LEGAL PEOPLE

Oakland County Probate Court Judge Linda Hallmark served as chairperson for the 18th Annual Governor’s Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect Summit held in Traverse City on May 21 and 22.

This year’s summit was partially held in conjunction with the School-Justice Partnership Conference. 

Hallmark’s committee brought in Dr. Robert Anda, co-author of the ACES study, to address the joint conferences.  Anda discussed the implications of adverse childhood experiences on the juvenile justice, child welfare, and public health systems.

Hallmark is the chief judge pro tem of the Oakland County Probate Court and also serves in the Circuit Court Family Division. She is one of eighteen members of the multidisciplinary Task Force appointed by Governor Snyder to focus on setting policies and protocols for victims of child abuse and neglect.

In addition, Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Michael Warren was recently honored with the Frances R. Avadenka Memorial Award by the Oakland County Bar Association (OCBA) at its 81st Annual Meeting held on June 4. 

The award is presented to an OCBA member who has made a significant contribution to the community outside of the legal profession. 

This award was established by the Oakland County Bar Association in memory of Frances R. Avadenka, the first female president of the OCBA who passed away in 1987 leaving a legacy of leadership, industry, and community involvement.

Warren received the award because of his work on Patriot Week. Taking a cue from Warren’s hallmark, OCBA President Thomas H. Howlett recited a portion of the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence when presenting the award.

“I am very honored and humbled to receive this prestigious award,” Warren remarked.  “Much more important, I am just thrilled that Patriot Week has garnered support from the OCBA, as well as so many others across the tri-county area, Michigan, and the country. This recognition inspires me to work even harder to defend the Constitution and promote among our students and citizens an in-depth understanding of our founding First Principles and history and the need to protect our liberties.” 

Alarmed that large portions of U.S. students and the general public are ill-informed, Warren and then 10-year-old daughter Leah created Patriot Week in 2009. 

The week is anchored by the key dates of September 11 (the anniversary of the terrorist’s attacks) and September 17 (Constitution Day, the anniversary of when the United States Constitution was signed).

Patriot Week renews the spirit of America by commemorating our First Principles (the rule of law, equality, unalienable rights, the Social Compact, limited government, and the right to alter or abolish an oppressive government), key historical figures, founding documents and flags from our history. 

Patriot Week has been recognized by bi-partisan gubernatorial, legislative, county, and municipal resolutions and proclamations in several states. 

Participants include K-12 schools, Kiwanis, rotaries, community organizations, historical organizations, senior centers, retirement communities, universities, law schools, and others in over ten states.

Warren was appointed to the Oakland County Circuit Court in 2002 by Governor John Engler and has been elected to retain his position three times.  

He is the chair of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Patriot Week Inc., board member of Cornerstone Schools Association, and is a former member of the State Board of Education.  Visit www.PatriotWeek.org for more information about Patriot Week.

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Gov. Rick Snyder recently announced initial appointments to the Michigan Interagency Council on Homelessness.

Established by Executive Order 2015-2, Michigan Interagency Council on Homelessness was created as an advisory body within the Michigan State Housing Development Authority to develop, adopt, and update a 10-year plan to end homelessness. The council is comprised of 13 members appointed by the governor.

Among the appointees were:

• Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Colleen O’Brien (three year term to expire January 31, 2018), presiding judge for the Female Division Adult Treatment Court.

O’Brien is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, Oakland County Bar Association, Michigan State Bar Foundation Fellow, Michigan Judges Association, and the Oakland County Bar Association Foundation Fellow.

O’Brien earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a law degree from Detroit College of Law. She represents the courts.

Phil Cavanagh (four year terms to expire January 31, 2019), CEO, lead consultant and strategist for MI Strategic Solutions, LLC, an attorney and counselor at law, and served as the state representative for the 10th District.

Cavanagh earned a bachelor’s of professional accountancy from Aquinas College and a law degree and master’s degree in business administration from the University of Detroit Mercy. He represents the general public.

