Three Probate Litigation Attorneys Join Dickinson Wright’s Troy Office

Dickinson Wright PLLC is pleased to announce that Attorneys Elizabeth L. Luckenbach, Sara B. Rubino, and Juliet R. Boyd have joined the firm’s Troy office.

Elizabeth L. Luckenbach joins the firm as a Member. She focuses her practice on estate planning and administration, with an emphasis in probate litigation, special needs planning and elder law. She is a Past President of the Wayne County Probate Bar Association, a Director of the Oakland County Bar Association and a Past President and current Trustee of the Oakland County Bar Foundation. Ms. Luckenbach is an author and frequent speaker on topics such as elder law, special needs planning, and estate planning probate and probate litigation. She previously taught as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. In 2013, Ms. Luckenbach was featured in the Michigan Lawyers Weekly “Women in the Law,” and is currently recognized in Michigan Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers in America for Estate and Trust Litigation. Ms. Luckenbach received her B.A. from Michigan State University and her J.D. from DePaul University College of Law.

Sara B. Rubino joins the firm as a Member. She focuses her practice on probate litigation and estate planning, with an emphasis on elder law and special needs planning. Ms. Rubino is a frequent speaker and author on probate related topics such as guardianships, fiduciary disputes, estate administration and trust contests. Ms. Rubino is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is extremely active in the local Oakland County Bar Association, serving on its Membership Committee, New Lawyers Board and as a Barrister for the Inns of Court. She is recognized as a leader in her field by Michigan Super Lawyers “Rising Stars”. Ms. Rubino received her B.A. from Central Michigan University and her J.D. from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.

Juliet R. Boyd joins the firm as an Associate. She focuses her practice in the area of probate litigation. She was previously an intern for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan. She is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and is a trained and certified mediator. Ms. Boyd received her B.A. from Wayne State University and her J.D. from Michigan State University College of Law.

About Dickinson Wright PLLC
Dickinson Wright PLLC is a general practice business law firm with more than 450 attorneys among more than 40 practice areas and 16 industry groups. Headquartered in Detroit and founded in 1878, the firm has 18 offices, including six in Michigan (Detroit, Troy, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Saginaw) and 11 other domestic offices in Austin and El Paso, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Lexington, Ky.; Nashville and Music Row, Tenn.; Las Vegas and Reno, Nev.; Phoenix, Ariz.; and Washington, D.C. The firm’s Canadian office is located in Toronto.

Dickinson Wright offers our clients a distinctive combination of superb client service, exceptional quality, value for fees, industry expertise and business acumen. As one of the few law firms with ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certification, Dickinson Wright has built state-of-the-art, independently-verified risk management controls and security processes for our commercial transactions. Dickinson Wright lawyers are known for delivering commercially-oriented advice on sophisticated transactions and have a remarkable record of wins in high stakes litigation. Dickinson Wright lawyers are regularly cited for their expertise and experience by Chambers, Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers, and other leading independent law firm evaluating organizations.

NAFTA: A vital partnership for the Midwest

Quebec Representative in the Midwest, 

The 6th round of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiation is taking place in Montreal, Québec this week. It could be a decisive moment in these negotiations: several key issues are being discussed by the three Parties, and many stakeholders from the United States, Mexico and Canada are in the province’s metropolis.

For instance, the Detroit Regional Chamber and 9 other Chambers from across the United States, joined their Canadian and Mexican counterparts at an event organized by the Montreal Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. Together, 25 Chambers of commerce made a strong statement, signing a joint declaration, in support of an updated NAFTA and what it will mean in terms of job creation, innovation and competitiveness.

Trade has always been a key driver in relations between countries. It spurs economic development, but also innovation and job creation in integrated economies. The Great Lakes region, which is the third-largest economy in the world in terms of GDP (more than $6 trillion USD), illustrates that point clearly. Trade within the region (including Ontario and Québec) has quadrupled under NAFTA, reaching $1.3 trillion USD. Strategic industries like agro-food, automotive, aluminium and steel, and aerospace depend on that free flow of goods to thrive and compete globally. We build things together, grow things together, and innovate together.

Read more about the Chamber’s trip to Montreal here.

Quebec has been a key partner in that success story. Our bilateral trade with the US topped $66 billion USD in 2016 with a third of all goods imported by Québec coming from the United States. Direct investment from Québec companies has created more than 80,000 jobs in the Midwest alone. On both sides of the border, millions of hard-working families have benefited from our deep economic integration over the past three decades.

