Legal People ...

Potestivo & Associates PC is pleased to announce the hiring of Elizabeth Kanous. She joined the attorney team on Monday, August 24. Kanous is located at the firm’s Rochester Hills office as supervising attorney, primarily serving the Bankruptcy Department.

Kanous completed her B.S. at Grand Valley State University in 2003, where she majored in computer information systems. She went on to earn her law degree at University of Detroit Mercy School of Law in 2007.

Kanous previously spent two years representing consumers in Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Most recently, she served as an associate attorney for a local firm representing creditors in bankruptcy. She has focused on the local bankruptcy community by devoting her time and effort to local bankruptcy events and initiatives.

Kanous’ professional interests include personal and corporate reorganizations. She is also a member of several professional organizations, including, the American Bankruptcy Institute, the Consumer Bankruptcy Institute, and Upsilon Pi Epsilon: Honor Society for Computer Science. Kanous also enjoys participating in numerous organized charity bike rides, 5Ks to support the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, the Detroit Zoo, and St. Jude.

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Farmington Hills-based Fabian, Sklar, & King PC, a law firm focused on representing plaintiffs in fire injury, explosion and property damage cases, announced that shareholder Stuart Sklar was selected by the United States Department of Justice to provide training to state and federal prosecutors at regional conferences in Washington, D.C., New Hampshire, Milwaukee and Las Vegas on how to effectively use and cross-examine fire investigators in cases involving the origin and cause of fires and explosions. Fabian, Sklar, & King Founding Shareholder Michael Fabian made the announcement.

Sklar, who has successfully litigated hundreds of fire and explosion cases, is a principal member of the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Technical Committee on Fire Investigations responsible for NFPA 921 Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations, as well as the NFPA’s Technical Committee on Fire Investigator Professional Qualifications responsible for NFPA 1033, Standard for Professional Qualifications for Fire Investigator, both of which are recognized internationally as authoritative texts for the investigation of fires and explosions.

Sklar is a co-founder of the International Symposium on Fire and Investigation Science and Technology, has been selected as a Michigan “Super Lawyer” by Law & Politics Magazine every year since 2006, has received the “Top Lawyer” award in DBusiness magazine, has been honored as a “Best Lawyers in America” in both the Insurance Law and Personal Injury Litigation categories, and was named a “Leader in the Law” in 2013 by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. Sklar was also the first attorney to be presented with the National Association of Fire Investigators’ “Distinguished Service Award” for his “decades of unswerving and selfless dedication and exceptional service toward the advancement of the fire investigation profession by promoting and providing excellence in training, education quality, expertise and professionalism of our vocation.”

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Butzel Long immigration law attorney Reginald A. Pacis was among a group of experts who were invited to testify during a Michigan Law Revision Commission Meeting on August 26 in Lansing. The focus of the meeting was to discuss the impact of immigration issues on the State of Michigan’s driver’s license issuing practices and access to driver’s licenses or state identification in Michigan for applicants authorized to stay in the U.S. Participants were invited to provide analysis and offer key insight to the Commission on this matter.

Based in Butzel Long’s Detroit office, Pacis concentrates his practice in immigration law and has handled a variety of immigration matters including H-1B specialty occupation cases, L-1 Intracompany transfers, Labor Certification matters, Immigrant Visa Petitions/Adjustment of Status applications and interviews, TN Free trade cases, H-1B Department of Labor Investigations, I-9 employer verification compliance, and U.S. Port of Entry airport and land port interviews.

Pacis was named Immigration Lawyer of the Year 2013 in the field of Immigration Law by The Best Lawyers in America and has been listed in Best Lawyers for several years. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), and the Samahang Pilipino Ng Oakland Filipino organization. He served two consecutive one-year terms from 2003 to 2005 as chairperson of the Michigan Chapter of AILA and was a member of the AILA National Board of Governors for those terms. Pacis previously served as Secretary (2001 to 2003) and membership chairperson of the Michigan Chapter of AILA (1998 to 2003).

He has been a speaker on immigration topics at many business, Hispanic, and Filipino presentations. Pacis has served in a variety of committees in the Filipino community and is a member of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce of Michigan. He completed an appointment by former Governor Granholm for service on the Advisory Committee for Asian Pacific American Affairs (ACAPAA).  He served on the Michigan AILA Advocacy Committee from 2007 to 2010. 

