Southfield firm dissolves, moves to Clark Hill

Crain’s Detroit Business has reported that Southfield-based firm Kupelian Ormond & Magy PC will be absorbed into Clark Hill PLC come the end of June.

Managing shareholder Stephen Ormond and firm shareholders Peter Kupelian and Paul Magy will join the firm as members; Stephon Bagne, Douglas Chapman, Matthew Schlegel and Carol Schley will be installed as senior counsel; and David Blau and Jason Canvasser will be associates. Kupelian shareholder Mark Kaylian has declined the Clark Hill offer.

Kupelian Ormond & Magy’s specialties were in real estate, bankruptcy, retail, municipal law and insurance defense and coverage work.

Clark Hill was ranked as fifth-largest Michigan law firm in Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s 2012 edition of “Michigan’s Largest Law Firms.”

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‘Up & Coming Lawyers’ for 2011 announced

The 20 honorees for Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s 2011 Up & Coming Lawyers have been selected.

These attorneys have practiced law for 10 years or less, yet have already distinguished themselves in the practice of law, and appear poised for even greater things. They were chosen for their noteworthy cases, unique practice areas, and interesting community or bar association efforts.

In this annual salute to the rising stars of the bar, the honorees will be acknowledged at Lawyers Weekly’s Up & Coming Lawyers luncheon Dec. 8 at the Detroit Marriott Troy. They also will be recognized in a special section Nov. 21, in which we will feature profiles of each.

Our 2011 honorees are:

• Heather J. Atnip, Romanzi Atnip, P.C.

• Hilary A. Ballentine, Plunkett Cooney

• Darryl G. Bressack, Fink + Associates Law

• Katherine (Katie) Donohue, Butzel Long

• Paul R. Hage, Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss, P.C.

• Sarah Riley Howard, Warner Norcross & Judd LLP

• Thomas W. James, Michigan Auto Law

• Kaveh Kashef, Clark Hill PLC

• Russell A. Kavalhuna, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District

• Channelle Kizy-White, Channelle Kizy, PLLC

• Caralyce M. Lassner, Caralyce M. Lassner, JD, PC

• Susan Lumetta, Cummings, McClorey, Davis & Acho, P.L.C.

• Maureen M. McGinnis, Donald E. McGinnis Jr., P.C.

• Rajesh K. Prasad, Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office

• Kristen E. Ray, Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge

• Christyn M. Scott, Dykema Gossett PLLC

• Benjamin C. Stasa, Brooks Kushman P.C.

• Melonie L. McKenzie Stothers, Barris, Sott, Denn & Driker, P.L.L.C.

• Zana Tomich, Dalton & Tomich, PLC

• Erin L. Toomey, Foley & Lardner LLP

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2011 ‘Largest Law Firms’ directory message: Proceed with caution

Coming off a painful, economically challenging 2009, there were beacons of hope for many of the state’s largest law firms at the end of 2010.

There were positive shifts in work among once-cool practice sectors, such as real estate transactions, commercial contracts and loan originations. And there weren’t any layoffs or practice group dissolutions.

But several managing partners told Michigan Lawyers Weekly in its 2011 edition of “Michigan’s Largest Law Firms” directory, which publishes June 20, that sitting in the driver’s seat still meant impulsively scanning for potholes.

“[T]he last three years in the U.S. has shown it’s a tricky business,” said Michael W. Hartmann of No. 1-ranked Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone, P.L.C. (279 attorneys). “In this world, things change pretty quickly, and you have to adapt pretty quickly.

“Law firms have concluded that; I don’t think you can assume what you did two years ago will work two years from now. Law firms have to adapt like clients do — and clients don’t get [much time] to adapt.”

Among the findings in the directory, which chronicles activity from Jan. 1, 2010, to Jan. 1, 2011, among 63 Michigan firms that have 20 or more attorneys:

Alternative billing methods and more-focused client budgets were widespread: As Henry B. Cooney of No. 8-ranked Plunkett Cooney (150 attorneys) explained, “Five, 10 years ago, the idea of having a litigation or transactional budget didn’t exist, at least not very much. It certainly exists today, and we see that quite a bit.”

They also were problematic: “I think most CEOs and general counsel would tell you, people are still trying to figure out alternative fees,” said David Foltyn of No. 2-ranked Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP (228 attorneys). “Clients are still trying to figure out how it works, and lawyers are still far behind in project managing and predictability.”

Lateral recruitment was frequent: And it was advantageous, the principal reason being “you can react to market conditions more quickly,” noted Douglas E. Wagner of No. 3-ranked Warner Norcross & Judd LLP (219 attorneys). “When you’re hiring a law student, you’re projecting out two or three years as to what your needs are going to be, but in a lateral market, you can fill a need within a few months.”

Value still is everything: Coming up with what’s expected from the firm isn’t always what the firm itself expects. Lawrence J. Murphy at No. 7-ranked Varnum LLP (153 attorneys) said one thing that’s been apparent in the past few years “is that clients are increasingly demanding that their law firms provide value as defined by the clients, not as defined by their lawyers.”

Rounding out the 10-largest firms list are Dickinson Wright PLLC (No. 4 with 218 attorneys); Dykema Gossett PLLC (No. 5 with 180); Clark Hill PLC (No. 6 with 166); Butzel Long (No. 9 with 143); and Bodman PLC (No. 10 with 138).

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Ex-AG Cox at Dykema

The old Lansing regime apparently doesn’t have to look too far for their next gigs. In fact, they may just be working alongside you.

First, ex-Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop announced last week he’s joined Clark Hill PLC. Now, former Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox is taking up professional residence at Dykema Gossett PLLC.

Dykema Chairman and CEO Rex Schlaybaugh told Crain’s Detroit Business that Cox moves in Jan. 17 as a senior attorney in its litigation department in Detroit. Health care fraud, white-collar criminal law and federal and state regulatory compliance will be among his specialties.

This makes one wonder whether former Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm will announce sometime next that she’ll be the next one from the Capitol Hill Class of 2002-10 going back into private practice. They come in threes, y’know.

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After a dozen years in Lansing, Bishop returns to law practice

This Monday, Clark Hill PLC will have a fairly well-known expert in public policy, business law and government relations joining its member roster.

He’s former Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, who comes off a 12-year stint in the Legislature.

“I always knew that I was going to go back to the private sector, and I love the practice of law,” Bishop told Crain’s Detroit Business. “I’ve always enjoyed the profession and the challenge of the profession, so this was really my ideal place to return.”

Bishop added that in leaving the Legislature, he takes with him “a really genuine understanding of public policy — what goes into it, what the considerations are, how to get things done,” and that will bring a “unique perspective” to Clark Hill and clients.

He will be working out of the Birmingham office of Clark Hill, the firm that ranked No. 7 in Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s 2010 “Michigan’s Largest Law Firms” list.

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