Crunching numbers


Photos courtesy of Deanna Deldin

Attorney draws on financial experience in corporate law

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

With a B.B.A. in accounting from the University of Michigan-Dearborn, Deanna Deldin always enjoyed math and the logic of problem solving.

“The logic part is a bit ironic to me now since, in connection with my work, I’m consistently reviewing the tax code and underlying regulations, which don’t always seem so logical,” says Deldin, a senior attorney with the Corporate Practice Group of Clark Hill’s Detroit office.

Her background in accounting and business made corporate law a natural fit.

“I stumbled upon tax-exempt law when I was a new associate and eager for work — I routinely asked a partner down the hall for work and received assignments dealing with nonprofits,” she says. “I love the work and the clients since I get to help clients help the greater community. And I’ve met so many kind-hearted and creative people who want to solve problems in unique and collaborative ways.”

She has worked with and advised a variety of tax-exempt clients, including cultural institutions such as libraries and museums, governmental entities, public charities, private foundations, community development corporations and other social, civic and religious groups; and obtained federal tax-exempt status for a new nonprofit corporation established to minimize the effects on children resulting from water contamination.   

She also has assisted foundations throughout Michigan as they maneuver governance and grant-making issues relating to nonprofit hospitals converting to for-profit status.

“The projects have been interesting because they deal with unique questions relating to support of charitable purposes and how best to accomplish them without jeopardizing tax-exempt status,” she says.
She finds it fun to work with organizations interested in engaging millennials and Generation X.

“Organizations recognize that young professionals are the next generation of community leaders and I’ve been able to provide counsel regarding a structure to engage young leadership,” she says.
Deldin found it easy to choose law as a career.

“My father is a lawyer, and I grew up admiring his work ethic and determination, persuasiveness and judgment,” she says.

She earned her J.D., cum laude, from Wayne State University Law School, where she enjoyed the diversity and sense of community.

“I attended Wayne Law when a lot of the development in Detroit was beginning so it was also great to be in and see the revival of the area,” she says.

As a member of Moot Court, she earned a number of awards for her brief writing and oralist skills, and enjoyed presenting arguments at competition.

“Presenting my arguments before a panel of highly respected judges, attorneys, and professors taught me so much about advocacy and communication, invaluable skills for a lawyer whether advocating in or out of the courtroom,” she says.  

An externship to the Hon. Antonio P. Viviano, chief judge of the Macomb County 16th Judicial Circuit Court, provided insight and practical knowledge of the inner workings of the judicial system.

“I’m grateful for the staff and all of the attorneys and other professionals who shared their time and talent to teach and educate the externs,” she says.

A native of Grosse Pointe Woods, Deldin now makes her home in Grosse Pointe City with her husband, Marc, an attorney in Mt. Clemens, whom she met in law school. 

“We have two young daughters, Emma and Caitlyn, who keep us on our toes and with a smile on our face, and we have two mischievous beagles, Shelby and Nino,” she says. “I love family time, music, and the outdoors.  I’m also a bit of a Disney World fanatic.”

Deldin, who enjoys the greater Detroit area for its people and their creativity, serves on the board of the Accounting Aid Society, a local charity providing tax assistance and other services for middle to low income families, seniors, and others in need; and previously was a board member and member of the Finance Committee and Governance Committee for The Lake House—A Gathering Place for Those Touched by Cancer.

“I’m honored to volunteer my time and share my expertise to promote such wonderful causes in the community,” she says.