Legal People

Wayne County 36th District Court Judge Bill McConico was honored recently with a Proclamation of Excellence award bestowed by the Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys.

The recognition honored McConico for his service to local government in Michigan. He has previously served as a prosecutor in Hamtramck, and most recently served as the city attorney and chief of staff in Highland Park.

“Since my work has always been around fairness and justice, it is truly humbling to receive an honor for doing the peoples’ work,”Conico said. “So that’s what makes getting an award from peers really special, because it hopefully means that I’ve been able to have an impact.”

A state representative from 2000-2006, McConico served as the chair of the Michigan House of Representatives Detroit Caucus. In addition to founding the Michigan chapter of the Democratic Leadership Council Caucus and chairing the Michigan House of Representatives Urban Caucus, McConico while elected served on the education, local government, criminal justice, energy and technology committees.

A graduate of Morehouse College, McConico earned his law degree from Case Western Reserve School of Law.

McConico has worked with more than a dozen community and business organizations, and currently is a member of the Wolverine Bar Association and served on the board of the Detroit Wayne County Port Authority. He is a member of Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church.

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Detroit law firm Barris, Sott, Denn, & Driker PLLC is pleased to announce that one of its associates, Jeffrey Stefan II, was selected as one of twenty “Up and Coming Lawyers” by Michigan Lawyers Weekly for the year 2010. Stefan will be honored at an awards luncheon and profiled a special supplement for the Michigan Lawyers Weekly.

Stefan is a 2003 graduate of Wayne State University Law School. He earned his undergraduate degree from Eastern Michigan University.

His practice covers all aspects of real estate law with an emphasis on both transactional and litigation matters. As part of his practice, Stefan regularly represents BSDD clients in connection with commercial real property tax assessment appeals involving among other things, retail shopping centers, industrial properties, hospital and medical facilities and other commercial projects. He also has litigated a variety of business matters in state and federal court. In addition, Stefan is involved with various non-profit organizations in connection with matters such as obtaining 501(c)(3) tax exempt status, corporate formation, state tax issues and real estate counseling.

Additionally, Barris Sott would like to announce that one of its members, Kevin Kalczynski, was recently named as a “Future Star” in the 2011 edition of Benchmark Litigation, an annual leading guide to America’s top litigation firms and attorneys.

Kalczynski’s practice focuses on litigation, representing plaintiffs and defendants in business tort and breach of contract matters. He also has experience in legal malpractice, director and officer liability claims, supplier disputes, lease disputes, trade secrets, non-compete agreements, construction and lender liability litigation.

Active in the community, Kalczynski is currently a member of the State Bar of Michigan Judicial and Professional Ethics Committee and the Royal Oak Zoning Board of Appeals.

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Attorneys Patricia Nemeth and Linda Burwell, founding partners of Detroit-based employment law firm Nemeth Burwell PC, and partners Anne Widlak and Susan Koval have been named to the “Michigan Super Lawyers” list for 2010 under their primary area of practice, Employment & Labor. Nemeth was again included on the top 50 Women Lawyers in Michigan section of the list. Additionally, Of Counsel attorney Ingrid Brey was named a “Super Lawyer” in her specialty area of immigration.

Nemeth founded Nemeth Burwell, a boutique employment law firm, in 1992. Since that time she and Burwell, who joined Nemeth in 1994, have grown the firm to 13 attorneys and 27 total staff.

Nemeth specializes in the labor and employment arena as a litigator, consultant, and negotiator. Her areas of expertise include reductions in force/layoffs and rehiring after layoffs, religious, ethnic, and gender discrimination, workplace harassment, wrongful discharge, union organizing activities and multi-party lawsuits. Industries served include healthcare, nursing homes, gaming, insurance, and government entities. Nemeth completed the mediation training required under the Michigan Court Rules in 2003 and serves as a certified mediator for all types of civil litigation matters, including employment.

Nemeth earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan and her law degrees from Wayne State University School of Law. She is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and the Illinois Bar.

Burwell specializes in the labor and employment arena as a litigator, arbitrator and consultant and represents management in all aspects of labor and employment law. Her areas of expertise include wrongful discharge, discrimination, non-competition, harassment, interference with contract, equal pay, retaliation, whistleblowers, wage and hours, unfair labor practices, breach of contract, libel and slander, and invasion of privacy. She regularly counsels management on collective bargaining agreements, pre-employment, discipline, and pre-termination and post-termination matters. A nationally recognized speaker and author on employment law and risk management issues, Burwell often serves as the legal expert on panels involving employment laws.

