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, 5:30-9 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 16 at the Detroit Institute of Arts. 

Attorney Mark Rossman has put together another blue-ribbon list of panelists that includes a number of prominent attorneys from the bench and bar.

“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 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 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 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, presenting a lecture on “Selecting an Expert,” and then as a panelist 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. 

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 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 is $135; more information is available at

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