Potestivo & Associates PC is proud to announce that President Brian A. Potestivo has been selected for inclusion in the 2015 Michigan Super Lawyers list.

Potestivo founded Potestivo & Associates PC in 1990. The firm focuses on understanding the goals and business objectives of his clients. With an entrepreneurial spirit and his client's best interests always in mind, the firm has grown from a single person practice to a one hundred-plus person organization with three offices in two states. He continues to mentor and instruct team members, keeping them motivated and informed while improving job performance and satisfaction.

As an experienced attorney and business owner, Potestivo has shaped his practice into a nationally-recognized leader in the legal services, real estate, finance, and credit industry. He has accomplished this through strong leadership abilities, dedication to his clients, professionalism, and thorough knowledge of the law. Potestivo also understands the challenges of the new marketplace and works with clients to implement successful solutions.

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Bryan Robbins and Matthew Licavoli proudly announce the establishment of Robbins and Licavoli PLLC ( Robbins and Licavoli is a Bloomfield Hills boutique law firm specializing in Family Law, Bankruptcy and Immigration.

Robbins and Licavoli were both born and raised in Metro-Detroit and have been active members of community their entire lives.

Robbins is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Wayne State University Law School.

Licavoli is a graduate of the University of Michigan and University of Detroit School of Law.

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Wayne State University Law School Dean Jocelyn Benson, a civil rights advocate and national election law expert, will be inducted into the 32nd class of the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame next month.

She will join nine other noted women being inducted at a dinner and ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 29, at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center in East Lansing. Benson is one of the youngest women inductees in the history of the hall of fame, second only to Serena Williams, a 2012 inductee.

Benson of Detroit is being recognized for her leadership as Wayne Law's 11th dean, the youngest woman to lead a top 100 law school in U.S. history, for co-founding Military Spouses of Michigan, and for her service as a board member of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

A recognized expert on civil rights law, education law and election law, Benson joined Wayne Law's faculty in 2005 and was appointed dean in 2014, after serving 18 months as interim dean.

When her husband, Ryan Friedrichs, then a paratrooper in the U.S. Army, was deployed to Afghanistan in 2012, Benson, working with several other spouses, created Military Spouses of Michigan to offer support and services to military families.

In 2014, Benson was appointed to the national board of the Southern Poverty Law Center, where, before she went to law school, she did work investigating hate groups and hate crimes.

Benson also is founder and executive director of the nonpartisan Michigan Center for Election Law, which hosts projects that support transparency and integrity in elections. In 2011, she was appointed to the national board of iCivics Inc., a nonprofit created and led by former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor to improve civics education nationwide.

Benson earned a bachelor of arts degree from Wellesley College, a master of philosophy degree from Oxford University, and law degree from Harvard Law School. Prior to joining the law faculty, Benson clerked for U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Damon J. Keith, Sixth Circuit.

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Beth S. Gotthelf, attorney, shareholder and director of Innovation and External Relations at Butzel Long, has been elected president of the Michigan Israel Business Bridge (MIBB), a bi-national chamber of commerce. Gotthelf has previously served on the MIBB Board of Directors and as vice president of the Executive Council. In 2012, Gotthelf served as chair of matchmaking to bring Israel and Michigan automotive companies together as part of a high-tech automotive exchange mission by the Israel Consul for Economic Affairs and MIBB.

The Michigan Israel Business Bridge is a non-profit, membership-based, 501(c)(6) "connector" organization dedicated to promoting business partnerships between Michigan and Israel. MIBB brings new business to Michigan by connecting Israeli businesses to its network in Michigan for the purpose of generating wealth, jobs, and new opportunities. Israel has more than 3,000 companies centered on life sciences, homeland security, alternative energy, water technology and agro-technology, with more engineers and scientists per capita than any other country.

"The Michigan Israel Business Bridge is the perfect vehicle to connect Michigan and Israeli businesses, and keep connected the companies with feet in both Michigan and Israel," said Gotthelf. "I look forward to increasing our partnerships and business opportunities between Michigan and Israel."

Gotthelf represents and counsels a diverse mix of clients. She also is chair of Butzel's Aerospace and Defense Industry Team and co-chair of the Energy and Sustainability Practice Team. Moreover, Gotthelf counsels clients in governmental contracting, ITAR, EAR, and Foreign Military Sales.

At the same time, she is an executive-in-residence with the Macomb-OU INCubator. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Better Business Bureau and serves on its Executive Committee.

Gotthelf has been very active in bar associations, including in the State Bar of Michigan, Environmental Law Section, where she served as past chair and the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law. She is chair of the City of Birmingham Brownfield Redevelopment Authority.

In April, 2015, Gotthelf served as co-chair of the successful Gleaners Women's Power Breakfast, raising funds for approximately 1.2 million meals. Her charitable activities include serving as past president of the Board of Trustees for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Michigan Chapter; past trustee of the JVS Vocational Services; and member of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, State Government Relations Oversight Committee.

Gotthelf was selected as one of 20 influential leaders by Michigan Lawyers Weekly - Women in Law (2010). She also was named to the Best Lawyers in America, Environmental Law, 2013-2015.

She was named in Michigan Super Lawyers (2006-14) and as one of the "Top 50 Female Michigan Super Lawyers" (2006-2015). Gotthelf is listed in DBusiness Top Lawyers in Metro Detroit, Environmental Law, 2011-2015; Energy Law, 2011-2012; Government Relations Law, 2011-2012. She is a past Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.

Gotthelf has received several awards and special recognitions, including as an emerging leader by the Detroit Regional Chamber (2003); the National Association of Metal Finishers (2002); Corp! Magazine as one of "Michigan's 95 Most Powerful Women" (2002); Corp! Magazine's "Top 10 Business Attorneys for Southeast Michigan" (1999); and Crain's Detroit Business' 40 Under 40 in1994.

