Legal People

Plunkett Cooney

Attorney Alan Shamoun of Plunkett Cooney has been appointed to serve as a member of Michigan’s Adult-Use Marijuana Stakeholder Workgroups.

Shamoun volunteered to serve on the attorney workgroup as part of his practice, which includes a focus on representing cannabis businesses in the medical and recreational use sectors. He is one of only 13 attorneys statewide to be selected for service on the workgroups, which were formed by Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).

The purpose of the attorney workgroup is to provide input and advice to the Michigan Bureau of Marijuana Regulation on topics related to the Michigan Regulation and Taxation Act. The new law allows legal use of marijuana for people age 21 and older.

Shamoun applies his tax and business law expertise in the cannabis industry by assisting clients involved in the state and local business application processes. He also works with them once they are licensed to remain compliant with numerous industry regulations.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for me to assist the state with its implementation of the new regulation and taxation act,” said Shamoun, who practices in Plunkett Cooney’s Bloomfield Hills office. “There are a lot of issues to consider, and I am glad to be able to provide a voice for my clients in this process.”

The attorney workgroup will begin meeting this month in the office of the Michigan Bureau of Marijuana Regulation, which is located at 2407 North Grand River Avenue in Lansing.

Shamoun is a member of Plunkett Cooney’s Business Transactions & Planning Practice Group and the firm’s  Cannabis Law Industry Group. He focuses his practice primarily on tax conflicts involving individuals and corporations. His expertise also includes the areas of corporate tax and estate planning.


Wayne State University Law School

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has appointed Wayne State University Law School Distinguished Professor Robert A. Sedler special assistant attorney general.

In his new role, Sedler, a nationally renowned expert on constitutional law and civil rights law, will advise the attorney general on related matters.

“When I was a young law student at WSU Law School, Bob Sedler instilled in me the belief that I could utilize a career in law to fight for rights on behalf of those who needed it most,” said Nessel. “Years later, Bob volunteered to advise our legal team as we prosecuted one of the most significant civil rights cases of our time, and he walked arm-in-arm with me into the United States Supreme Court where our case changed the arc of history for millions of Americans. I continue to be honored to work with Bob now as one of our department’s special assistant attorneys general, where his intellect, constitutional expertise and his impassioned sense of justice will benefit all the residents of Michigan. I am eternally grateful to again have the benefit of his wisdom, knowledge and experience.”

Sedler joined the Wayne Law faculty in 1977 and teaches courses on constitutional law. He has litigated a large number of civil rights and civil liberties cases in Michigan, Kentucky and elsewhere, mostly as a volunteer lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union. Cases he has litigated in Michigan include the Dearborn Parks case, and the racial discrimination in adoption and foster care case, a challenge to suspicionless drug testing of welfare recipients.

“I feel very privileged to work with Attorney General Nessel and to assist her in any way I can in her efforts to bring about justice for all of Michigan’s citizens,” said Sedler.

He is a frequent commentator in local and national media and has authored more than 100 pieces for various law journals and legal publications, including the Yale Law Journal, New York University Law Review, Columbia Law Review and the UCLA Law Review.

Sedler is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the State Bar of Michigan John W. Reed Michigan Lawyer Legacy Award, which is presented periodically to an educator from a Michigan law school whose influence on lawyers has elevated the quality of legal practice in the state. In May, Sedler will be presented with the Michigan Association of Justice’s Champion of Justice Award.


Pepper Hamilton LLP

Pepper Hamilton LLP partner Kay Standridge Kress has been named a Fellow of the American College of Commercial Finance Lawyers (ACCFL). Kress was one of 12 Fellows inducted into the organization at its annual meeting on March 30.

ACCFL is a professional association dedicated to promoting the field of commercial finance law through education, legislative reform, and the recognition of distinguished practitioners, jurists and academics.

