For Southfield attorney Heather Glazer, writing has always been a passion. “I entered the practice of law with the intention of focusing on research and writing, and began my career at the Court of Appeals as a Pre-Hearing attorney. As I spent my days reading transcripts and briefs, I got the itch to get off the sidelines and into the battle. While I have always had a strong writing presence in my 17-year legal career, my passion is litigation. I am excited to get back into the trenches now after spending the past 8 years in the Appellate Department at my firm,” said Glazer.
Glazer spent 10 years in the insurance defense industry, and joined MAJ shortly after joining the Fieger firm. “I knew that MAJ membership would provide me with resources that would benefit my practice and my clients. One of the valuable resource tools that I could not wait to take advantage of was the listserver, especially as a new plaintiff’s attorney. With the listserver, I have been able to keep informed on litigation trends across the state, gain assistance from experienced litigators, and offer my own assistance as well,” stated Glazer.
She added, “Litigation is a battle that cannot be fought alone. MAJ members are constantly pooling their resources to win the battle. I have never been too proud to ask for help and I have been pleasantly surprised by the large number of MAJ members who have been more than willing to offer their advice over the years. I have always tried to pay it forward and I have offered my own assistance whenever possible.”
Since 2006, Glazer has been a member of the MAJ Amicus Committee. “I have drafted a number of Supreme Court Amicus Briefs on behalf of MAJ, as well as MAJ oppositions to proposed jury instructions. I consider my membership on the Amicus Committee an honor and a privilege. Donating my time to draft Amicus briefs is a small price to pay for the opportunity to join some of the most influential trial lawyers in the State of Michigan in discussing the effect that the latest appellate decisions may have on the plaintiff’s bar and working as a group to avoid any negative impact.”
A monthly contributor to JUSTICE PAC, Glazer believes that an investment in JUSTICE PAC helps ensure that MAJ members have a voice. “Without JUSTICE PAC, MAJ could not compete against the strong financial hold of groups like the Chamber of Commerce and the various insurance and medical lobbies that always seem to have an endless cash flow. Our MAJ leadership consistently develops a plan to put our JUSTICE PAC contributions to work for us in Lansing.”
The Fieger firm extends its reach across the country for some of the most egregious cases of medical malpractice, police misconduct, and deliberate indifference against jail and prison inmates. Glazer’s personal case load is focused on police misconduct and jail/prison cases.
“The most memorable case that I have had the privilege of working on is one involving a mentally disturbed inmate that died a horrible and completely preventable death caused by dehydration over a period of about 7 days after being placed in an observation cell that was atrociously hot, with the temperatures ranging from the high 90s to, at times, 100 degrees (in January). Notably, the decedent lost approximately 42 pounds over a four to five day period. Despite the decedent’s obvious signs of illness and reports of abnormal vital signs, the jail doctor simply peered in the window of the decedent’s cell and walked away without providing any medical treatment. A federal jury returned a verdict of $5 million (including $3 million in punitive damages), which the Sixth Circuit upheld on appeal.”
Recently, Glazer worked with the University of Michigan Clinical Law Program to obtain a significant settlement for a former jail inmate whose complaints of repeated physical assaults, sexual assaults and abusive tormenting by inmates and jail guards were ignored. “The client had spent so many years having his complaints fall on deaf ears with no repercussions against his abusers that he could not believe that anyone was willing to take on his cause. In fact, the client had initiated the civil litigation in pro per. The pure gratitude expressed by the client for taking on his cause was so rewarding.”
When she is not practicing law, following her children’s sports keeps her occupied. “I can usually be found sitting in a hot pool venue cheering on my daughter (now a college senior at the University of South Dakota) who just recently wrapped up her 15-year competitive swim career, or freezing outside in multiple layers of clothing cheering on my son (now a high school senior) and his teammates at a football game or a track meet. I, myself, am an avid swimmer and I am looking forward to my daughter’s return to Michigan so that we can compete in Masters’ swimming together, as well as a few triathlons and 5k races.”
March 2013 Pacesetter
Ann Arbor attorney Chad Engelhardt became a trial lawyer out of a strong desire to help people and make our community a better, safer place. “Although that sounds cliche and perhaps a little naive, I saw that trial lawyers fight the greed of the insurance and medical industries, protect our civil rights, and fight for equality and justice,” said Engelhardt.
Given the gift of MAJ membership by MAJ Board Member (now Treasurer) David E. Christensen after graduating from law school, Engelhardt has been a member ever since. “Dave explained that MAJ would provide the resources needed to serve my clients and my community. I got the chance to put my passion to effective use when my senior partner and mentor, Steve Goethel, brought me into his firm. Steve strongly encouraged me to become much more actively involved with MAJ,” said Engelhardt.
He added, “MAJ provides mentors and guidance from the finest legal practitioners in all areas of civil litigation. The MAJ listserver is a powerful tool for justice. I have received assistance from great lawyers, and that has helped me to serve my clients better, and I reciprocate whenever I can. While we may be in solo or small firms, by helping each other we have the combined resources and passion that outmatch any large defense mill. Wayne Miller’s posts on No-Fault issues alone are worth many times the price of membership.
“Additionally, MAJ provides its members with the premier continuing legal education seminars in our practice areas. MAJ brings in top-notch speakers and focuses on pertinent topics in our complex practice areas.”
Engelhardt serves on the Executive Board and co-chairs the New Lawyers Committee. Along with his co-chair, Juliana Sabatini, he has coordinated a number of CLE seminars. He is a regular speaker on medical negligence and trial skills and has contributed two chapters to MAJ’s Starting the Case: A Manual of Complaints in Michigan. He also takes an active role in recruitment of new members.
A monthly contributor to JUSTICE PAC, Engelhard believes that our unity is our strength. “Only by standing with and helping each other can we have the political power to oppose the forces against us; the rich, influential special interest groups like the Chamber of Commerce, the insurance and medical lobbies. Whether we like it or not, in our political system money is influence, and after the Citizens United decision, those that would undermine our system of justice to feed their greed and corruption are able to funnel massive amounts of money to leverage influence at all levels. If we want to preserve our civil justice system, we must be prepared to make financial sacrifices. When JPAC Chair Barry Goodman calls, answer. Finally, as I have witnessed first hand, the MAJ leadership works tirelessly for us in Lansing. One need only look at the leadership shown in last year’s No-Fault and Med Mal legislation to understand that were it not for MAJ, our clients’ rights would be abolished.”