Burwell earned her law degree from Wayne State University School of Law and a Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University. She is a member of the Michigan, Federal, and the United States Supreme Court Bar.

Widlak is an employment law litigator and counselor. She has successfully defended cases in state and federal courts involving a comprehensive array of claims, including workplace harassment; discrimination based on age, disability, sex, race, national origin and other protected categories; retaliation; violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act; wrongful discharge; and intentional interference with an at-will employment relationship. She has extensive experience representing employers in the defense of discrimination charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. Widlak has served as a panel chairperson for the Michigan Attorney Discipline Board. She is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America (LCA), a trial lawyer honorary society comprised of less than one-half of one percent of lawyers in the United States.

Widlak earned both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in English from Georgetown University. She earned her law degree from the Wayne State University School of Law.

Koval focuses her practice on employment litigation and arbitration and has extensive experience counseling private and public employers in employment and labor relations matters. She defends employers against claims such as wrongful discharge, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, breach of contract, FMLA and wage and hour claims, and class action lawsuits before federal and state courts and administrative agencies. Additionally, she has a strong federal practice, stemming from her early exposure to the federal courts as a judicial law clerk. Koval served as a special facilitator for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission mediation program and has been a presenter and guest lecturer for numerous employers and organizations on a variety of topics, including employment law, personnel records, and tort law for educators. She conducts workplace investigations and trains employers’ workforces – from entry level positions to high level executives and officers – on discrimination and harassment in the workplace and other employment issues.

Koval earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from West Liberty State College and her law degree is from West Virginia University College of Law.

Brey focuses her practice exclusively on immigration law. Specifically, she represents employers who seek to employ foreign nationals within the United States. She also advises employers on worksite immigration compliance and enforcement issues. Brey is an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and has served as chair of AILA’s Michigan Chapter, chair of the National Physician’s Committee and on various national liaison committees, including the Department of Labor, Nebraska Service Center, and Department of State, where she was charged with liaisoning with the Waiver Review Division on J-1 visa waiver issues. In 2007, Brey acted as AILA liaison with the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City. She has published numerous articles on immigration law, including a chapter in the Institute of Continuing Legal Education’s handbook, Employment Law in Michigan. In January, 2009 Brey’s article, Immigration Law for the Employment Lawyer, appeared in the Michigan Bar Journal. She is a frequent speaker on immigration law and presents yearly at the national American Immigration Lawyers’ Conference and other national immigration conferences throughout the U.S.
Brey earned her law degree from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School and a master’s degree in labor law from the Georgetown University Law Center. She received her bachelor’s degree in social science from Michigan State University.

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Bush, Seyferth, & Paige PLLC recently announced Partners Patrick G. Seyferth, Richard W. Paige and Debra M. McCulloch have been named by “Michigan Super Lawyers” magazine as top attorneys in Michigan for 2010. Seyferth was named to the list of Top 100 Lawyers; Paige to the list for Business Litigation; and McCulloch to the list of Top 50 Women. No more than five percent of the lawyers in the state are named by Super Lawyers each year.

Seyferth co-leads the firm’s National Trial Practice for product liability defense. He has first-chair trial experience, with favorable outcomes in major product liability and commercial litigation cases, specializing in the defense of high exposure product liability cases, commercial litigation and class actions.

Paige leads the firm’s Complex Litigation Practice specializing in general business and insurance litigation in state and federal courts. Paige’s expertise focuses on commercial contract disputes, business torts, unfair competition and trade secret matters, corporate governance claims, insurance coverage and securities litigation, among other related areas. Paige also works on product safety issues in the automotive industry.

McCulloch leads the firm’s Employment Law Group. With combined experience in employment law matters and litigation, McCulloch counsels and defends private and public employers. She also focuses on international employment law and data and privacy protection, as well as commercial litigation.

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Jennifer M. Grieco, a partner with Southfield-based Neuman Anderson PC, has been named to Crain’s Detroit Business’ annual “40 under 40” list. Neuman Anderson Managing Partner Kenneth Neuman made the announcement.

Grieco was recognized for her leadership role with the Oakland County Bar Association (OCBA). Grieco is one of the youngest attorneys to ever be elected president of the OCBA and one of only six women in the association’s 76-year history to lead the organization. She has also worked with universities and legal organizations in metro Detroit to develop the association’s new pro-bono mentorship program for young attorneys, which is expected to be a model throughout the state.

Grieco focuses her practice in complex commercial litigation. Her experience encompasses a broad range of commercial disputes with a particular emphasis on business tort claims including professional malpractice, contract claims, shareholder disputes, insurance coverage and construction litigation.