Pacis previously served as chairperson of the Michigan AILA Committee responsible for liaison with the Michigan Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Agency, a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security presiding over inspections and security of the U.S. border, from 2005 to 2007.

His service expanded to the AILA National CBP liaison Committee as a member and vice chair and chair. He presently serves on the AILA United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) National Benefits Center Liaison Committee.

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A total of 64 Varnum attorneys were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in the 2016 edition of The Best Lawyers in America®. Attorneys from each of Varnum’s five offices across Michigan were selected to the list.

The list of local Varnum attorneys in Novi included in the Best Lawyers in America 2016 are:

• Thomas H. Bergh: Trusts and Estates, Litigation – Trusts & Estates.
• Dennis Devaney: Employment Law – Management, Labor Law – Management.
• Richard T. Hewlett: Commercial Litigation, Construction Law, Litigation - Construction.
• Richard A. Hooker: Employment Law – Management, Labor Law – Management, Litigation – Labor & Employment.
• Paul L.B. McKenney: Litigation & Controversy – Tax, Tax Law.
• David K. McLeod: Banking and Finance Law.
• Eric M. Nemeth: Litigation & Controversy – Tax.
• Brett Rendeiro: Commercial Litigation.

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Dickinson Wright PLLC is pleased to announce that attorney Edward H. Pappas will receive the 2015 State Bar of Michigan’s Roberts P. Hudson Award in October.

Pappas is chairman of Dickinson Wright and is a member in the firm’s Troy office. He focuses his practice in the areas of commercial and business litigation, arbitration and mediation. 

Pappas is a Fellow in the International Society of Barristers, the Litigation Counsel of America, and the American College of Civil Trial Mediators. He is a member, arbitrator and mediator of and for the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals, the International Institute for Conflict Preservation and Resolution, and the American Arbitration Association. He is a past president and a former member of the Board of Commissioners of the State Bar of Michigan.

In 2011, Pappas received the Champion of Justice Award from the State Bar. He currently serves on the State Bar’s 21st Century Practice Task Force.  

Pappas received his B.B.A. from the University of Michigan and his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School.

The 2015 Roberts P. Hudson Award will be conferred upon Mr. Pappas during the State Bar of Michigan’s Annual Meeting, which will take place on October 7-9  in Novi.

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Neuman Anderson PC, a Birmingham-based business law firm specializing in complex commercial litigation, announced that the firm was recognized as one of only ten small law firms as a “2015 Circle of Excellence” honoree by the State Bar of Michigan.

Neuman Anderson earned the “Leadership Level” distinction, which is an honor reserved for law firms of two or more attorneys with 100 percent aggregate contributions at the pro bono voluntary standard level of 30 hours or $500 per attorney average in financial donations.

In addition to contributing $500 per lawyer to the Access to Justice Fund, Neuman Anderson lawyers donated numerous hours to pro bono efforts, through either direct representation of clients in need or by assisting in the expansion of legal education programs for new lawyers and law students. These notable efforts include pro bono representation to individuals in need through the Oakland County Bar Association’s Pro Bono Mentor Match Program, the Family Law Assistance Project at the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, Wayne State Law School’s Advocates for Warriors program and the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law’s American Inns of Court program.

Neuman Anderson attorneys are actively involved in the community, with each lawyer serving on multiple boards and associations throughout the state of Michigan. In addition to pro bono work, each attorney is called upon as experts in their fields and regularly contributes to speaking and educational engagements in their fields of practice.

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Old National Bancorp has elected Wayne State University Law School Professor Katherine E. White to its Corporate Board of Directors.

White has taught at Wayne Law since 1996. She was a market board member for United Bank and Trust for 11 years, which was assumed into Old National Bancorp in 2014 as part of a cash and stock merger. She since has been serving on the Old National Bank Advisory Board for the central Michigan market.

White earned a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering and computer science from Princeton University, a law degree from the University of Washington, a master of laws degree in intellectual property law from the George Washington University Law School and a master of strategic studies degree from the U.S. Army War College.

From 1995 to 1996, she was a judicial law clerk to U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Randall R. Rader.