One of his most memorable cases was when Engelhardt & Steve Goethel prosecuted a wrongful death medical malpractice claim on behalf of the family of a child with Down syndrome in Wyoming. “The child died a needless and preventable death while in a large hospital. The nurse responsible altered the child’s medical records to try to cover-up her misdeeds. As part of our efforts to get the case resolved, Steve and I produced a video of what happened, how medical neglect killed this poor child, and how the tragedy had devastated the family. While the 7-figure recovery we made for the family was a great result, even more important the hospital is now using our video as part of their nurse and house officer orientation programs to teach about the impact of preventable medical errors.
“Whatever success I have achieved is a result of the fact that I am a part of a great team. Steve Goethel is a highly experienced and talented trial lawyer and I still learn something new from him every day. Everyone on our team is committed to helping our clients in any way we can. We are very selective about the matters we accept, and we devote an incredible amount of time and energy to each client. Cami and Michelle, our paralegals and also MAJ members, share our beliefs and commitment and go above and beyond. From taking a brain injured client out shopping or for lunch, to sending flowers to people, to surprising cancer patients with pastries, their efforts which help people make the best of bad times is central to us.
“When I am not practicing law, I am usually found teaching it. I serve as an adjunct professor and clinical field supervisor at Cooley Law School. I am also very involved in Cooley’s community and student outreach and charitable programs. I also enjoy spending time with my wife and our 3 kids. On the weekends, we can often be found at the home of my in-laws (Dave and Leslie Christensen).”
Dan Padilla MAJ Pacesetter
Birmingham attorney Dan Padilla wanted to become a trial lawyer because of his father. “He is my inspiration. My father was not an attorney; he was an executive at Ford Motor Company. However, he has always made it a priority in his life to give to others who are less fortunate. Specifically, he was actively involved in numerous charities and giving back to the community of southwest Detroit where he grew up, never forgetting his roots. Witnessing the humanitarian nature of my father really inspired me to find a career in which I could do the same,” stated Padilla.
Padilla decided to become a member of MAJ because he had some great mentors who valued what the membership has to offer. “They taught me how important it was to become involved. The leadership of MAJ and their membership are selfless and dedicated to helping people. I believe that it is important for trial lawyers to be part of MAJ because it is an association that is unified toward common goals; provides resources, ideas and strategies that are applicable in all phases of practice; and serves to give a voice to those who do not have the means to be heard. Being actively involved in MAJ is critical to the success of the Plaintiff’s bar. The stronger we are, the more power we have to make a difference for our clients. I am proud to be part of such an outstanding organization,” said Padilla.
A monthly contributor to Justice PAC, Padilla believes that Justice PAC is critical to help people become more knowledgeable. “Through organizations such as MAJ, we are able to effectively disclose legal discrepancies and make people aware of how their rights are affected. Insurance companies and their lobbyists continue to throw money to destroy the rights of citizens. Justice PAC is out there to defend the rights of the citizens and to make sure that the special interests don’t erode the justice system.”
Padilla’s firm specializes in individuals who have been seriously injured. “I have been fortunate to have a great team of attorneys and staff that have been with me a long time. We represent a lot of skilled trades. Many of our clients who get injured will never be able to return to their previous employment. Our representation is critical to their future, and we take that very seriously.
“The most gratifying aspect of practicing law is when I represent a client who originally thought their case was hopeless and we are able to assist them in obtaining a successful result. One of my most satisfying cases was representing a 7-year-old girl who was mauled by a dog. The defendant attorney was very aggressive and the defendant showed no remorse. At trial the defendant’s arrogance was overwhelming. We obtained a significant verdict for this young girl, and I still keep in contact with her and her parents. My most memorable case was when I represented a young man who was horrifically injured as a result of hitting an electrical wire as he was hauling an oversized load. Many of his co-workers attempted to put the blame on the plaintiff. It was clear that they were lying to save their jobs. After months of discovery and some diligent investigation, we found an ex-employee who finally admitted fault. It was extremely gratifying to settle the case for a significant sum just before picking a jury.”
Padilla and his wife have been married for fifteen years and have three sons. “I enjoy playing basketball and golf. My wife and I enjoy traveling and spending time with our children.”
Michael Serling MAJ Pacesetter
Birmingham attorney Michael Serling says that as a child he loved reading about Abraham Lincoln, especially about Lincoln’s days as a circuit rider trying cases all over Illinois. “I knew that I wanted to be a lawyer by the time I was 13. When I was in high school in the late 1950s, I would shadow my parents’ friend, a prominent criminal trial lawyer, as he went from court to court, gaining inspiration as I watched,” said Serling.
Serling has been an MAJ member for over a quarter of a century. “I decided to join because I have always felt that in union there is strength. I enjoy the sharing of ideas with my trial lawyer colleagues and the constant learning of new concepts and strategies. Together we can and do make a big difference.”
He added, “I have been part of committees and have been especially active in legislative efforts here in Michigan with MAJ and nationally with AAJ. Many of my clients have testified before Michigan legislative committees. The attorneys in my firm and I have testified before state House and Senate judiciary committees. We have also lobbied state House and Senate members as well as U.S. Senate and Congressional members on many important issues.
“When a conservative controlled (5-2) Michigan Supreme Court was weighing a Court Rule change that would have essentially blocked the ability of asbestosis victims to file their cases, I worked with other plaintiffs’ lawyers in presenting sound reasons why the Court should not adopt the proposed rule. I personally testified before the Supreme Court twice. It was very satisfying to me and my colleagues when the Court accepted our rationale and declined to adopt the proposed Court Rule.
“Insurance companies, big business and their lobbyists that seek to destroy the rights of citizens to access the judicial system are well-funded and resolute in their ill-founded goals. If we as trial lawyers do not stand up with our ideas and our wallets, basic rights guaranteed to citizens by the Michigan and U.S. Constitutions will soon become eroded and meaningless.”
Serling has specialized in asbestos litigation since 1975, and his law firm champions the rights of asbestos disease victims throughout Michigan and in more than 20 additional states.
Serling recalls, “My most memorable case was actually the first asbestos disease case I ever handled. I was a general practitioner in 1975 at the age of 31 when a young widow of an asbestos insulator contacted me concerning her husband who had died at age 52 (Carr v Johns-Manville - US District Court, Eastern District). She was left with two young children and was trying to raise them on a $4 per hour job. At the time, I did not know anything about asbestos litigation and tried to refer the case to several well-known Michigan plaintiffs’ counsel who had many more years of experience than I. None of them knew anything about this area of law and I felt that I could not reject this woman’s case. Thankfully, I found and co-counseled with an experienced asbestos attorney in Ohio 20 years my senior and learned asbestos litigation along the way. It was extremely gratifying to successfully conclude the case, winning a sizable settlement for the widow.