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The law firm of Miller Canfield announces that it is expanding its Chicago office again with the addition of 10 lawyers from Chicago-based corporate law firm, Kubasiak, Fylstra, Thorpe, & Rotunno PC.

“We first expanded to Chicago eight years ago. Chicago is a strategic priority based on client needs and continues to be a key market in our business growth plan as the largest economic and financial center in the Midwest,” said Michael McGee, CEO of Miller Canfield. “We expect more additions in 2015.”

Joining Miller Canfield from Kubasiak, Fylstra, Thorpe & Rotunno are name shareholders Gerald E. Kubasiak, Raymond A. Fylstra and Steven J. Rotunno, together with shareholder David S. Schaffer. 

In addition, attorneys Noël P. Goudreau, Barry P. Kaltenbach, Manuel J. Placencia, Jr., Gretchen M. Kubasiak, Fredric B. “Rick” Prohov, and Samuel H. Levine will join Miller Canfield.

 “Jerry Kubasiak and his colleagues are outstanding lawyers who have built a highly regarded firm with high-profile clients and sophisticated work. They have deep roots in Chicago’s legal, governmental and cultural community,” McGee said. “They bring a diverse menu of services that matches our offerings with a very similar Midwestern work ethic. We are very excited to combine their expertise and networks with our own.”

Miller Canfield is located at 225 W. Washington Street in downtown Chicago.

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Dickinson Wright PLLC is pleased to announce that it has once again expanded its Las Vegas office with the addition of seven attorneys, bringing the total number of Las Vegas attorneys to 24.

Dickinson Wright is also announcing the addition of a new office in Reno, Nev. with six attorneys.

All 13 attorneys are joining the firm from Gordon Silver and will be reuniting with Gordon Silver’s co-Founder and Gaming Attorney Jeffrey Silver, who joined Dickinson Wright last month.

“With the addition of these talented and experienced attorneys, Dickinson Wright continues to expand its capabilities in important practice disciplines, particularly gaming, intellectual property, complex commercial litigation, and media, sports and entertainment law,” says William T. Burgess, CEO of Dickinson Wright. “Our additional depth in these key areas will complement the rest of our practice offerings across North America and will offer to our clients a wider range of services throughout Nevada, with locations in Las Vegas, Reno and Carson City.”

Joining Dickinson Wright’s Las Vegas office are attorneys Jennifer Ko Craft, Michael Feder, Eric Hone, and John Krieger as Members along with Joel Schwarz as Of Counsel and Joanna Myers and Gabriel Blumberg as associates.

Dickinson Wright’s new Reno office will be home to six attorneys including John Desmond and Brian Irvine as Members as well as Benjamin Kennedy and Justin Bustos as Of Counsel and Kathleen Brady and Anjali Webster as associates.

Dickinson Wright opened its first Nevada office in Las Vegas in 2010 and expanded earlier this year with the addition of eight lawyers from Lionel Sawyer and Gaming Attorney Kate Lowenhar-Fisher in January 2015.

Together with the 13 attorneys from Gordon Silver, Dickinson Wright’s Nevada operations are now home to 30 attorneys.

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Collins, Einhorn, Farrell PC is pleased to announce that attorney Samantha J. Orvis has joined the firm’s General and Automotive Liability practice group. Orvis will focus her practice on the defense of first and third-party automobile litigation.

Orvis has experience in a variety of sectors including non-profit, private law firms, legal aid, government and academia.

Her background includes defending a wide range of matters, including general liability, commercial liability, automobile negligence, premises liability, and various forms of personal injury. Orvis has also served as in-house counsel at a large Fortune 100 insurance company, where she represented the company and its insureds in various forms of litigation.

Orvis received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan-Flint in 2008 and went on to obtain a law degree from Wayne State University Law School in 2011.

