Clark Hill attorney James E. Brenner was named a State Bar of Michigan 2013 Unsung Hero during the State Bar of Michigan Annual Meeting, Sept. 18-20 in Lansing. The Unsung Hero Award is given annually to an attorney who has exhibited the highest standards of practice and commitment for the benefit of others. Brenner, in part, was selected for his pro bono work as lead counsel in post-conviction proceedings representing inmates sentenced to death in states where capital punishment is legal. Brenner has been practicing law for more than 40 years and leads the firm's appellate practice group. In addition to the Unsung Hero Award, Brenner has been recognized repeatedly by several industry and regional organizations, including Best Lawyers in America by DBusiness magazine who named him as one of the metro area's top appellate lawyers. He was named a Lawyer of the Year by Michigan Lawyers Weekly in 2007. Brenner has acted as a commercial arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association and a hearing referee for the Michigan Civil Rights Commission. Brenner is active in the community, participating in Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association clinics and chairing the board of directors of Neighborhood Legal Services of Michigan, a leading provider of legal aid and assistance to the homeless in the state. In his first death penalty case, which took 17 years to resolve, he and his colleagues attorney Mark McInerney and legal assistant Sara Andonian of Clark Hill saved the life of a Tennessee man by finding and introducing mental health information the man's court-appointed attorneys had failed to present. He and colleague Cynthia Filipovich, another Clark Hill attorney, were also successful in reversing the death sentence of a Texas man in 2005. Brenner is currently working with local counsel in Nashville on his third pro bono death penalty assignment, a Tennessee case he received in 2007. They successfully reversed the inmate's death sentence in 2009, but are fighting now to overturn the original conviction by pursuing the state's failures over a period of some 16 years to disclose information helpful to the defense, as required by U.S. Supreme court decisions. In addition, Clark Hill attorney Linda M. Watson was elected to the Board of Directors for the Friends of Modern and Contemporary Art (FMCA) for the Detroit Institute of Arts. The FMCA is the museum's oldest and largest auxiliary. It supports and enhances the DIA's James Pearson Duffy Department of Contemporary Art by, among other things, promoting a better understanding of modern and contemporary art and creating fund-raising initiatives for the purchase of important new works of art in diverse mediums. Watson is co-chair of the Automotive & Manufacturing Practice Group. She is listed as a Super Lawyer in business litigation and has more than 20 years of litigation experience representing small to large privately-held business entities, as well as public corporations both at the trial and appellate level of federal and state courts. Her practice covers all areas of business and commercial litigation, including contracts, employment claims, property matters, construction, intellectual property, trade secrets, and copyright and trademark law. Watson has experience in the following industries: automotive, health care, information technology, entertainment and banking. * * * Secrest Wardle is pleased to announce that Anthony A. Randazzo, a partner concentrating in the practice areas of Commercial and Business Law, Environmental and Toxic Tort and Intellectual Property/Advertising Injury, has been named one of 25 "2013 Up & Coming Lawyers" by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. A luncheon and awards ceremony recognizing the honorees of the "2013 Up & Coming Lawyers" designation will take place on Dec. 5 at the Detroit Marriott in Troy. Randazzo is an active member of the State Bar of Michigan. He has been selected to the 2011 and 2013 Super Lawyers® Michigan Rising Stars lists. He frequently acts as a mentor to law clerks and younger lawyers of Secrest Wardle. He also routinely represents individuals on a pro bono basis. Randazzo attended De La Salle High School. He earned his B.A. from Oakland University in 2001 majoring in Political Science with a minor in Psychology. He received his law degree from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law in 2005. He has been admitted to the State Bar of Michigan since May of 2005 and is currently admitted to practice in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan. Randazzo has been with Secrest Wardle since 2006; he became a partner in 2009. * * * Neuman Anderson PC recently announced that Jennifer Grieco has been named a Super Lawyer for the third consecutive year. In addition to this