“My most satisfying case was the representation of a 33-year-old victim of mesothelioma (cancer of the lining of the lung or abdomen caused by asbestos exposure). The young man was married and had two very young children and was fighting very hard to stay alive. My firm was able to settle his case quickly and for a sizeable sum. The victim is still alive more than 10 years after the diagnosis, one of the few mesothelioma victims in the United States who has survived more than a few years.”
Serling and his wife Elaine have been married 43 years. “We have two wonderful children, a great son-in-law (even though he is a defense lawyer) and two magnificent grandchildren. I enjoy family genealogy, reading, boating, sports, travel and golf. My wife and I are very active in community work and charitable endeavors. We both believe strongly in giving back to society and in helping to make things better for future generations.”
Ronda Little MAJ Pacesetter
Although Royal Oak attorney Ronda Little did not have any lawyers in her family, she was always interested in criminal law and forensics. “I began my undergraduate degree at Michigan State in Criminalistics. Ultimately, I broadened my degree to Pre-Law and went on to Wayne State Law School,” stated Little.
“After my first year, I clerked for Bill Gage and Rob Sickels. Their practice was focused primarily on medical malpractice cases. The first case I worked on involved a woman who died at an adult foster care home. As I dug into the State licensing file, I found the operator of the home had a long history of suspected mental illness. Despite repeated requests from the State, she never complied with their request for a psychiatric exam and her license to operate the home remained in effect. Our client died of a drug overdose because the operator left medications unlocked. The first Complaint I ever drafted was against the State licensing personnel for their failure to revoke the license of this mentally unstable operator. The home was shut down (after a second resident died), and we settled the case,” said Little.
“After my second year of law school, I clerked at a large corporate firm in Detroit. While the pay was good, I had no client contact, and my role was limited to research and writing. I missed the investigational element of plaintiff’s work and decided to return to medical malpractice work after graduation. I have been doing plaintiff’s medical malpractice work for 20 years and have had the privilege of working with great attorneys and support staff. For many years, I worked with Bill Gage, first as an associate and later as his partner. Learning from someone with his knowledge and experience was invaluable and I enjoyed navigating the complexities of medical malpractice cases with him. A few years ago, Greg Bereznoff and I became partners after we shared work through the listserve for years. We handle medical malpractice cases throughout the State, focusing on death and serious injury cases, and we work hard to obtain the best possible outcome for our clients.”
Little added, “Although there are many challenges to doing medical malpractice work, I still find it compelling. Taking a box of medical records and figuring out what happened, why it happened, who was responsible and whether it is malpractice, is always interesting. I find there is a great misperception about medical malpractice cases. Sharing our client’s stories, which repeatedly demonstrate the failure to provide basic medical care, is key to changing perception.”
Little has been a member of MAJ since 1993 and appreciates the services offered. “I benefit from the listserver on a daily basis and I always attend the yearly MAJ Medical Malpractice Seminar. I am impressed by the work MAJ does in multiple arenas.”
A monthly contributor to JUSTICE PAC, Little believes that without JUSTICE PAC funding, the interests of MAJ will not be heard.
“I am a recent addition to the Amicus Committee. They do a great job staying abreast of worrisome issues in the appellate pipeline and providing support so as to minimize bad case law.”
Little has been married for 21 years to a Physical Education teacher in Southfield. “We have a 17-year-old son, and a 13-year-old daughter. We enjoy outdoor family activities and our adventures have included white water rafting, zip lining, and dog sledding. I enjoy watching and playing sports and I am on a co-ed softball team with several MAJ members.”
Richard Toth MAJ Pacesetter
Although he never met an attorney until he started law school, Southfield attorney Richard Toth grew up during a time of exciting changes.
“During the era of the civil rights movement, anti-war protests and growing environmental awareness, I witnessed that among those deeply involved in seeking to re-make society to better the lives of others were attorneys. A stirring sense of social conscience arising from these times caused me to aspire to become a lawyer,” stated Toth. He jokingly added, “But I was very young then - innocent and naive - not the surly curmudgeon I have long since become.”
A proud member of MAJ for approximately 25 years, Toth maintains his MAJ membership because MAJ represents attorneys who represent clients who are in need. “These clients are largely people who have no well-paid lobbyists to speak for them in Lansing, who are not organized into PACs, and whose injuries will not be redressed without someone to speak up for them. MAJ can offer these silent victims a voice, and at the same time provide supportive resources to its members to help individual attorneys perform at their best in pursuing the interests of their clients.”
Toth is on MAJ’s Legislative Committee advising on medical malpractice issues, and has been an active member of MAJ’s Amicus Committee for several years. “Having the best and brightest appellate minds in the state on the MAJ Amicus Committee is a remarkable asset and resource for MAJ members, and invaluable for my appellate practice.”
A monthly contributor to JUSTICE PAC, Toth says, “What we have seen happening over the past 20 years, both in the Legislature and the courts, is disturbing. The rights of ordinary citizens, especially those who suffer injuries through the neglect, carelessness or indifference on the part of corporations, government, or wealthy professionals, are being steadily eroded. To the extent that mobilized assistance can be provided to candidates seeking to reverse that trend, supporting MAJ’s JUSTICE PAC is of vital importance to trial attorneys and their clients.”
Toth says the most distinctive aspect is the fact that notwithstanding his membership in an organization of trial attorneys, in his entire legal career he has never actually tried a case. “I’ve never offered a closing argument, cross-examined a witness, or sweated out a jury verdict. Yet I have litigated hundreds of cases at the appellate level. Forty years ago I was hired by Sommers, Schwartz to serve as its appellate attorney. As the chief appellate counsel, I am actually proudest not of the work I have done for these clients in handling their appeals, but in the work I have done that helps their cases avoid legal pitfalls and overcome the legal arguments that may lead to an appeal. My experience has taught me that the truly successful trial attorneys are not those who simply prepare their cases for trial, but who are also rigorous in preparing their cases, during the earliest stages of litigation, for any potential appeal.”
When asked about his personal life, Toth said, “I thought about joining a sky-diving rock band just to make this response more fascinating, but I’ll stick to my soothing bike rides and frustrating rounds of golf as my principal recreational activities. I enjoy crafting wooden ship models and have a layman’s uncommon interest in quantum physics, but am otherwise quite harmless.”
