Legal People ...


Hawkins, Parnell, & Young is pleased to announce the addition of litigator Rick Braun in Detroit.

“Relentless advocacy for my clients, whether in the courtroom or any other setting, is the foundation of my practice,” said Braun. “Hawkins Parnell shares that same commitment. During this time of so much uncertainty in the world, there was no better move I could make for my clients.”

Manufacturers of a wide range of products engage Braun for counsel, guidance, and advocacy in product liability, toxic tort, and asbestos litigation. He works closely with executives, general counsel, and other stakeholders to develop litigation strategy and manage litigation nationwide. Braun has also advocated for corporate clients at the Michigan Legislature.

As a leader in Michigan asbestos litigation, Braun served as Michigan liaison counsel in discovery and pre-trial matters for all defendants. He was part of the successful effort that lobbied for the Michigan Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Claims Transparency Act, including testifying before the Michigan House of Representatives. Braun was also a member of the Wayne County Asbestos Litigation Steering Committee.

Braun was on the State Bar of Michigan Special Committee that rewrote the Michigan Court Rules related to discovery and pre-trial procedure and currently serves as a case evaluator in Oakland County Circuit Court, sitting on both the General Liability and Product Liability panels. He is the past chair and vice-chair of the Energy, Sustainability, and Environmental Law Committee for the Oakland County Bar Association and sits on the
City of Rochester Hills Brownfield Redevelopment Authority.

Before joining Hawkins Parnell, Braun was a shareholder at Collins, Einhorn, Farrell.

Braun is licensed in Michigan and is a registered lobbyist. He obtained his law degree from Michigan State University College of Law and his B.A. from MSU.

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For the 11th consecutive year, Plunkett Cooney has been named one of the “Best Law Firms” in the nation in 2021 by Best Lawyers®.

“This is a tremendous honor for Plunkett Cooney and further validation of the tremendous results our attorneys and staff obtain every day for their clients,” said Plunkett Cooney President & CEO Thomas P. Vincent. “National recognition like this is reserved for the very best firms in the country, and there is no doubt that Plunkett Cooney is among the best of the best.”

Plunkett Cooney was recognized in the following first- and second-tier metropolitan categories:

• Appellate Practice
• Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law
• Commercial Litigation
• Environmental Law
• Insurance Law
• Legal Malpractice Law - Defendants
• Litigation - Construction
• Litigation - Municipal
• Litigation - Real Estate
• Medical Malpractice Law - Defendants
• Mortgage Banking Foreclosure Law
• Municipal Law
• Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants
• Professional Malpractice Law - Defendants
• Real Estate Law

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Jennifer Dukarski, Butzel Long attorney, shareholder and leader of the firm’s Connected Car and Autonomous Vehicle Specialty team, was featured recently on the Automotive News “Shift” podcast ( She discussed cybersecurity, the cyber regulatory landscape, consumer data protection and connected cars as well as autonomous vehicles.

Dukarski focuses her practice at the intersection of technology and communications with an emphasis on emerging and disruptive issues: digital media and content, cybersecurity and privacy, infotainment and shared mobility, and connected and autonomous cars.

In her practice, she has assisted clients with defamation, invasion of privacy, copyright, and other content-based claims. She focuses on compliance with various industry regulations and has become a national leader in legal issues facing emerging automotive technology and is the leader of Butzel Long’s connected car working group. 

A self-titled “recovering engineer,” Dukarski was named one of the 30 Women Defining the Future of Technology in January 2020 by Warner Communications for her innovative thoughts and contributions to the tech industry.

Dukarski is a graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law (2010). She’s also a graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy College of Engineering and Science, (B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 1996).

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Detroit-based management side labor and employment law firm Nemeth Law PC is pleased to announce the firm has been recognized as a tier-one law firm by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers in its 2021 list of “Best Law Firms.” In the newly released annual edition of “Best Law Firms,” Nemeth Law is ranked a Tier 1 firm at the metropolitan level in two categories:

• Employment Law - Management
• Labor Law - Management

To be eligible for a 2021 ranking, a law firm must have at least one lawyer recognized in the 26th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America list for that particular location and specialty. In August 2020, Deborah Brouwer, co-managing partner of Nemeth Law, and Patricia Nemeth, founder of Nemeth Law, were selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2021. Nemeth was recognized in the practice areas of Employment Law–Management; Labor Law–Management; and Litigation–Labor and Employment. She has been included on the Best Lawyers’ list since 2010. Brouwer was recognized in the practice categories of Labor Law–Management and Litigation–Labor and Employment.