From 2000 to 2002, she was appointed by the secretary of commerce to serve on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Patent Public Advisory Committee. She also was appointed by the secretary of agriculture to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Plant Variety Protection Office Advisory Board serving from 2004 to 2008, 2010 to 2012 and 2015 to present.

White was elected to the University of Michigan Board of Regents in 1998 and re-elected in 2006 and 2014. Her term expires Jan. 1, 2023.

She is also a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army serving in the Michigan Army National Guard as the command judge advocate for the 46th Military Police Command in Lansing. In her previous two military assignments, she was in the U.S. Army Reserve serving as an instructor of law at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., and as the reserve associate dean of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School. On active duty, she was in the Chief Counsel of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Honors Program serving as the intellectual property counsel for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

White is a Fulbright senior scholar (Germany), a White House fellow (2001 to 2002) and a registered patent attorney.

Old National Bancorp is the largest financial services holding company headquartered in Indiana, and, with $12.1 billion in assets, ranks among the top 100 banking companies in the nation.

In addition, Wayne State University Law School Professor Peter J. Henning is co-author of the newly released fourth edition of “White Collar Crime: Law and Practice.”

The casebook is one of the leading treatments of the topic for law students. Co-authors with Henning are U.S. District Court Judge Paul Borman, Eastern District of Michigan, and professors Jerold H. Israel of the University of Michigan Law School and Ellen S. Podgor of Stetson University College of Law.

“The fourth edition incorporates recent developments in the law of white collar crime, such as changes to mail and wire fraud prosecutions from the Supreme Court’s decision in Skilling v. United States that limited honest services fraud, and the narrow reading of an obstruction of justice statute in Yates v. United States,” Henning said. “We provide additional materials in a Statutory & Documentary Supplement and a website devoted to new cases and laws that change how white collar crimes are investigated and prosecuted.”

The book is designed to promote student appreciation of the interaction of legal doctrines as they are applied in the white collar crime field. The material covers issues related to substantive criminal law, criminal procedure, administrative procedure, corporate law, evidence, civil procedure, sentencing law and highly specialized regulatory law. The casebook also allows students to appreciate the influence of administrative policies on the development of a white collar criminal practice. In addition to traditional materials in the casebook, a companion statutory and documentary supplement provides rich primary source material.

Henning teaches courses including White Collar Crime, Criminal Procedure and Criminal Pretrial Advocacy at Wayne Law. He joined the faculty in 1994. Since then, Henning has received a number of teaching awards, including the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Donald H. Gordon Award for Excellence in Teaching.

He graduated from Georgetown University Law Center in 1985. He was a senior attorney in the Division of Enforcement at the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission until 1991, working on cases involving insider trading, penny stock fraud, market manipulation and accounting irregularities. He then moved to the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, working in the Fraud Section on the investigation and prosecution of bank fraud.

Henning’s scholarship focuses primarily on white collar crime, constitutional criminal procedure and attorney ethics. He frequently publishes articles and often is quoted in the media and asked to comment on legal issues. He is a neutral arbiter through the National Association of Securities Dealers Dispute Resolution arbitration program to resolve customer and broker claims involving securities. Henning also writes a regular column for The New York Times DealBook called White Collar Watch.

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Effective September 1, Dinsmore & Shohl LLP is pleased to announce a merger with Michigan-based Intellectual Property boutique firm Gifford, Krass, Sprinkle, Anderson, & Citkowski PC.

Gifford Krass is based in Detroit and has offices in Ann Arbor and Mystic, CT.  With roots stretching back to 1917, the firm features an established intellectual property practice with experience handling all areas of IP.

The merger adds 17 attorneys and 32 professional staff to the firm.  With the addition, Dinsmore’s IP Department now includes more than 75 attorneys (including more than 50 patent attorneys).

“We’re pleased to be merging with a firm whose history is as deep and rich as our own,” said Tom Anderson, Gifford Krass shareholder.  “This enables us to offer new and existing clients a full-service platform.  The opportunity to partner with Dinsmore’s nationally recognized IP practice couples well with our depth of experience.” 

Anderson will serve as the managing partner of Dinsmore’s Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Mystic offices following the merger.

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Goodman Acker PC announced that Ronita Bahri has joined the Southfield-based firm as an associate attorney. Bahri, focusing on personal injury and no-fault insurance received her law degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law in 2014 and undergrad at Wayne State University in 2011 with a B.A. degree in political science and psychology. 

