Clark Hill PLC is pleased to announce seven attorneys have been elected to membership in the firm, effective January 1, 2014. The local attorneys admitted to membership include:

Stephon Bagne in the Litigation Practice Group.

Maria Fracassa Dwyer in the Labor and Employment Practice Group.

Cynthia Filipovich in the Litigation Practice Group.

Jennifer Green in the Litigation Practice Group.

Stu Schwartz in the Construction Practice Group.

Stephon B. Bagne is part of Clark Hill's Litigation and Real Estate Practice Groups in Detroit. He has handled a variety of commercial and real estate litigation matters. He focuses primarily upon eminent domain, real estate and commercial litigation. He recently negotiated a Planned Urban Development agreement that was executed within forty days of the City's initial Planning Commission meeting and obtained a published appellate decision upholding his jury verdict in an eminent domain matter. Bagne obtained his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Michigan.

Maria Fracassa Dwyer is a Member in the firm's Labor and Employment Group in its Detroit office. Dwyer is a trusted advisor and counselor to senior management across a wide range of industries including public and private employers. She represents clients across the entire spectrum of employment and labor law. Her clients include the staffing, education, nonprofit and food industries. In 2013, Dwyer was named by DBusiness as one of the Top Lawyers in the food and beverage industry and as a Michigan Super Lawyer in Labor and Employment.

Cynthia M. Filipovich is chair of Appellate Practice at Clark Hill, in the Detroit office. She specializes in appellate practice with an emphasis on federal courts of appeals nationwide. Her practice also includes trial litigation, including complex commercial litigation and products liability disputes. Her numerous appellate successes include cases in the U.S. Courts of Appeal for the Sixth, Seventh, and Ninth Circuits, as well as the Michigan Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. Filipovich was selected by her peers as one of the 2013 DBusiness magazine Top Lawyers. She was also named one of Michigan's Super Lawyers in appellate practice for 2013.

Jennifer K. Green is a member with the Litigation Practice Group in Clark Hill's Detroit office. She focuses her practice primarily in the area of commercial litigation, including contract disputes, business torts, employment-related disputes, lender liability, and a broad array of banking and financial institution disputes. Green has litigation experience in both state and federal courts, including discovery, dispositive motions, trials and appellate work.

Stuart M. Schwartz is a member in the Construction Practice Group and is adjunct to the Litigation Practice Group in the Detroit office. He concentrates his practice in construction law and commercial litigation, including contract disputes, employment issues, business torts, collection matters, post-judgment proceedings, lien and bond claims, landlord/tenant actions and other real property matters. Schwartz was selected for appointment to the State Bar of Michigan's Character and Fitness Committee and has been recognized multiple times by Michigan Super Lawyers Magazine as a Rising Star in the practice area of commercial litigation

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Sommers Schwartz' shareholder Lisa Esser-Weidenfeller has been appointed by the State Bar of Michigan Board of Commissioners to serve on the District I Character & Fitness Committee for a two-year term beginning on January 1, 2014.

Esser-Weidenfeller is a member of Sommers Schwartz' personal injury and medical malpractice groups and is dedicated to representing people harmed as a result of professional negligence, premises liability, product liability, and automobile accidents. She has been recognized as a Michigan Super Lawyers Rising Star each year since 2011 and currently serves as the Awards & Subgrants chief judge for the American Bar Association's Young Lawyers Division.

"I am honored to have been appointed and to work with this group of outstanding professionals," said Esser-Weidenfeller. "It is a privilege to serve on the Character & Fitness Committee and give back to the legal profession."

The Standing Committee on Character & Fitness is charged with investigating and determining applicants' suitability for admission to the State Bar of Michigan, and to provide recommendations to the State Board of Law Examiners. District Character & Fitness committees are comprised of lawyers and judges in each of the State Bar Commissioner districts with superior practice experience and knowledge.

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Five Secrest Wardle attorneys have been selected to the list of DBusiness "Top Lawyers" for 2014 by 18,200 of their peers in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw, and Livingston counties.

Derk W. Beckerleg - Municipal Law.

