West Michigan law leaders a diverse group

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by Cynthia Price
Legal News

“It was interesting to me: I noticed we in West Michigan had a number of litigators named and that there were more women than men honored. I thought both those things were kind of cool... We had four women litigators on the list,” says Eugenie B. Eardley about this year’s 2019 Leaders in the Law honorees.

The 30 Leaders in the Law named by Michigan Lawyers Weekly  from around the state recognize seven from West Michigan, including two from Kalamazoo.

According to Michigan Lawyers Weekly Associate Publisher Charlene Boccaccio, the choices are made by a committee within the publishing firm. As many know, Leaders in the Law cohort then chooses its own Lawyer of the Year from among the honorees, which will be announced this week when the leaders are honored April 18 in Troy.

Leaders in the Law must have significant accomplishments/achievements in practice; outstanding contributions to the improvement and practice of the law; and contribute improvements to the legal community and their own geographic communities. West Michigan awardees include:

Danielle Mason Anderson, the resident director of Miller Canfield’s  Kalamazoo office and a member of the firm’s management team, was the subject of a recent (March 27) Grand Rapids Legal News article. She has been with Miller Canfield since 2003.

Anderson’s legal focus is on assisting corporate clients in the areas of bankruptcy, restructuring and insolvency, representing financial institutions. She has a particular emphasis on commercial litigation and resolution of creditors’ rights disputes, including loan enforcements, and also does general litigation in the area of collections, loans, and defaults.

A Kalamazoo native, Anderson attended Michigan State University for undergraute, and Boston’s Northeastern University School of Law for her J.D.

“In addition to honing my legal skills, I dedicate time to being a leader in the legal profession,” she says. “I believe strongly in leadership through service – whether it be in my community, the legal community or in my firm. I am humbled to be included in such an esteemed group of recipients.”

Jennie Boldish Bryan is a highly experienced family lawyer, both a litigator and mediator. She recently joined McShane & Bowie (see Grand Rapids Legal News 10/17/18) PLC, Grand Rapids, after a career at such firms as RizzoBryan and Smith Haughey.

With a business degree from Stetson University in Florida and a J.D. from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Bryan is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) and has won many other awards, including the Michael S. Barnes Pro Bono Award from Legal Aid of Western Michigan.

“I was really happy to receive this, because there’s no fee involved in these awards, unlike some of them. Quite a few people were vying for this recognition, and it’s a big accolade,” she comments, adding that she feels one of the reasons for her receiving it may be  that she does a lot of mentoring and teaching, including through ICLE and the AAML.

Andrea D. Crumback of Mika Meyers agrees. “In reading the biographies of the others selected, I am humbled and honored to have been named as a Leader in the Law.  I am also challenged and inspired by the accomplishments of the others named and of so many of my colleagues in the legal community.” Crumback says. “I have surrounded myself with a top-notch team of dedicated people who are willing to go the extra mile to assist me in producing the best possible work product. I am blessed to work with such a group.”

Crumback practices in the area of civil litigation, with a concentration in general corporate, construction and personal injury matters, as well as in local taxation matters. She attended the University of Michigan for her B.A. in Political Science and Wayne State University Law School.

Eugenie B. Eardley is a small firm practitioner at Eardley Law Offices in Rockford with a big reputation in representing plaintiffs. She focuses on medical and legal malpractice, employment discrimination, and some personal injury. She attended Georgetown University for both her degrees, her undergraduate from the School of Foreign Service, and her J.D. from Georgetown Law. She comes originally from Maryland and started her practice out in Virginia.

Along the way, she worked for various Congressmen and as a legislative director for a U.S. Senator.  She also served under  Secretary of Education William J. Bennett at the U.S. Department of Education and in the Reagan White House.

Active in the Michigan Association for Justice, Eardley says, “I think I’m now at the point where I have the respect of the other [defense] side [defense lawyers]. I’m more than a nine-to-five-er, I see it as my job to make the law better.”

Many awards have recently come to Warner Norcross + Judd’s Timothy L. Horner. Many of them result from long-term work that he and the team at Warner did to enable the Gordie Howe International Bridge between Detroit and Canada, which came to fruition when construction began recently.

“I’m honored by this, and I greatly appreciate the recognition,” Horner says. “A lot of opportunities have opened up because of my involvement with the Gordie Howe bridge, which is the largest public-private partnership ever in Michigan, and one of the largest and most complex infrastructure projects in all of North America.”

Serving as chair of the Infrastructure and Public-Private Partnership Industry Group at Warner, he also has worked for over 20 years advising charitable organizations.

Lawrence J. Murphy of Varnum is a well-known employment litigation attorney  concentrating on the defense of individuals and organizations in employment litigation, including matters involving discrimination, harassment, wrongful discharge, and employment contracts.

He is a former managing partner of Varnum, and was instrumental in launching the successful MiSpringboard program which helps starting entrepreneurs.

“I am truly honored to be chosen among all of the outstanding practitioners whom I have had the privilege of knowing over my career,” Murphy says.

Michael R. Williams, Bush Seyferth & Paige, Kalamazoo is also a litigator and the head of the firm’s Kalamazoo office. His focus is on complex litigation including class actions, mass actions, multidistrict litigation, and government enforcement actions. Formerly with two Washington D.C. firms, Williams is a graduate of George Washington University Law School and clerked for federal trial and appellate court judges.

Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s Boccaccio says that this year the publication will start a tradition of naming attorneys to a Hall of Fame. Honorees will be announced April 24 leading up to a luncheon in May.

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