Legal People

Secrest Wardle
The International Association of Special Investigative Units, Michigan Chapter, (IASIU) held its fall seminar, “FRAUD: Is it Blue & Black, White & Gold or Just Wrong?” at the Schoolcraft College Vista Tech Center in Livonia on October 8.  Margaret Scott, an executive partner located in Secrest Wardle’s Troy office, presented “Auto Insurance Claim Investigations,” describing auto theft-related insurance fraud investigation techniques. 

During her presentation, Scott emphasized the importance of conducting a thorough investigation through the use of experts in claims involving arson and staged crashes.  Scott is a member of Secrest Wardle’s Motor Vehicle Litigation, Municipal, and Property, Fire and Casualty Practice Groups.

IASIU is a non-profit organization of insurance fraud investigators, law enforcement agents, and insurance professionals dedicated to combating insurance fraud.  The organization’s mission is carried out through its efforts to provide comprehensive training to the insurance and law enforcement industries, through creating greater awareness of the insurance fraud problem and by supporting anti-fraud legislation.  For information regarding the Michigan Chapter of IASIU, visit

Scott served as an Oakland County assistant prosecuting attorney from 1988 to 2008.  The majority of her career at the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office was spent as a special prosecutor, where she was elevated to the office of Chief of the Auto Theft Unit in 1996.  As a felony trial prosecutor, Scott prosecuted crimes involving insurance fraud, identity theft, embezzlement, and arson of insured property.  During her time with the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office she successfully prosecuted nearly 100% of the cases assigned to the Auto Theft Unit. 

Scott obtained her B.A. from Michigan State University in Criminal Justice and Psychology.  She received her law degree from Wayne State University Law School, and was admitted to the State Bar of Michigan in 1988.  She is licensed in all Michigan courts.

Scott has been recognized by her peers for her dedication to the fight against auto theft and insurance fraud. She has received the Bob Sattler Award by the North Central Regional Chapter (NCRC) of the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators (IAATI.)  She received an Award for Professional Excellence for services provided to the Michigan State Police characterized by outstanding performance of duty and a personal commitment to the excellence associated with the prosecution of a Western Wayne Auto Theft Unit Investigation. Scott is a past recipient of the William V. Liddane Award by the Help Eliminate Auto Theft (H.E.A.T.) Organization in recognition of her advocacy in reducing auto-theft related crimes in Michigan.  Scott has recently been recognized among the Michigan Lawyers Weekly 2015 Class of “Women in the Law.” 

Scott is a member of the following associations:

• North Central Regional Chapter-International Association of Auto Theft Investigators.

• Michigan Chapter-International Association of Arson Investigators.

• Michigan Arson Prevention Committee.

• Michigan Help Eliminate Auto Theft Committee.

In addition, Javon R. David has joined Secrest Wardle’s Troy location.   David represents insurers, corporations, and individuals in a broad spectrum of general liability defense matters, including first- and third-party motor vehicle litigation, premises liability, and all areas of personal injury.

David is admitted to practice law in the State of Michigan and the United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan. She is also a certified mediator through the American Bar Association. 

David earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan-Dearborn, with concentrations in History, Political Science, and Psychology.  She received her law degree from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law in 2013.

Secrest Wardle also announces that the Women Officials Network (WON) Foundation presented its Quarterly Networking Breakfast at the Doyle Center in Bloomfield Hills on December 4.  Guest speaker for the event was Doreen Olko, Chief of Police for the City of Auburn Hills. 

In attendance from Secrest Wardle’s Troy office were Caroline A. Grech-Clapper, executive partner; Margaret A. Scott, executive partner; and Renee T. Townsend, partner.  Grech-Clapper is currently serving as vice-president of WON Foundation.  Scott is a member of the Foundation.


Potestivo & Associates P.C.

Potestivo & Associates PC announces the opening of their new Michigan office located in downtown Rochester. The expansion is due largely to the trust their clients have placed with the firm. Augmentation of their team and facilities allows the firm to better service their clients’ compliance and security requirements. Their newest Rochester location offers state-of-the-art technology providing for a secure, cutting-edge facility.

