Legal People

Varnum LLP
Varnum is pleased to announce that Evan Kaploe has joined the firm as an associate in the Metro Detroit office where he will focus his practice on Tax Litigation.
Kaploe represents individuals and companies before the IRS and litigation of tax matters in Tax Court, U.S. District Court, and Bankruptcy Court. Kaploe also specializes in corporate and tax planning for large, medium, and small businesses, whether domestic or multinational. He gained his experience from the Office of Chief Counsel-IRS as a senior attorney and most recently at Kerr, Russell, and Weber, PLC as a senior associate.
Kaploe earned his law degrees from Michigan State University College of Law and Northwestern University and his B.A. in History from University of Michigan. He holds professional memberships with the American Bar Association (Tax Division), Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association (Inn of Court), and Oakland County Bar Association (Tax Section).

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Plunkett Cooney

The Great Place to Work Initiative at Plunkett Cooney continues to “reap awards” as evidenced by the firm’s inclusion on the Detroit Free Press’ list of “Top Workplaces” for the fifth consecutive year.
According to Plunkett Cooney’s award notification letter, initiatives implemented as part of the firm’s “Great Place to Work” efforts were among the leading factors for its inclusion on the list again this year. The Detroit Free Press highlighted all of its 2012 Top Workplaces in a feature section published in the Nov. 18 issue.
Plunkett Cooney ranked 25th out of 35 companies in the survey’s medium size category. In addition to employee surveys, WorkplaceDynamics conducts its own independent research to validate employee feedback.
The firm’s “Great Place to Work” initiative goes beyond compensation to focus on added value benefits beyond traditional health, vision, dental and insurance plans offered by most companies. The program includes such opportunities as continuing education, special events, employee convenience services, diversity recruitment and retention, mentoring, wellness programs and much more.
Plunkett Cooney was also recently honored by the Michigan Business & Professional Association as one of its “101 Best & Brightest Places to Work For,” an honor the firm has received each year since it was first awarded in 2005.
In addition, Plunkett Cooney recently received a Tier 1 ranking in the 2012 “Best Law Firms” edition of U.S. News & World Report.
Based on a tiered rather than a ranked system, Plunkett Cooney was recognized in the following first-tier categories:
– Appellate Practice
– Litigation - Construction
– Litigation - Municipal
– Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants

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Dykema
Dykema is pleased to announce that the firm earned 95 points (out of a possible 100) in the 2013 Corporate Equality Index (CEI) conducted by the Human Rights Campaign. This rating is 25 points higher than the firm earned in last year’s CEI, and places Dykema near the top echelon of the nearly 700 U.S. companies surveyed in this year’s Index.
This year marks the 11th edition of the CEI. This annual report provides an in-depth and authoritative analysis of workplace equality in the nation’s largest companies for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans. To arrive at its ratings, the Human Rights Campaign uses objective criteria such as equal employment opportunities, employment benefits, organizational competency, public engagement and responsible citizenship.
Dykema’s Diversity Counsel, Heidi Naasko, points to several initiatives that contributed to the firm’s impressive year-to-year increase in its CEI score:
• Amending the firm’s Equal Employment Opportunity statement to incorporate language that addresses freedom of gender identity and expression.
• Accounting for the income tax burden of domestic partner benefits by “grossing up” an  employee’s salary, similar to grossing up award or bonus payments to an employee. This action ensures that same-sex and married individuals contribute equally to health benefits.

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Corporate Pro Bono (CPBO)

Corporate Pro Bono (CPBO) honored Ford Motor Co. recently with the CPBO Partner Award for its pro bono partnerships to serve the needs of the local community. This is the first time Ford has received the prestigious honor, which recognizes the company’s commitment to good corporate citizenship.
CPBO is a partnership project of the Pro Bono Institute (PBI) and the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC). The CPBO award recognizes unique pro bono partnerships between in-house legal departments, law firms, and public interest organizations.
Looking to revamp its pro bono program in 2009, Ford partnered with Dykema Gossett, Legal Aid and Defender Association (LAD), and Michigan Community Resources (MCR) and created two new pro bono projects to directly serve community needs. The programs also aligned Ford’s pro bono program with the automaker’s corporate social responsibility initiatives.
Ford pro bono partner programs include:
• Food Stamp Clinic: The Food Stamp Clinic, developed with Ford and LAD, was designed to identify individuals and families who are either eligible to receive food stamps and don’t or are not receiving the amount to which they are entitled. In Detroit, more than one-third of the population lives in poverty, making it one of the poorest large cities in America, yet its citizens were underutilizing the food stamp program. With Ford’s help, the partnership has helped hundreds of clinic participants and has identified tens of thousands of dollars in benefits.
• Nonprofit Survival Series Clinics: Ford, Dykema and MCR developed the Nonprofit Survival Series Clinics to help ensure local nonprofits can continue to serve their constituents. At the clinics, Ford attorneys consult with community-based nonprofit organizations to identify legal issues that threaten their viability and ability to operate. At the beginning of each clinic, Dykema attorneys provide training to Ford volunteers on common issues that nonprofits face, particularly recession-related financial pressures and declining resources. More than 40 percent of the attorneys in Ford’s Office of the General Counsel have participated since the first clinic in 2009, and the program continues to expand in response to community need with the launch of a Contract Review Clinic.