None of this would be possible without a stable business and regulatory environment. For a quarter of a century, NAFTA has provided a framework securing and deepening that stability, which in turn has facilitated collaboration in other sectors (think of protecting the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River, for instance). Above all, NAFTA’s framework has opened up opportunities for workers, innovators and job creators, without whom the global competitive position of North America would have been jeopardized.

The overall objective in the negotiations must be to improve a winning formula, not discarding it. To that end, Michigan and the Great Lakes region can count on Québec remaining a willing and constructive partner.

Keep Talent Here: What happens After 5?

After talking with more than 500 young people in Southeast Michigan through our talent survey and focus groups (get some background on the project here), we learned that helping people find their “after 5” community was the best way help them feel connected to Southeast Michigan.

“Getting rooted in the community was hard at first because it seemed like events were underground,” one newcomer said in our survey. And even for longtime residents, respondents said it’s challenging to know about activities happening in the region, let alone keep up with new restaurants and venues opening.

Our friends at After 5 Detroit have spent years helping professionals connect to the downtown community. Too often people drive to work, enter their office buildings, and drive straight home at five o’clock. In an effort to help people explore downtown and build relationships with other professionals, the organization started Connect After 5, an event series that allows people to have fun, network and explore downtown.

Companies interested in learning more can sign up through the Connect After 5 website. The next event is February 21st at the Fowling Warehouse.

Twelve Bodman Attorneys Named to Civic, Charitable and Professional Leadership Positions

Bodman PLC is pleased to announce that twelve Bodman attorneys have been appointed recently to leadership positions on civic, charitable and professional boards and committees that serve communities and individuals located throughout Michigan.

The following new appointments have all become effective since late 2017:

  • Aviation Law and Finance Group and Business Law Group attorney Mary E. Comazzi has been appointed to the State Bar of Michigan Aviation Section Council.
  • Enterprise Procurement Group attorney Jonathan S. Berg has been appointed to the board of directors for the Institute for Supply Management Southeast Michigan, an organization that provides education, networking, and career enhancement opportunities for procurement and supply management professionals.
  • Enterprise Procurement Group attorney Zackery T. Hugg has been appointed to three separate positions within the Oakland County Bar Association (OCBA): director of the New Lawyers Committee, associate member of the OCBA American Inns of Court, and member of the Membership and Diversity Committee.
  • Enterprise Procurement Group attorney Katherine Razdolsky Rothstein has been appointed to the board of trustees for the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan Foundation, an organization that supports the education of women who demonstrate leadership in advancing the position of women in society.
  • Health Care and Business Law Group attorney Brandon M. Dalziel and Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution Group attorney Donavan S. Asmar have been appointed to the board of directors of the Notre Dame Club of Detroit, the an organization that serves Notre Dame University’s extensive alumni body in the Metro Detroit area and supports a number of local charitable causes.
  • High Net Worth Group attorney Marguerite Munson Lentz has been appointed chair elect of the State Bar of Michigan Probate and Estate Planning Section Council.
  • Insurance Group chair and Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution Group attorney Michelle Thurber Czapski has been appointed to the board of directors of the National Foundation for Judicial Excellence, a non-profit that provides support and continuing legal education for state court appellate judges from across the United States.
  • Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution Group attorney Justin P. Bagdady has been named to the Audit Committee of United Way of Washtenaw County and the Strategic Planning Committee of the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum. United Way of Washtenaw County works to create a network of people, resources, and organizations to create a thriving community. The Hands-On Museum is an interactive museum that promotes scientific literacy through experimentation, exploration, and education.
  • Real Estate Group chair Nicholas P. Scavone, Jr. has been appointed chair-elect of the State Bar of Michigan Real Property Law Section Council and Real Estate Group attorney Gregory J. Gamalski has been named secretary of the Council.
  • Tax and High Net Worth Group attorney Celeste E. Arduino has been named an advisor to the board of directors of non-profit Vista Maria. Vista Maria provides innovative care, support, treatment, and education to vulnerable youth.

We thank and congratulate all of our attorneys who continue Bodman’s legacy of service in the charitable and professional communities by volunteering their time and talents to support worthy organizations.

About Bodman

Bodman PLC is one of the Midwest’s leading business law firms, providing counsel to some of the region’s most successful companies and individuals on a broad range of issues. Deeply rooted in the communities they serve, Bodman lawyers provide clients with the personal attention of a small firm combined with the talent and knowledge expected of the nation’s leading attorneys. To learn more, visit

Brown & Brown of Detroit, Teammates Support Charities

Todd Piersol, Executive Vice President, is proud to announce that Brown & Brown of Detroit teammates raised $1,210 for the Assistance League of Southeastern Michigan during the office’s fourth quarter Blue Jean Day fundraiser. Every Friday, the office’s 70+ employees have the option of wearing blue jeans to work, in exchange for a $5 donation to the non-profit of the quarter.

