‘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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Pro bono fairs set for next month

We’re less than two weeks away from Pro Bono Month, and the State Bar of Michigan’s Pro Bono Initiative is giving attorneys plenty of opportunity to find what suits them best.

The group will launch its first ever Michigan Pro Bono Fairs, and will host them at the following locations and dates:

Oct. 6: Oakland & Macomb Pro Bono Fair; The Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Auburn Hills; 4:30-6:30 p.m.; Info: Dionnie Wynter, (248) 751-7800, Ext. 7742.

Oct. 11: Detroit Pro Bono Fair; Dykema Gossett PLLC, Detroit; 4-6:40 p.m.; Info: Heidi Naasko, (734) 214-7710.

Oct. 11: Grand Rapids Pro Bono Fair; The Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Grand Rapids; 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; Info: Karen Rowlader, (616) 301-6800, Ext. 6708.

Oct. 17: Lansing Pro Bono Fair; The Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Lansing; 4-6:30 p.m.; Info: Dionnie Wynter, (248) 751-7800, Ext. 7742.

Attorneys attending the pro bono fairs are under no obligation to take a case or to make a time commitment. The fairs are meant to be a chance to learn more, network with colleagues, and to consider new ways to provide pro bono services.

To learn more, contact Robert Mathis, SBM pro bono service counsel, at (517) 346-6412 or rmathis@mail.michbar.org.

Dickinson Wright relocates to Troy business corridor

Of the top 10 largest law firms in Michigan, four have had branch offices in or around the Woodward Avenue-Long Lake Road intersection of Bloomfield Hills.

Come the end of this week, there will be one fewer, as Dickinson Wright PLLC will move its Woodward-Lone Pine office to the Bank of America Building in Troy.

“The main motivating factor for the move to Troy was growth of our Oakland County office,” said Dickinson Wright CEO William T. Burgess in a statement, adding that “this growth could not be fully accommodated in our existing Bloomfield Hills space.”

More than one-third of the firm’s 218 Michigan attorneys are based in its Oakland County office, which also includes the firm’s Intellectual Property Academy internship program and a “sizeable proportion” of the firm’s administrative staff.

The Bank of America Building is at 2600 W. Big Beaver Road, Suite 300.

Dickinson Wright was ranked No. 4 in Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s 2011 list of “Largest Law Firms.”

The other three top 10 largest firms with branch offices still in the Woodward-Long Lake area are Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP (No. 2); Dykema Gossett PLLC (No. 5); and Butzel Long (No. 9). No. 8-ranked Plunkett Cooney has its main office across the street from Dickinson Wright’s soon-to-be former Bloomfield Hills branch.

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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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Veteran litigator/ADR expert, ex-SBM president Muth named Lawyer of the Year

On March 15, Jon R. Muth, the 60th State Bar of Michigan president and Grand Rapids-based litigator and mediator, was named Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s 2011 Lawyer of the Year.

At the “2011 Leaders in the Law” luncheon and awards ceremony at the Detroit Marriott in Troy, Lawyers Weekly Publisher Don Stemmermann said that Muth “stood out as someone who we believe represents everything that we would expect a Michigan legal leader to be.”

The event saluted 25 lawyers recognized by Lawyers Weekly for outstanding service to their profession and communities.

Muth said he was “humbled” by the honor, but told the audience of more than 300 attendees that he’d be remise if he didn’t remark “that none of us 25 honored here today, and none of the 25 honored in the prior year ever got here by ourselves.”

He added, “I stand here today on the shoulders of a great, great many people who have helped me get here, and I hope that when you consider your own career, you look back and recognize those who assisted you.”

Besides acknowledging his parents and wife, Muth mentioned Art Snell and John Cummiskey, the founding partners at Miller, Johnson, Snell & Cummiskey, P.L.C., where he’s practiced for 40 years; as well as Jim Robinson, George Googasian, Victoria Roberts, Tom Cranmer and Tom Kienbaum, who worked with Muth leading up to and during his 1994-95 presidency.

The 24 other “Leaders in the Law” honorees were:

• Lawrence G. Almeda, Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione, Ann Arbor

• George W. Ash, Foley & Lardner LLP, Detroit

• Gary August, Zausmer, Kaufman, August, Caldwell & Tayler, P.C., Farmington Hills

• Timothy A. Baughman, Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, Detroit

• Mark R. Bendure, Bendure & Thomas, Detroit

• Michael Cavanaugh, Fraser Trebilcock Davis & Dunlap, P.C., Lansing

• Hon. Maura D. Corrigan, Michigan Department of Human Services, Lansing

• Stephen R. Drew, Drew, Cooper & Anding, P.C., Grand Rapids

• Michael Fabian, Fabian, Sklar & King PC, Farmington Hills

• Clayton F. Farrell, Collins, Einhorn, Farrell & Ulanoff, P.C., Southfield

• James P. Feeney, Dykema Gossett PLLC, Bloomfield Hills

• David H. Fink, Fink & Associates Law, Bloomfield Hills

• Kenneth Gross, Thav, Gross, Steinway & Bennett, P.C., Bingham Farms

• Hon. Milton L. Mack Jr., Wayne County Probate Court, Detroit

• Lawrence C. Mann, Bowman and Brooke LLP, Troy

• Paul A. McCarthy, Rhoades McKee PC, Grand Rapids

• Lawrence D. McLaughlin, Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP, Detroit

• Megan P. Norris, Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone, P.L.C., Detroit

• Tom R. Pabst, Tom R. Pabst P.C., Flint

• Gregory J. Parry, Eagle Risk Management Law Firm PLC, Beverly Hills

• T. Joseph Seward, Cummings, McClorey, Davis & Acho, P.L.C., Livonia

• Patrick G. Seyferth, Bush Seyferth & Paige PLLC, Troy

• Norman D. Tucker, Sommers Schwartz, P.C., Southfield

• Douglas E. Wagner, Warner Norcross & Judd LLP, Grand Rapids

Look for a two-page photo story of the Leaders in the Law event in the March 28 edition of Lawyers Weekly.

