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Educating the Complete Lawyer

Class Notes



    Alan Tilchen 72

    After practicing law, Alan Tilchen decided he could help people even more by combining his legal expertise with his undergraduate degree in business to assist them with their personal financial goals. He established The Tilchen Corporation in Birmingham, Mich., an independent insurance and financial services business, to do just this. "Becoming financially independent, and remaining financially independent, means people can reach their career goals, support their families and give back to their communities," says Tilchen. Understanding wills, trusts, accounting and tax planning can be daunting for any person. Acting as a facilitator, Tilchen works with his clients' attorneys, CPAs, and other advisors. Tilchen combines his knowledge of these areas with his expertise in financial tools, such as life and disability insurance, long-term care options and investment vehicles. "When I was a UDM student, so many students had to pay their own way. I worked in many different jobs and as a substitute teacher, while studying for my law degree. Today, I help families identify their goals so they can set aside funds for their children's college education and their retirement," Tilchen says. "Having a plan means a better standard of living, less stress and more peace of mind as we cycle through life's challenges." Tilchen also provides guidance on how individuals can give back to their schools, religious organizations, churches or social services as part of their estate planning. "Leaving a legacy is very important for many people. Yes, they want to leave their children an inheritance, but they also want to build a better world," says Tilchen. Tilchen believes in the UDM philosophy to serve and is very active in the community working behind the scenes to improve lives. A key component of his legacy will include his daughter, Lindsay. She joined his company in 2001. "Lindsay grew up discussing economics at the dinner table," says Tilchen. "She also believes that we are here to serve and help others find success."

    Timothy Currier 78

    Attorney and CEO of Beier Howlett, P.C., Timothy Currier, was nominated and selected to be a member of Leading Lawyers and the Leading Lawyers Advisory Board. The attorneys that make up the list of Leading Lawyers were nominated and selected as a result of a survey put out by Leading Lawyers, a division of Law Bulletin Publishing in Chicago, to all licensed lawyers in a particular state. The surveys are followed by discussions with the lawyers who were nominated, verification of ethical standing, and a final review by the Advisory Board. Currier is recognized as one of the leading experts in school and municipal law in the State of Michigan. He is the Birmingham City Attorney and also represents the Birmingham Area Cable Board, Intergovernmental Cable Communications Authority, and the Bloomfield Village Association. He is also the attorney for Dearborn Public Schools and represents the Lapeer Area Community Schools, Lincoln Consolidated Schools, and the Troy School District.

    Sharon M. Woods 71

    Best Lawyers has named Sharon M. Woods as Detroit Professional Malpractice Defense Lawyer of the Year for 2014. Ms. Woods specializes in business litigation, including commercial and complex litigation, construction, securities, intellectual property litigation, employment litigation, class action litigation, professional malpractice defense, and alternative dispute resolution. She is a senior member of BSDD and is chairman of its litigation department. She is a fellow and former regent of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

    Deborah L. Gordon 76

    Deborah Gordon was honored by Michigan Lawyers Weekly as a member of its 2015 "Women in Law" class. The award salutes high-achieving women lawyers in Michigan and their accomplishments. Gordon is the founder of Deborah Gordon Law.

    Hon. Maura Corrigan 73

    Director of the Michigan Department of Human Services and former Michigan Supreme Court justice, Maura Corrigan has received a national award for her dedication to mentoring youth. Corrigan is one of four people honored with an "Excellence in Mentoring Award" from MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership. She received the award at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., reports the Lansing State Journal. Since 2005, Corrigan has mentored young adults and has volunteered with programs to recruit mentors, maintain state funding and build partnerships. In addition, she was instrumental in passing Michigan's Voluntary Young Adult Foster Care Act, which extends foster care support and benefits to qualifying individuals until age 21. Corrigan served on the Supreme Court beginning in 1999, and was chief justice from 2001-2005. She left the high court in 2011 to oversee the DHS, at Governor Rick Snyder's request. From 1992-1998, Corrigan also served on the Michigan Court of Appeals, spending the last two years as chief judge.

    Lisa S. Gretchko 78

    Howard & Howard attorney Lisa Gretchko was selected by her peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2014 (Copyright 2013 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, SC). Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Ms. Gretchko was recognized for her work in Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights, and Insolvency and Reorganization Law. She was also named to Michigan Super Lawyers 2013 among the top 50 women lawyers in Michigan, and the top 100 lawyers in Michigan.