recognition, Grieco has also been honored as a Top 100 Michigan Super Lawyer, a Top 50 Business Lawyer and a Top 25 Women Business Lawyer. In addition to Super Lawyers, Grieco has also been recognized by Crain's Detroit Businesses as a "40 Under 40," by DBusiness as a Top Lawyer since 2012 and by Michigan Lawyers Weekly as a Woman in the Law. Grieco won a contested seat as a commissioner on the State Bar Board of Commissioners in 2011, and was appointed to serve on the executive committee from 2012-2013 and will serve on the executive committee in 2014. Grieco also serves the State Bar in numerous other capacities, including the Public Policy, Image and Identity Committee; the Finance Committee; the Audit Committee; and the Strategic Planning and Judicial Campaign Workgroups. Grieco is also active on the State Bar of Michigan Negligence Council and the Character and Fitness Committee. She previously served as president of the Women's Bar Association, Oakland County Region of the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan, from 2003-2004 and the Oakland County Bar Association. Grieco is a graduate of The University of Toledo and The University of Toledo College of Law. She is admitted to practice in Michigan and Nevada. * * * Plunkett Cooney bankruptcy attorney Douglas C. Bernstein was among a panel of municipal leaders, educators, and attorneys on Nov. 21 at Wayne State University examining municipal bankruptcies across the country and what they portend for the City of Detroit. "This is certainly an exciting program, and I'm very happy to be among the panelists," said Bernstein, who is the managing partner of Plunkett Cooney's Banking, Bankruptcy & Creditors' Rights Practice Group. "Wayne State has done a great job assembling some of the leading voices on municipal bankruptcy, including some of the leaders who have lived through it." The program, titled "Bankruptcy - What Could it Mean for Detroit? Voices From Other Places," was part of the university's Forum on Contemporary Issues in Society (FOCIS) program, which is directed by Dr. Irvin D. Reid, president emeritus of WSU. Bernstein, who has been a frequent commentator to the media on issues related to the City of Detroit's ongoing financial problems and subsequent Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing, leads Plunkett Cooney's Banking, Bankruptcy & Creditors' Rights Practice Group. Prior to joining the firm, he was employed by Michigan National Corporation as an attorney for over 20 years and later joined the Standard Federal Bank Legal Department when the bank merged with Michigan National Corporation in 2001. * * * For the fourth consecutive year, Honigman, Miller, Schwartz, and Cohn LLP has been among the nation's most prominent law firms in several key practice areas in the U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers® 2014 "Best Law Firms" rankings. In total, Honigman was ranked nationally in 22 of its practice areas and was the only Michigan-based firm ranked nationally for its Venture Capital and Information Technology practices. In the transactional practice areas, Honigman received high rankings nationally in Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization, Corporate, Environmental, Health Care, Information Technology, Leveraged Buyouts and Private Equity, Mergers and Acquisitions, Securities/Capital Markets, Securities Regulation, Tax, Trademark, Trusts and Estates, and Venture Capital. In the litigation practice areas, the firm received high national rankings in Bankruptcy, Commercial, Construction, Environmental, Mergers and Acquisitions, Real Estate, Regulatory Enforcement, Securities and Tax. In addition, John J. Rolecki has joined Honigman as an attorney in its Litigation Department. He will be located in the firm's Detroit office. Rolecki will assist with commercial litigation matters. Prior to joining Honigman, he was an associate at Fox Rothschild LLP in New York City. He earned his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Rolecki also received a Masters of Bioethics from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in English and medieval and early modern studies from the University of Michigan. He is licensed to practice law in New York and New Jersey. * * * Four partners in the Southfield office of Warner, Norcross, & Judd LLP have been rated 2014 Top Lawyers by DBusiness. The peer-review survey, which is published in the November/December edition of the Detroit business magazine, "honors excellence in all areas of practice." Attorneys who will be recognized are: * Kurt M. Brauer, environmental law. * Steven C. Kohl, environmental law. * Mary Jo Larson, employee benefits law. * Alan T. Rogalski, health care law. In addition, the firm has again been named one of Michigan's Top Work Places by The Detroit Free