Orvis has received a number of professional accolades including being listed an “Up & Coming Lawyer” by Michigan Lawyers Weekly (2014) and being named a recipient of the Distinguished Young Leaders Award by the Engineering Society of Detroit Institute (2010).

Orvis is involved with a number of organizations. She is active within the State Bar of Michigan, serving on the executive council of the Young Lawyers Section, and the Representative Assembly. She is a board member of the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center. Orvis also currently sits on the executive board of the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan’s Oakland County Region, where she also served as communications secretary from 2013 to 2014, and as the WLAM Representative from 2014 to 2015.

Active in the community, Orvis serves on the board of directors for New Gateways, Inc., a non-profit organization that enriches life for adults with mild to severe multiple developmental disabilities by offering choices and community involvement. She is also an active volunteer with PAWS Animal Rescue, a non-profit organization that is passionately dedicated to saving abused, neglected and abandoned animals.

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Sara Schimke has joined Jaffe, Raitt, Heuer, & Weiss PC as an associate in the firm’s Estate Planning and Probate Practice Group. Jaffe CEO William Sider made the announcement.

Prior to joining Jaffe, Schimke was a partner of a boutique law firm in Troy where she was responsible for the council and representation of a multitude of clients with estate planning needs.

As an associate in the firm’s Estate Planning and Probate practice group, Schimke will focus her practice  on elder law — including long term care planning, Medicaid planning and veteran’s benefits.

She will also counsel and represent clients with special needs planning, blended families, tax planning and real estate succession planning.

Schimke graduated from Northern Michigan University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. She earned her law degree from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, where she served as a Student Bar Association senator and academic chairperson, and a teaching assistant at the Estate Planning Clinic in Auburn Hills.

•           •           •

Professor Cristina D. Lockwood
is the recipient of the 2015 Barnes Faculty Scholar Award at University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.  This award recognizes a faculty member’s outstanding scholarship, teaching excellence, and public service.

Lockwood is a prolific scholar having published three articles in the last two years. 

The first of these articles, “Improving Learning in the Law School Classroom by Encouraging Students to Form Communities of Practice,” was published in December 2013 in the Clinical Law Review. 

The second article, “Adhering to Professional Obligations:  Amending Model Rule of Professional Conduct 1.8(e) to Allow for Humanitarian Loans to Existing Clients,” was published in the fall 2014 University of San Francisco Law Review. 

Lockwood’s most recent article, "Creating Ambiguity in the Void for Vagueness Doctrine by Avoiding a Vagueness Determination in Review of Federal Laws,” was published in April 2015 in the Syracuse Law Review.

Lockwood consistently demonstrates teaching excellence by challenging her students with formative assessments throughout the semester, such as group assignments inside and outside of the classroom for the purpose of solving realistic practice-based problems.  Her students appreciate her hard work and dedication and consistently give her high evaluations in the school’s anonymous faculty course review process.

Lockwood is also committed to public service, which is a key element of the school’s mission.  She volunteers on campus, at her church, and in her community in many ways.  She is always eager to lend a helping hand to assist the underserved.

Lockwood received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and her law degree from Wayne State University Law School in Detroit.  After graduation, she was an associate for a New York law firm specializing in corporate transactions.

On her return to Michigan, she worked for a real estate transaction firm and joined the UDM Law faculty as an adjunct. 

In 1995, she joined the faculty full time to teach in the innovative Applied Legal Theory and Analysis Program.  In addition, she teaches Professional Responsibility and Torts and serves on the Curriculum Committee.

James T. Barnes Sr. who passed away in 1978, was a distinguished alumnus of University of Detroit School of Law class of 1940.  He particularly valued contributions which faculty make to the lives and careers of students. 

Knowing this, many friends of Mr. Barnes contributed funds to establish a memorial in 1979 to recognize the achievements of a School of Law faculty member each year. 