Kelly A. Kruse MAJ Pacesetter
Her dad was a football coach and Bloomfield Hills attorney Kelly Kruse was one of his biggest fans.
“Growing up I definitely wanted to follow in his footsteps and be a football coach myself. As I got older, I figured out that the career options for a female football coach were significantly limited. Practicing law, in particular litigating, had so many similarities to coaching. Both require preparation, attention to detail, evaluating strengths and weaknesses, analyzing the opposition and the excitement of winning and losing,” stated Kruse.
A member since 1993, Kruse began her career working for a firm which primarily represented insurance companies and defendants. “When I left that firm, I decided to focus my practice on plaintiff’s law and representing people who had few other allies. Joining MAJ was a natural progression and affiliation. One of the biggest benefits of belonging to MAJ is having access to the tremendous research and strategy resource which the members bring to the table and the ability to pool resources and brain power for the greater good of the MAJ members and our clients. Many objectives simply can’t be accomplished alone. The listserver has been an invaluable tool in my practice. The generosity of MAJ members who share their expertise, research and experiences every day is an indispensable asset to our practice. The same is true of the expert and doctor deposition bank. Recently, I discovered that MAJ also offers associations with numerous vendors that offer discounts to MAJ members - another great benefit from MAJ.”
A monthly contributor to JUSTICE PAC, Kruse believes that supporting JPAC is, “...not only important, it’s vital.” Kruse added, “Individually, its unlikely that most individual members of MAJ could meaningfully advocate for the rights of individuals against the interests of insurance companies and corporations. Collectively, our voice is significantly stronger. JPAC is the vehicle which allows us to accomplish these goals.”
Kruse realizes that not every profession has the opportunity to experience having a positive impact on another person’s life. “It sounds trite, but the most satisfying aspect of being a trial attorney is helping clients who have been victimized by the negligence, discrimination, harassment or intentional bad acts of others,” said Kruse. She added, “Not every situation with which our clients are confronted lends itself to litigation. While there are many situations which cannot be resolved without a lawsuit, there are also times when our clients need a different approach to resolving their issues. We strive to identify the best approach for our clients’ needs - whether it is filing a lawsuit or taking a different route.”
Kruse grew up in Chicago and moved to Michigan 20 years ago after getting married. She and her husband live in Oxford. Outside of her law practice, Kruse enjoys golf, football, traveling, and spending time with her friends and family.
Todd J. Stearn MAJ Pacesetter
Southfield attorney Todd Stearn was affected by the fact that his grandfather lost part of his arm in a rollover bus accident as a young boy without receiving any compensation. Stearn became an attorney to feel like he’s making a difference for his clients.
An MAJ member for many years, as well as a monthly JUSTICE PAC contributor, Stearn has become more active recently, including serving on MAJ’s Executive board for the past three years.
“As the tort deform revolution has impacted all of our practices as our state has veered to the right, there are really very few voices speaking out for injured victims or the under-privileged. It is important to support a group that not only keeps our message in the ears of our legislators but serves as the conscience of our state,” said Stearn.
Stearn’s firm is one of the few personal injury firms that still devotes a large percentage of its practice to premises liability work. “I also personally interview every client at the beginning because I believe that the most important day in the life of a personal injury case is the day the attorney decides to accept that case.”
Some of Stearn’s favorite benefits from MAJ membership include the listserver, annual no-fault seminar, and the expert deposition bank. Other MAJ members introduced Stearn to David Ball as a resource of trial lawyers.
“Besides all of the great trial advice, he makes a strong argument that personal injury lawyers need to do a better job of representing themselves to the public. David Ball provides good ways for all of us to start showing the public that we are not the ‘stereotypes’ that we have been portrayed in the media and by some politicians, but rather the champions of justice who are trying to insure that our roads and products are safe, that our medicines and doctors are not harming and killing people and that insurance companies are not taking advantage of the disadvantaged. I would encourage everyone to read his books.”
Stearn and his wife Terri have been married for nearly 20 years and they have a 12-year-old daughter. When he was 30, Stearn was elected as the youngest mayor of Beverly Hills, serving as mayor for four terms and on the Village Counsel for 10 years. In addition, Stearn plays guitar, is a certified scuba diver, and has run the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot every year since 1993.
Hadley J. Wine MAJ Pacesetter
Southfield attorney Hadley Wine grew up working in his parents’ army surplus store in Detroit.
“I grew up working in their business all summer, after school and weekends during high school, and every weekend during college. Although this was not my favorite thing to do at the time, I learned the importance of family and hard work. It also helped me to formulate some personal, life goals: be my own boss, help those less fortunate than me, and stick up for the little guy,” stated Wine.
“I graduated from MSU in 1967, and like many of my friends, I was looking at a scary future. I watched the draft lottery on TV and my birthday, September 14, was picked at number 1. It was then that reality hit — I could go to graduate school and get a student deferment, or go to Vietnam. My cousin, Barry Waldman, was a year ahead of me in school, and he had always wanted to be a lawyer. After talking to Barry, I decided I could combine my personal goals, along with meeting my main objective of staying out of the war, by going to law school as well.”
After graduating from Wayne Law School in 1970, Wine got his first job as a government lawyer working in Washington D.C. at the Interstate Commerce Commission. “The job was not very exciting, but the city was fantastic — so many fine restaurants, museums and concerts. It was there that I met my wife, Beverly, a University of Michigan grad working as a secretary in Washington, D.C. because there were no teaching jobs in Detroit. Together, we explored all that the city had to offer, including a midnight vote at Congress and watching President Nixon light the White House Christmas tree. My job allowed me to wine and dine her in style. Although it was a whirlwind courtship, Beverly decided to go back to Detroit, live with her parents and substitute until she found a teaching job. I soon followed her home. My government job was going nowhere, and if I wanted to start a career, I needed to go the practical route as well, and be where my connections were.”
Wine added, “My first job in Detroit was at the law firm of A. Robert Zeff. I learned the necessary skills to be a personal injury lawyer from one of the best. But I still wanted to own my own practice. In 1977, Richard Kepes and I opened Kepes and Wine, P.C. and the rest, as they say, is history. At the beginning, Richard and I did what was necessary to keep afloat; we took criminal and mental health assignments and auto accident files. Along the way, Carol McNeilage joined the firm and handled Medical Malpractice cases. Over the years, we have developed a personal injury practice that has been extremely rewarding to me because of the satisfaction of helping our many clients. Richard is retiring at the end of 2011, and I will be continuing on with Ronald Smith and my son, Robert Wine.”
