Annual Symposium to highlight ‘Experts and Trial Practice’ topic

Among the presenters at last year’s Symposium at the Detroit Institute of Arts were (l-r) Mark Rossman of Rossman, P.C.; Wayne County Circuit Judge David Allen; Oakland County Circuit Judge Victoria Valentine; Daniel Quick of Dickinson and the current president of the State Bar of Michigan; and E. Powell Miller of The Miller Law Firm.

Photo by John Meiu

By Tom Kirvan
Legal News

Various distinguished members of the bench and bar will be featured on Thursday, Feb. 8 at the 6th Annual State Bar of Michigan Business Law Section Symposium at the historic Guardian Building in downtown Detroit, according to Troy attorney Mark Rossman, who has served as moderator and organizer of the event since its inception.

“Experts and Trial Practice” will serve as the focus of the program, which is scheduled for 5:30-9 p.m. in the Guardian Building, an Art Deco skyscraper designed by renowned architect Wirt Rowland whose innovative use of color was a trademark of his work.

“The Symposium will explore various aspects of the use of experts in litigation, trial practice, and judicial perspectives,” said Rossman, co-chair of the Privately Held Business

Forum that is part of the State Bar’s Business Law Section. “The format will consist of panel discussions and individual presentations, with audience participation being strongly encouraged.”

The program will include a one-hour panel discussion concerning “expert work in litigation and at trial,” Rossman indicated. Among the scheduled panelists will be Daniel Agaus of B. Riley Advisory Services; Van Conway of Van Conway & Partners; Thomas Frazee of FVF Consulting; James Harrington of MDD Forensic Accountants; and Jesse Ultz of Stout. Rossman will moderate the panel discussion.

“In addition to the ‘Experts in Court’ panel discussion, there will be a panel consisting of judges and former judges who discuss various aspects of trial practice, which we are really looking forward to, as the dialogue with the judiciary has always been one of the most interesting part of the symposia over the years,” said Rossman, who founded the Troy business law firm, Rossman, P.C. in 2015.

A third program segment will feature a presentation by noted trial attorney E. Powell Miller, a Rochester based lawyer who will focus on “opening statements” at trial.

“Powell always does such an incredible job, and he has been with us since the beginning of the Symposium,” said Rossman, adding that Miller “brought the house down” with his presentation on cross-examination last year. “Powell’s presentation last year was out of this world, and so the content committee couldn’t not have him follow up on that with another element of trial practice, opening statements this time.”

Miller is co-chairing the symposium this year with Rossman and has been instrumental in coordinating the judicial panel, which will include, among others, retired U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts and Federal Magistrate Judges Kimberly Altman and Anthony Patti. The discussion will be moderated by Sara MacWilliams of Doerr MacWilliams Howard.

“I think it will be very interesting to get insight from members of the judiciary about what resonates with them in terms of trial strategy and techniques,” said Miller, who opened his firm in 1994 and has gained a national reputation for trial expertise.

This year’s Symposium has the makings of the “best yet,” according to Rossman, who several years ago commissioned the creation of a website with information on registration, agenda, presenters, and sponsorship opportunities. Visit for the latest on this year’s event.

“We also are delighted that the Guardian Building, one of the most distinctive skyscrapers in Detroit, will be the host site of the Symposium,” said Rossman. “We have made it a point to pick meeting venues that highlight certain important spots in Detroit, such as the DIA, the Detroit Club, and Wayne State Law School. The Guardian Building, with its great acoustics and dazzling design and architecture, will add even more luster to the list.”

Rossman explained that the program is a “labor of love” and that all the work his firm puts into the program each year is worth it when he gets to see more than 100 lawyers, law students and business owners enjoying a good time, networking, and learning about their practice.

“The lawyers at my firm are amazing, and that we are able to coordinate and produce this program while also successfully managing our dockets is a real testament to the strength of the lawyers at my firm, as well as the great things that can be accomplished when we come together as a team,” Rossman said. “It is the ultimate team building project, and we have a great time doing it.”

 Miller echoed the comments, observing, “Mark and his team have grown this symposium into an institution in the business law community. It’s really quite incredible, the great content and the audience it draws. I am excited to be a part of the program and co-chairing this year’s event.”

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