Beckerleg is the managing partner of Secrest Wardle's Municipal Law Department and is the assistant city attorney for the cities of Auburn Hills and Bloomfield Hills, the assistant township attorney for the Charter Township of Bloomfield, West Bloomfield, Southfield Township, and the assistant village attorney for the Village of Bingham Farms. Beckerleg represents the following municipalities with respect to their Michigan Tax Tribunal matters: City of Auburn Hills, Charter Township of Bloomfield, City of Bloomfield Hills, Charter Township of Independence, Charter Township of West Bloomfield, Southfield Township, City of Dearborn Heights, Village of Bingham Farms, and the City of Walled Lake.

In addition to his listing in DBusiness, Beckerleg has consistently been voted for inclusion on the list of Michigan Super Lawyers® by his peers from 2007 through 2013. He was also recognized on the list The Best Lawyers in America© 2014 in the practice areas of Litigation-Municipal and Municipal Law (Copyright 2013 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, SC).

Nathan J. Edmonds - Insurance Law; Litigation - Insurance.

Edmonds is a senior partner and specializes in defense litigation successfully defending corporate and private clients at trial in courts throughout the State of Michigan. He has conducted seminars on the topics of No-Fault Attendant Care Claims and No-Fault Reservation of Rights Issues. He has authored several articles for the firm's Automobile Negligence publication. Edmonds recently had an article published in the State Bar of Michigan's Journal of Insurance and Indemnity Law on the subject of medical fee schedules in the area of no-fault law.

William P. Hampton - Municipal Law.

Hampton is a senior partner and serves as attorney for the Cities of Bloomfield Hills and Auburn Hills, as well as for the Townships of Bloomfield and West Bloomfield. Hampton is a former Oakland County Circuit Court judge and former state legislator.

Hampton is a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers. In addition to being recognized in multiple practice areas by The Best Lawyers in America© (Copyright 2013 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, SC), he is listed in Who's Who in American Law. In 2012 he was named the Detroit Area "Municipal Lawyer of the Year." Hampton has been consecutively voted for inclusion on the list of Michigan Super Lawyers® by his peers from 2006 to 2013. Also in 2013, he was chosen as of one of thirty lawyers in Michigan to be honored as a "Leader in the Law."

Daniel P. Makarski - Alternative Dispute Resolution; Mediation.

Makarski is a senior partner, with more than 30 years of experience earning a state-wide reputation as a successful arbitrator, case evaluator, facilitator, and mediator. He is routinely appointed to cases involving personal injuries, medical malpractice, and property and business disputes.

For the fifth year in a row, Makarski has been named in DBusiness magazine as a Top Lawyer in Metro Detroit. Makarski has previously been awarded the prestigious Respected Advocate Award from the Michigan Trial Lawyers Association and the Civility Award from the Macomb County Bar Association.

Bruce A. Truex - Environmental Law.

Truex is the current president of Secrest Wardle and a senior and co-managing partner. He has managed the firm's Employment Law Practice Group since its inception. Also for over 25 years, Truex has been successfully defending product liability actions in all state and federal courts in Michigan and toxic tort and pollution cases at the trial and appellate level. For the past 20 years, Truex has defended a wide range of intellectual property and advertising injury claims in all state and federal courts in Michigan.

In addition to Truex's listing in DBusiness for 2014, he was also named to the list of "Top Lawyers" for 2010 and 2012. In 2006, 2007 and 2009 through the present, Truex has been selected to the Michigan Super Lawyers list by his peers. He is a lifetime member of Strathmore's Who's Who and Mount Clair's Who's Who.

In addition, this holiday season Secrest Wardle participated in Gleaners Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan's "Give a Hand for the Holidays" campaign raising funds and taking in food donations to support Gleaners Food Bank. The campaign, which runs between October 1st and December 31st, encourages giving $5 or 5 pounds of food to help families in our community to enjoy a hunger-free, happy and healthy holiday season.

