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Butzel Long attorney George B. Donnini has been named the new Litigation II Department chair. Previously, he was a member of the Board of Directors and has served in a variety of leadership roles. Donnini will be responsible for the management and oversight of the firm’s litigation attorneys who will report to him as well as for the strategic goals, budgeting, forecasting, and direction of the Litigation II Department.

Donnini is a shareholder with 17 years of experience in Detroit as a white-collar criminal defense practitioner. Prior to that, he practiced for several years in New York and California – two additional states that he is also licensed to practice.  He has handled a variety of cases including, but not limited to, health care fraud, public corruption, antitrust, environmental, tax, and securities fraud cases. In addition, a significant portion of his practice involves the handling of corporate internal investigations for public and private companies.

In November 2020, Donnini was named a “Notable Veteran” by Crain’s Detroit Business. Donnini, along with a group of local attorneys, formed the Detroit chapter of the Veteran’s Bar Association, to gather for networking and mentorship.

He serves in leadership roles with the Eastern District of Michigan’s Federal Bar Association (currently serving as Treasurer/Secretary), American Bar Association (ABA), Criminal Justice Section, White Collar Crime Committee; Midwest Regional co-chair (2005-present) and the ABA Criminal Justice Section, Book Board, appointed member (2008-present).

Donnini is a 1995 graduate of The George Washington University and a 1998 graduate of the Duke University School of Law.

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Foster Swift
welcomes new associate DeVaughn Swanson who was a summer associate at the firm in 2019.

Swanson will be based in the firm’s Southfield office as a member of the Litigation Practice Group. He is an alumnus of the University of Georgia School of Law.

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Dykema recently announced that Len Wolfe has commenced his three-year term as chairman and chief executive officer of the firm. Wolfe succeeds Peter M. Kellett, who has served as chairman and chief executive officer since 2012.

During his term, Wolfe pledges continued emphasis on Dykema’s dedication to providing clients with exceptional service through our practice groups, industry groups and client service teams—including fostering an environment that encourages the firm’s professionals to assess and develop new and innovative solutions for clients managing through the disruptions caused by COVID-19. He will continue the firm’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and working collaboratively to maintain Dykema’s robust culture and collegial work environment.

For more than 25 years, Wolfe has practiced government policy and regulatory law, helping clients implement significant public policy initiatives. He first joined Dykema as a summer associate before quickly ascending into leadership roles within the firm. For the last six years, Wolfe has served as a twice-elected member of Dykema’s Executive Board, acting as board Liaison to the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee for the past four years.

Prior to his board membership, Wolfe was director of Dykema’s Regulated Industries Department and Leader of the firm’s Government Policy and Practice Group for nine years. His various leadership positions provided Wolfe with knowledge of Dykema’s business operations and the complex process of running the daily operations of a multi-office law firm with a national footprint.

Wolfe’s practice focused on multiple specialties, including education, gaming, state procurement, licensing matters and government restructuring. He has represented several business groups and trade associations specializing in assisting these organizations in the drafting, passage and implementation of significant legislative initiatives. He is known nationally for his work with charter schools and has been recognized by The Best Lawyers in America® each year since 2007—including being named “Lawyer of the Year” in Lansing for Gaming Law in 2019.
Wolfe earned a law degree from the Indiana University McKinney School of Law and a B.A. from the James Madison College at Michigan State University. Before joining Dykema, he worked in the Michigan Legislature, United States Senate, and the Michigan Governor’s office.

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Varnum partner Matt Bower is the recipient of the 2020 Hensel Award, presented by the Arts, Communication, Entertainment and Sports Section (ACES) of the State Bar of Michigan.
The Hensel Award is given to a member of the State Bar of Michigan who has made a significant contribution to the arts community in Michigan. Named for the late John Hensel, an artist and attorney who was a co-founder of the ACES section of the SBM, the award has been given annually since the early 1980s.

Section council member Lawrence Jordan said that the Hensel Committee voted unanimously to confer the award to Bower “in recognition of your many contributions to the arts community and ACES,” noting in particular Bower’s volunteer efforts on behalf of arts organizations.