    Robert E. Graziani 75

    Howard & Howard attorney Robert Graziani was named to Michigan Super Lawyers 2013 for his work in Insurance Coverage. Conducted as a survey through Law & Politics Media, Inc., attorneys are selected through a process which includes peer evaluation and independent research. Only five percent of the attorneys in Michigan were named to the Super Lawyers list. Mr. Graziani practices in the firm's Royal Oak, Michigan office.

    Lawrence Korolewicz 79

    Lawrence Korolewicz of Foster Swift Collins & Smith, P.C. was recently selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2015 and as Grand Rapids Lawyer of the Year in the field of Insurance Law. Inclusion in Best Lawyers® is based on peer-review surveys. Top lawyers in the nation review their peers in these surveys. The twenty-first, and most recent, edition of The Best Lawyers in America© is published in over 70 countries and includes over 50,000 attorneys in 134 different practice areas.

    Hon. Michael J. Talbot 71

    Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Michael J. Talbot was appointed by the Supreme Court to help with Detroit's 36th District Court budget crisis. Judge Talbot has spent much of his career in service to Detroit. While attending the U of D Law, he worked for the city of Detroit under the Jerome P. Cavanagh administration. In 1975, while in the private practice of law, he was appointed by Mayor Coleman A. Young to the Detroit Housing Commission; he served as a commissioner until he was appointed to the Detroit Common Pleas Court in 1978. In 1980, he was appointed to Detroit Recorder's Court. He was appointed to the Wayne Circuit Court in 1991 and to the Court of Appeals in 1998. Judge Talbot helped draft Michigan's Crime Victim's Rights Act and served on the State Bar of Michigan's Special Committee on Victims of Crimes. A past chair of the State Bar's Criminal Law Section, he is a recipient of the State Bar of Michigan Service Award and the Michigan Corrections Association Judicial Servant Award. He currently chairs the Court Reporting and Recording Board of Review for the Michigan Supreme Court. Judge Talbot was named the UDM Law Alumnus of the Year in 2012.

    Timothy Gargaro 76

    Mr. Gargaro joined Gill Holding, an auto supplier in Grand Rapids, as chief financial officer.  He previously was CFO of Constellation Enterprises and a member of the board of trustees for the Henry Ford Health System.  He began his global career at Lear, holding several senior positions in finance.

    Robert T. King 73

    Mr. King, UAW president, delivered the keynote speech at the opening reception of the 64th annual Labor and Employment Law Conference at St. John’s in Manhattan, cosponsored by NYU Law School, Cornell ILR, and the American Arbitration Association. The theme of this year’s conference was The Impact of the Global Economic Crisis on the Workplace.

    Keith J. Lerminiaux 79

    Mr. Lerminiaux was appointed corporation counsel for the Oakland County Office of Corporation Counsel, where he has worked since 2000, most recently as deputy corporation counsel. Appointed to the position by Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, Mr. Lerminiaux assumed his new duties on May 1. Prior to joining Oakland County, he was a partner at Dickinson Wright PLLC from 1990-2000, and Vandeveer Garzia from 1980-1990. He began his legal career as an associate at Cummings McClorey in 1979.

    Donald G. Rockwell 76

    Donald G. Rockwell was elected vice president of the State Bar of Michigan for 2015-2016 by its members. Rockwell is a partner with Nill Rockwell PC in Flint.

    John J. Siciliano 78

    Mr. Siciliano, from the firm of Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP, has been included in the 2014 edition of The Best Lawyers in America@. Recognized for his work in Workers' Compensation Law – Employers, Mr. Siciliano's labor and employment practice includes counseling employers on labor and employment issues, and representation of clients in NLRB, EEOC, OCRC, OSHA and arbitration proceedings. He has extensive experience defending employers in employment discrimination and wrongful discharge actions in both federal and state courts.

    David M. Thoms 79

    Mr. Thoms, a principal at Miller Canfield in Troy, Michigan, has been elected to a three-year term on the board of trustees of Madonna University, a Catholic and Franciscan university located in Livonia committed to teaching, scholarship and service. Long active in the educational community, Mr. Thoms' service includes being a longtime board member and current president of the Alliance Francaise de Grosse Pointe. He is a trustee and executive committee member of the Michigan Colleges Foundation, and a trustee of Kalamazoo College. He was previously involved in fundraising for UDM. At Miller Canfield, Mr. Thoms assists clients with their business, estate and succession planning matters as well as assisting non-profit and charitable organizations with policy, tax, compliance, governance and fundraising.

