LEGAL PEOPLE

Varnum
Matthew W. Bower, Dennis M. Devaney, and Richard P. Manczak have been elected partners at Varnum. All three attorneys joined the firm’s Metro Detroit office as counsel in 2013.

Bower is a business and corporate attorney with a focus on general business, contracts, transactions, employment and private equity. He has a particular emphasis in representing technology, internet and software startup to mid-sized companies and works extensively with Varnum’s MiSpringboard program, advising startup companies. He also practices intellectual property law, specifically copyright, publishing and licensing.
In addition to his practice, Bower serves on the boards of Creative Many (formerly ArtServe) and Michigan Youth Arts Association.

Devaney is an experienced labor and employment attorney, representing clients in labor and employment disputes, litigation and regulatory matters. He also counsels clients on international trade issues and was actively involved in significant trade initiatives including WTO and NAFTA.

Devaney is a former member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and commissioner of the U.S. International Trade Commission.

Manczak is a corporate and transactional business attorney with experience in all major areas of corporate, business and commercial law. He focuses on mergers and acquisitions, complex business transactions, venture capital and private equity finance, and startup and early state companies. He works extensively with clients in Varnum’s MiSpringboard program. In addition to his corporate practice, Manczak formerly served as general counsel to a consolidated group of over 80 privately-held companies.

Manczak is a long-time resident of Southeast Michigan where he serves as a board member and secretary on both the Great Lakes Literary Arts Council and Michigan Sustainable Energy Coalition and is a member and volunteer for the Huron River Watershed Council.

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Cordell & Cordell
Cordell & Cordell has announced the opening of its first office in Dearborn, Mich.

Cordell & Cordell, the nation’s largest domestic litigation firm focusing on representing men in family law cases, has more than 170 attorneys working in more than 100 offices across the United States.

“Our firm protects and promotes men’s family and financial interests before, during, and after divorce,” said Joseph Cordell, J.D., C.P.A., LL.M., P.F.S., and co-founder of Cordell & Cordell. “Men choose Cordell & Cordell because they want to feel that their interests and the interests of their children are aggressively championed.”

Now with an office in the Dearborn area, Cordell & Cordell is able to help even more men protect their roles in their children’s lives while safeguarding their financial means to do so.

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Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak, & Stewart PC
­Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak, & Stewart PC is pleased to announce that Gillian Yee, a shareholder in the firm’s Detroit Metro office, was the exclusive winner of the International Law Office’s 2015 Client Choice Award in the Employment & Benefits category for Michigan.

Yee was selected as a recipient of the 2015 Client Choice Award based on feedback provided by more than 2,500 in-house counsel. The criteria for this recognition focused on Yee’s ability to add real value to clients’ business above and beyond the other legal professionals in the market.

Yee focuses her practice on representing management in employment counseling and litigation in a wide range of areas, including discrimination, harassment, retaliation, non-compete and confidentiality agreements, garnishments, medical leaves, and wage and hour laws. Outside of her practice.

Yee serves on Ogletree Deakins’ Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She is also president of the Michigan Asian Pacific American Bar Association and serves on the National Pacific American Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Committee. Yee earned her law degree from Wayne State University Law School.

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Couzens Lansky
Couzens Lansky is pleased to announce that Jennifer K. Johnson and Dawn T. Yeaton have joined Couzens Lansky as associate attorneys. 

Johnson’s primary concentration areas include estate planning, trust administration, probate, corporate law and business transactions. 

She is a member of the State Bar of Michigan Sections on Probate and Estate Planning, Elder Law and Disability Rights.  Johnson received a B.A. from Alma College and her law degree from Wayne State University Law School.

Yeaton concentrates her practice on corporate law, real estate law and estate planning, with experience in sales, acquisitions, financing, leasing and litigation. She is a member of the Real Property Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan and a member of CREW Detroit (Commercial Real Estate Women).  

Yeaton received a B.A. from the University of Michigan and her law degree from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.

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Dykema

Dykema is proud to announce that Sherrie Farrell has been recognized by The Michigan Chronicle as a 2015 Woman of Excellence.

Farrell is the office managing member of the firm’s Detroit office, leader of Dykema’s Cybersecurity practice, and chair of the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. A member of the firm’s Litigation Department, she advises clients on all aspects of business disputes, including a broad range of complex litigation matters. She has represented manufacturers, closely-held corporations, auto suppliers and construction companies in both litigated and non-litigated matters. Her practice also includes the defense of consumer financial services matters and she has served as the national discovery counsel for a Fortune 25 corporation.