Kress is a corporate restructuring and bankruptcy partner in the Detroit office of Pepper Hamilton and is a member of the firm’s executive committee. She has more than 30 years of experience in representing debtors, creditors’ committees, secured creditors, trustees and individual creditors and parties in interest, both as lead counsel and as co-counsel in out-of-court workouts and in bankruptcy courts in the Eastern District of Michigan, the Western District of Michigan, the District of Delaware, the Southern District of New York and in other bankruptcy courts in the United States. She was named a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy in 2005.

Kress also was the American Bar Association Business Law Section advisor to the Uniform Law Drafting Committee for the Uniform Commercial Real Estate Receivership Act. The Act was approved by the Uniform Law Commission in July 2015 and has been enacted in five states.


Oakland County Business Court

Oakland County Judges James Alexander and Martha Anderson were recently reappointed to the Oakland County Business Court by the Michigan Supreme Court for six-year terms. 

Alexander has been serving on the Business Court since its inception in July of 2013 and Anderson joined the Business Court in January 2019 filling a vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Wendy Potts.

The mission of the Business Court is to establish best practices for the resolution of business disputes; improve efficiency; utilize the latest technology in managing Business Court cases; and enhance the accuracy, consistency, and predictability of decisions in business and commercial cases.  The Oakland County Business Court is one of the busiest in the state, with 931 new Business Court filings in 2018.

Alexander was appointed to the Circuit Court bench in 2001 and has been subsequently reelected three times.  He has served as president of the Michigan Judges Association and chair of the State Bar Judicial Council.  He currently serves as the Judges’ Association representative to the Trial Court Funding Commission.

Anderson was elected to the Circuit Court in 2002 and was most recently reelected in 2014.   She is the vice president of the Michigan Judges Association and is an appointed member of the Michigan Community Corrections Board. 

Butzel Long

Butzel Long attorney Beth S. Gotthelf will receive an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities from her alma mater, Oakland University, during a commencement ceremony on Thursday, April 25.

Gotthelf is Butzel Long’s director of Innovation and External Relations. She also is an executive-in-residence at the Macomb-OU INCubator and serves on the Macomb-OU INCubator Advisory Council.

Gotthelf reflects back on her days at Oakland University, “It was transformative, bringing a passion of other cultures, Shakespeare and art history. Oakland University also opened my eyes to nutrition and fitness, which has led me to be a lifelong biker and swimmer. All this and a career, too!”

Gotthelf served as a lay-leader on legislative trade missions to Israel to help Michigan legislators learn what has worked to make Israel an economic leader, and bring those “lessons learned” back to Michigan. She is immediate past president and a current board member of the Michigan Israel Business Accelerator (MIBA).  With her connector skills, Gotthelf chaired a matchmaking initiative to bring Israel and Michigan automotive companies together during a high-tech automotive exchange mission by the Israel Consul for Economic Affairs and the Michigan Israel Business Bridge (now the MIBA). That mission resulted in more than 100 matchmaking meetings.

She continued her passion of connecting companies to create business when she became president of MIBA by convincing Israel to have its first ever trade mission of Israeli Defense companies to a state (Michigan) in 2017. This mission was so successful that it led to the first-ever trade mission by a state (Michigan) of defense companies to Israel in December 2018. As a result, Michigan and Israel defense companies are reaping the benefit.

Gotthelf now counsels clients in governmental contracting, ITAR, EAR, and Foreign Military Sales. Gotthelf also is a leader in environmental law, bringing creative solutions to remediation, redevelopment, tax incentives, and waste management.

She represents and counsels a diverse mix of clients in numerous matters throughout the country including compliance and permitting; alternative energy issues; responding to an emergency; siting new facilities; civil and criminal enforcement; compliance audits; brownfields; tax incentives; remediation of contaminated sites; insurance claims; administrative procedures; solid and hazardous waste; landfills; composting; and occupational safety and health.

Gotthelf has served as general counsel to the Michigan Chapter of the National Association of Surface Finishers since 1990; Better Business Bureau Board member (2012-present); former general counsel to the Wayne County Brownfield Authority. She has represented the Wayne County Department of Environment on a broad variety of issues, including the Detroit bankruptcy as it related to the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department; wastewater treatment plant expansion, upgrade and compliance; wet weather; landfills; remediation; and ordinance amendments.

