Raising the Bar Through

Networking, Practice Development and Community Service


TopBarNews   December 2014 - Vol 4, Issue 4

In This Issue
Upcoming Events: Barristers Pins 'n Pinstripes, Celebrating Our Diverse Bar, 2015 Law Day
Spotlight Feature: "All Rise" by JTBF Student Micah S. Reed
Liberation Film Series: Against the Wind: Blacks in the Business of Law
Save the Date: Barristers Bar Review, Pins 'n Pinstripes, Celebrating Our Diverse Bar, In Seventh Heaven and 2015 Law Day
Featured Member: Nick Best
Substantive Article: The First Amendment Right to Donate Clothing
Recent Event: 2014 Archer Award
Recent Event: 2014 Night Out with the Bench and Bar
Recent Event: Barristers Section Bar Review
Recent Event: 2014 Jingle Mingle
Pro Bono Opportunity: Detroit Legal Services Clinic
Making a Difference: "Happy Feet" Sock Drive, Mock Interviews at UDMercy, Barristers School Partnership Program
New Member Names
2015 Sponsorship Opportunities
Our networking, educational and public service opportunities are made possible by the commitment and support of our sponsoring firms and organizations. 
Sponsoring organizations receive tickets to our signature events and are recognized throughout the year for their support.
Is your firm ready to demonstrate its commitment to excellence by joining Clark Hill, Dickinson Wright, Kerr Russell and our other 2015 sponsors?    
Contact Mitzy Sharp Futro (msharpfutro@detroitlawyer.org) for more information.
Stay Connected on Facebook
Be sure to "like" the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association on Facebook to stay up to date on the latest events, member news, and information of interest to our legal community!

The Value of Joining the DMBA

David J. Winter, DMBA President

David Winter

A few weeks ago, I was honored to participate in the swearing in ceremony for lawyers recently admitted to the State Bar of Michigan. When addressing this vastly diversified group, I encouraged them to join the DMBA and become a part of our organization that provides a myriad of practice benefits; including substantive information on practice trends, continuing legal education, and advice on starting and running a law practice. Our real and unique value, however, is in fostering relationships between our members. 

We cultivate camaraderie and professional respect across a broad spectrum of the bar. For example, recently the DMBA hosted its annual Night Out With the Bench and Bar.  During this time, I had the opportunity to speak with dozens of lawyers and judges from the District Courts, Circuit Courts and even our Court of Appeals - folks I would never have met otherwise. I've developed relationships with opposing counsel and judges where we discuss sports, families, issues of the day. Our conversations have nothing to do with being adversaries or judges. By nurturing these relationships with the numerous attorneys and judges, it will assist you in building your practice, enhance your reputation, and provide real dividends to your clients.

If opposing counsel knows you, either through interactions at the bar or even just through your reputation, they are much more likely to extend you a professional courtesy and work with you on a case. And that's easily worth the few dollars you'll spend on dues. As a member of the DMBA, you have opportunities to work closely with other members of our bench and bar, provide direction and influence on local issues, and communicate your vision to others. Our Barristers young lawyers section provides opportunities to expand leadership skills and become involved in community projects. All of our activites provide all of our members oppotunites to develop relationships that enhance their visibility and credibility in the Detroit legal community.

So the next time someone asks, "Why should I join the DMBA?" tell them about your positive experiences and budding relationships with our judges and lawyers.  Share a story about what it has meant to your career to know people and be known in the DMBA.  Go on the DMBA Facebook page and share your DMBA experience.

Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy 2015.


Have You Renewed?
DMBA membership renewals are due December 31.
Don't miss out on the great opportunities for networking, practice development and community service in 2015 - Renew Today!
(Need another copy of your renewal invoice?  Email membership@detroitlawyer.org)
Upcoming Event: 4th Annual "Holiday Cup of Cheer" Meetup

colored-glass.jpgJoin members and other friends for some final holiday cheer and good wishes at Detroit's newest hot spot.  No registration or commitment required!  Just show up!


4th Annual Holiday Cup of Cheer Meetup

December 22, 2014
5:00 - 7:30 p.m.
Punch Bowl Social, 1331 Broadway 


Questions?  Contact Elizabeth Jolliffe,elizabeth@yourbenchmarkcoach.com



Return to top 

Spotlight Feature: "All Rise" by JTBF Student, Micah S. Reed


This past summer, I was a part of Just the Beginning - a pipeline organization designed to introduce students, like me, to the practice of law. I shared my vision of becoming a judge with one of the mentors, Antoinette Porter, who offered to introduce me to Judge Qiana Lillard. This is when my dreams became so real.


