In the Works: Annual Business Law Symposium to feature artistic look on Feb. 16


By Tom Kirvan
Legal News

The time-honored phrase of “getting better with age” would certainly apply to the 5th Annual State Bar of Michigan Business Law Section Symposium, scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 16 at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Troy attorney Mark Rossman, who has served as the organizer of the event since its inception, has put together another blue-ribbon list of panelists that includes a number of prominent attorneys from the bench and bar.

And then there’s the venue – the magnificent Diego Rivera Court at the DIA, where the masterful work of the famed Mexican artist will serve as the backdrop to the program that is scheduled from 5:30-9 p.m.

“The title for this year’s event, ‘The Art of the Practice,’ kind of came up naturally as the DIA was selected as the location, and, if you think about it, the practice of law is really an artform,” said Rossman, a University of Michigan alum who heads a business law firm that bears his name. “And, of course, it’s the fifth year in a row we’ve done this . . . it seems like just yesterday we were doing this program with more speakers than audience in attendance, whereas last year we exceeded 150 participants and raised over $50,000.

“It’s really going to be a beautiful event,” added Rossman. “The Diego Rivera Court at the DIA is what most people might agree is one of the shining jewels of the city. And it’s really an honor that the State Bar of Michigan Business Law Section is going to be able to really shine there with some of brightest stars among the local field of judges and lawyers.”

Among the highlights, according to Rossman, will be a roundtable discussion on “Corporate Oppression and Fiduciary Breach” from 7:20-8 p.m.

“For the fourth year in a row, the ‘Godfather of Corporate Oppression Law,’ Professor Douglas Moll is flying in from the University of Houston Law Center to join a roundtable with two of the top practitioners in field, Justin Klimko from Butzel and Daniel Quick from Dickinson, with Michelle Harrell moderating. Those could be some of the top commentators on this area of law in the country right now, and that’s not an exaggeration. So, this is going to be great.”

In addition, among the featured panelists for the February 16 event will be former Wayne County Circuit Judge Lita Popke, now a mediator with JAMS in Detroit, and Oakland County Circuit Judge Victoria Valentine. Popke will deliver an address titled, “Settling the Case,” while Valentine will present a lecture on “The Business Courts.”

“The judicial perspective will be shared by Judge Valentine and retired Judge Popke, which will be really interesting, as they’re both fantastic jurists,” said Rossman. “To have perspectives from a newly appointed Business Court judge and a recently retired Business Court judge now doing mediation, there’s a lot to talk about there. I think a lot of people are really looking forward to these presentations.”

Van Conway, a financial adviser and business turnaround specialist, will take part in two programs at the Symposium, presenting a lecture on “Selecting an Expert,” and then as one of the panelists in a discussion on “Experts, Settling & The Business Courts.” 

Attorney E. Powell Miller, of The Miller Law Firm in Rochester, will cap the evening program with a presentation on “Cross Examining the Hostile Witness” from 8-8:45.

 “We’ve got two guys who have probably been involved in, and won, more trials than most lawyers even get to think about in their careers, some heavy hitters who aren’t afraid to tell you what’s on their mind,” Rossman said of Conway and Miller. “Van is going to tell us how to choose an expert, and Powell is going to give a tutorial in which he shares all his secrets in the art of cross examination. Well not all of them. Just a few. But this is ‘must see TV.’ No joke.” 

Attorney Maxwell Goss, of Fishman Stewart, will open the Symposium with a lecture titled, “Protecting Intellectual Property, from 5-5:20 p.m. Rossman and Paul Mersino of Butzel will team for a discussion on “The Post-Pandemic Law Firm,” scheduled from 7-7:20 p.m.

“This is the fifth year in a row my firm and I have been doing this,” said Rossman, whose colleague Linda Roelans Oszust will serve as a moderator at the event. “At first, they told me not to put a number in front of it, because then we’d have to do it every year. They were right, but I did it anyway, and I’m glad, because if we don’t really force ourselves to do things, it doesn’t, as the Beatles say, ‘keep getting better all the time.’”

The cost of attending the Symposium is $135, and more information can be obtained by visiting,


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