Bower is a business attorney whose practice focuses on clients in the startup community. He serves as outside general counsel to a wide range of emerging and middle market companies and works with investors and venture capital organizations.

With a lifelong interest in the arts, Bower was active for many years with Creative Many Michigan and its predecessor, ArtServe Michigan. He served on the board and as a volunteer in the Lawyers for the Creative Economy program. He also previously served on the board for Michigan Youth Arts.

Active in the theatre arts from an early age, Bower’s background includes an undergraduate degree in theatre from the University of Michigan. Following graduation, he moved to New York and dabbled in the theatre profession for a few years before becoming interested in a law career.

His New York theatre experience included acting with a local company while working in the office of a Broadway producer, where he reviewed scripts and provided other office support. After taking a job at a law firm, he found the work intellectually rewarding and decided to pursue a career in law.

Bower’s legal practice is infused with creativity, both in his delivery of client solutions and through the clients and industries he serves. His particular industry concentrations include software, SaaS, information technology, IoT, data analytics and other technology-based companies, as well as manufacturing, automotive, advanced materials, pharma, medical devices, publishing, digital advertising and media, retail, and food and beverage.

Working with entrepreneurs, often with cutting-edge technology, is thrilling, Bower said.

“It’s being able to work with companies and entrepreneurs who don’t have a lot of fear, that are willing to go out there and really push the envelope on their technology and disrupt markets,” Bower said. “It’s just fun. The technology is great. It’s just something that’s really, really exciting.”

Bower earned his law degree from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York. He practiced law in New York before joining Varnum in 2013 where he now serves as lead attorney in the firm’s Ann Arbor office.

The Hensel Award ceremony is being planned for April 2021.

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Harness Dickey is pleased to announce that patent attorneys Damian Kotsis and Brad Luchsinger have been promoted to principal, effective January 1, 2021.

Kotsis is a patent attorney in the firm’s Troy office where he works with clients in the life science and chemical industries, with a special focus on biochemistry, pharmaceuticals, agricultural technology, organic chemistry, and polymer technologies.

His clients include Fortune 500 companies, academic institutions, start-ups, and individual inventors. He has helped these clients obtain patent protection for inventions ranging from cancer therapies to fuel formulations. Kotsis also assists in the preparation of patentability and freedom to practice opinions, as well as with legal opinions relating to various litigation matters.

Kotsis earned his law degree from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Lawand his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Wayne State University.

Luchsinger is a patent attorney and IP litigator in the firm’s Troy office. He enforces the IP rights of both domestic and international clients in courts across the U.S., and recently secured a victory on behalf of client WP Innova (formerly Western Plastics) in a jury trial held by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

His experience includes handling matters related to patent, trademark, and trade dress infringement, as well as trade secret, unfair competition, false patent marking, and antitrust matters. Luchsinger also prepares and prosecutes patent applications directed to automotive technologies, consumer appliances, valves, electromagnetic devices, and building structures.

Luchsinger received his law degree from Michigan State University College of Law and his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Pennsylvania State University.

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Secrest Wardle Senior Partner and Co-Managing Partner Bruce A. Truex has been named to Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s inaugural listing of “Michigan’s Go To Business Lawyers.”

For more than 30 years, Truex has provided exceptional legal expertise to businesses across Michigan on a wide range of commercial issues. Truex possesses experience in state and federal courts. He has successfully handled claims involving Uniform Commercial Code, contract disputes, sales commission, warranty, Consumer Protection Act, and commercial construction. Hundreds of businesses have benefitted from his abilities, inside and outside the courtroom.

Truex has been with Secrest Wardle since 1976. He became a partner in 1984 and a senior partner in 1988. He currently serves as president and co-managing partner of the firm. Truex is chair of the firm’s Commercial and Business Law Practice Group. He is also chair of the firm’s Employment and Intellectual Property/Advertising Injury Practice Groups and a member of the firm’s Construction Practice Group.

From 2018 to the present, Truex has been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© and for 2021 has been listed in the Insurance Law, Litigation – Insurance, Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants, and Product Liability Litigation – Defendants categories in Troy, Michigan. He has received an AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rating by Martindale-Hubbell for the past 18 years.