Press. The survey ranked Warner Norcross, which has seven offices across Michigan, among the leading mid-size employers in the state. This is the fifth year that Warner Norcross has been on the annual list. Attorneys and staff from each of the firm's offices were surveyed for the award. They gave Warner Norcross high marks for offering alternative work arrangements, job sharing, telecommuting, flexible schedules and a compensation system that promotes teamwork. The law firm was also noted for its strong commitment to philanthropy. Warner offices in Southeast and West Michigan have both been honored repeatedly in the 101 Best & Brightest Companies to Work For. * * * Marisa Murillo has joined Southfield-based Jaffe, Raitt, Heuer, & Weiss PC as a partner in the firm's Corporate and Finance Practice Groups. Jaffe CEO Bill Sider made the announcement. Murillo's practice is focused on negotiating and structuring debt finance transaction for a broad range of borrower, lender and investment fund clients, including acquisition -financing transactions, letter of credit facilities, asset based loans and loan workouts and restructurings, ranging from a few million dollars to $9 billion. In addition, she represents public and privately held companies including automotive sector clients in mergers, acquisitions, divestitures and joint ventures, and other general corporate and securities matters. Prior to joining Jaffe, Murillo most recently served as a corporate attorney for General Motors Company. Among her responsibilities in this role, she led negotiations of GM's highly-publicized joint development project with Honda to co-produce fuel cell vehicles through 2020. Murillo also negotiated the domestic and international agreements for GM's auto finance partnerships with top tier banks with an estimated total value of more than $500 million, as well as GM's private sales of $1.0 billion in preferred stock and $700 million of common stock of Ally Financial Inc. Adding to her experience in this area of law, Murillo previously held an associate position at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in Chicago. A graduate of Yale University with her Bachelor of Arts in Economics, Murillo continued her education at the University of Southern California, Gould School of Law where she earned her law degree. Murillo is also tri-lingual in English, Spanish and French. * * * Butzel Long attorney and shareholder Robin Luce Herrmann has been named co-chair, Media Law Resource Center Inc.'s (MLRC) State Legislative Affairs Committee. Attorneys from each state serve on this important committee. The other co-chair is Elizabeth Allen, an in-house attorney with Gannett Company Inc. The MLRC is a non-profit membership association for content providers in all media, and for their defense lawyers, providing a wide range of resources on media and content law and policy issues. Herrmann, a practice group leader for one of Butzel Long's two Business Litigation Groups, concentrates her practice in the areas of media law, particularly defamation and access issues; commercial litigation, including Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO); non-competes and trade secrets; and civil rights. In addition, she is general counsel of the Michigan Press Association. She previously taught Law of the Press in the Journalism Department at Oakland University. Herrmann has been a guest speaker on Law of the Press at Wayne State University, Central Michigan University, and Oakland University. In 2011, she was appointed to the State Bar of Michigan Law and Media Committee. Herrmann is co-chair, Roundtable Subcommittee of the Section of Litigation's Woman Advocate Committee, American Bar Association (ABA). She also serves as co-chair for the Women in Communications Law Committee of the Forum on Communications Law. She is a past member and vice-chair of the ABA Law and Media Committee; the past chair of the ABA's First Amendment and Media Litigation Committee's Diversity Outreach Subcommittee. Herrmann is a 1984 graduate of the University of Michigan and a 1993 graduate of the Detroit College of Law. * * * Potestivo & Associates PC is proud to announce that it has been selected as a Detroit Free Press "Top Workplace" in the Metro Detroit area. Representatives from the firm attended the awards ceremony in Livonia on Thursday, Nov. 14, along with other companies selected as winners of the competition. "We are thrilled to add this to our growing list of awards," said President and Managing Attorney Brian A. Potestivo. "It reflects positively on our work-life initiatives, employee responsibility, and effective communication procedures." Potestivo & Associates PC has received similar awards in the past, including being named one of "Crain's Cool Places to Work." Published: Mon, Nov 25, 2013