Legal People ...

A local lawyer who specializes in public finance work and has led organizations helping businesses has been appointed the new director of the Program for Entrepreneurship and Business Law at Wayne State University Law School.

Jeffrey S. Aronoff, a Wayne Law alumnus who also recently was elected a principal at Miller Canfield in Detroit, took over the Wayne Law program in March. He succeeds Assistant (Clinical) Professor Eric C. Williams who has returned to full-time teaching and continues to serve as director of the law school's Business and Community Law Clinic.

The Program for Entrepreneurship and Business Law focuses on helping students develop the legal knowledge necessary to represent business clients and the business skills needed to successfully start a business. The program helps aspiring business professionals in underserved communities participate in the economic revival of Detroit. It offers early stage legal assistance to participating local startups and creates forums for entrepreneurs to receive general legal guidance, access community resources and share their own business experience.

At Miller Canfield, Aronoff specializes in public finance, municipal securities and economic development law. He has served as bond counsel, special finance counsel and general counsel to state finance agencies, municipalities, school districts, downtown development authorities, counties and regional authorities.

In addition to his public finance work, Aronoff also assists small businesses looking to raise capital from local, community-minded investors. This grew out of his work at Sidewalk Ventures, a project he founded based upon the belief that local businesses should have access to new forms of capital to help them grow while building deeper connections to their customers, neighbors and communities.

During a "sabbatical" from Miller Canfield, Aronoff served as executive director of D:hive, a three-year, nonprofit project that helped individuals get connected to resources for living, working and building businesses in Detroit. During D:hive's existence, it helped more than 400 local entrepreneurs prepare business plans and get connected to Detroit's entrepreneurial ecosystem. D:hive's business assistance activities spun off into BUILD Institute, which continues to assist entrepreneurs throughout southeast Michigan.

Aronoff earned his law degree from Wayne Law in 2004. He earned a bachelor's degree from Michigan State University and a master of public policy degree from the University of Michigan.

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Dinsmore & Shohl LLP's targeted expansion strategy continues following the merger with Gifford, Krass, Sprinkle, Anderson, & Citkowski PC (Gifford Krass). Two partners have joined the firm's Detroit office, enhancing the service offering to clients and expanding that location to include Litigation and Employment practitioners. Theresa Smith Lloyd and Hans H.J. Pijls join Dinsmore from Plunkett Cooney PC.

Theresa Smith Lloyd is a member of Dinsmore's Labor and Employment Department. Her practice includes defending clients against lawsuits and agency charges alleging discrimination, harassment, whistleblowing, wage and hour violations and other employment claims. She has also defended clients in class action lawsuits.

Lloyd provides counsel and training to her clients and their management teams on hiring, discipline, disability, discrimination & other employment issues.

She is an elected member of both the American Board of Trial Advocates and the Litigation Counsel of America, and was named a Michigan Super Lawyer from 2006-2015.

Hans H.J. Pijls is a member of Dinsmore's Litigation Department where he focuses his Insurance Law practice on extra-contractual (bad faith) matters, property claims, liability insurance coverage matters, motor vehicle liability claims, directors and officers liability claims and insurance agent errors and omissions claims. He also has experience in the areas of intellectual property and international litigation. His transactional practice includes serving as general counsel to suppliers and intermediaries in the automotive and oil and gas industries.

For the past 25 years, he has been an adjunct professor at Wayne State University Law School where he has been teaching Insurance Law and Conflicts of Law.

Pijls earned the Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (C.P.C.U.) in 1986, and the Chartered Financial Consultant (Ch.F.C.) and Fellow, Life Insurance Management Institute (F.L.M.I.) designations the following year.

From 2000 to 2012, Pijls served H.M. Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands as her Honorary Consul for Detroit and Eastern Michigan overseeing affairs involving Dutch interests within his jurisdiction.

In addition, Dinsmore & Shohl LLP has landed 65th on Law360's list of the 400 largest law firms in the U.S. Citing the firm's double digit growth in 2015, Law360 also named Dinsmore as one of "five firms on the rise in 2016."

