Legal People

Michigan Statewide Independent Living Council

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently announced appointments to the Michigan Statewide Independent Living Council.

Among the appointees was Jamia M. Davis, a document reviewer with Kelly Services and a court-appointed guardianship review volunteer for the Oakland County Probate Court. She earned a law degree from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School. Davis is appointed to represent residents of this state, including residents who represent the underserved or tribal communities. She will serve a term commencing July 21, 2020 and expiring December 31, 2023.

The Michigan Statewide Independent Living Council is charged with developing the state plan as provided in Section 704(a)(2) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 USC 796c(a)(2). The Council may work with centers for independent living to coordinate services with public and private entities to improve services provided to individuals with disabilities and conduct resource development activities to support the council and the provision of independent living services by centers for independent living.

The appointment is not subject to advice and consent of the Senate.



Varnum family law attorney Julia A. Perkins has been re-elected to the board of directors of the Detroit Bar Association.

The 30-member board meets monthly to provide strategic leadership for the DBA membership. Perkins has been a member of the DBA since 2016, holding her position on the board since 2017.

Perkins leads Varnum’s Family Law Team, working with clients in family law matters including divorce, child custody, child support and parenting time matters. She has experience with international custody cases as well as valuation and division of high net worth marital estates. She is also a certified mediator with a focus in family law.

In addition to her practice, she is an adjunct family law professor at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.

Within the community, Perkins serves on the advisory committee for Kids-Talk Children’s Advocacy Center, helping abused and neglected children. She also serves on the City of Canton’s Planning Commission and prior to that served on its zoning board of appeals.


Bodman PLC

Bodman PLC is pleased to announce that attorney Gordon J. Kangas has joined the firm as an associate.

Kangas is a member of Bodman’s Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution Practice Group. He represents a variety of clients in litigation and dispute resolution matters before state and federal courts and in alternative dispute resolution forums.

His legal background includes federal clerkships with U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Ralph B. Guy Jr., Sixth Circuit, and with U.S. District Court Judge Stephen J. Murphy III, Eastern District of Michigan. As a law student, he served judicial internships with Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert P. Young and with U.S. District Court Judge Robert D. Cleland, Eastern District of Michigan. After law school, he was accepted into and participated in the Georgetown Center for the Constitution’s seminar on Originalism.

Kangas is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School.

Kangas has an interest in public speaking and has served as an independent consultant to professionals on persuasive and impactful presentation skills.


Plunkett Cooney

Plunkett Cooney partner Kenneth C. Newa was recently inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Coverage Counsel (the College).

By vote of the American College of Coverage Counsel board of regents, Newa, who is a member of the Board of Directors of Plunkett Cooney, is now among the College’s over 300 experienced and highly-recognized fellows from the United States and Canada practicing in the areas of insurance coverage and extra-contractual litigation.

A partner in Plunkett Cooney’s Bloomfield Hills office, Newa focuses his practice principally on the representation of insurance companies in a variety of insurance coverage disputes, including complex, high-exposure coverage litigation related to environmental liability, asbestos exposure, toxic torts and construction defect claims.

Newa is a member of the state bars of Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin; as well as the DRI – The Voice of the Defense Bar.

Admitted to practice in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin, and several federal courts, Newa received his law degree from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law in 1989 and his undergraduate degree in Materials and Logistics Management from Michigan State University in 1986.

Plunkett Cooney’s Insurance Coverage Practice Group’s insurance consulting and litigation practice involves coverage disputes and regulatory proceedings in a range of matters, including, but not limited to, claims of bad faith, toxic torts, personal and advertising injury, construction liability, reformation and rescission, professional liability and first party property coverage.­