Step ahead-- U-M Law grad keeps things hopping at bar associations

By Tom Kirvan

Legal News

Dan Quick's zeal for pro bono work, for involvement with various bar associations is framed within his desire to "be part of something bigger, to make a contribution to the law."

And that is "with a capital 'L,'" he adds.

When the time comes, Quick's legacy undoubtedly will be highlighted by his work with the Oakland County Bar Association, which honored him with the prestigious Distinguished Service Award in 2009. A case could be made that every letter signifying that honor should be capitalized in honor of Quick, a current member of the OCBA governing board.

Lisa Stadig Elliot, executive director of the OCBA, notes that Quick pulled double duty the year he received the Distinguished Service Award, chairing both the Continuing Legal Education and Circuit Court committees for the Oakland Bar. He also found time and energy to serve on the Inns of Court executive committee, and has twice chaired the panel.

Says Stadig Elliot of Quick and his commitment to legal service work: "He is the type of person who when he says he'll do something, he does it. He's really wonderful."

A 1992 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, Quick currently serves as treasurer of the Oakland County Bar Foundation, and also has made his mark on various projects and panels with the American Bar Association and the State Bar of Michigan. It's all in a good day's work for Quick, an IP and commercial litigation trial attorney with Dickinson Wright.

"There is something special about helping bring about positive change," says Quick, a Plymouth-Canton alum who earned his bachelor's degree in political science from U-M. "I find my involvement with the bar associations as simply an opportunity to contribute to a greater cause. It's work that energizes me and inspires me to do more."

He recently was instrumental in helping develop an ombudsman role for the Oakland County Circuit Court, modeling it after a similar program for the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Michigan. The pilot program is designed to address administrative and case management issues, and to promote greater dialogue and understanding between the bench and bar.

"As someone who regularly practices in the federal courts, I saw the benefit of having an ombudsman there and thought it was a logical move to bring the program to the Oakland County Circuit Court," says Quick, who worked his way through college and law school by toiling in several popular Ann Arbor restaurants and pizzerias. "We are fortunate to have Joel Serlin as our first ombudsman. He has the respect and admiration of members of the bench and bar in Oakland County."

The same could be said for Quick, who is heavily involved in commercial and entertainment litigation. He has served as lead counsel for Universal Music Group, representing such artists as Lady Gaga, Sheryl Crow, Mary J. Blige, and Dr. Dre in "copyright claims, commercial disputes, and defamation actions."

Yet, it was in lengthy arbitration hearing some 15 years ago in Chicago that Quick gained a reputation for his cross examining skill. The case involved a dispute between the FTD Florists Association and its corporate partner, and resulted in the successful defense of the commercial claim, including an award of attorney and expert fees to the Dickinson Wright client.

"It was a very involved case and I actually lived in Chicago for more than a month while it was going on," Quick recalls. "I scored some real points in the examination of one witness in particular, receiving some very positive feedback from my partner on the case. From that point on, I really had the confidence to know that, 'I can do this.'"

Not bad for a fellow who admits that "law school wasn't exactly my favorite experience." It was a career track encouraged by his adoptive parents, however. His father, Dan, graduated from Cooley High School in Detroit and worked as a sprinkler fitter throughout his career. His mother, Judy, also graduated from Cooley and earned a master's degree from Wayne State University, using it as a stepping-stone to a career in the substance abuse counseling field.

"They really pressed me hard to go to college at Michigan and, as a result, I didn't even consider anyplace else," says Quick. "Fortunately, after a bit of a rocky academic start in college, I turned it around and did well enough to be admitted to law school there."

While in law school, Quick clerked for Judge Hugh Brenneman Jr., a federal magistrate for the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Michigan. That same year, he also spent six weeks in Cambridge, Mass., conducting legal research for the Physicians for Human Rights organization.

Entering his final year at U-M Law School, Quick was a key member of the Clinton presidential campaign in Michigan, helping galvanize student support at college campuses across the state as well as in Washtenaw County in general.

"It was an eye-opening experience to be involved in a political campaign," Quick recalls of the 1992 election. "The pace was non-stop, especially when you consider that Clinton was taking on an incumbent in the presidential race that year."

Upon graduation, Quick found himself in the middle of "one of the worst legal job markets in decades," he recalls.

"It was almost as bad as it is today for new hires," Quick says of the legal career climate in 1992. "Fortunately, and through a bit of serendipity, I landed a job with Dickinson Wright and it has been a great place to be ever since."

He spent the first five years of his career working in the firm's Detroit office and lived in the Detroit River Place development, enjoying the "vibe" of the Motor City. It was there that Quick met his future wife Sandy, also an associate with the firm at the time and now an in-house counsel for Johnson Controls in Plymouth. She earned her bachelor's degree from Duke University and her law degree from Notre Dame, two schools not high on her husband's list of favorites.

"It could only be worse if she had gone to Michigan State and Ohio State," says Quick, a diehard U-M sports fan.

The couple has three children, Rachel, 16, Hannah, 15, and Isaiah, 11. Rachel, a junior at Andover High School, is an editor of the school newspaper and has her sights set on attending Northwestern or Columbia in the fall of 2013.

One of the stories she published in the school paper revolved around the plight of her sister, a sophomore trumpeter in the marching band, according to Quick.

"Hannah was born with one leg significantly shorter than the other and has undergone more than 15 surgeries over the years to correct the difference," Quick says. "She has one more surgery scheduled for this summer to help lengthen her leg. She has maintained a great attitude throughout the entire ordeal. She even started her own website to offer support for others going through a similar situation."

Quick and his wife have alternated spending their summers in Baltimore, where the specialized surgeries take place.

"We rent an apartment there and put down some roots for the summer while Hannah is recovering and going through physical therapy," Quick says. "We've found that the kids there tend to absorb the attitude of their parents. We appreciate how difficult this has been physically and emotionally upon our daughter, but we all know that her situation could have been much worse and fortunately is correctable."

Published: Thu, Mar 22, 2012

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