She has served as vice chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law, Water Quality and Wetlands; former vice chair of the Section’s Keystone Committee; chair of the State Bar of Michigan Environmental Law Section; and chair of the Environmental Law Committee of the Oakland County Bar Association. She is a past member of the State Bar Representative Assembly on behalf of Oakland County.

In addition, Gotthelf is on the board of the Better Business Bureau. She is an active member of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Environmental Committee, past member of the Chambers Leadership Committee for Transportation, and is past chair of the Chamber’s Task Force on Water and Sewer Issues. She is chair of the City of Birmingham Brownfield Authority (2005-present). On behalf of industry, she served on the Federal Advisory Committee charged with recommending stormwater rules and served as a Director of the Detroit Area Commercial Board of Realtors, which covers the State of Michigan. Gotthelf served as an arbitrator for the National Arbitration Forum.

Gotthelf was recently named to Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s 2019 Class of Leaders in the Law. She also was selected as one of 20 influential leaders by Michigan Lawyers Weekly - Women in Law (2010). She was listed as one of the “Top 100 Michigan Super Lawyers” by Michigan Super Lawyers (2006, 2007, 2008) and as one of the “Top 50 Female Michigan Super Lawyers” (2006, 2008, 2014 and 2015). She also is listed in Michigan Super Lawyers, Environmental (2006-2018). She has received a number of awards and special recognitions, including as an emerging leader by the Detroit Regional Chamber (2003); the National Association of Surface Finishers (2002); Corp! Magazine as one of “Michigan’s 95 Most Powerful Women” (2002); Corp! Magazine’s “Top 10 Business Attorneys for Southeast Michigan” (1999); and Crain’s Detroit Business’ 40 emerging leaders under age 40 (40 Under 40) (1994).

She has authored articles of national interest for the ABA on Proposed Wastewater Regulations and Underground Storage Tanks, and authored a public policy update on the Detroit wastewater ordinance amendments for Detroiter. National lectures include National Brownfields Conference (2008); Walsh College “FIN or Else: FIN 47” Seminar; Urban Land Use Planning (2007); COATING 2005 on “Doing Business in China”; the ABA Annual Meetings, Section of Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law concerning general practice (2007) and water issues (2004 and 2002); “A Civil Reaction: Confronting Environment Problems in the New Millennium” (1997); “Annual Fundamentals of Real Estate Taxation” (1997, 1998, 2000, 2001 and 2002); and at the National Association of Metal Finishers, “Federal Wastewater Pretreatment Issues.”

Gotthelf’s charitable activities include serving as co-chair of the Gleaners Food Bank Women’s Power Breakfast fundraiser (2015); board member and eventually president of the Board of Trustees for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Michigan Chapter (1996-2008); board member and eventually chair of the Board of Trustees of Oakland Plus Foundation (2005-11); trustee of the Jewish Vocational Services (2000-15); member of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, State Government Relations Oversight Committee (2004-present); and member of the Board of Directors for the University and Cancer Foundation (2000-07).
Gotthelf earned a law degree the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law in 1985. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Administration and Public Policy from Oakland University in 1980.


Secrest Wardle

Secrest Wardle welcomes three new attorneys to its Troy location.

Ryan D. Ewles joins Secrest Wardle’s Troy office as a partner. He is a member of the firm’s Malpractice/Professional Liability, Insurance Coverage, Drug and Medical Device, General Negligence, Product Liability, and Premises Liability Practice Groups.

Heidi J. Gehart joins Secrest Wardle’s Troy office as a partner. She is a member of the firm’s Employment, Insurance Coverage, and Motor Vehicle Litigation Practice Groups.

Sam S. Yousif joins Secrest Wardle’s Troy office as an associate. He is a member of the firm’s Motor Vehicle Litigation Practice Group.