Helping hand - Bodman attorney relishes his pro bono opportunities

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By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

At the start of his legal career, Noel Ravenscroft clerked at a creditor’s rights law firm. New to the topic, he read and absorbed as much information as possible—sparking a genuine interest and leading to his career in this niche.   

“These matters affect everyone on an almost daily basis and are complex areas of the law that provide me with a challenging career,” says Ravenscroft, a senior associate attorney with Bodman PLC in Detroit.   

“I enjoy learning something new every day and the expansiveness of this area allows me to continue to do that.”   

Ravenscroft joined the Banking Practice Group and the Bankruptcy and Debtor-Creditor Rights Practice Group in the firm’s Detroit office in December, after practicing bankruptcy law and real estate law for nearly 5 years with two boutique law firms. He represents financial institutions and other secured and unsecured creditors in connection with commercial bankruptcy issues and disputes.   

He also has experience representing corporate clients in a wide range of commercial and business law matters involving breach of contract, commercial collections, complex business transactions, foreclosures, and other transactions and disputes; and has represented financial institutions, mortgage lenders and servicers, and municipal entities in real estate law matters and related litigation.

In one memorable case, Ravenscroft defended a creditor in a bankruptcy preference action that went to trial.

“The facts were not particularly unusual, but after the plaintiff rested its case, I recognized the plaintiff failed to present many of the basic facts and ultimately failed to meet its burden of proof,” he says. “Prior to arguing my defense, I sought an oral motion for a judgment on the partial findings. In response, the judge sought further briefing on the oral motion, but only days later the plaintiff sought to settle the matter for a very de minimis amount.”

A graduate of Central Michigan University, Ravenscroft earned his J.D., cum laude, from WMU-Cooley Law School, where he was active in Moot Court and served on the editorial board of Law Review.   

“Cooley Law is a great school and I had a very positive experience there,” he says. “One thing that shapes their program is that all of the professors are or were practicing attorneys. Being taught by people with personal real-life experience and practical examples helped me accurately learn the legal concepts I studied, and helped keep the rigorous coursework engaging.   

“Being on Law Review kept me in tune with the legal ‘hot topics’ of the time and helped me hone my writing skills and critical thinking. Moot Court forced me to stand up in front of my classmates and make oral arguments. Being able to effectively communicate is a must in any career and this experience helped me develop that early on.”

When considering careers during undergrad at CMU, where he majored in political science, limiting himself to one field of study made Ravenscroft a little apprehensive.

“As I began to focus on the big question, ‘What do I want to do with the rest of my life,’ I knew I wanted a career that allows for lifelong learning,” he says. “I was always interested in studying law and felt reassured a law degree could be used in many different career paths.

“I like that an attorney needs to understand the law as well as his client’s business. Studying and practicing law has exposed me to many different businesses and industries, as well as the diverse areas of law that impact my clients. I find this variety both stimulating and challenging.”

A volunteer attorney at Legal Aid and Defender Association, and with the Oakland County Bar Family Law Assistance Project, Ravenscroft was delighted to find that Bodman encourages and supports pro bono work through its policies, its long-standing Pro Bono Committee, and its employment of a full time Pro Bono Counsel, who manages the firm’s pro bono program.

“The additional support an attorney can offer to community groups, charities and individuals through pro bono work can often be the thing that makes the difference for them,” Ravenscroft says. “The outcome of legal matters is often life-changing for real people who need help. The complexity of the law can make these situations overwhelming for many people who cannot afford representation. Without attorney assistance, they may not receive any additional support.

“Being able to use my skills to effectively help a client or organization through a complicated legal process, getting to see their lives or organizations positively impacted in the end, is one of the most rewarding ways I can help make a difference and give back to the community I’m a part of.”

Ravenscroft also helps run a nonprofit organization, Friends of St. Nick, an organization that provides children experiencing poverty with basic necessities and holds special events to give them a chance to experience major holidays in a way that would not otherwise be possible.

A native of Richmond, to the northeast of Detroit, Ravenscroft continues to make his home there, with his wife (and high school sweetheart) Natalie, and their two children, 2-year-old Owen and 6-month-old Emma. In his leisure time, Ravenscroft enjoys the outdoors, hunting, fishing, and driving recreational vehicles.

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