elected chair of the Cooley Law School Board of Directors. He joined Cooley’s Board of Directors in 2020 and was elected vice-chair in 2022.

Zajac is a member of Butzel’s Litigation and Dispute Resolution Practice Group, one of the firm’s largest practice areas. His practice also includes a focus on automotive, intellectual property, regulatory and emissions compliance, and sports law, to name a few. He is a registered patent attorney with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

He has practiced in six federal courts, the U.S. Patent Office, the Court of International Trade, and the U.S. International Trade Commission. Zajac has helped several clients manage and craft IP portfolios in other unique industries, like medicine, light-weighting, and industrial manufacturing. He also has experience in complex patent, trade secret and commercial litigation cases.

Zajac was included in DBusiness magazine’s 2022 Class of “30 in Their Thirties.” He also was named to DBusiness magazine’s Top Lawyers of Metro Detroit, Intellectual Property and Patent Law, 2021, 2022 and 2023,
Patent Litigation, 2023. He was named by 760 WJR and the Detroit Economic Club to the Class of 2023 Rising Stars, comprised of 10 local leaders under the age of 40 who are making an impact in their industries and communities.

He attended Cooley Law School (2017) after graduating from Western Michigan University with Bachelors’ degrees in Mechanical Engineering and German (2012) and a Master’s in Mechanical Engineering (2013).

Zajac was a Rhodes Scholar finalist (2012); interned for Congressman Fred Upton; and was a four-year starter on the Division 1 football team at WMU. Zajac was named to Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s 2020 Class of Up & Coming Lawyers. He also received the Detroit Bar Association’s “One to Watch” Award in 2019. Zajac has been named to Best Lawyers in America: Ones to Watch, Commercial Litigation, 2022, 2023 and 2024.

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Michigan Defense Trial Counsel


Michigan Defense Trial Counsel is pleased to announce its 2024-2025 officers:

President John C.W. Hohmeier, Scarfone & Geen PC
Vice President Frederick V. Livingston, Novara Tesija & Catenacci PLLC
Treasurer Richard J. Joppich, Kitch Attorneys & Counselors PC
Secretary Michael J. Cook, Collins Einhorn Farrell PC

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Plunkett Cooney


Plunkett Cooney partner Frank T. Mamat was recently reelected to the board of directors of the Jewish Bar Association of Michigan (JBAM), of which he is a founding member. It is a two-year term.

Co-founded in 2014, the JBAM is celebrating its 10th anniversary of providing and unifying Jewish and other like-minded attorneys, judges, paralegals, and law students in Michigan by offering educational, social and charitable activities.

A partner of Plunkett Cooney, one of the Midwest’s oldest and most accomplished law firms, Mamat utilizes his more than 50 years of experience to help companies, contractors, employers, lawmakers and trade associations resolve union matters. His expertise includes contract negotiations, elections, union avoidance and labor arbitrations. Additionally, he advises clients on noncompete agreements, unfair labor practice litigation, harassment suits, wage and hour issues and OSHA-MIOSHA safety matters.

Mamat’s experience also includes the resolution of National Labor Relations Board matters, attempted union organization, mass picketing and violence, and secondary boycotts and pressure. His clients also rely on his counsel and advice on ERISA trust funds and related fiduciary liabilities.

Mamat is listed in Best Lawyers in America, Michigan Super Lawyers, DBusiness magazine’s Top Lawyers, the Labor Relations Institute’s Top 100 Labor Lawyers in the U.S., The American Lawyer’s Top Lawyers, and The American Registry’s Top Lawyers in Michigan.

Mamat received his undergraduate degree from the University of Rochester in 1971 and his law degree from Syracuse University College of Law in 1974.

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Miller Canfield


Miller Canfield is pleased to announce that the firm has expanded its Employment and Labor Group with the addition of Senior Attorney Kyle Bierlein and Associate Attorney Eftiola Greco.  

Bierlein comes to the law firm after serving as Michigan assistant attorney general, advising state clients in matters involving hiring practices, discrimination and harassment, employee discipline and termination, and employer policies and handbooks. He previously served as chief law clerk for the Michigan Department of Attorney General in the Children and Youth Services Division in Wayne County.

Bierlein is a graduate of Wayne State University Law School and Oakland University.

Greco’s experience includes advising and representing clients on a range of litigation and regulatory matters. Her previous experience includes work for the Detroit City Council as a senior policy advisor, and serving as the City of Detroit Board of Ethic’s general counsel and the City of Detroit’s assistant corporation counsel.

A graduate of Michigan State University College of Law and Wayne State University, Greco is the vice president of the Albanian American Bar Association of Michigan and is a member of the Detroit Bar Association and the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan.

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Kitch Attorneys & Counselors


Kitch Attorneys & Counselors is pleased to announce that Terence Durkin has been appointed to the Human Resources & Workforce Council for a one-year term by the Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA).

Durkin’s practice blends labor and employment law with medical malpractice and general litigation. His experience gives him the ability to help clients sort through the challenging and ever-changing world of labor and employment rules and regulations.

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Bodman PLC


Bodman PLC is pleased to announce that the firm, and 28 current Bodman attorneys, have been included in the State Bar of Michigan’s 2024 A Lawyer Helps Pro Bono Honor Roll.

The Honor Roll recognizes individual attorneys, law firms, and corporations that support access to justice efforts by providing pro bono legal services to low-income individuals and families, and to organizations that benefit low-income communities, throughout Michigan. The various award categories are based on time devoted to pro bono matters during 2023.

Bodman was one of only three law firms recognized at the highest “Tier 1” level for cumulative firm hours devoted to pro bono matters for the year.

Individual attorneys are recognized for having devoted at least 30, 50, or 100 hours to pro bono service during 2023. The following local Bodman attorneys are included in the 2024 A Lawyer Helps Pro Bono Honor Roll.

—100+ Hours of Service

Fatmeh T. Cheaib (Detroit office)
Julie E. Nichols (Troy office)

—50 to 99 Hours of Service

Barbara A. Bowman (Troy office)
Grace A. Connolly (Detroit office)
Matthew R. Fleming (Troy office)
Angela M. Quinn (Detroit office)
Alexis A. Smith-Scott (Detroit office)
Glen M. Zatz (Troy office)

—30 to 49 Hours of Service

Celeste E. Arduino (Troy office)
Rebecca El Badaoui (Detroit office)
Amanda McSween Empey (Detroit office)
Brigid D. Fox (Troy office)
Joseph R. Haddad (Detroit office)
Jennifer M. Hetu (Troy office)
Jay B. Long (Detroit office)
Rebecca C. Seguin-Skrabucha (Troy office)
Matthew A. Slipchuk (Detroit office)
Katherine A. Smigelski (Detroit office)