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Butzel Long

Butzel Long attorney Bernard J. Fuhs is the featured speaker for a Macomb-OU INCubator program on Thursday, Dec.6, in Sterling Heights.
Fuhs’ presentation is titled, “#NicePeopleDOFinishLast: Protecting Your Investment, Ideas and Trade Secrets in the Social Media Age.” Fuhs will conduct a presentation regarding how to protect a company’s most valuable assets, including trade secrets, confidential information and business relationships.
Based in Butzel Long’s Detroit office, Fuhs concentrates his practice in the areas of business and commercial litigation. He has experience in non-compete, non-disclosure, and trade secret disputes, business and financial services industry disputes, franchise and dealerships, transportation and logistics industry disputes, construction, real estate, securities, and sales representative matters. He also advises start-up and closely held businesses, as well as sports and fitness industry members.
He is a frequent speaker on non-compete and trade secret issues and has authored and contributed to numerous publications (both national and local) regarding the same.
Fuhs was recently named to Crain’s Detroit Business’ 2012 Class of “40 Under 40.” He was selected as a 2012 Business Litigation Top Lawyer by DBusiness Magazine. He also was named to the 2011 & 2012 Michigan Super Lawyers’ Rising Star List.
In addition, Butzel Long attorney and shareholder Linda D. Kennedy has been appointed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to the Michigan Technological University Board of Control. The eight-member board is the governing body of the university. Kennedy will serve an eight-year term that expires on December 20, 2020.
Kennedy concentrates her practice on intellectual property, including opinion work, patent litigation, patent prosecution, trademark law, and trade secret litigation.
Kennedy has advised clients that develop cutting-edge technologies. Her work has included complex medical devices, pharmaceuticals, industrial polymers, and engine controllers.
Prior to joining Butzel Long, Kennedy worked at intellectual property boutique law firms and as in-house counsel for the Dow Chemical Company, where she managed products liability litigation.
Kennedy is a graduate of Michigan Technological University (B.S., Scientific and Technical Communication, 1991), the University of Minnesota (B.A., Chemistry, 1996), and of the University of Minnesota Law School (1998). She is registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office, in the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the United States Supreme Court, and the State of Michigan.
Kennedy is a member of the American Intellectual Property Association, the American Bar Association, and the Michigan Technological University Alumni Association, of which she is a past officer and board member.

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Seyburn, Kahn, Ginn, Bess & Serlin P.C.
Attorney Gordon S. Gold was appointed to serve as the Oakland County Bar Association’s (OCBA) delegate to the American Bar Association’s (ABA) House of Delegates for a two-year term ending at the adjournment of the August 2014 ABA Annual Meeting.
Gold is a shareholder at the Southfield firm of Seyburn Kahn PC, where he practices complex commercial litigation, white collar criminal defense, family law, and tax and probate litigation. He earned his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor and is admitted to practice in both Michigan and Florida.
In addition to serving as OCBA’s delegate to the American Bar Association, Gold is a member of the OCBA’s Circuit Court Committee. He also is a member and past chairman of the State Bar of Michigan’s (SBM) Litigation Section; a past member of the SBM Judicial Qualifications Committee, a past executive board member of the Federal Bar Association – Eastern District of Michigan, and served as president of the B’nai B’rith Barristers.

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Hansen IP Law
In order to support its expanding operations, Hansen IP Law is pleased to report that it has moved to a new suite of offices at 2550 S. Telegraph Road, Suite 112, Bloomfield Hills, 48302. The office is just south of Square Lake Road. 