I emailed Judge Lillard's assistant to set up a date to shadow the Judge. I shadowed on August 21st and 22nd down at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice. My experience with her in the court room was wonderful! I met her staff, watched her sentence criminals, and I got to see the holding cells of the inmates. Those moments were so intense and I just love the way it's all run. Once I walked into the court room, I knew one day it was going to be me at that bench. I had the opportunity to have lunch with Judge Lillard and learn more about her career and life. Judge Lillard was raised on the southeast side of Detroit. She earned a scholarship to attend Roper High School and graduated in 1994. For her undergraduate (BA) and law school (JD), she attended Notre Dame. One of the questions that I really wanted to ask was, "Why did you want to become a judge?" She answered, "I saw it as an opportunity to be a part of the system in different way. As a judge, I have the final say about the law. My criminal and civil experiences were a unique asset to becoming a judge."


Judge Lillard has become a source of inspiration for me as I start my legal career. As I learned about her and how she became a Judge in her younger years, it made me realize that I can really take my career as far as I want. There were times when I have questioned my ability to excel in life, but seeing Judge Lillard made me realize there are no limitations. One day, I know that I will have that feeling of authority when my deputy says "All rise, Honorable Judge Micah Shanae Reed presiding."


Return to top

Liberation Film Series 2014-2015 presents "Against the Wind: Blacks in the Business of Law" and "Tribute to a Warrior", a tribute to Mayor Chokwe Lumumba

 The DMBA is pleased to be a co-sponsor of the Liberation Film Series presentation of Against the Wind: Blacks in the Business of Law.    


Produced by Ted Talbert and narrated by former WDIV news anchor Emery King, Against The Wind: Blacks in the Business of Law looks at some of the trials that made history and some of the lawyers that fought the battles and stood strong against the wind. The film will be followed by a screening of Tribute to a Warrior, a tribute to the life and accomplishments of the late Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, human rights lawyer and politician. 



 Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
General Motors Theater
Saturday, January 10, 2015
2pm - 6pm
Admission is FREE and open to the public



This special tribute event to the Chokwe Lumumba will also include a community conversation and Q&A on "Resisting Racial and Class Oppression in the US Injustice System" with Alice Jennings, Carl R. Edwards, Judge Adam Shakoor, Elliott Hall, and Jeffrey L. Edison.  


For more information, visit http://thewright.org/liberation-film-series   



Return to top 


Save the Date:  Barristers "Bar Review" Networking, Pins "n" Pinstripes, Celebrating Our Diverse Bar, 2015 Law Day

Mark your calendars now and visit www.detroitlawyer.org/upcomingevents.html for more information and registration!



January 27 - Barristers "Bar Review" Networking

From time to time, the Barristers Section gathers at a local watering-hole for a casual evening of networking, a bit of education, and the chance to make new connections.  We'd love to see you at the next "Bar Review," so mark your calendar and watch for information about our next location!






February 19 - Third Annual Barristers "Pins'n'Pinstripes"
Join the DMBA Barristers Section and other young attorneys, law students, and friends from throughout Metro Detroit for a fun evening of bowling, networking, food and drinks at the Garden Bowl.
Celebrating Our Diverse BarMarch 5 - Celebrating Our Diverse Bar 
With more than two dozen participating bar associations, "Celebrating Our Diverse Bar" brings together friends and colleagues, lawyers and judges, from all practice areas and backgrounds.  We'll enjoy appetizers and a cash bar while we catch up with everyone we know - and make some great new contacts while we're at it!





May 2 - DMBA Foundation "In Seventh Heaven" Gala, Benefitting the For the Seventh Generation Program 

Each spring, the DMBA Foundation hosts a party with a true purpose - raising money to support the For the Seventh Generation Program, which provides much needed goods and services to children in the foster care system and wards of the court.  Once again, this year's Gala will feature fabulous food, great entertainment, and plenty of fun.  So make plans now to join us at for what is sure to be a night to remember, benefitting children you will never forget!