Truex was named to Super Lawyers Magazine’s list of Michigan Super Lawyers in 2006, 2007, and 2009 through the present. He was also named to DBusiness Magazine’s list of Top Lawyers in 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2019, and in 2020 in the Environmental Litigation category. Additionally, Truex was named to the list of Leading LawyersSM in 2017. Truex is also an active member of the Council on Litigation Management.

Truex earned his law degree from Wayne State University Law School and received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Western Michigan University, majoring in Personnel Management. He also graduated from the Insurance Counsel Trial Academy. He is admitted to practice law in the State of Michigan, United States District Court, Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan, Eastern District of Wisconsin, and United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

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Plunkett Cooney recently named three local associate attorneys as its newest shareholders. Ryan M. Bates, Roderick Fracassi, and Nicole Ruggirello were recently approved by the firm’s Board of Directors as the firm’s newest shareholders. The promotion from associate or senior attorney is based on the recommendations of the firm’s Shareholder Evaluation Committee, and the change in status was effective on Jan. 1.

Bates is a member of the firm’s Bloomfield Hills office who focuses his practice on insurance-related claims involving no-fault law and motor vehicle negligence, including theft and property damage. A former in-house attorney for an international insurance company, Bates has experience handling cases and pre-litigation investigations involving an array of insurance matters, including subrogation, fraud and third-party actions. These claims range from potentially high-exposure litigation involving complex and catastrophic injuries to comparatively low-exposure theft.

Recognized as a Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in Insurance Law, Bates received his law degree from The Dickinson School of Law at Penn State University in 2009. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan in 2005.

Fracassi is a member of the firm’s Transportation Law Practice Group. He focuses his practice primarily on servicing the transactional, regulatory and litigation needs of clients in the trucking and logistics industries. With more than 17 years of experience in the transportation industry, he has experience defending litigation involving catastrophic injuries and fatalities, and advising clients regarding sales, licensing, vendor services and procurement contracts. Clients also rely upon Fracassi for counsel and representation in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, real estate, intellectual property, risk management and bankruptcy.

A member of the firm’s Detroit office, Fracassi graduated from the Michigan State University College of Law in 1994. He received his master’s degree from Wayne State University the same year.

Completing Plunkett Cooney’s lineup of new shareholders is Nicole C. Ruggirello who is a member of the firm’s Bloomfield Hills office. Ruggirello practices primarily in the area of insurance coverage law, representing several major property and casualty insurance companies in coverage cases throughout the Midwest. Her coverage work includes handling a variety of issues, including environmental contamination, construction defect and high-exposure product liability claims.

Ruggirello is a former research attorney and law clerk to Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Michael J. Riordan. She also worked as a judicial intern to Michigan Supreme Court Justice Stephen J. Markman and U.S. District Court Chief Judge Gerald E. Rosen, Eastern District of Michigan.

Admitted to practice in state courts in Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin, Ruggirello received both her law and undergraduate degrees from the University of Notre Dame in 2011 and 2008, respectively.

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Zana Tomich, co-founder of Detroit-headquartered law firm Dalton & Tomich PLC, has been named a Michigan “Go-To” Lawyer for Business by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. 

Since co-founding her law firm 10 years ago, Tomich has developed a practice acting as an outside general counsel to family-owned and mid-sized businesses, with a reputation for ably guiding them through challenging events, including changes in ownership. Many of her clients are second-stage companies that have navigated the start-up phase successfully and need her experience to reach a new level of success.

Tomich advises on matters as varied as lease negotiations, M&A transactions, succession planning, and terminations of senior employees. Clients consistently cite her judgment and business counsel as the draw of her sought-after practice. Industries served included creative design houses, food-related businesses, real estate developers, community banks and credit unions, and e-commerce companies. 

The “Go-To” Lawyer distinction adds to several that Tomich has earned in her career, including recognition as an Up & Coming Lawyer by Michigan Lawyers Weekly and a Rising Star by Michigan Super Lawyers. She was also named to the Top Women Attorneys in Michigan by HOUR Detroit and is a graduate of Leadership Detroit XXXII (2010-2011).