The Assistance League of Southeastern Michigan’s purpose is to clothe, feed, educate, and comfort children and adults in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb Counties through community-based programs.

Brown & Brown of Detroit Benefits Advisor Tricia Godin stated, “Meeting Betty Zych through the Troy Chamber of Commerce and learning that the Assistance League of Southeastern Michigan’s workforce is 100% volunteer impressed me greatly. They are passionate about helping all ages through community-based efforts, and our office is happy to help!”

For the first quarter of 2018, Brown & Brown of Detroit has chosen to raise money for Teen HYPE. Teen HYPE’s mission is to celebrate youth, confront barriers, and build bridges. They envision a world where all youth thrive. Their movement empowers youth to thrive while strengthening their communities by providing them with the education, resources, and mentorship they need to succeed.

Brown & Brown of Detroit is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Brown & Brown Insurance, the sixth largest insurance intermediary in the United States. Located in Sterling Heights, this office is the largest independent insurance agency in Macomb County.

PBS CEO Paula Kerger to keynote Mackinac Policy Conference

Public Broadcasting Service President and CEO Paula Kerger will deliver a keynote address at the 2018 Mackinac Policy Conference, the Detroit Regional Chamber announced Thursday.

Kerger’s speech will focus on how media can foster trust and the need to restore confidence in government, media and business, the announcement said. Her speech will be streamed online from the conference, which is set for May 29-June 1 on Mackinac Island.

Detroit Public Television President and CEO Rich Homberg praised Kerger as one of the best people to discuss the topic, which is one of the pillars of this year’s conference.

“For 14 consecutive years, PBS and its member stations — including Detroit — have been ranked as the most trusted national institution by independent research,” he said in an email. “Most of those years have been under the wise and progressive leadership of Paula Kerger.”

Other speakers scheduled so far include Sandy Baruah, Detroit Regional Chamber president and CEO; Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal columnist and author; and Ray Telang, PricewaterhouseCoopers market managing partner, according to the conference website.


Read the original article from Crain’s Detroit Business here.

Business Attorney Kiefer J. Cox Joins Bodman

Bodman PLC is pleased to announce that business attorney Kiefer J. Cox has joined the firm as an associate based in the Detroit office.

Cox is a member of Bodman’s Business Practice Group. He represents clients in matters concerning corporate formation, mergers and acquisitions, and financing transactions.

Before joining Bodman, he was an associate attorney with large southeast Michigan law firm where he represented clients on a broad range of corporate and finance matters. He also has experience drafting commercial lending and financing documents and has advised technology-based companies on venture capital finance transactions and entity formation.

While in law school, Cox interned with United States District Judge Avern Cohn in Detroit, where he wrote bench memoranda regarding civil rights litigation and contract disputes. As an undergraduate, he interned with United States Senator Carl Levin in Washington, DC where he conducted research and wrote memoranda on economic and foreign policy.

Cox graduated from Wayne State University Law School cum laude and Order of the Coif.  He was a senior member of Wayne Law’s Moot Court and served as associate editor of the Wayne Law Review. He received the Dean’s Scholar Award, the Professor Alan Schenk Annual Student Prize, and the State Bar of Michigan Tax Student Achievement Award.

About Bodman

Bodman PLC is one of the Midwest’s leading business law firms, providing counsel to some of the region’s most successful companies and individuals on a broad range of issues. Deeply rooted in the communities they serve, Bodman lawyers provide clients with the personal attention of a small firm combined with the talent and knowledge expected of the nation’s leading attorneys. To learn more, visit

Butzel Long grows with addition of attorneys in developing areas of the law

Butzel Long is expanding to meet growing client needs with the addition of attorneys Thomas (Tommy) Nafso, Of Counsel; George Schooff, Of Counsel; and, Donald Dennison, Counsel. Nafso and Schooff are based in Butzel’s Detroit office and Dennison is based in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office.

“We are pleased to expand further our client-service capabilities at multiple levels of experience and to provide services in newly developing areas of the law,” said Justin G. Klimko, Managing Shareholder and President, Butzel Long. “Tommy, George and Don will continue our client-focused service tradition.”

Thomas (Tommy) Nafso

Nafso is a former prosecutor in the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office and assistant attorney general with the State of Michigan Department of Attorney General. He has extensive administrative, criminal, civil litigation, and government relations experience.

He has first-chaired more than 100 combined jury and bench trials to verdict and held hundreds of administrative hearings. His diverse experience has evolved into an innovative outside general counsel practice for clients who have varied legal needs.