May 7 - Law Day 

The DMBA will be partnering with the Third Circuit Court to co-host Law Day for Detroit High School students.  Volunteers will be needed between 9:30 am and 1:00 pm for various parts of the program, including assistance with a Mock Trial based on this year's State Bar of Michigan Law Day Theme, "Symbols of Freedom Under the Law."  If you are interested in participating, please contact Antoinette Porter (portera@dteenergy.com) or Jan Hiller (jan.hiller@3rdcc.org)


Return to top 

Featured Member:  Nick Best

Going from law school directly to my own practice over the past 13 months has been nothing short of an incredible blur. I was changing a diaper on my newborn son, Brody, last fall when the mail arrived with my bar exam results.


I immediately petitioned the Honorable Patricia Fresard for a special Halloween swearing in ceremony for her "favorite nephew," because I could not wait for the mass ceremony. I had office furniture coming and a lease to sign. I was definitely hesitant to start out on my own right away, but I am really proud of the way everything has worked out so far.

I have found that most recent law school grads fail to utilize the opportunities available through involvement in their local bar associations. The DMBA has been an absolute critical resource for me, as a new attorney looking to further develop both my legal skills and my practice. It's a stocked pond of experienced lawyers who are always happy to help. Most of my senior colleagues actually seem to get a kick out of offering advice, and war stories, upon hearing that I started a firm.

Also, I am lucky because my two Partners have years of experience working with both debtors and creditors. Focusing on something we do well has helped us grow quickly through client referrals. We outgrew our initial office space within a few months and are currently looking to either relocate again, or to add a second office downtown.

Year two is already looking to be even more blurry fun. I'm probably most excited about being able to participate in this year's Inn of Court program alongside some of the most respected local attorneys and judges... and baby #2 is due in February.

Nicholas C. Best is a Partner at Detroit Lawyers, PLLC, located in Huntington Woods, Michigan, a firm that advertises mostly as a Michigan bankruptcy law firm because they are really good at it and because they are trying to show up on the first page of Google!


Return to top

The First Amendment Right to Donate Clothing, by Larry Opalewski


Clothing donation bins are becoming almost ubiquitous in Michigan. Chances are that you've seen them in a gas station parking lot or outside of your local grocery store or Walmart. No doubt these bins are a convenient way to donate unwanted clothing or shoes without having to track down a Goodwill or Salvation Army location. But some municipalities in Michigan are not welcoming donation bin companies with open arms. This phenomenon has created some interesting legal battles which center around, oddly enough, the First Amendment freedom of speech.


To learn more about the relationship between the First Amendment and Clothing Donation, read the full article The First Amendment Right to Donate Clothing.


Larry Opalewski is an Associate at Dalton & Tomich, PLC. He enjoyes working with the firm's land use litigation and business law areas. You're welcome to visit Larry and his colleagues at their offices in the Chrysler House. 

Return to top


Recent Event:  2014 Archer Award 

On November 6th, the DMBA Foundation brought together attorneys, judges, and other members of the legal community to honor
Congressman John D. Dingell, Jr. with the Dennis W. Archer Public Service Award, which recognizes an outstanding member of the legal profession who has established a career dedicated to the betterment of both our profession and our community.


Steven J. Cernak, a Foundation Trustee who once interned for the Congressman, shared an inspiring presentation on Congressman Dingell's career and legacy as the longest-serving member of the U.S. House of Representatives.  Following a brief introduction by his son, the Honorable Christopher Dingell, Congressman Dingell reflected on the importance of service and cooperation as we work to improve our communities.


The evening also marked the introduction of the 2014 Class of DMBA Foundation Fellows, a group of leaders and luminaries from Detroit's legal community who embody a commitment to public service, justice and equality.  Congratulations to this year's Class of Fellows:


Michael E. Baum
Michael P. Coakley
Dean Phyllis L. Crocker
Robert J. Diehl, Jr.
William J. Giovan
Edward L. Haroutunian
Hon. Timothy M. Kenny
Jeffrey S. Kopp
Hon. Milton L. Mack, Jr.
Paul M. Mersino
Daniel Shirey
Avery K. Williams

David J. Winter

  Return to top


Recent Event:  2014 Night Out with the Bench and Bar 

The annual "Night Out with the Bench and Bar" is always a much-anticipated kick-off to the Bar year.  This year was no exception, as more than 100 judges, attorneys, students and friends made Buffalo Wild Wings the place to be on on October 9.



Chief Judge Robert Colombo, Jr. (3rd Circuit Court), Mag. Jane Colombo (MI Workers Compensation Board) and Anthony Spokojny (far left) joined DMBA President David Winter (David J. Winter, PLLC) in enjoying what has become one of the Association's marquee events.  