Their firm’s experience fighting insurance companies and corporations showed them the benefit of belonging to MAJ and contributing to JUSTICE PAC. “I’ve been told that our membership predates MAJ’s computer records. Being a member of MAJ means attending outstanding seminars put on by the best lawyers in our profession, and attending the annual meeting as well as other occasional social events and fundraisers. I have also been involved by supporting my partners, Carol McNeilage, a past president of MAJ from 1998-1999, and Richard Kepes, a member of the MAJ Executive Board for eighteen years.”
Wine and his wife have been married for 40 years. “We have two sons, Jason and Robert, both attorneys, and a lovely daughter-in-law. We have also been blessed with two grandchildren.”
Regina Meo MAJ Pacesetter
When she was 17, Sterling Heights attorney Regina Meo worked a summer job as a receptionist at Frank R. Langton & Associates, PC. “I had not yet decided on a career choice but after working there and being exposed to the practice of law, I decided to be an attorney,” stated Meo.
Meo worked as a legal secretary while getting her undergraduate degree and as a law clerk when she started at Detroit College of Law. “My parents had separated when I was finishing my last semester as an undergraduate, so I had limited resources. I had thoughts of waiting to attend law school, but Frank was adamant that I continue, and I am so glad I did.”
A member since 1994, Meo joined MAJ because she wanted to be part of an organization that helped people who were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence. “My first exposure to a law firm was a plaintiff’s firm whose clients were injured with pending litigation against insurance companies. Among other things, I saw the injustice in the denial of no-fault benefits to injured victims. MAJ is a great way to network with other attorneys. The seminars are invaluable and keep attorneys informed of current changes in the law that may affect their caseload. The speakers are always well-prepared and share their work product to assist other members. From the deposition bank to the listserver to the seminars - MAJ is a great resource for attorneys.”
Meo is “of counsel” to Frank R. Langton and Associates, PC, and her practice has always been diversified with a concentration regarding personal injuries. “I have enjoyed pursuing the various causes of action over the years including civil rights actions for claimants in fair housing discrimination lawsuits. I represented a family in a familial status discrimination lawsuit, which resulted in one of the largest jury awards ever made in a familial status case in the United States. I am involved in every aspect of my cases and enjoy close working relationships with all of my clients.
“There is no substitute for the satisfaction of being the tool to bring justice to a client who has been wronged by an insurance company. We as trial lawyers often are pursuing the justice that cannot necessarily change the nature or extent of injuries/disabilities sustained by our clients but can make a great difference with the recovery of benefits and/or damages for that individual and their family.
“My practice also includes the area of workers’ compensation. I served on the Qualifications Advisory Committee from December 2003 through February 2008, representing employee interests. Through my efforts with other committee members, the most qualified applicants for Magistrate/Appellate Commissioner were determined and submitted to the office of Governor Jennifer M. Granholm for consideration. Currently I am a member of the General Industry Safety Standards Commission, representing the public’s interest.”
A monthly contributor to JUSTICE PAC, Meo believes that member contributions enable MAJ to compete with contributions of the insurance industry and big business. “Supporting MAJ’s JUSTICE PAC is important because it helps achieve the election and re-election of legislators, state officials, and judges that understand the issues that affect MAJ members and their clients and support our civil justice system. A monthly contribution, even if small, will help MAJ achieve its goals.”
Meo and her husband live on Lake Orion. She enjoys boating and antiquing
Two people influenced Ann Arbor attorney Stephen Goethel’s decision to become an attorney. “A fictional motivator was Atticus Finch for his role in To Kill a Mockingbird which I read in a High School Lit class. The non-fictional person was my Dad. He had a tremendous work ethic and wanted me to follow in his footsteps in the business world. He knew how much I wanted to go into law. In the end, he stepped aside and encouraged me to pursue my dreams,” said Goethel.
An MAJ member for over 25 years, Goethel believes that an organization can only be as strong as its members. “I have been on the executive board for the last four years and am a member of AAJ and the Washtenaw Association for Justice. There are multiple facets of MAJ that are an integral part of my practice. The ability to network through the list server is crucial. It’s no longer David v Goliath. Utilizing the list server is like having an 800 person law firm. The seminars are hugely important, too; particularly in areas like malpractice.
“I have been handling medical malpractice cases for close to 30 years. I got intrigued with the medical-legal dynamic during law school. I clerked in Oakland Circuit during the day and went to law school at night. Most days were spent in the courtroom. Far and away the most intriguing civil cases were the malpractice trials. The caliber of trial advocacy was the best and the cases were always compelling. I did criminal work for a couple of years then had an opportunity to work for Ed Stein who is an amazing trial lawyer (even after he went to the dark side). That’s how I learned malpractice and medicine. I came to Ann Arbor in 1983 and have been here since. I am still fascinated by medicine. I really enjoy the intense workup that goes into cases at the outset that then transcends into the legal arena.
“I’ve become active in the National Crime Victims Bar Association after working on a series of cases involving sexually abused TBI patients. Getting involved on behalf of crime victims has been a rewarding addition to my malpractice work.”
A monthly contributor to JUSTICE PAC, Goethel stated, “JPAC is important for all of us who do this work. I think all attorneys who consider themselves trial lawyers want a level playing field. Unfortunately the field on which we play is anything but level. In my opinion, JPAC works to help restore that balance.”
According to Goethel, “The most satisfying aspect of being a trial lawyer is the ability to make a difference in the lives of the people I represent. Malpractice cases typically have a pretty long life cycle; on average 3 to 5 years - sometimes longer. At the outset, clients or their families have either just come through, or are continuing to suffer from some disastrous life experience. It’s pretty hard to work on a case that long and not get to know your clients well. The true reward comes not just in getting a good result but with the friendships that continue long after the attorney-client relationship ends. I remember going to the high school graduation of a cerebral palsied birth trauma client I represented. It was years after the case was over. It was the first birth trauma case I litigated. When I first met the client, he was a spastic quadriplegic, who couldn’t speak. He was confined to wheelchair with a body contorted in spasm. He learned to communicate with one arm bracing the other which allowed him to type on a keyboard with one finger. It was painstaking to watch but it gave him a voice. Eventually we were able to get him a talking computer when the technology was really cutting edge. He wound up running for class president and gave a commencement speech on the talking computer. Those experiences stay with you.”