Upon earning his law degree and MBA from the University of Detroit Mercy, Nafso became a prosecutor in Wayne County. As a prosecutor, he conducted warrant review, preliminary examinations, and felony trials – handling white collar and other complex criminal litigation matters such as homicide, narcotics trafficking, criminal enterprise, embezzlement, and fraud prosecutions.

During his tenure at the State of Michigan Department of Attorney General, Nafso represented several state agencies including the Department of Treasury, Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) and the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulation (LARA), Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC).

Nafso has significant government relations and legislative affairs experience working with local, state and federal agencies, and assisting clients with complex political, legislative, regulatory, professional licensing, and compliance issues. He has drafted legislation and administrative rules and has extensive experience with the Michigan Administrative Procedures Act. Nafso actively examines mainstream regulatory topics such as virtual and social gaming and daily fantasy sports (DFS).
His regulatory and compliance experience has made Nafso a leading source on the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act and the Medical Marihuana Facilities Act.
Nafso’s general counsel clients span a broad range of industries, including franchising, fin-tech, entertainment, and auto finance. His regulatory and compliance experience, as well as his comprehensive knowledge in labor and employment law, has allowed him to build a practice around providing legal services to growing businesses that are required on a day-to-day basis.

He is a graduate of Michigan State’s, Michigan Political Leadership Program (MPLP) – a bipartisan fellowship program that selects a diverse group of 24 individuals from across the state to engage in a public policy and leadership curriculum. Nafso currently serves on the City of Novi Zoning Board of Appeals.

George Schooff

Schooff is a registered patent attorney with more than 20 years of experience preparing and prosecuting patent, trademark and copyright applications, and litigating intellectual property disputes. As a licensed patent attorney, he also represents clients before the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board, including post-grant proceedings such as inter partes reviews. His experience includes all manners of technology and the full spectrum of intellectual property rights.

Schooff is a graduate of University of Detroit Mercy Law School (J.D., cum laude, 1991), where he was an Executive Editor of the University of Detroit Law Review (1990-91). He also is a graduate of Wayne State University (B.S., Biology, 1988).

Donald Dennison

Dennison’s practice is divided between trademark and patent prosecution. At the same time, he has specialized in litigation before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. He also is retained to testify as an expert in patent matters related to patent prosecution and has testified as an expert witness in 18 patent infringement, trade secret and trademark suits in the Federal and State courts, including New Jersey, New York, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Florida, Ohio and Illinois.
Notably, Dennison has more than 50 years of IP experience and is admitted to state bar associations in Maryland, DC and Virginia.

Prior to joining Butzel Long, Dennison owned an intellectual property firm for many years.

Dennison earned his B.S.M.E. from the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and received his J.D. from George Washington University in Washington, DC. Dennison lives in Rockville, Md.

About Butzel Long

Butzel Long is one of the leading law firms in Michigan and the United States. It was founded in Detroit in 1854 and has provided trusted client service for more than 160 years. Butzel’s full-service law offices are located in Detroit, Bloomfield Hills, Lansing and Ann Arbor, Mich.; New York, NY; and, Washington, D.C., as well as alliance offices in Beijing and Shanghai. It is an active member of Lex Mundi, a global association of 160 independent law firms. Learn more by visiting or follow Butzel Long on Twitter:

Five Brooks Kushman Shareholders Recognized As Trademark Leaders, Firm Earns Gold Honor In World Trademark Review 1000 Listing

Brooks Kushman has one again been recognized as a gold-standard trademark firm for the fourth consecutive year by Intellectual Asset Management’s (IAM) annual World Trademark Review 1000, a guide that recognizes the world’s top trademark law firms and practitioners in key jurisdictions. Of the Michigan firms listed in the directory, Brooks Kushman is the only firm listed as a gold-standard trademark firm.

“We are honored to be recognized by the World Trademark Review for the fourth consecutive year.” said, Mark Cantor president of Brooks Kushman. “Our trademark group is dedicated to guaranteeing we exceed our clients’ expectations both nationally and internationally. We ensure that our clients’ brands are being protected, and I take great pride in our commitment to success, and our team’s accomplishments.”

In addition to the firm’s recognition, President Mark A. Cantor and Shareholders Marc Lorelli, Robyn Lederman, Elizabeth Janda, and Hope Shovein were also recognized as top trademark leaders in the state. Cantor is recognized as a “contentious heavyweight who handles the heat of the courtroom with a cool head”, while Lorelli is deemed a pivotal part of the trademark litigation practice and instrumental in driving the firm’s growth. Lederman and Janda are praised for their energy and efficiency, as well as their high client satisfaction rates and large network of international associates and portfolios. Shareholder Hope Shovein was recognized for the first time this year, and was described as a “judicious strategist,” and praised for the work that has made her an internationally recognized practitioner in the trademark field.