Both the 3rd Circuit and 36th District Courts were well represented for the Night Out, including (from left), Hon. Demetria Brue (36th District), Hon. Qiana Lillard (3rd Circuit), Hon. Deborah Langston (36th District), Hon. Susan Borman (3rd Circuit) and Hon. Izetta Bright (36th District).




Judges were not the only attendees enjoying the "Night Out". DMBA Board member Richard Warren (left) was joined by Miller Canfield colleagues Joe Vernon and Michael Palizzi for a chance to connect outside of the office. 





Return to top


Recent Event:  Barristers Section Bar Review - "Do's and Don'ts of Depositions" at St. Cece's Pub

On October 23, members of the Barristers Section gathered in the unique atmosphere of St. Cece's Pub in Corktown for some after-work networking - with a bit of education and laughter thrown in.



Miller Canfield's Amy Johnston (right), Litigation and Dispute Resolution Deputy Group Leader, shared some practical guidance for conducting depositions, especially in light of recent Federal court opinions addressing proper procedure and professionalism.  Of course, no deposition could be conducted without opposing counsel (a role filled by Barristers Board member Robert Murkowski, left) or a deponent (portrayed for the evening by Connor Fitzpatrick, center).  


Following the conclusion of the "deposition," all parties involved joined the other young lawyers in attendance to finish off the evening with a beverage, appetizers, and conversation.  

Return to top


Recent Event:  2014 Jingle Mingle 


There's never a lack of holiday celebrations in early December, but that didn't stop nearly 100 DMBA and members from gathering at The District Bar and Grill for the annual "Jingle Mingle" holiday celebration.  



Members of the Barristers Section are always well represented at DMBA events, and the Jingle Mingle was no exception.  Here, Kristen Cook (Kitch) joins Barristers Board members Bridget Hathaway (Bodman), Tiffany Ellis and Robert Murkowski (Miller Canfield) for a bit of holiday revelry.




Judges and attorneys alike came out to join the festivities, including (from left) Hon. Qiana Lillard (3rd Circuit Court), Stephen McGraw (Kerr Russell), Hon. Lawrence Talon (3rd Circuit Court) and Tom McNeill (Dickinson Wright).





Bryan Sadek (Wayne County Airport Authority), Klaudia Nikolli and Henry Ibe were among those who took the opportunity to make new connections over holiday cheer.





As returning members of the DMBA Inn of Court, Sarah Harwood (Abbott Nicholson), Olivia Paglia (Plunkett Cooney) and Frances Roskinski (Attorney Grievance Commission) may see each on a regular basis.  Still, the opportunity for a purely social conversation is always welcome! 





Guests came from throughout the metro-Detroit, once again demonstrating that camaraderie knows no geographic limitations.  Here, J. VandeWyngearde (Pepper Hamilton), Jeff Kopp and Mark Aiello (both of Foley) join event co-chair Paul Millenbach (Foster Swift).







You never know who you will see at a DMBA event!  Patrick Foley (John R. Foley, P.C.; pictured next to Kelcie Foley), Matthew J. Flynn, Bryan Genrich and RJ Bourjaily, DO, are high-school classmates who just happened to run into each other at the Jingle Mingle. 





Return to top


Pro Bono Opportunity:  Detroit Legal Services Clinic

Looking for a pro bono opportunity that is convenient, accessible, and can have an immediate impact on the client's situation?  Consider joining other DMBA volunteer attorneys or member law firms for the newly restructured Detroit Legal Services Clinic (DLSC)!


Court of AppealsThe Clinic is offered once per month, generally on or about the third Thursday of the month, at the Penobscot Building.  Clinic volunteers offer information and advice on general legal issues, help in the preparation of forms for filing with the Court, and direct people in making use of the self-help efforts of the Court when it comes to pro se litigants.  There is no commitment made for extended representation of the client beyond the assistance offered at the Clinic.


There have been five Clinics held over the last several months, with volunteer attorneys coming from the ranks of sole practitioners and major law firms.  Our thanks go out to individual members such as Douglas Monds and Marie Pulte, as well as firm representatives like Josh Moss of Barris Sott Denn & Driker.  A special thanks to the Pro Bono Committee from Butzel Long for committing the firm to running two Clinics as a firm project.  Aghogho Edevbie, Neil Patel, Ivonne Soler, and Alex Webster staffed the Clinics for the months of November and December, and they were able to provide service to 35 clients


We have a full calendar planned for 2015, and we look forward to seeing your name or the name of your firm on the list of participants in this expanding endeavor!