Goethel has been blessed with an exceptionally talented staff. “They make all the difference in the world dealing with the never-ending upside down legal environment we’re in. I also have a committed significant other who has wonderful courtroom instincts and has worked on trials with me for the last ten years or so. Outside the law I have 3 great kids. I like to keep physically active – run, bike and ski. And, try to keep up with my 2 year old black lab, Tar.”
MAJ Pacesetter, April 2011
Lansing attorney Liisa Speaker worked at some large law firms in Texas, both before law school and as an attorney. “My personality is better suited to represent the ‘little guy.’ And it is really hard to make a difference in anyone’s life when you are working for an insurance company or Corporate America,” said Speaker.
Speaker joined MAJ in 2004 after receiving a call during a membership recuitment phonathon. “MAJ is a good way to network with like-minded attorneys, and provides a good resource for plaintiffs’ cases. The most valuable resource is the list server. Lawyers need to keep up with what is currently going on in the courts and the best way to do that is to be a MAJ member, attend MAJ seminars, and join the MAJ list server. Being part of MAJ has made me more keenly aware that the cases I take on appeal have an impact on other plaintiffs, not just my client. It has been awe inspiring to me how willing MAJ members are to help each other out.”
For the past five years, Speaker has been on the amicus committee. “I have written amicus briefs for MAJ in cases pending before the Michigan Supreme Court, such as Perez v Ford Motor Co, Rowland v Washtenaw County Road Commission, Buckner v City of Lansing, and McCormick v Carrier. I haven’t been able to do as many MAJ amicus briefs as I had planned in the past few years because I have become a regular amicus writer for the Coalition Protecting Auto No Fault (of which MAJ is a member). But that experience has shown me how organizations can work in tandem for the betterment of the law. The MAJ silent auction at the Rapid-Fire Seminar is a lot of fun, and a great way to help the amicus committee.”
A monthly contributor to JUSTICE PAC, Speaker stated, “I decided to become a JPAC contributor after MAJ Executive Director Jane Bailey spoke at the Kreiner Seminar in January 2009. As an individual attorney, I cannot help out every candidate for the legislature or judicial office, but I feel better that I can send some of my resources to JPAC and have them make the contribution for me.”
Speaker’s three-attorney firm is devoted to appeals. “As far as I know, we are the only appellate boutique in Michigan that works on plaintiff’s personal injury appeals. There are two other appellate firms in Michigan, but they both do insurance defense - they shall not be named here! And while our firm handles other types of appeals, too, I have devoted a substantial part of my practice to plaintiff’s appeals, and most of those have been in the no-fault arena. My next biggest practice area is family law appeals, and I also handle the occasional real estate and probate appeal. I think having a variety of appeals on my docket keeps me sharp. I try to look at every case as the appellate court would look at it so that I can fashion an argument that the Court will want to listen to.”
The most memorable cases that Speaker has worked on are the catastrophic injury appeals, both as amicus and for the plaintiff. “In particular, I have worked on several appeals involving Griffith issues and how the incrementalist approach adopted in Hoover eviscerates the Legislature’s purpose of adequate, assured and prompt reparations when it enacted the No-Fault Act. There are also certain cases that I think of, not necessarily because the case itself was so memorable, but because a serious injury or death occurred on a route I regularly travel in Lansing. To be sure, there are places where every time I drive by, I think of a case I worked on, like the little girl who died in Buckner v City of Lansing. That was Kitty Groh’s case but I wrote the MAJ amicus brief. I have some really good cases currently pending, but I won’t know if they are “satisfying” until the appeals process is complete! Probably the most satisfying cases are the ones where I obtained peremptory reversals from the Supreme Court after the Court of Appeals denied my client relief for legally incorrect reasons (and refused to see the light with my brilliant motion for reconsideration, haha!)”
Speaker enjoys her two girls (one toddler and one pre-schooler), old houses, Great Danes, cooking, and baking with her 3-year-old. “I enjoy traveling with my husband, but we have had to cut back on travel adventures with two small kids. Maybe in a few years we will be up for a road trip to Texas.”
MAJ Pacesetter for March 2011
Ann Arbor attorney David Blanchard gives credit to his Mother for encouraging him to go to law school. “She was definitely out there first with the ‘you would make a good lawyer’ comments. I went into radio journalism after college, and saw, firsthand, all the ways in which laws and regulations can make a real difference for people. I grew tired of being an observer and felt that, as a lawyer, I could continue to convey real life stories to others while also being a catalyst for change in those very lives.”
Blanchard added, “My grandfather got an accounting degree and spent his entire life working for Ford. He retired with benefits, and lived a long life with fairly comfortable means. But times have changed. With all the rules, regulations, and relative instability of the modern workplace, career paths have become a maze not easily navigated without the help of a lawyer—especially when catastrophe strikes. I saw this too many times in the lives of family, friends, and beyond to not get involved and work for justice. Since my grandfather, I was the first in my immediate family to finish a four-year degree.”
A member for six years, Blanchard joined MAJ soon after he started to practice with David Nacht, after a federal court clerkship with the Honorable Stanley S. Brotman in the district of New Jersey. “I joined because MAJ provided a place where trial lawyers could get together and share their side of the story. As a group, we represent a proud lineage of lawyers who do what real lawyers have historically done—standing up for the rights of real people, and often, one person at a time. Too many lawyers tend to be too isolated.”
“I was proud to work under Barry Gates in rebuilding a coalition of trial lawyers as the Washtenaw Association for Justice. I worked my way up through the ranks and am now finishing up a two-year term as president of the local branch. As local president, I have served on the MAJ Executive Board through the challenging election cycles, one turning out better than the other. I have been proud to serve with the MAJ team in all the hard work, even against all odds, that they have done.”
A monthly contributor to MAJ’s JUSTICE PAC, Blanchard stated, “It is essential to donate to JUSTICE PAC because we all want to give, and we want to do so in a way that will best serve the interests of our clients. Without us, they have no collective voice. JPAC provides a strategic way to do that so that we can have our voice heard around the table.”
Blanchard is incredibly proud of what his firm has built as a team. “My practice and my firm is about helping people first, particularly in employment matters. We love the trial work, but we also appreciate the value of getting someone back to work, working out an accommodation that keeps them working, or securing the overtime pay that they are entitled to. From representing whistleblowers in healthcare fraud cases, negotiating severance terms, to walking a vulnerable employee through sticky medical leave issue, our great team of attorneys can help with all employment matters. In employment law, we most often operate in a world of briefs and legal arguments. But nothing compares to talking to a real jury and seeing that they get it, even if the judge or the defense lawyer doesn’t.”