Prior to joining Goodman Acker, Bahri worked as a legal and policy associate at Michigan Community Resources in Detroit, working with nonprofit organizations, as well as the San Francisco Public Defender’s office while in law school.

Bahri, a native of Iraq and a Chaldean, came to the Detroit area at the age of 8. In the ensuing years, she became trilingual, adding English and Arabic to her native Aramaic.  Currently, Bahri resides in Sterling Heights and is a member of the Chaldean American Associates and the Michigan Association for Justice.

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Joan Glanton Howard, chief counsel of the Civil Law Group of Legal Aid and Defender Association Inc. (LAD), has retired, LAD President and CEO Deierdre L. Weir announced.

Howard joined LAD in 1991 as a staff attorney. She became chief counsel of the Civil Law Group in 1997. Before joining LAD, she was director of senior citizen legal services for Cook County [Illinois] Legal Assistance Foundation. She is a graduate of Howard University and DePaul University College of Law.

“Joan has devoted all of her professional career to ensuring that poor people in this country received high quality legal services,” Weir said. “The staff and the legal community will miss her unwavering belief in and support of civil legal services. But after more than 35 years of commitment to clients, she has earned her retirement. We all wish her well in her retirement travels around the world.”

Michele Hall, deputy chief counsel of the Civil Law Group, succeeds Howard as chief counsel, Weir said. Joon H. Sung, director of litigation, becomes deputy chief counsel, legal services.

Hall joined LAD as deputy chief counsel of the Civil Law Group in 2002. Since 2012, she has also served on the adjunct faculty of Baker College. Before joining LAD, she was managing attorney of UAW Daimler-Chrysler Legal Services Plan.

Hall is a graduate of the University of Michigan, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law and Oakland University School of Business Administration.

Sung joined LAD as managing attorney of its Detroit and Wayne County office in 1998. He left in 2007 to teach at University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. He rejoined LAD in 2014 as director of litigation for the Civil Law Group. Sung is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Boston College Law School.

Regina Daniels Thomas will continue to serve as deputy chief counsel, community relations and government affairs. Kelly L. Bidelman, managing attorney of LAD’s offices in Macomb and Oakland counties, and Michelle Johnson, managing attorney of the Detroit and Wayne County office, will report to Sung.

LAD’s two other practice groups, the State Defender and Federal Defender offices, will continue to be directed by, respectively, Donald L. Johnson and Miriam Siefer.

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Hilary A. Ballentine, an appellate attorney at Plunkett Cooney, was recently elected vice president of the Michigan Defense Trial Counsel (MDTC).

Ballentine was elected to the executive post during the MDTC’s recent annual meeting in Midland, Michigan. Per the organization’s leadership succession protocol, she will become president of the organization in 2016-2017.

Ballentine is a member of Plunkett Cooney’s Bloomfield Hills office who concentrates her practice in appellate law. Her practice includes general liability, municipal law, construction claims and constitutional and medical liability appeals, among others. Ballentine is admitted to practice in both state and federal courts in Michigan, as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court.

An active member of the MDTC. Ballentine currently chairs the organization’s Sponsorship Committee, and she is a member of the Future Planning Committee. Ballentine served as a member of MDTC’s Board of Directors in 2011 and co-chaired its Appellate and Amicus Committee in 2008. She was also named Volunteer of the Year by the MDTC in 2012. Ballentine is also a member of the Michigan Appellate Bench Bar Planning Committee, the State Bar of Michigan and the DRI – The Voice of the Defense Bar. Ballentine graduated from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law in 2006. ?She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan – Dearborn in 2003.

In addition, The Michigan Business & Professional Association (MBPA) recently named Plunkett Cooney as one of the “Metropolitan Detroit’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For.”

“Our entire management team is excited to win this honor again,” said Henry B. Cooney, the firm’s president and CEO. “Plunkett Cooney is a great place to work because of our culture and focus on client service. Our success is based on the hard work of our attorneys and staff, and we continually try to find new ways to keep growing and improving our firm.”

The MBPA will honor the Best and Brightest companies at a luncheon on Thursday, Sept. 17, at the Detroit Marriott Renaissance in downtown Detroit.


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