Mike, Jeff and Cherie
Morganroth & Morganroth
Jeff Morganroth knew from a very young age that he was destined for the law. First exposed to the practice of law at the age of four by visiting his father, Mayer “Mike” Morganroth, at his office, Jeff started working at the firm at 16 and continued through college.
“The experience confirmed for me that law would be the profession for me,” he says. “I was drawn to the analytic thinking and the desire to help others seek and obtain justice.”
Working with his father for the past 27 years has been a dream come true for Jeff, who turned his back on job offers from New York firms after graduating from Georgetown Law Center in D.C. in favor of moving home to launch Morganroth & Morganroth in Birmingham with his father, in January 1989.
“My father has been my mentor, partner, father and friend. He is responsible for making me the lawyer and person I am today,” he says.
“My father is the best and brightest, most creative and toughest lawyer I ever have ever known, and I’ve been lucky to work with him all of these years. We’ve built a formidable law firm and he’s been responsible for creating the culture for all to follow. It has been a true joy to work with him, and I know every other member of our team feels the same way.”
Practicing law since graduating from Detroit College of Law (now Michigan State University Law School) in the mid ’50s, Mike Morganroth, a Trustee of MSU Law, has handled such high profile clients as John Z. DeLorean, Dr. Jack Kevorkian, Mayor Coleman A. Young, Christine Beatty, U.S. Representative John Conyers, Roland McMasters, Edward J. Holland, Jr., Quicken Loans, Daniel Gilbert, Michigan Film Coalition, Buddy Greco, Lyndon LaRouche, Geoffrey Fieger and Runaway Pictures, and many lawyers, law firms, judges, politicians, high ranking union officials, professional athletes and celebrities. Jeff Morganroth has served as lead counsel or co-counsel on many of these cases.
Like her brother, Cherie Morganroth got an early exposure to Lady Justice, when she occasionally accompanied her father to court.
“Everything about the courtroom and my father’s demeanor was so serious and important,” she says. “Looking around that room I was in awe of it all, and it made me want to be important someday too. I mostly dreamed of being the judge.”
Studying psychology and philosophy at the University of Michigan, Cherie envisioned herself as a lawyer, judge, therapist, or professor.
“I wasn’t sure which direction to pursue, and my father pointed out that a law degree could lay valuable groundwork for whatever I chose,” she adds. “I know he hoped I would decide to work with him and Jeff someday, but he never pushed. Ultimately, I joined my father and brother’s firm right out of law school, and I’m happy to say I never left.”
According to Cherie, a graduate of Wayne Law who focuses on civil, corporate, and business litigation, alternative dispute resolution, appellate practice, and family law, people always ask her what it’s like to work with family, often adding they could never even imagine doing so.
“But working with my father and brother is one of the things I am most thankful for,” Cherie says. “I learn a tremendous amount from them both, and I appreciate the luxury of being able to spend our workdays in the same office together. Fortunately, we also work very well together professionally. We leave the family dynamics outside the door, and allow our diverse personalities and styles to complement each other and bring different strengths to the practice.”
Mike is immensely proud of his family firm. “What could be better than being in a practice of law with your children and being married to their mother for 57 years? It keeps me going and cherishing every day in every way,” he says.
— Shelia Pursglove
Dennis and Gordon Miller
Miller & Miller
Like the Morganroth siblings, Gordon Miller wanted to emulate his father from an early age.
“I just always presumed I would end up being an attorney,” he says. “Any time I toyed with a different career path, I would inevitably end up realizing that going to law school and practicing law with my father was what I wanted to do.
Gordon and his father Dennis work together at the Law Offices of Miller & Miller in Allen Park, and also have an office in Columbus, Ohio.
A graduate of Detroit College of Law, Dennis has represented several municipalities and currently serves as counsel for the Allen Park Downtown Development Authority, Allen Park Housing Commission, Lincoln Park Housing Commission, River Rouge Housing Commission.
A lifelong resident of downriver, he also has served as counsel to the Allen Park Public Schools, and represented numerous churches, including start-ups, mergers, purchases and sale of real estate, bond financing and litigation defense. In addition, he has expertise in corporate, real estate, bankruptcy, estate planning and probate law.
“I think this career provides the type of variety day-to-day in your schedule so that it doesn’t get old, and also is challenging intellectually, so it’s a great fit,” says Gordon, a Cooley Law alum who interned with the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.
Once Gordon started practicing law, he modeled himself on his father.
“Realizing the reputation he had built over the years and the respect other attorneys had for him made it very easy to understand that I had the perfect role-model for my career and for how I should conduct my practice,” he says. “I often have said, and I truly mean it, that I have the best boss in the world, and working with him every day has been more rewarding than people can possibly know. He’s the best.”
Like his father, Gordon is very involved in the Allen Park community, where he has served as a trustee of the Allen Park Public School District Board of Education since 2004.
— Sheila Pursglove
Clifford DeVine and David DeVine
Clifford DeVine is a key reason why his son David was drawn to a career in law. The pair now works together at Butzel Long in Detroit, where Clifford focuses his practice on commercial litigation, construction litigation, arbitration, and mediation, and David practices in the areas of business litigation and bankruptcy and serves businesses in a wide array of industries, including automotive, banking, construction, and real estate.
“Growing up, I always enjoyed hearing about his work and seeing the way he drew on so many different skill sets in each matter he handled,” David says. “I also saw how genuinely happy he was with his career choice and how he consistently found ways to make a difference to his clients and transform so many of his business relationships into close and lasting friendships.”
A 2006 graduate of Emory University School of Law, David modeled himself on his father – “Not just as a lawyer, but a person,” he says. “He’s the best dad, family man and friend there is, and he has built so much. He’s someone people count on in every aspect of his life.”
David and his father are both University of Michigan alumni, and fans of Wolverine football. They also enjoy golf and family activities.
“Working with David is a dream come true,” says Clifford, an alumnus of Detroit College of Law. “We’re best friends and have complementary skills that make us great teammates. I may have more experience, but David’s analytical and communication skills are substantial, and together we bring different and helpful perspectives to each of the cases we work on.”
The duo is one of three father-son teams at Butzel Long, the others being David and Damien DuMouchel, and Carey and Alex DeWitt.
“I think it’s been hugely rewarding for all of us, and I’m still just as excited about working with my dad as when we first joined forces three years ago,” David says. “He’s my best friend and an irreplaceable mentor, and has an amazing ability to see the human and common sense sides of his cases. I think that’s been a key part of his success as both an advocate and counselor, I’m a better lawyer because of him.”