Legal People ...

Collins, Einhorn, Farrell, PC is pleased to announce that attorney Jason M. Renner has joined the firm’s Professional Liability and General Liability Practice Groups. Renner will focus his practice on the defense of professional and general liability claims. Prior to joining Collins Einhorn, Renner gained experience in representing clients through all stages of litigation, including trial, where he has consistently obtained favorable results.

After graduating from the University of Nebraska in 2006, Renner graduated from Florida State University College of Law in 2009.

Renner currently holds licensures with the State Bar of Illinois, the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, the State Bar of Indiana, and the State Bar of Michigan. He is an active member of the State Bar of Michigan and the Oakland County Bar Association.

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Ogletree Deakins Shareholder Tom Cattel has been elected as a Fellow in the 2014 class of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.

Membership is by nomination only and limited to those who have met the College’s membership qualifications for a period of no less than 20 years.

The membership qualifications include: the highest professional qualifications and ethical standards based on the College’s acclaimed Principles of Civility and Professionalism; the highest level of character, integrity, professional expertise, and leadership; a commitment to fostering and furthering the objectives of the College; sustained, exceptionally high-quality services to clients, the bar, bench, and public; and significant evidence of scholarship, teaching, lecturing, and/or published writings on labor and employment law.

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Warner, Norcross & Judd LLP has named Sean H. Cook as the chair of the firm’s Tax Practice Group.

Cook will lead the group of nearly 20 attorneys who work with publicly traded and privately held companies.  The firm routinely advises corporate and commercial organizations in critical tax areas, including bankruptcy, restructuring, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, cross-border transactions and litigation.

Cook, who is also a certified public accountant, concentrates his practice in corporate and individual tax, estate planning, commercial law and mergers and acquisitions. He has experience with transactions, including business formation, stock and asset sales, tax-free reorganizations and related issues. His practice also includes closely held businesses, trust work, general corporate law and nonprofit and charities law.

Cook is a member of the American Bar Association and the State Bar of Michigan, where he chairs the Taxation Section of the Trusts and Estates Committee.  He is also a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and on the board of the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants. Cook serves on the Walsh College President’s Advisory Council.  He has been named to Best Lawyers in America, Michigan Super Lawyers and as a Top Lawyer by DBusiness magazine. 

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Bodman PLC is pleased to announce that Maureen Rouse-Ayoub has been named chair of the firm’s Workplace Law Practice Group. 

Rouse-Ayoub is a member of Bodman practicing in the firm’s Troy office. She succeeds Steven J. Fishman who headed the Workplace Law Group since 2008. Fishman will continue his full-time legal practice with Bodman. 

Rouse-Ayoub practices in the areas of labor and employment law on behalf of management in the private and public sectors. She has experience representing employers in cases involving claims of discrimination, retaliation, and enforcement of non-competition agreements and breach of fiduciary duty actions in state and federal courts and before state and federal agencies.

She has represented clients in various industries including automotive, health care, logistics, and consulting firms.  She has experience with employment issues unique to hospitals and health care-related entities including contract negotiations, compliance and arbitration.

Rouse-Ayoub joined Bodman in 2008 from The Fishman Group, a nationally-recognized labor and employment law firm that had been based in Bloomfield Hills. She is a graduate of the Detroit College of Law and Madonna University. She has been recognized by Michigan Super Lawyers as one of Michigan’s most highly regarded labor and employment attorneys. 

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Members of the Western Michigan University Alumni Association Board of Directors were elected to serve one-year terms as officers on the association’s 2014-15 Board of Directors, effective July 1.

Local attorney Mercedes Varasteh Dordeski will serve as vice president.  She works in the health care law and False Claims Act practice groups of Foley & Mansfield’s Detroit and Grand Rapids offices.

Dordeski earned a B.A. from WMU in 2003. She was elected to the board in 2009, and has chaired the association’s Legacy Scholarship Committee. She is serving a second term as vice president.

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Paul Thursam, attorney at Giarmarco, Mullins, & Horton PC, has been selected by Leadership Detroit to Class XXXVI 2014-15.

Leadership Detroit is a community leadership program for executives in Southeast Michigan led by the Detroit Regional Chamber with more than 1,800 alumni. Launched in 1979, the program aims to create awareness of key issues that affect the Detroit region and to challenge emerging and existing community leaders to bring about positive change in the community through informed leadership.

Approximately 65 individuals annually participate in the program representing a cross section of the community, including business, organized labor, government, education, media, civic groups, arts and culture, health and human services, and community development organizations.

Thursam is an associate in the firm’s Business Practice Group and Real Estate Practice Group. His legal experience is broad and includes all matters of real estate litigation and transactions, loans and financing, Uniform Commercial Code, and banking transactions and litigation.