Secrest Wardle employees participated in "Casual Fridays" on which they enjoyed wearing business casual attire in exchange for a $5 cash donation or a donation of 5 cans of food. Additional funds were raised through participation in several raffles. Secrest Wardle donated raffle items including Ultimate Fishing Show tickets, numerous bottles of wine, a holiday centerpiece and several Michigan State Rose Bowl t-shirts. Kruse and Muer restaurant also generously donated two $50 gift certificates for the raffles.

Secrest Wardle is proud to have filled 10 boxes of food (that's 1,031 pounds) with raising more than $2,500 in cash donations. One dollar provides an individual in need with three meals. Gleaners uses 93 cents of every dollar donated for food and food programs. Meals provided by the "Give a Hand for the Holidays" campaign are distributed through Gleaners' 500 partner soup kitchens, shelters and pantries across Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston, and Monroe counties.

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Goodman Acker PC, the Southfield-based personal injury law firm which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, announces the addition of Jordan Acker to its team. Jordan, the son of firm co-founder and senior partner, Gerald (Jerry) Acker, has returned home to Michigan following more than seven years in Washington, D.C., where he worked in various capacities for President Obama's administration. The announcement was made jointly by Jerry Acker and firm co-founder Barry Goodman.

In his new role with Goodman Acker, Acker, who received his law degree from Washington College of Law at American University, will handle a personal injury caseload, as well as assist with the firm's newly added election and campaign finance law section.

Prior to joining Goodman Acker, Acker most recently worked for the Department of Homeland Security as an attorney-advisor and briefing book coordinator for the Department's Deputy Secretary. In this role, he was responsible for preparing the Deputy Secretary for her entire portfolio of daily meetings, including conferences on cyber issues, Transportation Security Administration, immigration and budget. Prior to that, Acker served as an associate in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel, assisting on special projects and priority placement.

Additionally during his tenure in Washington, D.C., Acker also worked on national security law at the think tank Third Way, and served on majority staff for the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. John Conyers (D-Detroit).

Acker received his bachelor of arts degree in 2006 from The University of Michigan before pursuing national security and administrative law studies at Washington College of Law. He became licensed to practice law in Michigan in 2010.

While in Washington, D.C., Acker also founded a Capitol Hill Basketball League, which raised thousands of dollars for charitable organizations.

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Dykema recently announced that Brendan J. Cahill has been named Director of the Firm's Automotive Industry Group.

Based in the firm's Bloomfield Hills office, Cahill joined Dykema more than two decades ago and has worked extensively with automotive companies throughout his career. He focuses his practice on business planning, acquisition and financing transactions, with special emphasis on mergers and acquisitions and joint venture transactions involving both public and private companies.

In his automotive practice, Cahill has represented U.S. and non-U.S.-based automotive-related companies and private equity investors in a wide variety of assignments which have involved every practice group in the firm -- including acquisitions and dispositions, joint ventures, capital raising, customer and supplier relationships, and restructurings.

"I eagerly look forward to assuming this leadership position, and in doing so, supporting and upholding the successful work of the Automotive Industry Group on behalf of clients worldwide," Cahill said. "We have established ourselves as the premiere legal counsel to global automotive suppliers and OEMs, and I plan to lead the charge in continuing our excellent track record of client service."

Prior to joining Dykema, Cahill worked in the financial derivative products trading industry. He received his B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School.

Cahill succeeds Aleks Miziolek, who leaves Dykema on Jan. 31 to become vice president, general counsel and secretary of Cooper-Standard Holdings Inc., a major supplier to the automotive industry.

Dykema is also pleased to announce additional new management appointments.

Mike Cooney, a Detroit-based member, will become litigation department director--a position formerly held by Dan Stephenson. Cooney is one of the firm's first-chair trial lawyers and has earned many successes in courtrooms across the country. He is regularly called upon by Fortune 500 companies to try high-exposure cases in difficult venues. Cooney, who has a mechanical engineering degree, has experience handling complex engineering, business, and science-related disputes.

Jin-Kyu Koh, a Detroit-based member and leader of the Korean Business Team, will take over for Cahill as Corporate Finance Practice Group leader in the Business Services Department. Koh is one of Dykema's M&A lawyers and has led multi-disciplinary teams on some of the firm's highest-profile and largest transactions. He also has experience in venture capital transactions.