The new office is located at 251 Diversion St. in Rochester.

“We look forward to being a part of the ongoing evolution of Downtown Rochester,” said President and Managing Attorney, Brian A. Potestivo. “The new office has a new look—combining the new with the traditions that have made our firm a success.”

The firm also maintains full-service operations in Rochester Hills, Grand Rapids, and Chicago.


Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss, P.C.

Michigan-based Jaffe, Raitt, Heuer, & Weiss PC recently announced that it is growing its Detroit presence with a move of its existing Downtown Detroit location to a new location in the historic Grand Park Centre building and the relocation and addition of a number of Jaffe attorneys covering multiple specialties.  Jaffe CEO William Sider made the announcement.

“Our clients are more active in Detroit than ever before and this new office will allow us to provide them with the highest level of support and service,” said Sider.  “Many of them are at the forefront of reshaping the city.  They are driving growth and commerce, building and redeveloping real estate, and expanding their physical footprint.  Our relocated office will not only provide those clients with better and more efficient access to our services, it will better position Jaffe for the rapid development we see in the medical, technology, IP, manufacturing and entrepreneurial start-up areas.  We look forward to working with our clients from our new Detroit office, as well as our existing locations in Southfield, Ann Arbor and Naples.”

Built in 1922, the 18-story, 180,000-square-foot building was originally constructed as the world headquarters for Stroh’s Brewing Company.  It is located just steps away from Grand Circus Park and a short walk from Comerica Park, Ford Field and the Detroit Red Wings new arena and entertainment district.

“The firm was founded in Detroit in 1968 and we are still very much rooted in the city,” said founding partner Ira Jaffe.  “The energy in Detroit today mirrors the entrepreneurial spirit that has driven our firm’s growth for the last 47 years.  Our new office will reflect that spirit and our commitment to supporting both the needs of our clients and the greater community.”

Jaffe expects to move from its current office in the Guardian Building to its new space in Grand Park Centre in February 2016.


Plunkett Cooney

Plunkett Cooney was recently named in two legal industry magazines as one of the top law firms servicing corporate America.

The firm’s top tier designation, which is based on feedback from the annual survey of executives from Fortune 100 companies, was published by American Lawyer Media in a feature article, titled: “Who Represents America’s Biggest Companies 2015,” appearing in their flagship magazines Corporate Counsel and The American Lawyer.

“This is a tribute to the excellent work of our attorneys and support staff,” said Plunkett Cooney President and CEO, Henry B. Cooney. “To be named directly by some of the largest and most successful companies in the world as one of their primary law firms is a direct reflection on the efforts our attorneys and staff make every day to protect their clients’ interests and to obtain the right results.”

Plunkett Cooney was one of only nine firms identified in the annual nationwide survey that received 11 unprompted mentions from Fortune 100 in-house corporate counsel when they were asked to identify the firms they use most for tort, contract and intellectual property litigation.

Established in 1913, Plunkett Cooney employs 150 attorneys in nine Michigan cities and one each in Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana.


Bodman PLC

Bodman PLC is pleased to announce that Michael M. Antovski, a member of the firm’s Tax and Business practice groups, has been appointed chair of the Taxation Section of the State Bar of Michigan.

With more than 1,200 members, the Taxation Section is one of the largest groups within the State Bar of Michigan. It includes tax practitioners from private practice law firms, accounting firms, corporate law departments, government, and law schools. The Taxation Section serves its members and the public through education and leadership in efforts to achieve an equitable, efficient, and workable tax system.

At Bodman, Antovski concentrates his practice in representing business clients, including corporations, LLCs, and partnerships, in matters involving tax planning, acquisitions and dispositions, and general corporate law. He has spoken to various professional groups and contributed to the Institute of Continuing Legal Education on topics involving tax planning and corporate law.
Antovski has been recognized by Michigan Super Lawyers as a Rising Star in Business/Corporate, M&A, and Tax Law. He served two terms as chair and one term as vice chair of the Oakland Country Bar
Association Tax Committee.


