LEGAL PEOPLE

Couzens Lansky

The law firm of Couzens Lansky, located in Farmington Hills, is pleased to announce that Jack S. Couzens II appeared on the cover of the Leading Lawyers-Michigan Edition insert in the December issue of Crain's Book of Lists 2017. A full page article on Couzens' law career was also included.

Couzens, a shareholder of the firm, has headed the firm's estate planning group since 1978. As a chartered life underwriter, he brings significant knowledge regarding insurance products to his client representation on matters of estate planning and corporate law, employee benefits law and executive compensation. His principal areas of focus include trusts and estates, taxation, probate and trust administration and business and corporate.

Couzens Lansky is also pleased to announce that 14 of its attorneys have been named as leading lawyers by Leadinglawyers.com. The following attorneys from Couzens Lansky have been recognized:

Jack S. Couzens II-Trusts & Estates.

Jerry M. Ellis-Creditor/Debtor Rights.

Donald M. Lansky-Trusts & Estates and Taxation.

Alan C. Roeder-Trusts & Estates and Taxation.

Kathryn Gilson Sussman-Trusts & Estates and Elder Law.

Jeffrey A. Levine-Mergers and Acquisitions.

Lisa J. Walters-Trusts & Estates and Elder Law.

Donald A. Wagner-Banking & Finance.

Gregg A. Nathanson-Real Estate.

Mark G. Landau-Trusts & Estates.

Ronn S. Nadis-Real Estate.

Phillip J. Neuman-Real Estate.

Monica D. Moons-Trusts & Estates.

Gary Schwarcz-Trusts & Estates, Taxation and Business & Corporate.

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Maddin, Hauser, Roth, & Heller PC

Southfield multi-specialty law firm Maddin, Hauser, Roth & Heller PC is pleased to announce the promotion of Gary A. Kravitz to shareholder.

The announcement was made by the firm's President and CEO, Steven D. Sallen.

A member of Maddin Hauser's Real Estate, Corporate and Business, and Tax practice groups, Kravitz represents clients in real estate matters including: property acquisition and disposition; office, retail and industrial lease agreements; option agreements; and real estate related litigation.

Kravitz counsels clients on business law matters including structuring LLCs and corporations, asset and stock purchase transactions, and preparing various documents such as employment, confidentiality, non-compete and shareholder agreements. He also assists clients with financial matters in the areas of lending, foreclosures, workouts and refinancing.

Admitted to the bar in Michigan, Kravitz received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University and earned his law degrees from George Washington University Law School and Wayne State University Law School.

Kravitz serves as vice president of the Six Rivers Land Conservancy, an organization focused on conserving, sustaining and connecting natural areas, lands, and waters.

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United States Attorney's Office

U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade has received Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women's Carolyn Helman Lichtenberg Crest Award in honor of her professional achievements.

The honor is presented annually to a distinguished alumna of Pi Beta Phi who exhibits "excellence and outstanding leadership in her career or volunteer service to her community." The award is named in honor of past Pi Beta Phi president Carolyn Helman Lichtenberg, who was instrumental in forming the Pi Beta Phi Foundation during her term from 1985-91. The Foundation supports leadership development programs and literacy initiatives.

"This award honors my work to combat public corruption and protect civil rights," McQuade said. "Public corruption is harmful because it erodes trust in government and cheats taxpayers out of honest services to which they are entitled. Civil rights are important because they are an essential part of our nation's promise of equal justice under law."

McQuade graduated from the University of Michigan in 1987 with a bachelor's degree in communications and economics. In 1991, she earned her law degree from U-M. After law school, McQuade worked as an attorney in the private sector. She also served as an adjunct professor at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.

McQuade then held several positions within the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Michigan, which serves 6.5 million people living in the eastern half of Michigan's lower peninsula. She served as assistant U.S. attorney and deputy chief of the Counter-Terrorism Unit.

In 2010, McQuade was appointed U.S. attorney for the Eastern District by President Barack Obama, becoming the first woman to serve in the capacity. Upon assuming her new role, she helped restructure the U.S. Attorney's Office to better align talent with priorities and formed a task force to reduce violent crime and improve community relations.