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Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione
Brinks, Hofer, Gilson, & Lione, an intellectual property law firm, will soon open a new Detroit office, in the same building as the new Elijah J. McCoy United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), announced firm president James R. Sobieraj recently.
The USPTO opened the first satellite office in its history in Detroit on July 13, 2012. According to USPTO statements, these satellite offices are being established to allow “businesses to move their innovations to market more quickly and giving them more room to create new jobs.” The Detroit office is the first to open; others will open later in Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver and Silicon Valley.
Sobieraj, a Michigan native with engineering and law degrees from the University of Michigan, explained the firm’s reasons for taking this step.
“The USPTO’s decision to open new satellite offices is a strategic move to help support the growing importance of American intellectual property to business. The Detroit office will provide an on-site location for Brinks and its domestic and international clients to participate more effectively in patent examination and administrative trial proceedings created under the recently enacted America Invents Act (AIA),” said Sobieraj on making the announcement.
The Detroit office will be the second in Michigan for the IP specialty firm which has had an office in Ann Arbor since 2000. Brinks has its headquarters in Chicago, with additional offices in Washington, D.C., Indianapolis, Research Triangle Park, and Salt Lake City.
Kelly K. Burris, currently a shareholder in Brinks’ Ann Arbor office, will serve as managing partner of the new Detroit office of Brinks, where she will be joined by Brinks shareholder Margaret Dobrowitsky and associate Keith D. Weiss, Ph.D.
Burris chairs Brinks’ Green Technology Practice Group and focuses her practice on patent prosecution and procedures in the mechanical and electrical arts, and materials science. Burris also performs intellectual property due diligence for mergers and acquisitions and handles other matters relating to transactions, as well as managing and administering corporate IP portfolios and policies, and strategic competitive intelligence. In August 2012, Burris testified as an expert witness before the House Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet in Washington D.C., speaking in opposition of HR 3889, a bill that would drastically reduce the term for certain design patents. Prior to her law career, Burris was an aeronautical engineer with McDonnell Douglas and Boeing for over 11 years, and she is also a licensed pilot and extremely active in the field of aviation.
Dobrowitsky chairs Brinks’ Licensing Practice Group and focuses on drafting and negotiating intellectual property and commercial agreements. Prior to joining Brinks, she was senior patent counsel for the engine and energy management business operations of a multinational U.S. automotive technology corporation, where she also served as intellectual property counsel for its mergers and acquisitions, information technology and telecommunications groups. In addition, she was patent counsel for the company’s Mexican operations. Dobrowitsky has served as treasurer of the U.S. Group of the Association Internationale pour la Protection de la Propriété Intellectuelle (AIPPI), and is a past chair of the International Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan.
Weiss brings a unique background to Brinks with more than 20 years of corporate experience in R&D management, product development, and technology licensing. He is listed as an inventor on 26 U.S. patents and nine pending U.S. patent applications regarding advanced materials, components, and systems used in the automotive, aerospace, coatings, plastics, and microelectronic industries. Weiss focuses his practice on patent prosecution and intellectual property agreements with an emphasis towards IP portfolio planning, development, and management.

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Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP
David Foltyn, chairman and CEO of Honigman, Miller, Schwartz, and Cohn LLP, has been named to the Best Lawyers international board of advisors. Involvement in this board is by invitation only and includes firm leaders from the world’s leading law firms and many of the general counsels of the Fortune 500 and Global 500 companies.
Foltyn counsels publicly- and privately-held businesses, boards of directors, and financial service firms in corporate mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, financial transactions, public offerings and private placements of securities and debt. He also advises clients on applicable state and federal corporate governance laws.
Foltyn has been recognized in the last 16 editions of Best Lawyers in America. He also has been recognized by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business since 2005 as a top-ranked lawyer in the Corporate/M&A field and named as one of the Top 100 in Michigan Super Lawyers for several years in a row.
In the community, Foltyn also is a member of the board of directors of the United Way of Southeastern Michigan, the Downtown Detroit Partnership and the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the board of governors of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, and a vice president of the board of trustees and a member of the executive committee of Temple Beth El in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and past chairman (2004 - 2006) of JVS.
Foltyn earned his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School and a B.B.A. from the University of Michigan.
Additionally, for the second consecutive year, Honigman ranked among the top 10 Michigan employers in the Detroit Free Press 2012 Large Top Workplace category. Honigman is the only law firm ranked among the 25 companies in the large workplace category, which includes companies with 500 or more employees. The law firm, with approximately 575 employees, successfully competed in this category alongside companies with thousands of employees. Other companies among the top ten include many of Michigan’s most prominent and innovative companies, such as Quicken Loans/Quizzle, Plante Moran and Edward James.
Honigman has recently received a number of additional prestigious workplace awards. It is the only Michigan law firm recognized as one of the top 50 “Best Law Firms for Women” in the United States in 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012 by Working Mother magazine and Flex-Time Lawyers, an international consulting firm. Honigman also earned the designation as one of the “National Best and Brightest Companies to Work For” by the National Association of Business Resources in 2011 an 2012. Locally, Honigman has been named “Metropolitan Detroit’s 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For” by the Michigan Business and Professional Association in 2004, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and the firm’s Kalamazoo and Lansing offices received the same recognition by the same professional organization for West Michigan in 2011 and 2012.