    Norman D. Tucker 71

    Mr. Tucker was selected to receive the 2013 Earl J. Cline Award for Excellence from the Negligence Council, recognizing his superb skills as an attorney in the field of negligence law and dispute resolution. He was honored during the Annual Past Chairpersons dinner on May 17, 2013. Mr. Tucker, an attorney at Sommers Schwartz, has more than 30 years' experience in plaintiff's medical malpractice, birth related injuries, obstetrical and neonatal care, and anesthesia mishaps. He co-authored the two definitive reference books on the subject, Handling Birth Trauma Cases, Volume I and II. He has been an invited speaker at more than 100 seminars, workshops, panel discussions, law school classes and medical conferences, and was one of the few attorneys in the nation invited to speak at the Boston University School of Medicine's Annual Conference on Obstetrics, Gynecology, Perinatal Medicine and the Law. His experience and meticulous attention to detail has resulted in yearly multi-million dollar recoveries for clients.

    Stephen R. Howard 76

    Stephen Howard, chairman of Beaumont Health System's board of directors, was named a Trustee of the Year by Modern Healthcare magazine. He was one of four health care trustees recognized across the nation in the magazine's February 11, 2013 issue, and the winner in the not-for-profit health care system award category. Mr. Howard has served the Beaumont organization as a trustee or board member for 18 years. During this time, he chaired five board committees, served as a member of nine others, and also served on the Beaumont Foundation board. He is a retired automotive business entrepreneur who successfully built and sold five manufacturing companies as founder, president and CEO of the Spearhead Group. He also served as president and CEO of Flow Robotic Systems in Wixom, Michigan and provides global consulting services to other manufacturing companies and boards of directors through the Spearhead Group.

    Bruce Vande Vusse 78

    The law firm of Foster Swift Collins & Smith, PC selected its officers for the 2014 executive committee. Attorney Bruce Vande Vusse, of the firm's Farmington Hills, MI office, was elected to serve as the Vice President of the Southeast Michigan Office. As shareholder at Foster Swift, Mr. Vande Vusse focuses his practice in the area of professional liability defense, representing hospitals and their various affiliates, including physicians, nurses and other healthcare providers. In addition, he also handles civil litigation matters in state and federal courts, both at the trial and appellate levels, and in arbitration and alternative dispute resolution forums. He completed his undergraduate degree at Calvin College. Bruce was recently selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2015 and as Detroit Lawyer of the Year in the field of Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants. Inclusion in Best Lawyers® is based on peer-review surveys. Top lawyers in the nation review their peers in these surveys. The twenty-first, and most recent, edition of The Best Lawyers in America© is published in over 70 countries and includes over 50,000 attorneys in 134 different practice areas.

    Alan M. Gershel 79

    The Michigan Supreme Court has appointed Mr. Gershel, veteran federal prosecutor to be grievance administrator for the Attorney Grievance Commission, the investigative and prosecutorial arm of the Supreme Court for allegations of attorney misconduct.  With a mission of protecting the public, the AGC is responsible for investigating allegations of misconduct by attorneys practicing law in Michigan.

    Hon. Wendy Marie Baxter 78

    Third Circuit Judge Wendy Marie Baxter was chosen by the Michigan Chronicle to receive the 2013 Women of Excellence Award. Judge Baxter received her Bachelor of Business Administration Management Degree from Eastern Michigan University, moving into business for herself, buying, rehabbing, and selling homes. She used her real estate license to finance her law school tuition. After working as volunteer in campaigns of Hubert Humphrey, Coleman Young and Judge Beverley Anne Jasper, she launched her own judicial campaign, winning a seat on the 36th District Court. Soon afterwards she moved to the Recorder's Court criminal bench where she helped to write the criminal jury instructions still in use by every jurist in Michigan today. She has landed on all her courts' executive committees, helping to shape court policy, and was at the helm of the Association of Black Judges of Michigan and The Mediation Tribunal. In addition to serving in Representative Assembly, the legislative governance body of the State Bar of Michigan, Baxter has served with distinction as a member of the Civil Division of the Wayne County Third Circuit Court bench. As a guest lecturer at the National Judicial College, Judge Baxter has shared her expertise in law. Recently, in recognition of her legal and business acumen, she was one of two judges selected to staff the newly created Business Court to serve the corporate community in dispute resolution.
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