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Attorneys, professors land new jobs

There’s been some recent movement into and out of colleges, courts and the Capitol.

First James B. Thelen has left as principal in Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone, P.L.C.’s labor and employment group to become associate dean for legal affairs and general counsel at The Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

He takes over the spot from James Robb, who has been named associate dean for development and alumni relations. (Lawyers Weekly readers will recognize Robb as one of our 2008 In-House Leaders in the Law.)

This isn’t Thelen’s first time in the college arena, having served as assistant general counsel and assistant vice president for legislative affairs at Western Michigan University.

Over at Strobl & Sharp, P.C., Mark Solomon has joined of counsel role in its taxation and estate planning practice areas. He comes to the firm after 30 years of serving as chairman of the taxation and business law department and director of the masters of science taxation program at Walsh College in Troy.

In what could be the last of the Granholm administration landing a job, Steven Liedel, the former governor’s legal counsel, is now at Dykema Gossett PLLC’s regulated industries department. (Ex-Attorney General Mike Cox joined the same firm two months ago.)

And with former partner Kathryn Viviano now on the Macomb County Circuit Court bench, Mount Clemens-based Viviano Law has changed its formal name from Viviano & Viviano, PLLC to Viviano, Pagano & Howlett PLLC.

The name change took place when Jake Howlett, former president of real estate company Crown Enterprises, Inc. and former Bodman PLC business lawyer, was named as partner of the firm.

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Leaders in the Law 2011 Announced

After a statewide call for nominees brought numerous worthy candidates, Michigan Lawyers Weekly has selected its 25 “Leaders in the Law” for 2011.

The honorees will be recognized in a special section to be published Feb. 28, and at the third annual Leaders in the Law luncheon, taking place March 15 at the Detroit Marriott in Troy. At the awards ceremony, Lawyers Weekly will reveal the 2011 Lawyer of the Year.

In selecting the 25 Leaders, a Lawyers Weekly editorial panel considered such details as:

• Possessing the ability to achieve success in his or her respective practice, while also displaying the strength of character that transcends results.

• Exemplifying the noble tradition of the legal profession, coupled with commitment to practicing law in Michigan.

• Being passionate and aggressive on behalf of both clients and the legal community.

• A record of winning cases, solving problems or coming to judicial conclusions that reflect the utmost integrity.

The 2011 roster reflects a diverse array of practice areas, from homeland security, consumer bankruptcy and asbestos litigation, to fire and explosion matters, Whistleblower Protection Act, and broker-dealer securities.

This year’s honorees are:

• Lawrence G. Almeda, Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione, Ann Arbor

• George W. Ash, Foley & Lardner LLP, Detroit

• Gary August, Zausmer, Kaufman, August, Caldwell & Tayler, P.C., Farmington Hills

• Timothy A. Baughman, Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, Detroit

• Mark R. Bendure, Bendure & Thomas, Detroit

• Michael Cavanaugh, Fraser Trebilcock Davis & Dunlap, P.C., Lansing

• Hon. Maura D. Corrigan, Michigan Department of Human Services, Lansing

• Stephen R. Drew, Drew, Cooper & Anding, P.C., Grand Rapids

• Michael Fabian, Fabian, Sklar & King PC, Farmington Hills

• Clayton F. Farrell, Collins, Einhorn, Farrell & Ulanoff, P.C., Southfield

• James P. Feeney, Dykema Gossett PLLC, Bloomfield Hills

• David H. Fink, Fink & Associates Law, Bloomfield Hills

• Kenneth Gross, Thav, Gross, Steinway & Bennett, P.C., Bingham Farms

• Hon. Milton L. Mack Jr., Wayne County Probate Court, Detroit

• Lawrence C. Mann, Bowman and Brooke LLP, Troy

• Paul A. McCarthy, Rhoades McKee PC, Grand Rapids

• Lawrence D. McLaughlin, Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP, Detroit

• Jon R. Muth, Miller, Johnson, Snell & Cummiskey, P.L.C., Grand Rapids

• Megan P. Norris, Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone, P.L.C., Detroit

• Tom R. Pabst, Tom R. Pabst P.C., Flint

• Gregory J. Parry, Eagle Risk Management Law Firm PLC, Beverly Hills

• T. Joseph Seward, Cummings, McClorey, Davis & Acho, P.L.C., Livonia

• Patrick G. Seyferth, Bush Seyferth & Paige PLLC, Troy

• Norman D. Tucker, Sommers Schwartz, P.C., Southfield

• Douglas E. Wagner, Warner Norcross & Judd LLP, Grand Rapids