McQuade's career accomplishments include the prosecution of an Al-Qaeda operative, referred to as the "Underwear Bomber," who attempted to detonate explosives hidden in his underwear while onboard a Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas Day 2009. Her office also prosecuted former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and more than 30 of his associates on charges of public corruption and bribery.

In a story that made national news during McQuade's tenure, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Detroit also tried and convicted an Oakland County doctor, Farid Fata, of fraudulently billing Medicare for unnecessary cancer treatments he prescribed for hundreds of patients.

Her office also is currently handling a corruption probe into alleged kickbacks by a local trash hauler (Rizzo Environmental Services) to a number of politicians in Macomb County.

A native of Sterling Heights, McQuade was named a "Michiganian of the Year" by The Detroit News in 2013. In 2015, she received a "Shining Light Award" from The Detroit Free Press in honor of her exemplary regional leadership. Besides being a dedicated public servant, McQuade is a wife and mother of four children.

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Butzel Long

Butzel Long attorneys Bernard (Bernie) J. Fuhs and Michael R. Griffie co-presented a program titled, "Strategies on Presenting (and Defending Against) Economic Damages in Employment Discrimination Cases," during the 34th Annual CLE Conference on January 7th in Snowmass, Colo.

Based in Butzel Long's Detroit office, Fuhs concentrates his practice in the areas of business and commercial litigation. He has significant 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 co-chair of Butzel Long's Diversity, Recruiting and Retention Committee.

Fuhs was named to Crain's Detroit Business' "40 under 40" class and to Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson's Elite 40 Under 40 Class, which includes young thought leaders and trailblazers who live or work in Oakland County and are under the age of 40. He also was selected as a Top Young Lawyer (one of only six attorneys selected in Michigan), as well as a Business Litigation, Trade Secret and Franchise Top Lawyer by DBusiness Magazine. He also was named a Michigan Super Lawyer in 2013 to 2016.

Griffie, who is based in Butzel Long's Detroit office, practices in the areas of labor and employment law, commercial litigation, and higher education law.

He joined Butzel Long with a decade of experience in school leadership, most recently serving as principal of the highly regarded Hamtramck Academy. As principal, he managed school operations and oversaw a $6.6 million budget.

In November, 2014, Griffie received the Michigan Chronicle's 40 under 40 award for his service in education leadership. His community involvement has included serving on the Wayne County Ethics Board (2016) where he was appointed by Wayne County Executive Warren Evans.

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Pitt, McGehee, Palmer, & Rivers

Local attorney Michael Pitt has been selected for the 2017 Distinguished Service Award by the State Bar of Michigan's Labor & Employment Section. Pitt is co-founding partner of Royal Oak-based Pitt, McGehee, Palmer, & Rivers, one of the state's largest firms specializing in civil and employment law.

The award honors a lawyer who has made major contributions to and advanced the practice of employment law; demonstrated a long-established commitment to excellence; and is recognized and respected by constituents in the legal community.

For more than 40 years, Pitt has been a trailblazer in employment law. He has handled major cases which have changed the laws to protect and advance the civil rights of workers.

He has been successful in many landmark employment law actions, including:

- $45 million arbitration award against DTE Energy for1,500 employees alleging race and age discrimination.

- $12 million award against a major employer, including cash and restoration of retiree benefits.

- $10 million award against Ford Motor Company for age discrimination.

- Multi-million-dollar settlement in group age discrimination case representing older employees who were selected for layoff because of their ages.

- $2 million arbitration award against Oakland County Road Commission on behalf of eight employees alleging race discrimination.

- $900,000 judgment against major airline for gender discrimination.

- $750,000 jury verdict in whistleblower case.

- $700,000 settlement on behalf of contract employees retaliated against for complaining of racial discrimination.

- $500,000 verdict in Family Medical Leave Act case.

He and his firm currently represent Flint residents in three class action civil rights lawsuits arising from the city's water crisis. In another high-visibility case, they represent the tens of thousands of state residents wrongly accused of fraud by the State of Michigan.

Pitt is a member and has served in board or leadership positions for: American Bar Association; State Bar of Michigan; Oakland County Bar Association; Wayne State University Law School Board of Visitors; American Civil Liberties Union; National Employment Lawyers Association; Michigan Association for Justice; and Public Justice Foundation.

He has previously been selected by State Bar of Michigan as recipient of its 2014 Champion of Justice Award.

Published: Mon, Jan 30, 2017

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