“It is with great gratitude that I accept this honor as a Michigan Chronicle Woman of Excellence,” Farrell said. “I admire this respected, powerful group of women to the utmost degree and am thrilled to be their peer as we continue our hard work as businesswomen, community activists, philanthropists and entrepreneurs in the southeastern Michigan community.”

Farrell is a board member of the Gift of Life-Michigan Governing Board and Black Family Development Inc. She also is an avid contributor to the Advisory Board of Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program, Wayne State University’s Board of Visitors, and a mentor for the Legal Profession Diversity Pipeline Program at Just the Beginning Foundation. Farrell was also a member of the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Detroit Class XVIII, a community leadership program for executives in southeast Michigan.

Farrell earned a law degree from the Detroit College of Law and a B.A. from Wayne State University.

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Western Michigan University Cooley Law School

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School will honor Oakland County 51st District Court Judge Jodi Debbrecht Switalski with the Integrity Award at the Integrity in Our Communities event at noon on Tuesday, March 31.
WMU-Cooley chose Debbrecht Switalski for this award because of the integrity she displays both on the bench and in her professional contributions to the fight against interpersonal violence, substance abuse, addiction and more.

She co-founded the Regional Anti-Drug Education Outreach (RADEO) organization, as well as organized numerous town hall forums and seminars to educate the community on synthetic drugs and opioids. 

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McKeen & Associates PC
McKeen & Associates announced the addition of attorney Kenneth D. Lee as an associate.

Lee, who will focus his practice on personal injury and medical malpractice, is admitted to practice in Michigan, Florida and the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Michigan.  He is a member of the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association and Oakland County Bar Association New Lawyers Committee.

Lee earned his law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School.  He also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications/Marketing from Saginaw Valley State University.

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Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer & Garin P.C.

Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer, & Garin PC Shareholder Sandra Glazier, co-author of “What Every Estate Planner Should Know About Undue Influence: Recognizing It, Insulating Against It…and Litigating It,” along with co-authoring attorneys Thomas Sweeney and Thomas Dixon, will be featured speakers on the topics discussed in this article during the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Spring Symposia in Washington, D.C. during April 30-May 1.

Also, on March 19 this article will be presented to the Advisory Board of the global legal industry publisher Bloomberg BNA for publication consideration in BBNA’s online and printed publications.
An attorney for more than 30 years, Glazier is known for her expertise and successful track record in Probate Litigation, Estate Planning and Family Law. The cases she works on tend to be very complex and require technical and legal expertise.

Glazier is the current vice-chair of the Oakland County Bar Association’s “Probate, Estate & Trust Committee” and chair elect of that committee for 2015-2016. Her articles have been published by some of the legal industry’s leading publications, and she has taught “Valuation for Federal, Estate and Gift Tax Purposes” to students in a Masters level course.

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Sullivan, Ward, Asher, & Patton, P.C.

Sullivan, Ward, Asher, & Patton PC recognizes the promotion of two of its members, Miranda J. Welbourne Eleázar and Jill H. Vandercook to shareholder status.

Their elevation to shareholder status is a result of their contributions and dedication to the firm and the legal profession. 

Welbourne Eleázar became an associate with Sullivan in September, 2010.  She received her law degree from University of Michigan Law School, 2006, and undergraduate degree from University of Michigan, B.A., 2003. 

Welbourne Eleázar’s practice areas include medical malpractice defense; product liability defense; professional liability defense; utility-gas and electric; and ski area defense.  She is also experienced in areas of commercial, pharmaceutical and toxic tort defense.  

Vandercook joined Sullivan in January, 2011.  She received her law degree from Wayne State University, 2004.  Her undergraduate was received from Western Michigan University, B.B.A., Finance, 2000.

Vandercook focuses her litigation practice on medical malpractice defense, primarily on behalf of physicians and dentists.

In addition Sullivan is pleased to announce that Blaine A. Veldhuis has joined the firm’s Employee Benefits, Labor & Employment Law practice group. 

Veldhuis focuses his practice on employee benefits, labor and employment law for multiemployer and municipal retirement systems.  He concentrates his practice on multiemployer benefit fund representation with an emphasis on ERISA and IRC compliance, collection, and litigation.

He received his law degree from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, 2014, and is a graduate of Central Connecticut State University, 2001. 

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Varnum
 The Varnum law firm has announced the opening of its sixth office and second in Southeast Michigan, to be located in downtown Detroit. The new office will be located in the Federal Reserve Building at 160 W. Fort Street and includes the entire fifth floor. The office space is currently undergoing build out and is expected to open in the second quarter of 2015.