Blanchard believes that there will be some difficult times ahead for the rights of clients. “There is a tendency to recoil. There will be a lot of damage control for our clients and other victims of injustice. There will be hard work to avoid certain court rulings or new legislative immunities for harassers. Even still, I hope and confidently believe that we will continue to find new and creative ways to advance dignity in the workplace.”
Stephen Sinas-- MAJ Pacesetter for January/February 2011
MAJ Executive Board Member Stephen Sinas joined MAJ in 2005 as a law student at Wayne State University Law School. “Despite my family’s long history in the law, nobody persuaded me to pursue a legal career. Actually, my decision to pursue law didn’t come until the later part of my undergraduate education at the University of Michigan, where I majored in Economics and English. I hoped the law would allow me to engage in analytical thinking and make a difference for people at the same time,” stated Sinas.
As a law student, Sinas became interested in the history of our nation’s civil justice system and its connection to the founding principles of our nation. “After recognizing how the civil justice system was central to our rights and freedoms as individuals in America, I decided to pursue a career as a civil justice attorney.”
Sinas did not have to look far for great mentors and role models. “My grandfather started a law firm in Lansing in 1951. The current partners of the firm, George Sinas (MAJ past president and my father), Tim Donovan, Bernie Finn, Mike Larkin, Jim Graves and Bryan Waldman (MAJ past president), are all long-time members of MAJ. I grew up around these impressive individuals, and my respect and admiration for them has increased even more since pursuing my own legal career. Additionally, my older brother, Tom Sinas, is an attorney in Minneapolis and has also helped open my legal horizons.”
“Throughout law school, I also had the benefit of serving as a law clerk at Sachs Waldman, P.C., in downtown Detroit. My time clerking at Sachs Waldman was central to my development as a lawyer.”
Sinas currently focuses his law practice on first party no-fault litigation and negligence cases. “I embrace the challenging work load of my cases and am grateful to have the opportunity to provide legal representation that makes a real-life, positive difference for people. Whether it is advocating on the behalf of people who are being undermined or harmed by exceedingly powerful insurance companies, or seeking just compensation for individuals who were injured because of the negligent conduct of others, my job allows me to feel the humble sense of satisfaction that I am providing meaningful legal representation that is a bedrock to our constitutional form of governance and the reason the founders of our nation passed the 7th amendment in the Bill of Rights.
“I am part of a generation that grew up during very prosperous times in America. We now face a much different economic reality across the country and, particularly, in Michigan. Our society must now address many difficult issues. We must encourage our political leaders to make the necessary adjustments and changes needed to lead us into better economic times, without sacrificing our venerable individual rights and freedoms, no matter how tumultuous the economic or political climate.
“Our rights to judicial access, due process and trial by jury are included in those rights that we should never barter, trade or otherwise allow to be taken away from us. These rights are uniquely American and should be insulated from politics. However, they are clearly not at this time. This is why it more important than ever to support MAJ and its causes. MAJ is the only organization that is prepared and equipped to provide the education and advocacy needed to preserve our civil justice system in Michigan. Without the good work of MAJ, the people of Michigan may find themselves in a state bereft of judicial access and civil justice. Let’s not make life harder than it already is for people in Michigan. Support MAJ, support civil justice in Michigan.”
Sinas is married to Heidi Schroeder, a Health Sciences librarian at Michigan State University. “Despite living in East Lansing, we pledge proud allegiance to the Wolverines. I love to run and swim and am a huge fan of many different kinds of music.”
November 2010 MAJ Pacesetter: Lane Clack
Saginaw attorney Lane Clack has been an MAJ member since 1991.
“MAJ lawyers, in conjunction with organized labor, are the primary advocates to protect workers, consumers and the environment from the further corruption of our political system and judiciary by Republican/big corporation front groups like the Chamber of Commerce and The Federalist Society. I have had the opportunity over the last 20 years to talk to legislators in both Lansing and Washington in our ongoing attempt to educate them on the effect that special interest bills pushed by the Chamber, corporations and the insurance lobby would have on the health, safety and financial well-being of their middle class hardworking electorate,” stated Clack.
Clack’s firm specializes in asbestos-induced mesothelioma and lung cancer cases.
“It never ceases to amaze me when a specific asbestos company is able to introduce a bill, obviously drafted by them, to provide specific protections to that company at the expense of the rights of Michigan victims. A clear example of such an outrageous situation is the attempt over the last several years of the Crown Cork and Seal Company, a Pennsylvania corporation who purchased an asbestos insulation company, continuing efforts to bring their asbestos liability immunity bill to committees in the Michigan Legislature.
“MAJ is the only sophisticated advocate who regularly questions these continued attempts by corporations to do away with the civil jury system in Lansing.”
Clack is a monthly contributor to JUSTICE PAC and believes that all Michigan lawyers should donate to JPAC in whatever amount they can afford.
“Without a well-funded JPAC, the Chamber and other right wing groups will be in the room alone where legislation and judicial appointments are made.
“I have seen the dark times that have been created by right wing politicians like John Engler and his ilk, the tentacles of special interest money has not only devastated middle class jobs in Michigan, but has severely limited our basic constitutional right to have a jury of our peers settle our legal claims in a court of law. We must stand with MAJ and continue the fight for the citizens of Michigan.”
Clack and his wife Denise, also an attorney, and their three children share a love of the outdoors.
“We ski together, hike together and enjoy outdoor vacations. I have a passion for hunting and great memories from many trips throughout North America in pursuit of elk and other big game.”
October 2010 MAJ Pacesetter: Gregory Bereznoff
At the age of four, Royal Oak attorney Gregory Bereznoff sat on the couch and had a conversation with himself. “Being nearly as presumptuous then as now, I asked myself whether or not it would be a better thing to be a doctor and treat illness and injury or a lawyer and possibly prevent someone unjustly accused of a crime from spending the rest of their life in jail. With as much analysis as I was capable of at the time, I chose the latter, but I do confess that I have been ambivalent from time to time over the decision because I have a love of medicine as well as law. This quandary may have been an influence in my initial practice choice with the firm of Schureman, Frakes, Glass and Wulfmeier where I began as a law clerk and the focus was defense of medical malpractice claims. After being hired as a full time lawyer and trying numerous cases, I quickly grew weary of working for insurance companies and resigned my partnership in 1986 beginning a new career in a plaintiff’s practice with emphasis in medical malpractice and product liability claims,” stated Bereznoff.