James T. Barnes Jr. remains involved in the memorial to honor his father.  The selection committee for the award consists of the Dean and two faculty members elected by the faculty.

•           •           •

Dykema recently announced that the firm’s Automotive Industry Group has been ranked by the Legal 500 United States 2015 (Legal 500) in the area of litigation—Product liability and mass tort defense—automotive/transport. Additionally, local attorneys Michael Cooney (Detroit) and Nicholas Wittner (Bloomfield Hills) were also recognized in this category as well.

Dykema has been partnering with the automotive industry clients since the first automobiles rolled off the Motor City’s assembly lines. With decades of industry experience, Dykema fields one of the most extensive automotive-related legal practices in the United States.

The attorneys in its coast-to-coast network of offices lead the way, guiding its international roster of automotive industry clients through the many legal hurdles they face and, ultimately, to business success.

Michael Cooney, director of Dykema’s Litigation Department, has a national trial practice focused on product liability, class action, patent, and commercial litigation. He is regularly called upon by Fortune 500 companies to try high exposure cases in the country’s toughest venues and against some of the country’s top trial attorneys.

Cooney, who has a mechanical engineering degree, has experience presenting complex engineering, business, and science-related disputes to juries, judges, and arbitration panels.

Nicholas Wittner’s practice focuses on regulatory matters, product safety and liability prevention, and general litigation.

He served for 20 years as an assistant general counsel for the Nissan North America Legal Department.

Wittner headed the Legal Department’s Product Group, which is responsible for the management of product liability litigation, product-related class actions, safety and environmental regulatory compliance matters, and patent litigation.

He also advised engineers in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe and Japan on safety compliance, as well as product safety and liability prevention. Prior to his time at Nissan, Wittner was a lawyer at General Motors for 11 years, where he handled complex multi-district litigation.

•           •           •

Butzel Long attorney and shareholder Bushra Malik is the chair of the 2015 American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Global Immigration Forum, to be held June 16-17 in Washington, D.C., and National Harbor, Maryland.

The conference is attended by U.S. immigration lawyers and international attorneys from around the globe.  The 2015 AILA Global Immigration Forum will provide the latest information and resources on global immigration law and policy.

Malik is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the American Bar Association, the South Asian Bar Association, the Michigan Muslim Bar Association, and the Japanese Business Society of Detroit.

She is currently serving on the AILA Customs and Border Protection National Liaison Committee.

 Malik also currently serves on the executive committee for the Michigan Chapter of AILA as the treasurer, and previously served on the executive committee for the Michigan Chapter of AILA as the secretary.

Malik previously served as the program vice chair of the 2014 AILA Global Immigration Forum; program senior vice chair of the 2013 AILA Global Immigration Forum; and presented at the 2014, 2013, and 2012 AILA Global Immigration Forums and 2015 Rome District Chapter AILA Conference in Rome.

She also previously served as the chair of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service Liaison Committee for the Michigan Chapter of AILA. Malik speaks Hindi, Japanese and Urdu.

Malik practices in the area of immigration law, focusing her practice on the representation of multinational and domestic clients’ inbound and global migration needs.

Her experience includes Employment based (Extraordinary Ability, Outstanding Researcher, Multinational Manager, and PERMs) and Family based Permanent Residence Petitions; Non-Immigrant Petitions (H-1B/Specialty Occupation, J-1/ Exchange Visitor, L-1/Intracompany Transfers, O-1/Extraordinary Ability, TN/ NAFTA); Employer Compliance (I-9 Audits and H-1B Public Access File Audits); J-1 waivers; Compliance under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiate (WHTI); U.S. Passports; complex naturalization matters; and currency seizures.

She has experience in securing work and residence permits for numerous countries around the globe, including: China, India, Canada, Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, Malaysia, Hungary, Poland, Italy, and Belgium.

Malik also routinely represents clients at U.S. Ports of Entry, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services District Office, U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad, as well as various Foreign Embassies and Consulates.

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