LEGAL PEOPLE

Varnum attorney Brendan Best was recognized at the Detroit Bar Association’s recent annual meeting for leading the Section of the Year. Best, a restructuring, insolvency and creditors’ rights attorney, chairs the Bar’s Debtor-Creditor Rights Section.

The award recognizes Best for his “outstanding leadership while creating the Debtor-Creditor Rights Section,” according to DBA Executive Director Darlene Trudell. Best has reinvigorated the section, holding regular business, networking and social meetings of section membership.

Best, who co-chairs Varnum’s Restructuring, Insolvency and Creditors’ Rights Practice Team, focuses on restructuring, workouts and bankruptcies, representing creditors, debtors and other parties in Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases, out-of-court workouts and restructurings and distressed transactions. Best has a national insolvency practice, serving clients in diverse industries including manufacturing, automotive, building supply and service, energy, oil and gas, health care, food service, gaming, hospitality, construction and real estate. He is a frequent writer and speaker on restructuring, workouts and bankruptcy.

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Secrest Wardle Executive Partner Margaret Scott was recently appointed as vice chair of the Oakland County Bar Association’s Criminal Law Committee. The Criminal Law Committee is charged with the advancement of the criminal law system in both district and circuit courts. It also coordinates the popular Criminal Brown Bag seminar series. Committee members meet once a month to discuss court operations and legal issues of interest, to exchange articles and new case law and to review courtroom strategies.

Scott is a member of Secrest Wardle’s Motor Vehicle Litigation, Municipal and Property, Fire and Casualty Practice Groups. Scott served as an Oakland County assistant prosecuting attorney from 1988 to 2008. The majority of her career was spent as a special prosecutor of the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office where she was elevated to the office of Chief of the Auto Theft Unit in 1996. As a felony trial prosecutor, Scott prosecuted crimes involving insurance fraud, identity theft, embezzlement and arson of insured property. During her time with the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office, she successfully prosecuted nearly 100% of the cases assigned to the Auto Theft Unit.
Scott was named to the Michigan Lawyers Weekly Class of 2015 “Women in the Law.” She is a member of the North Central Regional Chapter-International Association of Auto Theft Investigators, Michigan Chapter-International Association of Arson Investigators and a former member of the Michigan Help Eliminate Auto Theft Committee. Scott is past chair of the Michigan Anti-Car Theft Campaign Committee. She has also served as chair of the Michigan Arson Prevention Committee’s Governmental Resource Committee. During her years of service to the People of the State of Michigan, Scott testified before the Michigan State Senate and House on various proposed legislation involving auto theft and insurance fraud.

Scott currently serves on the Women Officials Network (WON) Board of Directors. WON envisions more women in leadership positions at all levels of government. The organization empowers the leaders of today and mentors women leaders of tomorrow while encouraging women to become involved in public policy through elected and appointed office. Scott was also appointed to the DMC (Detroit Medical Center) Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital Advisory Board in 2018. The 14 member Hospital Advisory Board reports to the DMC Board who reports to the Tenet Board. Their mission is to help people live happier, healthier lives. She has practiced insurance defense litigation since 2009 as private counsel for various companies. During this time, she defended claims involving automobile and structure arson fires, No-Fault PIP, third party and uninsured motorists.

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Dickinson Wright PLLC is pleased to announce that local attorneys Scott Petz and Benjamin Sobczak have been recognized in Benchmark Litigation’s 2018 “40 & Under Hot List.”

Petz is a member in the firm’s Troy office. He focuses his practice in the areas of commercial and business litigation, class and collective actions, labor litigation, consumer protection, and condemnation and land use. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the Oakland County Bar Association, the Eastern District of Michigan Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, and the Detroit Bar Association. He is recognized as a leader in his field by Best Lawyers in America and Michigan Super Lawyers Rising Stars. Petz received his B.A. from Kalamazoo College and his law degree from The John Marshall Law School.

Sobczak is a member in the firm’s Troy office. He focuses his practice on commercial & business litigation. He has argued cases before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and tried several one-day trials/evidentiary hearings before various state courts on a wide range of legal issues. He is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, the American Bar Association, the Oakland County Bar Association, and the Detroit Bar Association. He is recognized as a leader in his field by Michigan Super Lawyers Rising Stars. Sobczak received his B.S. from Western Michigan University and his law degree from Wayne State University School of Law.

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Bodman PLC is pleased to announce Melissa M. VanGessel has joined the firm as an associate attorney practicing in the firm’s Troy office.

VanGessel is a member of Bodman’s Workplace Law Group. She counsels employers on compliance with state and federal labor and employment laws, represents them in connection with employment disputes, and assists employers and individuals in connection with immigration matters.

She has represented employers in proceedings before state and federal agencies including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, and the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. She has defended claims filed under Title VII, the FMLA, ADA, ADEA, and FLSA.

Before joining Bodman VanGessel practiced labor and employment law with a highly regarded business law firm in the Toledo, Ohio market. She is a member of the Toledo Women’s Bar Association, the Toledo Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and the Greater Southeast Michigan Society for Human Resources Management. She is admitted to the bar in Michigan and Ohio.

VanGessel graduated from the University of Toledo College of Law and is a graduate of Leadership Monroe, Class of 2016-2017.

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Oakland County 52-1 District Court Judge David Law was recently honored by the Michigan Legislature and Gov. Rick Snyder for being named president of the Oakland County District Judges Association.

Law, formerly presiding judge of the 52nd District Court and currently on the 52-1 District Court in Novi, was named in the special tribute signed by the governor; Lt. Gov. Brian Calley; state Sen. Majority Leader Mike Kowall, R-White Lake; state Rep. Kathy Crawford, R-Novi; and state Rep. Klint Kesto, R-Commerce Township. It was presented to him at a Novi City Council meeting.

“This legislative tribute recognizes the professionalism and commitment to excellence he exhibits by going above and beyond his usual duties...,” the tribute states.

“Judge Law is a civic leader with a true passion for serving the community.”

Law was appointed to the bench by Snyder in 2015 and retained his seat in the 2016 general election. He is a member of the Michigan District Judges Association and nominated to serve as its president in December. He was appointed by the Michigan Supreme Court to serve as a member of the committee on Model Criminal Jury Instructions for the state. He serves on the board of directors for Novi Youth Assistance, Lakes Area Youth Assistance and is an advisory board member for Families against Narcotics, Southwest Oakland County Chapter.

Law is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the Detroit College of Law. He is a former assistant Oakland County prosecutor and an assistant state attorney general.

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