Hands-on: Attorney helps employers contain rising work costs


 By Sheila Pursglove

Legal News
Employment costs rank as the single biggest line item cost for a business, according to Ron Sollish, leader of the Corporate/Employment Practice Group at Maddin, Hauser, Wartell, Roth, & Heller PC in Southfield. 
“If we can help clients manage that organizational aspect, we’re providing a real significant service for them,” he says.
The broad-based practice handles corporate, transactional, real estate, and employment matters. 
“We try to service our corporate and business clients in a very holistic and entrepreneurial fashion,” says Sollish, a shareholder with the firm and a specialist in employment, real estate, partnership, finance, corporate and business law. “The attorneys in this department seek to make good business decisions and use our services in a way that helps organizations progress and succeed.”
Employment issues are very hands-on, he notes. 
“When we deal with employment issues—whether employment contracts or managing workplace issues—it’s about inter-personal interactions, be it with your clients or attorneys on the other side, and about bringing closure to matters and reaching a good result for your client.”
Named among Best Lawyers in America 2013, Sollish appreciates the concept of “civility” in this area of law.  
“Lawyers—unlike other professions—can compartmentalize,” he explains. “They can be aggressive advocates and can still get along and enjoy the intellectual competition—and go and have a drink or a cup of coffee with folks on the other side after the matter has been settled.”
A recent case involving construction of a medical office facility included every aspect of what Sollish’s practice group does, including the real estate end regarding assemblage and municipal end dealing with the community. 
“We also dealt with the construction contracts, and the lending relationships with the bank to underwrite the project. Then we had corporate organizational employment matters dealing with the people we brought on to make the project go. So this case was exciting from every single end to oversee a project of this nature.”
Another interesting case involved a senior-level executive who quit, taking a sizable chunk of business to his new employer across the street from his former employer. Sollish’s client had followed the law firm’s direction and had excellent covenants not to compete that were re-affirmed yearly. The Maddin Hauser team went to court and had them enforced. 
“There were continued violations in this instance,” Sollish says. “I spent almost every week in court pursuing the enforcement. We were able to achieve that enforcement and keep a core of the business client base developed by the original organization.”
A frequent speaker on legal topics, Sollish also speaks to groups such as the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants, and American Society for Industrial Security.
He earned his J.D. from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law after receiving his undergrad degree from the University of Michigan, where he was a member of the 1984 Big Ten Championship Rugby team. He has since played for the Detroit Rugby Football Club where he was “Club Man of the Year” in 1994. He occasionally plays in an “old boys game,” shorter than a regular match. 
“We’ll play 15-minute quarters and wait to see who becomes ill first,” he says with a smile. “Rugby is one of those games that you go and beat the heck out of each other for 80 minutes and then go to the bar and have a drink with that same person you just bloodied. It’s a great sport and a great social sport.”
A member of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, Sollish is very involved in both secular and Jewish philanthropy. He is a board member and former president of the Fresh Air Society-Tamarack Camps, where, in boyhood, he spent a summer as a scholarship camper. 
“This made a huge impact on my life—and I always said that if could ever give that to someone else, I would,” he says. “This is probably where my aspirations in philanthropy and helping the community started—I’m just trying to give back.”
He also is board chair of Starfish Family Services, a $20 million family service organization focused on early childhood education and helping families escape from poverty. 
“We have kind of a place-based strategy in Inkster, where the poverty rate probably exceeds that of Detroit. Our goal is to take young kids and make sure they’re ready to start school. We take a very global approach and try to embrace the entire family.”
His involvement with the Michigan Parkinson’s Foundation arose out of his employment law practice.  
“People with Parkinson’s want to stay in the workplace and understand what their rights are under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Michigan Persons with Disabilities Act.  So I started speaking at events by support groups, and I got active on the board.”
The Detroit native has been married to his wife, Nancy Waldman, for 25 years—they met as U-M students. Formerly an attorney with Jaffe, Nancy is now director of Parks and Recreation for the couple’s hometown of Huntington Woods. Son Will is a sophomore at Berkley High School; Gregory is a junior at U-M; and Jonathan is a freshman at Michigan State University; both college students run club cross country. 
“We’re a house divided,” Sollish says. “When my wife and I go to a meet, people think we’re crazy yelling, ‘Go Green,’ and ‘Go Blue.’”
An avid cyclist, in the past year he has racked up about 5,200 miles, including charity rides and racing; and bike rides on a recent 9-day trip to Israel, as well as in North Carolina, New York and Arizona. Earlier this year, he took part in the Make-A-Wish 300-hundred mile ride from Traverse City to Michigan International Speedway near Brooklyn, when his “Team Alex” raised more than $250,000 of the overall amount of $2 million.
“It was very cool to ride around the MIS track with family and friends there to cheer you in,” he says. “When you come to the end of this ride, the Wish kids and their families are there, and some will ride in with you. When it’s finished, the Wish kids you’re supporting put a medal around your neck—it’s a very emotional thing. And as you’re coming to the end of the race, they have a ‘Mile of Silence’ with stars up for the kids who didn’t make it. Riding through that, and knowing the money you’ve raised gives some respite to these families, is really worth it.”


  1. No comments
Sign in to post a comment »