The DLSC is being presented in coordination with the Wayne County Legal Resources Consortium, a collaborative effort of the DMBA, the DMBA Foundation, the 3rd Circuit Court, the Wayne County Friend of the Court, local legal service providers, and the Wayne County Self-Help Center.


Making a Difference:  "Happy Feet" Sock Drive; Mock Interviews at University of Detroit Mercy; Barristers School Partnership Program

Whether helping lawyers of the future reach their goals or making life a little better for our hungry neighbors, the Barristers Section continues to lead the way in the DMBA's community service efforts.  How can we have the biggest impact?  By having you join us!  So mark your calendars now and con tact the Barristers Board members indicated below to get involved.


"Happy Feel" Sock Drive

Staying warm in the winter can be a tough challenge for the homeless and needy, particularly when they are unable to keep their feet dry.  Through January 15, the Barristers Section is collecting new and gently used socks for participants in the Fort Street Open Door program.  Recipients receive a pair to wear and a pair to dry, so we can help make sure everyone has "Happy Feet."  To make a donation, contact any member of the Barristers Section Board or Mitzy Sharp Futro at msharpfutro@detroitlawyer.org .


blurred-business-shake.jpgUDM Law Mock Interviews - January 27

The DMBA is partnering with UDM Law to put on a Mock Interview Event for the law students and is still in need of volunteers. The event is going to be held on, Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at UDM Law campus (651 E. Jefferson, Detroit), and will be broken into a daytime (12:30-2pm) and evening (4-6pm)session.  This is a great opportunity to help students build their interviewing skills. If you are interested in volunteering or would like more information please contact DMBA Barrister Board member Stacy Johnson at saj@ksklaw.com or 313-967-0700.


student-walking-hallway.jpgBarristers Section School Partnership Program 

The 2015 School Partnership Program is poised to be one of the most rewarding ever, working with students in the Detroit Public Schools and beyond to foster their interest in the law and their own career development. Attorney volunteers are at the center of the SPP's success, and volunteers are needed to mentor students for the essay contest, participate in mock trials for elementary school, and share their experience with our participating students. You never know how your story, guidance, or encouragement will make a difference in a student's future! To volunteer, or for more information, contact School Partnership Program Co-Chairs Tiffany Ellis (tiffanyrellis@gmail.com) or Sarah Barbantini (sbarbantini@zkac.com).





New Member Names!
 We welcome the following new members who have joined the DMBA since September:
Joshua Barrett
Allison Bars, Wayne County Prosecutor's Office
Michael Bennett
Stephanie Blumenau
Megan Boelstler
Sydney Booth, Rushing Law
Hon. Demetria Brue, 36th District Court
Elizabeth Cacevic
Andrew Clark, Honigman Miller Schwartz & Cohn
Kristen Cook, Kitch
Elizabeth Daligga, 3rd Circuit Court
Rachael Dubini
David Eagles
Matthew Faiver, Kitch
Wade Fink, Dickinson Wright
Matthew Flynn
Patrick Foley, John R. Foley, P.C.
Joseph Fresard
Hugo Gallegos, Clark Hill
Samira Guyot, Michigan Community Resources
Jessica Haelewyn, Haelewyn Harris Law
Hassan Hamade, AT Law Group
Freyja Harris
Henry Ibe, Wayne Alumni Law Group
Shanna Kaminski, Kilpatrick & Associates
Melissa Knox
Rachael Kohl
Louis Kraus
Dawn Lee-Cotton
Francisco Lozano
Kristin Lusn, City of Detroit Law Department
John Masen, Title Source
Cullen McKinney, Tanoury Nauts McKinney & Garbarino
Megan Moslimani, City of Detroit Law Department
Klaudia Nikolli
Andrew Pauwels, Honigman Miller Schwartz & Cohn
Andrea Raymond, Berry Moorman
Cathryn Rudolph, The Law Office of Cathryn A. Rudolph
Adwya Saeed, Saeed Law
Vincent Sallan
Jeff Segal, Kitch
Nicholas Siewert, Triumph Law Firm
Erik Stein, Gallagher Sharp
Michael Steinberger, Barris Sott Denn & Driker
M. Katherine VanderVeen, Dickinson Wright
Brett Vasicek, Clark Hill
Adam Wright, Abood Law Firm