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Neuman Anderson P.C.
Jennifer M. Grieco, partner at Neuman Anderson P.C., a Birmingham-based business law firm specializing in complex commercial litigation, has been recognized as a Michigan Super Lawyer, making the list of the Top 50 Women in Michigan for the second consecutive year.
Concentrating her practice in commercial litigation, Grieco possesses more than 15 years of trial experience and has been awarded multiple high-profile verdicts. Grieco’s awards include Crain’s Detroit Business’ annual “40 Under 40” list in 2010, a DBusiness Top Lawyer in both 2012 and 2013, and a Michigan Lawyers Weekly Woman in the Law in 2011.
Grieco won a contested seat as a commissioner on the State Bar Board of Commissioners in 2011 and was appointed to the executive committee for 2012-2013. She is past president of the Oakland County Bar Association and is a member of the State Bar of Michigan Negligence Council. She previously served as president of the Oakland County Region of the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan from 2003-2004.
Grieco is a graduate of The University of Toledo and The University of Toledo College of Law.

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Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss, P.C.
Jaffe, Raitt, Heuer, & Weiss partners Jeff Heuer and Peter Sugar recently attended an international law conference that was hosted by TAGlaw in Brussels, Belgium, from Oct. 22-24.
“There were many great take-aways from the conference,” said Heuer. “It is always inspiring hearing from, and experience sharing with, our peers from around the globe.”
 His comments were echoed by Sugar.
 “We were also fortunate to have an opportunity to premier, in partnership with the Michigan Venture Capital Association (MVCA), the documentary ‘Something Ventured’ for the international audience,” said Sugar. “It was very well received. I had numerous follow-on conversations from representatives of TAGlaw firms from around the world, including India, China and South America with interest in Jaffe’s burgeoning developing companies practice. Several wanted to know how the MVCA and the Michigan-based community of VC’s and service providers like Jaffe were actively helping inventors at universities and entrepreneurs succeed in starting new technology-based companies. They are eager to emulate the successful model the community has developed in Michigan.”
The American film “Something Ventured” documents the emergence of American venture capitalism in the mid-20th century and follows the stories of the venture capitalists who worked with entrepreneurs to start and build companies like Apple, Intel, Genentech, Cisco, Atari, Tandem, among others.

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Secrest Wardle

Secrest Wardle attorneys William P. Hampton, Daniel P. Makarski, and Derk W. Beckerleg recognized as 2013 Top Lawyers in Metro Detroit’s DBusiness Magazine.
Hampton was voted a Top Lawyer in the area of Real Estate Law, Makarski for his specialty area of Alternative Dispute Resolution, and Beckerleg as an outstanding Municipal Law attorney.
Hampton, president of Secrest Wardle and former Oakland County Circuit Court judge and state legislator, has also been recognized in Best Lawyers in America® for over ten years and was named “Detroit Best Lawyers Municipal Law Lawyer of the Year” for 2012. Hampton currently serves as general counsel for the Cities of Bloomfield Hills and Auburn Hills, Townships of Bloomfield and West Bloomfield.
Makarski, a senior partner with more than 30 years of experience, has earned a state wide reputation as a successful arbitrator, case evaluator, facilitator, and mediator. He is routinely appointed to cases involving personal injuries, medical malpractice, and property and business disputes. For the fourth year in a row, he has been named in DBusiness magazine as a Top Lawyer in Metro Detroit. Makarski has previously been awarded the Respected Advocate Award from the Michigan Trial Lawyers Association and the Civility Award from the Macomb County Bar Association.
Beckerleg is an executive partner who was also named as Best Lawyers’ 2013 Detroit Litigation- Municipal “Lawyer of the Year.” He has been representing municipal clients for 30 years in virtually all aspects of municipal law particularly handling property tax appeals before the Michigan Tax Tribunal. He currently represents the City of Auburn Hills and City of Bloomfield Hills as their assistant city attorney. He is also assistant township attorney for West Bloomfield and Bloomfield.

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