She is a graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law (1985) and Oakland University (B.S. Public Administration and Public Policy, 1980). In 2009, Gotthelf received an Oakland University Distinguished Alumni Award.

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The Katz Law Firm announced that its managing member, Don Katz, was appointed and sworn in to serve on the Bloomfield Township Financial Sustainability Committee. Katz, along with several other legal and financial advisors, will primarily advise the Township Board on its Defined Benefit Plan.

"I am glad to offer whatever expertise that I have to the Board." says Katz. "Our former and current leadership has done a stellar job managing the Township through the recent financial turbulence. If they think that I have anything that can assist their efforts, I am honored to serve at the Board's pleasure."

State and local governments have been under tremendous pressure recently, particularly with respect to their long-term pension obligations which can often extend well beyond 50 years into the future, even after the plan has been closed to new participants. Pension funds around the country have felt the pressure and Bloomfield Township has closely monitored their obligations and has been quick to react when necessary.

The financial pressure on pension funds can primarily be tied to perpetually low interest rates, uneven market performance and most recently the streghth of the U.S. dollar which has weakened the gains from international stocks. Even CalPERS (California public employees retirement system), the closely watched bellwether for pension funds across the country, adjusted its forecast downward for next quarter.

Bloomfield Township stayed ahead of the curve by taking advantage of a new law in 2012 allowing for the sale of $80 million in Pension Obligation Bonds to fully fund the municipality's obligations; however, even the most careful planning can be susceptible to adverse market conditions and, most recently, declining and stagnating interest rates. In response, the board formed the Financial Sustainability Committee this past January, which was to be comprised of resident professionals with the requisite experience to ensure the board has utilized all the resources at its disposal.

The Financial Sustainability Committee is a recommending body to the Board of Trustees, which retains the fiduciary responsibilities constituent with the administration and management of the Township's pension obligations. The Financial Sustainability Committee must meet at least quarterly and is immediately charged with the duty to identify an independent firm to conduct a Comprehensive Sustainability Study.

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A comprehensive book that guides young defense lawyers through their earlier years of practice was recently published by the DRI The Voice of the Defense Bar (DRI) and features a chapter co-authored by Plunkett Cooney attorneys Mary Massaron and Olivia M. Paglia.

Targeted to associates and law clerks who are beginning their practice, the book, titled: "A Young Lawyer's Guide to Defense Practice," provides practical guidance and insights into virtually every area of trial practice and procedure. The guide also addresses such important considerations as ethics and life in a law firm. Massaron and Paglia co-authored the chapter on persuasive writing.

"This was a tremendous opportunity for us to be involved in a resource that can help law clerks and new associates get their careers off to a successful start," said Massaron, who serves as Appellate Law Practice Group Leader at Plunkett Cooney. "The book is an insider's guide that will give attorneys the foundation onto which they can solidly build their practice."

The 27-chapter book provides tips on law firm life, ethics and conflicts, defending a claim, expert witnesses, discovery, evidence at trial, and various litigation topics, including motion practice, voir dire, opening statements and closing arguments, arguing motions and appeals, and writing an appellate brief.

A member of the firm's Bloomfield Hills office, Massaron served as president of the DRI in 2012 to 2013. She is a past chair of the Appellate Practice Section of the State Bar of Michigan, DRI's Appellate Advocacy Committee, and the American Bar Association's (ABA) Council of Appellate Lawyers, a division of the Appellate Judges Conference. A member of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, Massaron co-chairs the Michigan Appellate Bench Bar Conference Foundation, an organization of Michigan appellate judges and lawyers. She is also a former chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Amicus Curiae Briefs, a five-member committee that oversees preparation of ABA briefs for filing in the U.S. Supreme Court.

An active member of the DRI, the organization has named an award after Massaron, who has built a reputation as a mentor to new lawyers. The "Mary Massaron Award for the Advancement of Women in the Legal Profession" is conferred on someone each year at the DRI's Women in the Law Seminar who has made significant efforts to advance women in the legal profession.

A member of the firm's Bloomfield Hills office, Paglia concentrates her practice in the area of insurance law. She routinely represents several major property and casualty insurance companies in coverage cases throughout the Midwest. Her coverage work includes handling a variety of issues, including environmental contamination, construction defect and high-exposure product liability claims.

Paglia is a member of the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association (DMBA), the DMBA American Inns of Court, the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan, and the Young Lawyers Section of the State Bar of Michigan.

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On Sunday, Sept. 20, 145 graduates from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School's three Michigan campuses were presented with juris doctor and master of law degrees during ceremonies held at the Wharton Center for Performing Arts in Lansing. The keynote was presented by Catherine Groll, a WMU-Cooley graduate and trial attorney at Mike Morse Law Firm in Southfield, Mich.

Groll was recently awarded the Camille S. Abood Distinguished Volunteer Award in recognition of her volunteer efforts, which include two Global Habitat for Humanity builds and a three-week volunteer program in New Delhi, India at the Mother Teresa Home for the Mentally Ill.

She told the graduates about personal experiences that guided her into attending law school, including the death of her father from medical malpractice, and learning about the inequality and injustices that occur with the immigrant population in New Mexico.

"Take some time today to take stock and reflect on the very personal and hard fought journey that brought you here," said Groll. "I saw that the law was a powerful tool in the hands of the right people. There is always room for one more good lawyer in the world."

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Jesse Reiter and Emily Thomas, attorneys at the Bloomfield Hills law firm Reiter & Walsh PC, published an article titled "HIE and the Myth of Pre-Existing Injury" in the American Association of Justice's July 2015 Birth Trauma Litigation Group Newsletter.

Published: Mon, Sep 28, 2015