She is a 1993 graduate of the University of Toledo and a 1997 graduate of the University of Toledo College of Law, where she served as Note and Comment Editor of the University of Toledo Law Review.

A frequent speaker and published author, Grieco currently serves as a Trustee of the Oakland County Bar Foundation and as a member of the State Bar of Michigan Negligence Council, American Bar Association and Michigan Association for Justice.

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Hall Render shareholder Mark R. Lezotte was recently elected to the National Board of Trustees of United Cerebral Palsy Association.

Lezotte has been involved with United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) on a local and national level for over 15 years, including serving as board chair of the local affiliate, UCP of Metro Detroit. He was a recipient of the national chairperson’s award in 2004, recognizing his volunteer work for UCP.

Lezotte practices in the firm’s Troy office. He has experience in corporate, health care, tax, and exempt organization matters, including hospital-physician ventures, business acquisitions and dispositions, tax-exempt issues, regulatory investigations, corporate and nonprofit governance, and medical staff matters.

He has conducted presentations on a number of topics involving health law, nonprofit organizations, and tax matters. He was selected to “Michigan Super Lawyers” (health care law), published by “Law & Politics Magazine” in 2008, 2009 and 2010, has served on the Council of the State Bar of Michigan Business Law Section, is a past co-chair of the State Bar Nonprofit Corporations Committee, and is active in numerous professional and nonprofit organizations.

In addition, the firm also announced the strategic hire of shareholder David A. French. French has practiced in the areas of corporate counsel services, general commercial litigation, health law litigation and risk management, as well as medical staff relations, and will be working two days per week in Washtenaw County to service Washtenaw County clients.

As a graduate of Wayne State University Law School, French has been a litigator and trial lawyer for over twenty-five years. Throughout the course of his career, French has had success in handling qui tam and federal false claims litigation, physician staff disputes, reimbursement disputes with third party payors, federal and state investigations along with other administrative regulatory matters. He has further acted as lead counsel in federal and state courts across the nation.

French is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, the Washtenaw County Bar Association and the American Health Lawyers Association. French has written numerous articles and has lectured at several programs that focus on the health care industry.

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Andrew B. Wachler of Royal Oak-based Wachler & Associates PC addressed conference attendees at the Radiology Business Management Association’s Fall Educational Conference in Austin, Texas.

Wachler spoke about the evolving health care landscape and third party payor audits. The five day conference (Sept. 25-29) featured speakers on legal matters as well as billing and coding, imaging centers, professional development and technology. Wachler has been practicing health care law for more than 25 years. He counsels health care providers and organizations nationwide in a variety of health care legal matters. In addition, he writes and speaks nationally to professional organizations and other entities on health care law topics such as Medicare appeals, Stark and fraud and abuse, HIPAA, and other topics.

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Southfield-based Jaffe, Raitt, Heuer, Weiss PC has been recognized by dbusiness for having some of the top attorneys in Metro Detroit in 2010. The publication recognized the following Jaffe attorneys in

its 2010 Top Lawyers listing:
• Joel Alam – Securities Corporate Finance.
• Christopher Andreoff – Criminal Defense.
• Joel Golden – Estate Planning Probate.
• Jeffrey Heuer – Business Litigation.
• Ira Jaffe – Business/Corporate.
• Lawrence Jordan – Intellectual Property.
• Shirley Kaigler – Estate Planning Probate.
• Michael Khoury – Information Technology/Outsourcing.
• Louis Rochkind – Bankruptcy Creditor/Debtor Rights.
• Stephen Schafer – Business Transaction.
• Brian Shannon – Appellate.
• Peter Sugar – Securities Corporate Finance.
• Holli Hart Targan – Finance.
• Jay Welford – Bankruptcy Creditor/Debtor Rights.
• Richard Zussman – Real Estate.
• Jeremy Bisdorf – Intellectual Property Corporate.
• Brian Raznick – Real Estate.
• David Griem – Criminal Litigation.
• Peter Alter – Litigation

In addition, John P. Decker, partner with Jaffe Raitt, was recently named a Crain’s Detroit Business “40 Under 40” honoree. Jaffe CEO Richard Zussman made the announcement.

Decker considers his legal work on the substantial transition of the Detroit Zoo from the city of Detroit to the Detroit Zoological Society as his greatest accomplishment thus far.

As a member of the firm’s corporate practice group, he specializes in formation, governance and operations, including financing, general contracts, and mergers and acquisitions. He earned his Bachelor’s degree with high distinction from the University of Michigan, his Master’s degree from the London Business School and his law degree from Harvard Law School.