Dinsmore has been strategically growing to meet client needs over the past two years. In 2015, the firm merged with Huddleston Bolen LLP, Gifford, Krass, Sprinkle, Anderson & Citkowski PC, and Leventhal Law, gaining offices in Detroit, Ann Arbor, Huntington, WV and San Diego. In 2014, Dinsmore merged with Peck, Shaffer & Williams, gaining its public finance practice and offices in Chicago and Denver. Dinsmore ranked at 87th on the 2014 inaugural Law 360 400 list, increasing headcount by 14 percent over 2013.

Dinsmore now has more than 625 attorneys with locations in 21 cities throughout California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia.

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Dickinson Wright PLLC is pleased to announce that attorney Robert L. Schwartz has joined the firm's Troy office as a member. He joins the firm from Clark Hill PLC.

Schwartz's principal areas of practice include public and corporate finance and securities, including bond counsel, underwriter's counsel, borrower's counsel, and bank's counsel. He is recognized as one of the leading public finance attorneys in the State of Michigan, and has been involved in public finance transactions for over 35 years. He is also recognized as an expert with respect to federal tax aspects of municipal bonds. His clients have included a variety of Michigan municipalities and authorities, state agencies, investment banks, banks, and bond insurers in both public and private activity financings.

Schwartz is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and the National Association of Bond Lawyers. In public finance, he has been named as one of The Best Lawyers in America and to Super Lawyers as well as DBusiness Top Lawyers and Leading Lawyers by his peers.

Schwartz received his B.A. from The Johns Hopkins University and his law degrees from Wayne State University Law School of Law and New York University School of Law.

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BTI Consulting Group has named Bodman PLC in its recently released BTI Brand Elite 2016: Client Perceptions of the Best Branded Law Firms.

The BTI Brand Elite 2016 rankings are based on unprompted recognition from corporate counsel. Bodman is one of 400 firms nationally to be named to the BTI Brand Elite.

Bodman is one of Michigan's largest business law firms with more than 150 lawyers in four offices in Detroit, Troy, Ann Arbor, and Cheboygan.

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The Michigan Defense Trial Counsel (MDTC) announced that Ralph F. Valitutti of Kitch, Drutchas, Wagner, Valitutti, & Sherbrook is one of the 2016 recipients of the Excellence in Defense Award.

The recipients will be honored during the Awards Banquet at the MDTC Annual Meeting and Conference on May 13 at The Atheneum Suite Hotel in Detroit.

Valitutti co-heads the firm's birth trauma defense practice and serves as national counsel for insurers and major health systems in birth trauma cases in almost every state in the country. In almost four decades as a litigator with the firm, he has served as first chair in more than 70 trials which have gone to verdict. Valitutti is licensed to practice law in Michigan, as well as the U.S. District Courts of Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. He is also active in multiple professional organizations.

Valitutti is AV Peer Review Rated 5/5 by LexisNexis/Martindale-Hubbell. He holds the honor of being a fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America Trial Lawyers. He was also recognized as a Top Ten Lawyer for American International Group (AIG), one of the nation's largest insurance and financial organizations.

Valitutti has been named a Michigan Super Lawyer every year since 2006. He was also recognized in DBusiness Magazine as a 2013 Top Lawyer in medical malpractice and professional liability.

Valitutti is a frequent lecturer having spoken before such organizations as the (DRI) Defense Research Institute, The (ACOG) American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, The (ACI) American Conference Institute, and the Annual Conference on Obstetrics, Gynecology, Perinatal Medicine, Neonatology and the Law and major excess insurers based in the United States and offshore.

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Three Butzel Long attorneys will be featured presenters during the Original Equipment Suppliers Association's (OESA) first-ever California Regional Supplier Meeting on April 19 in Santa Clara, California.

Jennifer A. Dukarski, Sheldon H. Klein, and Claudia Rast will discuss automotive supplier strategies for contracting, cybersecurity, data privacy and ownership as well as recall, warranty and product concerns.

Dukarski focuses her practice at the intersection of technology and communications with an emphasis on emerging and disruptive issues: design for privacy, vehicle safety, infotainment, and connected and autonomous cars. With experience in intellectual property, automotive and media law, she leads clients in securing and protecting technology through transactions and litigation. A self-titled "recovering engineer," Dukarski serves as Counsel to the OESA's Product Development Council.