Detroit Land Bank Authority

The Detroit Land Bank Authority Board has appointed Carrie Lewand-Monroe as executive director of the DLBA. Lewand-Monroe is qualified to handle the day to day operations at the DLBA and has been acting executive director since October 12 of this year.   An attorney, Lewand-Monroe has had a lengthy and successful career creating land use and housing policy.  

In addition to her previous role as principal director of the Detroit Land Bank, Lewand-Monroe previously served as director of Policy at Detroit Future City, and as executive director of the Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority under former Governor Jennifer Granholm.           

Lewand-Monroe joined the DLBA in February of 2014, and has previously held the positions of senior advisor, and deputy director for Acquisitions & Land Reuse, and principal director of disposition.    Lewand-Monroe was responsible for the oversight of the city’s Hardest Hit Fund demolition program, which has resulted in thousands of demolitions, and has been recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency as a national model for safe environmental practices in demolition.   She also has overseen the DLBA side lot program, which has put more than 2700 side lots into the hands of neighbors, and back into productive use.  She also helped to create the auction site, which has led to over 500 homes being purchased and renovated in neighborhoods all across the city. 


Wayne State University Law School

An essay by Wayne State University Law School Distinguished Professor Robert A. Sedler is included in the recently published book “Reclaiming Integration and the Language of Race in the ‘Post-Racial’ Era.”
Sedler’s essay, “Integration and Equal Educational Opportunity in the ‘Post Racial’ Era,” discusses the school integration cases Sedler has litigated over the years, particularly the Louisville-Jefferson County cross-district busing case where a court-ordered desegregation plan was put into effect in 1975 and then was voluntarily accepted by the community.

“Since the overwhelming number of African-American and Hispanic children are enrolled in large and heavy minority and predominantly lower-income large urban school districts, the objective of achieving equal educational opportunity – or perhaps more accurately, improved educational opportunity – for these children must focus on substantially improving the quality of education now provided by the large urban school districts in which these children are enrolled,” Sedler concludes in his essay.

The book, which includes essays from influential scholars, is edited by Dr. Curtis L. Ivery, chancellor of Wayne County Community College District, and Joshua A. Bassett, director of the community college’s Institute for Social Progress.

A faculty member at Wayne Law since 1977, Sedler teaches courses in Constitutional Law and Conflict of Laws. He earned a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh and previously was a law professor at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.

Sedler, an internationally known constitutional law expert, has litigated a large number of civil rights and civil liberties cases in Michigan, Kentucky and elsewhere and has published extensively.


Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC

Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC is pleased to announce that Emily E. Bennett, Paul T. Engel, Sam A. Fares, Steven M. Van Beek, and Daniel L. Villaire Jr. have all become shareholders in the firm.

Emily E. Bennett concentrates her practice in civil litigation with an emphasis on commercial, class action, patent infringement, and employment disputes. Prior to joining Howard & Howard, she worked as a judicial law clerk for United States Magistrate Judge Morton Denlow, Northern District of Illinois (ret).

Paul T. Engel concentrates his practice in intellectual property law with a focus on obtaining and enforcing patents and trademarks, with a particular emphasis on patent preparation, prosecution and opinion work in the chemical and mechanical arts.

Sam A. Fares concentrates his practice in intellectual property law with a focus on patent preparation, prosecution, and clearance work in the electrical and computer arts.

Steven M. Van Beek concentrates his practice in the area of financial regulations. He represents credit unions throughout the country to help ensure they comply with the regulations and guidance issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the National Credit Union Administration, the Federal Reserve Board as well as the underlying legal statutes.

Daniel L. Villaire Jr. concentrates his practice in labor and employment law. He represents public and private employers in individual and class/collective actions, including cases involving the FMLA, the ADA, the ADEA, Title VII, the FLSA, the EEOC, union grievance arbitrations, employment agreements and assists employers with the administration and negotiation of collective bargaining agreements.