Legal People

Attorney Jessica D. Mathis recently joined the Transactional Practice Group of Plunkett Cooney.

A member of the firm's Business Department, Mathis focuses her practice in the areas of commercial real estate transactions and business law.

Prior to joining the firm, Mathis served as in-house corporate counsel for a Michigan-based real estate developer and property management company. While there, she gained experience responding to various business needs, as well as representing property owners in their corporate, acquisition, financing and strategic matters.

A member of the State Bar of Michigan, Mathis received her law degree from Wayne State University Law School in 2013. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan in 2002.

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James L. Kresta has joined the Southfield office of Jaffe, Raitt, Heuer, & Weiss PC as an associate in the firm's litigation practice group. Jaffe CEO William Sider made the announcement.

Kresta will concentrate his practice on commercial litigation and business dispute resolution, assisting with cases in both the private and public sector. His litigation involvement includes initial pleading and case management issues, discovery, substantive motions, trial and appeals. He has also assisted in breach of contract issues, fraudulent transfer claims, shareholder oppression suits, and both municipal and private construction disputes.

Kresta graduated from Franciscan University where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in legal studies. He earned his law degree from Wayne State University Law School.

In addition, Michigan Lawyers Weekly recently announced that Jaffe, Raitt, Heuer, & Weiss PC associate Joshua M. Borson has been named one of only 30 "Up & Coming Lawyers" for 2016. Jaffe CEO William Sider made the announcement.

Borson was recognized for his work as a member of both deal teams for Sun Communities Inc. He served a critical role in helping the firm complete the $1.32 billion acquisition of Green Courte Partners and the $1.68 billion acquisition of Carefree Communities. Additionally, Borson was a standout for his community service efforts in organizations such as Capuchin Soup Kitchen, TechTown Detroit and Cause We Care, a Temple Israel social action committee.

As an associate in Jaffe's corporate practice group, Borson concentrates his practice on all aspects of formation, governance and operations, including mergers and acquisitions, equity financings, private and public offerings, securities compliance and general corporate matters.

Borson received his Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Michigan and his law degree from Wayne State University Law School.

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The Detroit Free Press has named Bodman PLC as one of Michigan's best places to work for the eighth consecutive year.

For 2016, the Free Press selected Bodman as a midsize "Top Workplace" in the services sector. The Top Workplaces competition is conducted by Workplace Dynamics, a research firm specializing in evaluative employee surveys. Workplace Dynamics chooses winning employers based on employee feedback to determine organizational health and workplace engagement.

As one of only 135 Michigan employers named a 2016 Top Workplace, Bodman's employees consistently rated the firm as appreciative and supportive of its employees, with a culture that fosters diversity, inclusion, and ethical business practices.

Bodmanis also pleased to announce that Charles M. Russman, a member in the firm's Troy office, has been named to Michigan Lawyers Weekly's 2016 class of "Up and Coming Lawyers."

Russman and his co-honorees received awards from Lawyers Weekly at a luncheon held at the Detroit Marriott in Troy on December 1.

Russman founded and is chair of Bodman's Data Privacy and Security Practice Group and is one of the few Michigan attorneys who have earned Certified Information Privacy Professional US certification from the International Association of Privacy Professionals. He also focuses his practice on employee benefits and executive compensation. He is a frequent author and presenter to employer groups on healthcare reform, HIPAA and other employee benefits and executive compensation issues. Russman was named a 2016 "Rising Star" by Michigan Super Lawyers and has been recognized as a "Top Lawyer" by DBusiness magazine.

Russman is active in charitable and philanthropic causes and is a contributor to Bodman's Pro Bono program. His pro bono work is concentrated in helping abused women and children gain relief under the Violence Against Women Act. He is a long-time supporter of the Make-a-Wish Foundation and has participated in its annual bike tour, which covers more than 300 miles, for six consecutive years. Russman previously held the position of co-chair of the Michigan Region for the American Jewish Committee ACCESS Board, helping plan a series of events to foster Muslim-Jewish dialogue among young professionals.

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Jordan Acker, attorney and Director of Business Development at Goodman Acker PC, has received the "Up and Coming Lawyers Award, Class of 2016" from Michigan Lawyers Weekly.

Acker has dedicated his life to improving the country and his community. After graduating from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in History in 2006, he went to work for the Michigan Democratic Party as the deputy communications director. Following the 2006 elections, he worked on staff for U.S. Representative John Conyers (D-Detroit) for the House Judiciary Committee in Washington, D.C. His focus in that position was on issues such as the powers of the president in wartime, civil rights, and the NBA labor dispute. His work with Conyers on this committee helped to create his passion for the law and lead to him attend American University Washington College of Law, where he earned his law degree in 2010.

While in law school Acker volunteered on several political campaigns, including President Obama's 2008 campaign. After graduating from law school, he remained in Washington for three months as an associate in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel before being appointed by President Obama in March of 2011 to be an attorney advisor to Secretary Janet Napolitano at the Department of Homeland Security. While at Homeland Security, Acker worked on cyber, immigration and other homeland security issues. After working in the Obama Administration for three and a half years, he returned to Detroit and joined Goodman Acker in 2013.