Kevin Zielke, a Detroit-based attorney and member of the Financial Review Committee, will succeed John Entenman as chair of the Financial Review Committee. Zielke has been the leader of the Pharmaceutical Team.

As a litigator, his work for pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers combines his understanding of the medical and scientific issues with his legal judgment to minimize and avoid the potential impact of litigation.

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Two local shareholders from the Michigan offices of Brinks, Gilson, & Lione have been named or reappointed firm-wide chairpersons of the firm's legal and industry practice groups and geographic task forces for 2014.

In the area of specialty Legal Practice Groups, Margaret Dobrowitsky (Detroit) will serve a fifth term as chair of the Licensing Group.

The firm added a new practice group this year for post-grant patent review, specifically to counsel clients on patent litigation strategies under the provisions of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) enacted in 2011.

Detroit office managing partner Kelly Burris co-chairs this new practice group, which oversees the firm's proceedings before the United States Patent and Trademark Office, including post-grant and inter partes reviews, covered business method reviews, interferences, and ex parte reexaminations.

Additionally, Burris continues as chair of the firm's green technology industry practice group.

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ArtServe Michigan, a statewide nonprofit arts and cultural advocacy organization, has announced Katherine Peden as the new director of LCE Services for the organization's Lawyers for the Creative Economy (LCE) program. LCE is designed to deliver free to low-fee intellectual property and creativity-related legal resources and services to artists, creative practitioners, businesses and nonprofit organizations.

In this role, Peden administers and supports creative individuals and entities seeking legal services with the client intake process by identifying the existing legal issues and determining the appropriate legal support and resources needed. Peden also prepares Michigan attorneys to provide artists with basic intellectual property knowledge and resources to support and protect artists' practices as part of the LCE program through periodic workshops, public lectures, orientations and forums.

Prior to joining ArtServe, Peden was an associate at Birch, Stewart, Kolasch, and Birch, an intellectual property law firm in the Washington, D.C., metro area. She advised clients in the areas of trademark, copyright and Internet law. While in D.C. she also held an internship with the registration department of The Phillips Collection where she worked on internal copyright policy.

Peden earned her law degree from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University in New York and her Bachelor of Arts degree from Washington University in St. Louis, Mo.

Attorneys interested in offering legal services or creative individuals and creative entities interested in learning more about the LCE program and how to be connected with participating attorneys should visit or email

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Butzel Long attorney and shareholder Reginald A. Pacis was a featured presenter during an Institute of Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) webinar on January 23. He participated in a webinar titled, "Protecting Your Family Law Client from Immigration Issues."

Based in Butzel Long's Detroit office, Pacis concentrates his practice in immigration law and has handled a variety of immigration matters including H-1B specialty occupation cases, L-1 Intracompany transfers, Labor Certification matters, Immigrant Visa Petitions/Adjustment of Status applications and interviews, TN Free trade cases, H-1B Department of Labor Investigations, I-9 employer verification compliance, and U.S. Port of Entry airport and land port interviews.

Pacis was named Immigration Lawyer of the Year 2013 in the field of Immigration Law by The Best Lawyers in America and has been listed in Best Lawyers for several years. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), and the Samahang Pilipino Ng Oakland Filipino organization. He served two consecutive one-year terms from 2003 to 2005 as chairperson of the Michigan Chapter of AILA and was a member of the AILA National Board of Governors for those terms. Pacis previously served as secretary (2001 to 2003) and membership chairperson of the Michigan Chapter of AILA (1998 to 2003).

He has been a speaker on immigration topics at many business, Hispanic, and Filipino presentations. Pacis has served in a variety of committees in the Filipino community and is a member of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce of Michigan. He completed an appointment by former Governor Granholm for service on the Advisory Committee for Asian Pacific American Affairs (ACAPAA). He served on the Michigan AILA Advocacy Committee from 2007 to 2010.

