Ever evolving: Attorney develops strategies for litigation


 By Sheila Pursglove

Legal News
In a case that resembles a movie script, a trader at the Chicago Board Options Exchange used his life savings to launch a proprietary trading firm, inviting two associates to join his venture.  After experiencing modest success in their first three years, the firm developed its own proprietary software that allowed it to identify and target markets faster than some competitors. As a result of its proprietary technology and the volatility in the markets in 2006 and 2007, the firm took off and soon each of the original three partners were multi-millionaires.
Plagued by a health ailment caused by years of standing on the trading floor, the managing member took a short leave of absence with the full support of his two partners—while remaining in touch with and working for the benefit of the company.  
“Upon his return, my client was stunned to find that the guys that he invited to start the firm had locked him out, alleging that he abandoned the firm and they would no longer recognize him as a managing member,” recalls litigation attorney Aaron Davis, who, along with others at his law firm represented the trader in the resulting lawsuit.
Now an attorney at Fraser, Trebilcock, Davis, & Dunlap in Lansing, Davis—who specializes in Commercial Litigation, Labor, Employment and Civil Rights—has been involved in several interesting cases over the course of his career. 
“I enjoy the strategy involved in developing a litigation plan and implementing that plan for the benefit of the client,” he says. “No two cases are the same, and the law is always evolving. It’s important to stay connected with decisions handed down that may have an impact on your client and their case.”
Davis started on a long path to becoming a legal eagle as a criminal justice pre-law major at Northeastern University in Boston where he was a member of the Northeastern Men’s Varsity Crew Team.  In 2001, he transferred to Michigan State University and majored in political science. Upon his graduation in 2003, Davis took an unpaid internship with Chris Kolb, the then-state representative for the 53rd District. An evening job selling shoes at Finish Line at the Lansing Mall helped to make ends meet.
Five months later, the Michigan Democratic Party invited him to run a campaign for Dudley Spade, the candidate for the 57th District State House seat; decamping to Lenawee County, Davis ran the campaign from April through December 2004.  
“I enjoyed the freedom of getting out and speaking with constituents in the district to learn what was affecting them,” he says. 
After Spade’s landslide victory, Davis joined his team as a legislative aide. 
“It was exciting to be part of the bill writing process, watching the bill proceed from draft, to the floor, to committee, back to the floor, to the senate and eventually to the governor.”
Enrolling part-time at Cooley Law School, Davis took classes for two years while working full time in the legislature. He moved to Chicago to clerk full time at Shefsky & Froelich, and attended evening classes at John Marshall Law School—where he received the CALI (Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction) Award in Legislation and Political Thought.  
“Working at Shefsky allowed me to continue to develop my research and writing skills, and also allowed me to work with and learn from a number of great litigators,” he says. “I gained valuable first-hand experience and life-long friends and contacts.”
The Sunshine State was his next stop, where he started his law career in his hometown of Tallahassee with Meyer, Brooks, Demma & Blohm, a firm specializing in union-side labor work. With no experience in that area and “thrown into the deep end of the pool,” he discovered this niche to be interesting and rewarding.
“After a person’s family, their job is perhaps the most important thing to their livelihood,” he says. “Working with union members—such as teachers, police, firefighters, and professors—that had been unfairly terminated in violation of their collective bargaining rights, and trying to get those people their jobs back, was incredible. In most instances these cases involved a hearing before an administrative law judge. For all intents and purposes this was litigation on an expedited basis—really the best of both worlds.”   
After moving back to the Windy City, Davis spent two years with Cronin & Co., where he was involved in a number of high profile matters.  One of which involved the representation of a German manufacturer of precision fan blades for land-based gas turbines and aero in a lawsuit against former employees that allegedly started a competitor shadow company—while still employees of his client. 
“As we got deeper and deeper into the case and conducted discovery, we discovered these employees had solicited ‘moles’ to remain at our client’s plant in order to funnel trade secrets to the new company,” he explains. 
The jig was up after the manufacturer’s chief operating officer received an e-mail from a confused supplier, attaching a PowerPoint presentation announcing a new company and its board of directors—all former employees and/or directors of Davis’ client. Davis and his colleagues immediately filed suit alleging amongst other things, breaches of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, tortious interference with contract, tortious interference with economic advantage, fraud, and conspiracy. To get into federal court, the attorneys argued this conduct violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act—while defendants argued their clients had “authorized access” to the materials they stole by virtue of their positions such as CFO and CEO. The judge agreed, and instructed the manufacturer to re-file in state court. 
Despite having lived and worked in several states, Davis says the Great Lakes State has always felt like home. 
“The beauty of Michigan is unmatched—with some of the prettiest country in the U.S.,” he says. “It’s a great place to raise a family.”
That family comprises his wife Jennifer, 2-year-old daughter, Adalyn, and 7-month-old son, Jack, and a home in Okemos near Lansing. 
“My daughter is incredibly active, so keeping up with her is enough to keep a person busy,” he says.  The proud owner of a basement saltwater aquarium, Davis is also a die-hard Red Sox baseball fan, and was recently appointed by the Ingham County Commission to serve as member for the Potter Park Zoo Board.