Since joining Goodman Acker, Acker has focused on personal injury litigation, political consulting and business development.

"I'm honored to receive this prestigious award from Michigan Lawyers Weekly," said Acker. "Being back in Michigan, helping out my community, and getting to work for such a well-regarded family business makes work especially fulfilling."

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Dickinson Wright PLLC is pleased to announce that the firm received a score of 85 on the 2017 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices relating to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) workplace quality, administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. Dickinson Wright's score reflects a commitment to LGBT workplace equality, with respect to tangible policies, benefits, and practices.

"We are pleased to have participated in the 2017 Corporate Equality Index for the first time this year, and we are honored to receive a first-time score of 85." said Harlan Robins, co-chair of Dickinson Wright's Diversity Committee. "This recognition reflects our commitment to foster a diverse and inclusive culture for all of our lawyers and employees. At Dickinson Wright, we know that hiring and retaining a diverse workforce represents a commitment to equality as a fundamental component of our corporate values and those of our clients and other key stakeholders."

The 2017 CEI rated a total of 1,043 businesses in the report, which evaluates LGBT-related policies and practices including non-discrimination workplace protections, domestic partner benefits, transgender-inclusive health care benefits, competency programs, and public engagement with the LGBT community.

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The Joyce Ivy Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the academic advancement of talented female high school students from the Midwest, announced Monday that Jocelyn Benson will serve as the 2017 Joyce Ivy Foundation Leader of the Year.

The Joyce Ivy Foundation is the leading provider of summer academic scholarships for talented female high school students from the Midwest. Selected scholars participate in programs at Joyce Ivy partner institutions, including some of the nation's most rigorous colleges and universities: Harvard, Stanford, Brown, Yale, MIT, Johns Hopkins, Emory, Cornell, Barnard, Smith, and Washington University in St. Louis.

Each year, the Joyce Ivy Foundation names a Leader of the Year who exemplifies the experiences and values that it promotes, and celebrates this leader together with the group of selected summer scholars at its spring gala.

Benson serves as chief executive officer of the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equity (RISE), a nonprofit organization founded by Stephen M. Ross that is dedicated to harnessing the unifying power of sports to improve race relations and drive social progress. Prior to leading RISE, Benson served as the dean of Wayne State University Law School. When Benson was appointed dean of Wayne Law at age 35, she became the youngest woman in U.S. history to run a top-100 accredited law school.

Benson joined the Wayne Law faculty in 2005. Her areas of expertise include civil rights law, education law, and election law, and she taught courses including Legislative Oversight, Race and the Law, and Sports and Inequality. Benson continues to serve as director of the Levin Center at Wayne Law and previously served as associate director of the law school's Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights where she created the Michigan Allies Project, an effort designed to track hate incidents throughout Michigan and provide legal support for victims.

In 2010, Benson was the Democratic Party's nominee for Michigan Secretary of State and is author of "State Secretaries of State: Guardians of the Democratic Process." Benson is co-founder of the Military Spouses of Michigan and board member of the Southern Poverty Law Center. A celebrated leader, Benson became one of the youngest women in history to be inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame, and in June 2016 she was named one of Crain's 100 Most Influential Women in Michigan.

"I am honored to be named Joyce Ivy's 2017 Leader of the Year," said Benson. "Lifting up and empowering female high school students our leaders of tomorrow is more essential today than ever before. I look forward to sharing my story with the Joyce Ivy Scholars and seeing the great things they go on to do in the future to serve our country."

Benson is a graduate of Wellesley College. She received her Master of Philosophy degree from Oxford University and her law degree from Harvard Law School.

Benson will be honored at the 12th Annual Joyce Ivy Foundation Summer Scholars Gala Dinner, to be held at the Marriott Eagle Crest in Ypsilanti on May 6, and will address the 2017 group of Summer Scholars as they prepare for their summer program participation.

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Dykema proudly announced today that it received a perfect score of 100 percent on the 2017 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to LGBT workplace equality, administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. Dykema joins the ranks of 517 major U.S. businesses which also earned top marks this year, and is the only Michigan-based law firm to receive a perfect rating.

"We are honored and extremely proud to have earned a fourth-consecutive perfect rating in the Corporate Equality Index," said Peter M. Kellett, Dykema's chairman and chief executive officer. "This is truly a firm-wide accomplishment, and I want to thank our inclusive staff and our Diversity & Inclusion Board for leading the way in creating an environment where we can attain the highest possible recognition from the Human Rights Campaign and be listed among the top-performing U.S. businesses in workplace equality."

The 2017 CEI rated 1,043 businesses in the report, which evaluates LGBT-related policies and practices including non-discrimination workplace protections, domestic partner benefits, transgender-inclusive health care benefits, competency programs, and public engagement with the LGBT community. Dykema's efforts in satisfying all of the CEI's criteria results in a 100 percent ranking and the designation as a Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality.

Published: Mon, Dec 12, 2016

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