Tomich serves on the Detroit Athletic Club’s Community Outreach Committee, as well as the Henry Ford Health System Hospice and SandCastles Program’s Council of Advisors. Sandcastles offers grief support for children and families.

Tomich earned a law degree from Wayne State University Law School and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan.

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On January 1st of each year, Kitch, Drutchas, Wagner, Valitutti, & Sherbrook promotes attorneys to the next level who have shown exceptional talents in their field of practice. The following local attorneys were promoted by Kitch:

• PRINCIPAL
  Brian Boehne, Auto/PIP, Mt. Clemens
  Amanda Kakos, Auto/PIP, Detroit
  April Malak, Auto/PIP, Mt. Clemens
  Michael Paolucci, Medical Malpractice, Mt. Clemens
  Lindsay Rose, Medical Malpractice, Detroit
  Michael VanOrder, Auto/PIP, Mt. Clemens ‌

• ASSOCIATE PRINCIPAL
  Chloe Schumacher, Medical Malpractice, Detroit
  Keyur Shah, Post-Acute Care, Detroit
  Laura Sherbrook, Medical Malpractice, Detroit

• SENIOR ASSOCIATE
  Ahndia Mansoori, Immigration, Detroit
  Andrew McKeachie, Medical Malpractice, Detroit

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Collins, Einhorn, Farrell PC is pleased to announce that attorneys Chelsea E. Pasquali, James J. Hunter, Jeffrey R. Hicks, Margaret A. Cernak, and Lindsey A. Peck have been elected partners in the firm.

Pasquali is a partner in the firm’s General Liability, Professional Liability, and Commercial Litigation practice areas. She also has experience defending first-party No-Fault, third party negligence, and premises liability cases. Pasquali has represented large corporations, small businesses, and individuals in breach of contract and fraud claims.

Hunter is a partner in the firm’s Professional Liability and Trucking & Transportation Liability practice groups. He has experience defending complex claims in both practice areas. As a member of the Professional Liability practice group, Hunter is dedicated to protecting the rights and livelihoods of professionals serving the community. He has successfully defended claims against attorneys, architects, real estate professionals, and others. Hunter also represents transportation industry clients in state and federal litigation arising out of serious trucking and personal injury accidents.

Hicks is a partner in the firm’s Commercial Litigation, Professional Liability, and Trucking and Transportation Liability practice groups. Hicks’ practice focuses on professional liability defense.
He has litigation experience, including all phases of the litigation process. He also has experience preparing and successfully arguing motions for summary disposition and appeals on behalf of clients. In addition to his current professional liability work, Hicks has also handled auto/negligence liability, complex real property litigation, commercial litigation, and pharmaceutical liability defense.

Cernak is a partner in the firm’s Insurance Coverage practice group. She devotes a significant portion of her practice to preparing coverage opinions and proposed coverage position letters, counseling insurance carriers on complex insurance coverage disputes, and commencing and defending insurance coverage actions in both state and federal court. She has practiced in the areas of commercial, tort, and insurance coverage litigation with firms in southeastern Michigan.

Peck is a partner in the firm’s Appellate and Employment Practices Liability practice groups. Her eye for detail and penchant for writing has been the key to her success in both state and federal appellate courts. Peck has experience in general liability, personal injury defense, and most notably in municipal law. She has defended municipal agencies, departments, appointed and elected officials, officers, and employees against a broad spectrum of claims, including statutory claims, civil rights claims, tort claims, zoning and land use claims, employment claims, and contract claims arising out of public works infrastructure projects and improvements.

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Mary Kucharek has been named an equity partner at Beier Howlett as announced last week by the board of directors for the Troy based law firm.

Kucharek concentrates her practice in the area of municipal law including criminal prosecutions, as well as criminal defense and victim advocacy. She serves as the city attorney for the City of Orchard Lake Village and the Village of Lake Orion, as well as the assistant city attorney for the City of Birmingham. 

A graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, Kucharek is active in her community and a frequent speaker to high schools and community groups relating to under-age substance abuse. Kucharek, who earned a bachelor of science degree in nursing from the University of Detroit, also has served on the Oakland County Mental Health Authority Board and is a proud member of the 2017 Class of “Women in the Law” by Michigan Lawyers Weekly.