Pacis previously served as chairperson of the Michigan AILA Committee responsible for liaison with the Michigan Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Agency, a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security presiding over inspections and security of the U.S. border, from 2005 to 2007. His service expanded to the AILA National CBP liaison Committee as a member and vice chair and chair. He presently serves as vice chair on the AILA United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Field Operations Liaison Committee.

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The Intellectual Property law firm of Reising Ethington PC is proud to announce that patent attorneys Colin Cicotte and Jeffrey Doyle have been elected shareholders of the firm.

Cicotte has experience with patent infringement, trademark, and trade secret litigation. His fields of expertise include electrical, electro-mechanical, mechanical, and computer technologies.

Cicotte has prepared and prosecuted patents involving hybrid-electric vehicles, vehicle telematics, wireless telecommunications, photovoltaic units, ignition circuits, and ignition components. He regularly interviews Patent Office examiners to facilitate prosecution and has drafted more than 70 briefs before the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences.

Doyle has prepared and/or prosecuted patent applications in a variety of technologies including medical devices, medical imaging systems, automotive and marine fuel delivery systems, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, computer network power and workload management systems, battery charging systems and methodologies, Vehicle Active Safety Systems, beverage generation systems, model train accessories, and bowling and billiards equipment.

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Mark Schneider, a shareholder at Gifford, Krass, Sprinkle, Anderson, & Citkowski PC, an Intellectual Property firm located in Troy, was elected as the 2014 Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce President effective January 1st.

Schneider has been a Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce member for nine years. He served on the Chamber's Board of Directors since 2011 as vice president. In addition, Schneider chaired the Chamber's Community Relations Committee and was responsible for spear-heading the rewrite of the chamber by-laws in 2010. Schneider was also elected as an Honorary Lifetime Member.

"The Chamber will be working to thoughtfully lend its voice in a more substantive and public way to issues of concern to the business community," Schneider said of his plans as the new board leader. "Thanks to the hard work of the Chamber staff, and the vision of our two immediate past presidents, the Chamber is an excellent shape and will positioned to continue to serve he greater Royal Oak business community for many years into the future"

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Barris, Sott, Denn, & Driker PLLC is pleased to announce that Melonie L. M. Stothers has become a member of the firm.

Stothers joined the firm after graduating from Syracuse University College of Law. She is a commercial litigator who defends employers in court and before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Michigan Department of Civil Rights. She also handles employment compliance matters, advising employers before problems arise.

Stothers has a special interest in electronic discovery, with experience in all aspects, from litigation holds to collection, review, and production of electronically stored information.

Active in the community, Stothers serves on the Board of Directors for the Children's Heart Foundation Michigan Chapter and on the committee that organizes the annual Congenital Heart Walk of Southeast Michigan. She has served as secretary for the State Bar of Michigan's Law Practice Management and Legal Administrator Section. She has also served on the Board of Directors and as vice president for It's My Heart-Metro Detroit.

Stothers was recognized by Super Lawyers Michigan as a Super Lawyer in 2013 and a Rising Star in 2012 and was recognized by Michigan Lawyers Weekly as an Up & Coming Lawyer in 2011.

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Collins Einhorn Farrell proudly announced attorney Colleen H. Burke has been named partner at the firm.

Burke, who earned her law degree from the University of Toledo College of Law, has experience in defense litigation. She focuses her practice in the area of professional liability, including defending lawyers in legal malpractice cases and grievance matters with the Attorney Grievance Commission, and defending judges in matters brought by the Judicial Tenure Commission. She also has represented accountants, land surveyors, and real estate brokers.

Additionally, Burke's experience includes insurance coverage work, premises liability, products liability, and employment law. She has represented a wide range of clients including a national sump pump manufacturer, a small tool manufacturer and an international retail chain. Her background also includes analysis of pre-litigation claims, providing resolution opinions, and litigating cases to trial.

Burke is admitted to practice in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan; U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan; and U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit. She is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, including the Negligence and Employment Sections, Oakland County Bar Association, and Association of Defense Trial Counsel. She also has participated in OCBA community activities.

Burke is active with the local animal welfare group Paws for Pets and the athletics department at St. Michael School in Livonia.

Published: Mon, Jan 27, 2014