According to IAM, the annual guide is compiled through an extensive 5-month research process. This research included completing more than 1,500 interviews with in-house counsel and partners at law firms around the world. Only firms and individuals who receive sufficient positive feedback from peers and clients with knowledge of their practice and the market in which they operate qualify for inclusion in the publication.

Brooks Kushman employs more than 90 intellectual property professionals handling a full range of intellectual property matters nationally and around the world.

Click here to visit our firm profile in the World trademark Review 1000 Listing.

About Brooks Kushman P.C.
Brooks Kushman P.C. is a leading intellectual property (IP) and technology law firm with offices across the nation, and represents clients nationally and internationally with respect to protection, enforcement and monetization of IP, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. The firm has more than 90 intellectual property professionals specializing in various technical disciplines, and has a reputation for providing leading IP counseling with a focus on the business objectives of their clients.

Brooks Kushman counts a number of Fortune 100 companies across a variety of industries among its clients. The firm is also recognized by leading legal publications and rankings, including Corporate Counsel magazine, U.S. News & World Report, Law360, Intellectual Asset Management, Managing Intellectual Property, and Intellectual Property Today. For more information, please visit

Chamber Reaffirms Support for NAFTA in Joint Declaration with Canada, Mexico and U.S. Chambers of Commerce

This week, the Detroit Regional Chamber joined leaders of 25 metropolitan chambers of commerce from Canada, the United States and Mexico in Montreal ahead of the sixth round of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations. Participants discussed economic issues surrounding the renewal of NAFTA and the risks for businesses if it is not renewed.

To send a clear message to the three governments on the importance of an updated agreement and maintaining open access to the North American market, the chambers signed a joint declaration affirming the importance of NAFTA to the region’s economy. Collectively, these chambers represent an economic impact with a combined GDP of nearly $3.5 trillion.

The NAFTA renewal remains a priority for the Chamber, and Chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah is often sought after for his expertise and insight at discussions in Michigan and Canada based on his current role at the Chamber and his past work in Washington, D.C. The declaration was signed on behalf of the Detroit region’s business community by Brad Williams, vice president of government relations for the Chamber. Read the declaration below:


We, the undersigned representatives of Metropolitan Cities Chambers of Commerce, agree to the following key facts regarding the North American Free-Trade Agreement (NAFTA):

Whereas: NAFTA has created major economic ties between Canada, the United States and Mexico, helping to quadruple trade between our three nations since its inception, now reaching $1.5 trillion USD annually.

Whereas: NAFTA has stimulated cross-border investments in the region. Canadian foreign direct investments in the US have risen from less than $40 billion USD to nearly $400 billion USD, and Mexican Foreign direct investment holdings in the United States have also increased by a factor of ten over the same period.

Whereas: 14 million jobs in the United States, 2 million jobs in Canada, and 3 million jobs in Mexico are dependent on trade between the three NAFTA member countries. Of the 14 million American jobs, 5 million are directly related to the growth of NAFTA.

Whereas: Value chains have become integrated through NAFTA, and many products cross our borders multiple times while becoming a finished product. For example, 40% of the content of all US imports from Mexico is produced in the United States. This integration severely increases the cost of breaking a free-trade zone in North America, both at the national and firm level.

Whereas: NAFTA has provided consumers in our metropolitan areas and across our three nations with access to more abundant and affordable products and services, including both high-quality manufactured goods and a wide variety of agricultural products throughout the year.

Whereas: Many of the companies that we represent would be adversely affected by a non-renewal of NAFTA, or a substantial departure from NAFTA’s core principles.

Thus, on the eve of the 6th round of negotiations for the renewal of NAFTA, we the undersigned:

  • Share a common desire to maintain free trade between the United States, Mexico and Canada.
  • Urge our respective governments to come to an agreement to an updated NAFTA, and to maintain it for the future economic success of all three nations.
  • Will maintain our mobilization in favor of an updated NAFTA, leading to a future trade agreement.

Therefore, we jointly sign this Declaration, Montreal, January 22nd, 2018.

The leaders of the following chambers and boards of trade attended the meeting in Montreal: Albany, Boston, Brampton, Calgary, Chihuahua, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Edmonton, Halifax, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Mérida, Mexico City, Minneapolis, Monterrey, Montreal, Querétaro, San Antonio, St. Louis, Tijuana, Toronto, Vancouver, Veracruz and Winnipeg.