For the past nine years, Varnum has served clients in the Metro Detroit area primarily from its office in Novi. That office has grown to more than 30 attorneys, including ten who joined the firm in just the past year. About a half dozen attorneys will move to the new downtown location initially. The firm anticipates continued growth across all offices and particularly in Southeast Michigan, and the new location features room for growth.

Varnum Managing Partner Scott Huizenga said the expansion to downtown is reflective of the firm’s growth strategy as well as a commitment to clients in the region.

“Our investment in this second Southeast Michigan location is driven in large part by a commitment to our growing client base in the Detroit area,” Huizenga said. “This office, with its location in the Financial District and close proximity to several courts, will help us more efficiently serve many of our corporate clients as well as other clients with business in this area.”

As an example, Huizenga noted that Varnum trial attorneys have had 79 cases in Detroit-based federal court in the past year alone. That level of activity is expected to increase, keeping Varnum among the law firms with the highest level of activity in that court, which is within walking distance from the new office.

A downtown Detroit office also provides additional growth opportunities, both through the addition of new clients and as experienced attorneys join the firm, Huizenga said.

“Our attorneys who practice in Southeast Michigan have flourishing, growing practices and many attorneys from our other offices do a significant amount of work with clients in the Metro Detroit area,” Huizenga said. “The general state of the economy and level of opportunity in Southeast Michigan right now is providing the kind of high-level, challenging work on which our attorneys thrive. We are very excited to have a bigger role in this growing market and look forward to having an expanded physical presence.”

Although the office will be new, Varnum is not a stranger to downtown Detroit. For the past three years, Varnum attorneys have held regular office hours at the M@dison Building at the corner of Broadway and Woodward, as part of the firm’s MiSpringboard program. MiSpringboard is a Varnum initiative to provide $1 million in legal services to entrepreneurs and start-up businesses. A significant number of MiSpringboard clients are from Southeast Michigan.

In addition to serving corporate clients and the burgeoning entrepreneurial community, Varnum’s Southeast Michigan client base includes significant work in the financial industry including banking and private equity clients, as well as health care and real estate-focused practices. Varnum’s Southeast Michigan office is also known for its highly-regarded tax practice and strong employment and litigation practices.

The Federal Reserve Building, owned and managed by Bedrock Real Estate Services, underwent extensive renovation two years ago with the Detroit-based architecture firm Rossetti providing lead design work.

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1-800-LAW-FIRM PLLC
1-800-LAW-FIRM PLLC announced the promotion of Kevin O’Connor to chief operating officer to the growing Southfield-based full service law firm.

O’Connor who is a graduate of Wayne State University with a B.S. in Finance joined 1-800-LAW-FIRM in 2013.  Prior to joining 1-800-LAW-FIRM, O’Connor worked as a consultant turning around unprofitable businesses, developing and launching new products, establishing strategic partnerships, and creating strategic business and marketing plans for a wide variety of clients.

Prior to his consulting business, O’Connor spent more than 25 years in the credit union industry holding several positions including CEO for more than 10 years.

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Collins, Einhorn, Farrell

Collins, Einhorn, Farrell PC is pleased to announce that attorney Dylan S. Holland has joined the firm’s Professional Liability Practice Group. Holland will focus his practice on defending professionals from liability claims, including lawyers, accountants, engineers, surveyors and architects.

Prior to joining Collins Einhorn, Holland gained experience in representing lenders in commercial loan originations, including middle market lending, asset based loans, real estate financing and aircraft financing. Holland also enjoyed a successful career in business development for hospitality organizations.

After graduating from Michigan State University in 2006, Holland graduated from Wayne State University Law School in 2013.
Holland is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and the Oakland County Bar Association.

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Quinn Law Group

David Nay has become a shareholder of Quinn Law Group PLLC.

Nay joined the firm in 2010 and focuses his legal practice on all aspects of intellectual property law, with a specific emphasis on patent prosecution, intellectual property portfolio management, advanced design counseling and risk management/mitigation. Nay currently represents companies in a variety of technology areas, including sporting equipment, footwear, automotive systems, surgical diagnostics and robotic control.

Prior to working at Quinn Law Group, Nay worked for several years at a large general practice firm where he represented clients in both patent and trademark infringement matters.

Nay earned B.S.E. and M.S.E. degrees in mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan. He graduated from Michigan State University College of Law.  Nay is admitted to the State Bar of Michigan, and is registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

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