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In honor of Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11, Western Michigan University Cooley Law School hosted a virtual conversation with WMU-Cooley graduate and Director of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency Zaneta Adams. Associate Dean and retired Brigadier General Michael C.H. McDaniel led the conversation that included Adams’ path from the U.S. Army to law school while overcoming obstacles, and her experiences as a leader in social justice for the veteran community.

While serving in the Army Adams suffered a severe back injury, which left her unable to perform most normal daily functions. After serving eight years and going through rehabilitation, she pursued a legal degree while attending WMU-Cooley.

During the conversation, Adams, who founded WINC: For All Women Veteran’s a nonprofit dedicated to supporting women veterans nationwide, spoke about recognizing that women have served in the military.

“We need to recognize collectively that women served too. We don’t serve in that rare capacity but in a huge capacity.  Women veterans are expected to grow 18 percent in population by 2025. We are serving in a greater rate,” said Adams.

While speaking about issues unique to female veterans, Adams discussed the need for better health care and mental health care options due to sexual harassment and sexual assault.

“There are over 43,000 women veterans in the state of Michigan, over 2 million in the country,” said Adams. “I believe the number of women who faced either sexual harassment or sexual assault in the military is nearly 75 percent.”

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Justin Hanna, attorney at Jaffe, Raitt, Heuer, & Weiss PC, has been recognized as an “Outstanding Young Lawyer” by the Detroit Bar Association, receiving the Barristers Pro Bono Award. Jaffe CEO Jeffrey M. Weiss made the announcement.

Each year, the Detroit Bar Association recognizes young lawyers in practice for 10 years or fewer who have exemplified tremendous leadership and potential as future leaders in the legal community. The Barristers Pro Bono Award specifically recognizes a young attorney who has made a tremendous, lasting impact through the facilitation of pro bono work. Hanna is an active member of the southeast Michigan legal community, contributing countless hours to Jaffe’s pro bono program.

Hanna led a team of more than 20 Jaffe attorneys in an effort to assist over 140 Iraqi nationals from the Metro Detroit area who were detained as part of the administration’s push to increase immigration enforcement. A vast majority of those detained have since been released from custody, with several individuals receiving new permanent resident status or outright U.S. citizenship. Over $180,000 in pro bono work was committed to these cases.

Hanna is an attorney in Jaffe’s mergers & acquisitions and emerging & growth business practice groups. He specializes in empowering entrepreneurs and businesses of varying sizes to grow through effective strategic planning and analysis. He is also a founder of the Jaffe Transactional Law Competition, an M&A focused, skill-based program held at Wayne State University Law School, and now being held regionally.

Hanna earned a Bachelor of Science from Wayne State University, a law degree from Wayne State University Law School, and a Master of Business Administration from Wayne State University – Mike Ilitch School of Business.

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Asandi Conner
has been appointed director of the Detroit Equity Action Lab (DEAL), an initiative of Wayne State University Law School’s Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights.

Conner has worked for and in partnership with nonprofits for more than 20 years. Through her consultancy, “Say it Write,” she helped organizations, professionals, and entrepreneurs communicate their social mission and articulate their authentic voice. Conner joins the law school from Wayne State University’s Office of Economic Development, where she was director of the Detroit Revitalization Fellows.

“It is a privilege to lead this work in the city I love during America’s racial reckoning,” said Conner. “My commitment to confronting racial injustice began as a student on Wayne State’s campus and is still very much a part of who I am and the work I do.”

The Detroit Equity Action Lab promotes racial equity and justice by bringing together a multi-racial, intergenerational group of leaders and innovators working in the many dimensions of racial equity to address issues of structural racism in the greater Detroit area. Since its establishment in 2014, DEAL has convened five cohorts, creating a network of more than 140 individuals representing 100+ organizations that deploy diverse methods to end structural racism. DEAL’s sixth cohort will convene in February.