Klein regularly represents automotive industry suppliers in matters relating to upstream and downstream commercial relationships, including counseling on terms and conditions and litigation arising out of supply chain disruptions and disputes. He is a member of OESA's Legal Issues Council and is Co-Chair of Butzel Long's Global Automotive Coordinating Committee. He is a contributor to and principal editor of the Original Equipment Supplier Association (OESA) "North American OEM Production P.O. Terms and Conditions Comparative Analysis," the standard industry reference, which Butzel Long has prepared annually since 2008.

Blending her expertise in law, business, and science, Rast assists companies in their strategic choice and use of technology. She counsels companies both large and small on innovative and emerging issues in the areas of privacy, cybersecurity, data theft, intellectual property licensing and registration, and the forensic preservation and analysis of electronically stored information. Rast was appointed to the Cybersecurity Legal Task Force by the President of the American Bar Association for a two-year period ending in August 2015, and was named as a technology industry leader by Crain's Detroit Business.

The Original Equipment Suppliers Association is a non-profit trade association that champions the business interests of OE automotive suppliers doing business in North America.

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Dykema recently announced the addition of William J. Kohler to its Corporate Finance Practice Group as senior counsel in the firm's Detroit office. Kohler has held leadership positions at major corporations in the automotive industry throughout his career. Most recently, he served as chief legal officer and corporate secretary of global automotive suppliers Dura Automotive Systems, LLC, and Global Automotive Systems, LLC, and previously was vice president and general counsel for the North and South American automotive operations of Johnson Controls Inc.

As a general counsel and in private practice, Kohler has advised some of the world's largest automakers and suppliers. He has led some of the automotive industry's larger and more complicated acquisitions and divestitures, negotiated specialized supply agreements involving the sale and purchase of billions of dollars in critical components, created key joint ventures, and established international operations and distribution networks. He has also led development of significant intellectual property arrangements, including technology licensing and joint development arrangements, and authored the article "Current and Potential Legal Issues Pertaining to Automated, Autonomous and Connected Vehicles."

Kohler received a law degree from the University of Michigan Law School and a A.B. from the University of Michigan Honors College. He also received an M.B.A. from Michigan State University.

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The law firm of Cummings, McClorey, Davis, & Acho PLC (CMDA) is pleased to announce that Jim Acho was the keynote speaker at the 2016 NFL Players Association (NFLPA) annual meeting where he delivered the opening remarks to all NFL player representatives.

Acho was nominated in 2015 by the NFL Alumni Association to run for executive director, where he lost to the incumbent DeMaurice Smith. CBS Sports featured a piece on Acho last month for his work for retired players on NFL concussion cases.

Acho is a partner at the law firm of CMDA in Livonia where he concentrates his practice on sports and entertainment law, labor and employment law, law enforcement defense, and plaintiff's personal injury.

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Viviano Law (Viviano, Pagano & Howlett PLLC) has announced the addition of David J. Nowaczewski as an attorney with the firm, specializing in commercial loan origination and workout and bankruptcy proceedings. He will be working with the firm's banking and business clients.

Nowaczewski joins Viviano Law from Bodman PLC where he was a partner in the Banking Practice Group. He also worked with the Debtor Creditor Rights and Bankruptcy Practice Groups in his 11 years at Bodman where his clients included major financial institutions whom he represented in a wide range of banking and bankruptcy-related issues and disputes.

Nowaczewski is a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School and earned a B.A. from Franciscan University of Steubenville.

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Farmington Hills.-based Young & Associates has been named to 2016 "Best Law Firms" list and Rodger Young has been named one of the "Best Lawyers in America" by the U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers. Young & Associates founder Young made the announcement.

This is yet another recognition for the Young & Associates team. Five of the firm's attorneys Rodger D. Young, Jason D. Killips, Sara K. MacWilliams, Terry Milne Osgood, and Jaye Quadrozzi were recently named 2015 Super Lawyers. Young & Associates Founder Rodger D. Young achieved the Super Lawyer designation for the ninth consecutive year.

Published: Mon, Apr 11, 2016