As an active member of the Real Property Law Section, Thursam was identified as a Young Millennial Leader by the Section’s Council. He has contributed to the Section’s scholarly publications with articles such as “Limited Liability for Successor Developers,” which appeared in the Section’s eJournal in January 2010, and “Legal Considerations Related to Redevelopment, Reconfiguration and Re-Sale of Failed Condominium Projects and Subdivisions,” which appeared in the Michigan Real Property Review, Spring 201, Volume 37, No. 1. His most recent contribution was an article titled “Beta Test: Proposed Revisions to Section 67(3) of the Condominium Act,” published in 2012.

Thursam is a graduate of the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He received his law degree from Wayne State University Law School.  As a lawyer, Thursam has been named a DBusiness Top Lawyer for 2012-2014, and a Super Lawyers Rising Star for 2012-2014.

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Caroline Grech-Clapper has been chosen as one of 30 outstanding women in Michigan’s legal community as 2014 Women in the Law.  Members of the Women of the Law Class of 2014 were selected by a committee based upon their outstanding professional accomplishments, mentoring of others and community involvement.  The honorees will be recognized at an award ceremony followed by a luncheon on Sept. 11 at the Detroit Marriott in Troy.

Grech-Clapper is an executive partner and member of Secrest Wardle’s Employment, Family Law and Premises Liability Practice Groups. Her primary focus is defending business owners in the areas of Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Employment Policy Handbooks, and Whistleblower Protection Act/Retaliation Claims. 

Grech-Clapper received her law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 2001. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree from Madonna University in 1996. She was admitted to the State Bar of Michigan in 2001, as well as the United States District Court for the Western and Eastern Districts of Michigan.

Grech-Clapper has received the following honors: Who’s Who in North America - 2010; Who’s Who Among American Law Students - 1999; The Sol Siegel Award - 1998; Who’s Who Among American Colleges - 1996.

Grech-Clapper is a vice-president of the Women Officials Network Foundation and has appeared as a featured speaker at the Troy Chamber of Commerce Women’s Business Forum, “Top of Troy: Women of Influence.” She is also a frequent contributor to Secrest Wardle’s newsletter, On the Job, a publication focusing on employment-related issues.

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Corp! Magazine recently announced its 2014 Michigan’s Economic Bright Spots Award Winners and Entrepreneurs of Distinction. Varnum was among those companies recognized as “a driving force in the economy and state’s innovation.” Winners were selected based on their growth over the past year as well as their economic impact on the state of Michigan

Varnum’s MiSpringboard program, through which the firm has committed to give away up to $1 million in legal services to new and developing businesses over a five-year period, factored into its selection for recognition, as did innovations in pricing models designed to deliver budget predictability to clients.

Honorees ranged from small businesses to multi-national corporations, and companies employing less than 10 people to others with several thousand employees. The recognition was marked with a breakfast awards ceremony and symposium at the VisTaTech Center in Livonia. Varnum partner Eric Nemeth accepted the award on behalf of the firm.

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Michael Pitt, of Pitt, McGehee, Palmer, & Rivers, has been selected by the State Bar of Michigan as a recipient of its 2014 Champion of Justice award.

The Champion of Justice award, one of the Bar Association’s most distinguished honors, is given for integrity and adherence to the highest principles and traditions of the legal profession, extraordinary individual accomplishments and commitment to causes that benefit national, state or local communities. Pitt is receiving one of five Champion of Justice awards given this year.

Pitt has been long recognized as one of the preeminent civil and employment rights attorneys in the region and nationally. Over the past 20 years, Pitt and his firm have been successful in winning just legal decisions and gaining multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements in numerous high-profile employment and civil rights cases. Pitt was co-counsel for the female prisoners who were awarded $100 million dollars for sexual abuse in the well-known Neal vs. Michigan Department of Corrections class action suit.

In 2013, Pitt was selected as Lawyer of the Year in Employment Law by Best Lawyers and as a Leader in the Law by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. He has been repeatedly recognized as a Super Lawyer and named to the U.S. News and World Report’s Best Lawyers in America.

Pitt has served in board and leadership positions for numerous organizations, including American Bar Association, State Bar of Michigan, Oakland County Bar Association, Wayne State University Law School Board of Visitors and Public Justice Foundation. He has also served on the Judicial Task Force on the Election of Michigan Supreme Court Justices.

In addition, he and his firm have provided financial support and pro bono counsel to the American Civil Liberties Union for many years. Pitt and his wife, Peggy, also have endowed a scholarship which is awarded yearly to a Wayne State law student with a severe disability.

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