“After working with two large plaintiff’s firms, I started my present practice in 1998 when the influence of the tort reform movement really began to bite. We continue to build a small firm dedicated to representation of injured clients in complex litigation with emphasis in medical malpractice litigation. We maintain a relatively low caseload and do everything within our control to maximize our client’s recovery,” he added.
Bereznoff joined MAJ over 25 years ago. He is a member of the executive board and a former member of the medical malpractice and court rules committees. “I decided to join MAJ to become a part of a larger organization dedicated to representation of real people who, due to the uncertainties of life, find themselves injured or disabled primarily by the conduct of a company or individual who was not paying enough attention or who simply did not care. My experience in MAJ has been like that of others, I suspect, as I believe that I have received far more from the membership than the cost of the membership or time invested in furthering the goals of the organization.”
A monthly contributor to JUSTICE PAC, Bereznoff believes that JPAC is a vital aspect of the work of MAJ. “Barry Goodman and others have worked tirelessly to build our PAC. As a result, our collective voice is heard throughout the state on issues of vital importance to our membership. I urge everyone to give to JPAC in whatever amount you can afford. Theoption of not supporting JPAC is unthinkable – choosing that option means our voice on our issues will not be in the room when important decisions are made about legislation and judicial appointments that can and will affect our lives and those of our clients for a long time. Please give.”
Bereznoff added, “We routinely interface with the insurance industry, the most powerful vested interest in the country. Not one of us alone has as great a likelihood of influencing those interests in a way consistent with our values as an organization than an entity with the heft and gravitas of MAJ. MAJ gives us a collective, powerful voice. We can, and have, influenced the outcome of elections (Diane Hathaway for Supreme Court, as one example). We have organized to fully support and file briefs in important appellate cases (we can take a measure of credit for the death of Kreiner). We have provided our clients for testimony before Senate and House committees considering legislation proposed by the insurance industry that could curtail the rights of our clients if approved. The work of MAJ is central to the practice of every lawyer who represents an injured client. The seminars are by far the best I have attended as MAJ counts among its membership a host of highly- competent lawyers who have achieved mastery in their areas of practice.
“Our profession is continually under attack by a well-funded insurance/business/political infrastructure. Tort reform is not only a method of reducing exposure and increasing profits for the insurance industry, it is a strategic initiative to marginalize our political influence by eliminating the political base. I see the greatest challenge going forward to be in the method of our resistance to these influences. We need to be more proactive in telling our story rather than simply reactive to unrelenting criticism. We need to bring attention to how our work fosters rather than detracts from society. We need to be better at framing our successes to illustrate the positive influence that good lawyering can have on society. People need to be reminded that because of lawyers we have a more civil, orderly, functional, and safe world. We ARE the good guys.”
Bereznoff and his wife Denise share a love of the outdoors. “We have taken several horseback trips in Alberta, Canada and the Rocky Mountains in the northwest United States. We have hiked extensively in our national parks as well. I love fly fishing, and we share interests in cooking, occasional travel and golf. Denise is the principal at Baldwin Elementary School in the Rochester School District.”
June 2010 MAJ PaceSetter
Since high school, Detroit attorney Phillip Toutant has had a keen interest in argument and advocacy. “I was very active in debate and forensics, where I practiced oral advocacy and public speech. Years ago I asked myself the classic question, ‘What am I going to do?’ Since I loved writing, argument and giving presentations, it was pretty obvious.”
Toutant joined MAJ while still in law school. “I knew I wanted to do trial work and represent injured people and my mentors encouraged me to consider med mal. I joined MAJ because it’s important to be part of the unified voice of those who represent injured people in Michigan. Then there is MAJ’s legislative work, the continuing legal education opportunities, and the networking and referral opportunities.” Toutant is also a member of AAJ and AAJ’s birth trauma litigation group.
A monthly contributor to JUSTICE PAC, Toutant believes that supporting JUSTICE PAC is crucially important. “Serious, like a heart attack, important. In fact, it is probably my biggest reason for being involved with MAJ. Like it or not, the decisions of our government are strongly influenced by lobbying dollars and campaign finance. The corporations and insurance companies we square off with make substantial contributions to further the political interests of their shareholders; namely, to produce a climate wherein they can maximize their profits while minimizing their liabilities.” Toutant added, “By and large, our clients do not buy into the position that brings them to our offices. They are not shareholders in being wrongfully hurt. They have no legislative counsel and often do not have the funds to make campaign contributions. But for the work of JPAC, these people would likely not have a voice. Moreover, the interests of the members of MAJ are perfectly aligned with our clients. Rest assured, if our voice says nothing, the corporations and insurance companies will be happy to speak for us, and only they will like the results. Contributors to JPAC allow us to fight garbage bills like the recently-tabled emergency room immunity bill.”
Toutant’s practice is distinctive because it is focused strongly on medical malpractice and birth trauma litigation. “In my first few months as a lawyer, I have already worked on scores of cases and settled over $1.5 million in claims that I worked up with Brian McKeen in pre-suit facilitations. Brian has proven to be a fantastic mentor and role model for an impressionable young lawyer. My firm is unique because of its reputation for the highest-quality representation of injured people in medical malpractice and birth trauma litigation. We have fascinating cases that present unique challenges. Recently, Brian and I have been working on a unique case involving an Ohio couple that, via in-vitro fertilization, became impregnated with another couple’s baby. Subsequently, they gave birth to this child (only after the story caught the national media). It has been a wild ride for a young lawyer.”
Toutant enjoys working with his clients. “I love my clients. Yes, they can be difficult. Right out of my first year of law school, I worked at a plaintiff-side auto negligence firm. Initially, the clients drove me crazy. Now, older and (hopefully) wiser, I have come to love working with my clients. The most satisfying aspect of being a trial attorney is explaining to my clients what is going on throughout their cases to their satisfaction. Without question, my second favorite aspect is kicking experienced defense attorneys’ asses on motion day, Daubert motions, judicial disqualification hearings, depositions, and pretty much any other opportunity possible.”
“I work a lot. Seriously. As a young lawyer, my family is pretty much the folks in my office. I’m not yet married and have no kids – my only family is really my badly-behaved Brittney Spaniel. I couldn’t do what I do without my office family. Brian gives me furniture for my house, my file clerk lets my dog out when I am out of town at deps, and my secretary pays my traffic tickets. The office manager and receptionist feed me. Without them, I’d certainly fall apart. Aside from work, my hobbies include fishing (especially fly fishing for brook and brown trout in northern Michigan) and sailing my restored 1975 Flying Scot.”