Decker has been listed as a “Michigan Rising Star” consecutively since 2008 by “Michigan Super Lawyers Magazine” and was previously a Fellow with the Michigan Political Leadership Program.

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Mark J. Bennett, senior counsel and team leader of Miller Canfield’s Climate Change practice, was recently named vice-chair of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Carbon Trading and Energy Finance Committee for the 2010-2011 term.

Bennett’s position with the ABA will concentrate on the confluence of the evolving areas of climate, environmental and real estate law and how they impact the energy efficiency of commercial real estate.
At Miller Canfield, Bennett has combined his training in real estate and environmental law into his position as leader of the Climate Change team, managing a broad array of issues in this emerging area of law. His practice also includes a focus on advising clients in the acquisition and development of commercial real estate, as well as guiding companies in conducting environmental due diligence in real estate transactions. He earned his law degree from Wayne State University Law School and B.A. from Michigan State University.

Miller Canfield also announces that Peter Bergan has joined the firm in the Real Estate Group as an associate in the Troy office. He is involved in all aspects of commercial real estate including financing, sales and acquisitions, development, zoning, leasing and workouts and foreclosures.

As a member of the Capital Markets Lending team, Bergan concentrates on representing large national lending groups with a particular emphasis on capital markets, mortgage-backed loan originations, and securitizations. He also represents financial institutions and special servicers in all stages of commercial real estate workouts and foreclosures for both securitized and portfolio loans in Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois.

He is a member of the American Bar Association, State Bar of Michigan, Oakland County Bar Association, Risk Management Association and American Bankruptcy Institute.

He earned his law degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law and his B.A. from Ohio State University.

Additionally, Miller Canfield principal  Richard W. Warren (Detroit) is one of only six lawyers practicing in Michigan recognized in the The International “Who’s Who of Management Labour & Employment Lawyers” 2010, published by “Who’s Who Legal” and sponsored by the American Bar Association Section of International Law.

Warren defends employers facing all types of wrongful discharge lawsuits, including discrimination, retaliation and harassment claims filed by employees. He also has defending employers faced with complex and class action cases, including age discrimination, race discrimination and retiree health benefit claims.

He earned his law degree from Michigan State University College of Law and B.A. from Michigan State University, James Madison College.

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Michigan Lawyers Weekly has honored Homayune A. Ghaussi, a partner with the law firm Warner, Norcross, & Judd LLP, as one of 20 “Up & Coming Lawyers” for 2010.

Ghaussi, who concentrates his practice in litigation, was recognized in the annual edition that acknowledges the best of Michigan’s young attorneys.

Ghaussi joined Warner Norcross in 2003 after completing a two-year clerkship with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. He is regularly part of the litigation teams that handle complex commercial issues, property disputes, labor and employment and other matters for some of the law firm’s signature clients.

“Michigan Super Lawyers” named Ghaussi a “Rising Star” in 2009 and 2010. He became a Warner Norcross partner in January 2010 and has served on numerous committees at the firm.

Active professionally, he is a member of the American Bar Association, Federal Bar Association, State Bar of Michigan and Oakland County Bar Association. He is also a graduate of Leadership Oakland.
Ghaussi earned a bachelor of science from Wayne State University and a law degree from Wayne State University Law School.

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Professional Resolution Experts of Michigan (PREMi), an innovative organization offering alternatives in solving complex, time-consuming and expensive legal issues, is pleased to announce that six of its members were named to the distinguished “2010 Michigan Super Lawyers” list by “Michigan Super Lawyers” publication. PREMi Executive Director William L. Weber Jr. made the announcement.

The honorees are: F. Peter Blake, Richard A. Bone, Gene J. Esshaki, Paul F. Monicatti, Richard E. Rassel and Martin C. Weisman. Together, their expertise includes almost all areas of commercial, corporate and personal law practice.

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Gary M. Remer ofMaddin, Hauser, Wartell, Roth, & Heller PC was listed in the U.S. News & World Reports 2010 Best Law Firms and received a Tier 1 ranking, the highest ranking, in the categories of Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, Insurance Law, Land Use & Zoning Law, Legal Malpractice Law – Defense and Real Estate Law. “It is an honor to be nominated and chosen,” said Remer. “This selection by our peers places our Employee Benefits Department among the top lawyers in our field, many of which I respect and admire. This is a supreme compliment which I am humbled to accept.”

All first-tier firms will be featured in the October Issue of U.S. News & World Reports.