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No Winter Blues Here: February is the Best Time of the Year at Miller Canfield
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It might be hard to believe, but one of my favorite times of the year is February. It’s not because of Michigan’s winter weather. Nor is it because I’m a hopeless romantic who just loves Valentine’s Day. It’s because February is the time of year my colleagues from all over the world come to Michigan to gather for the firm’s annual meeting.

The annual meeting is always a time when we enjoy seeing friends from as far away as China and as nearby as across the hall, for some socializing and exciting business updates. This year we heard from the leaders of our Cyber and Data Security practice team, who updated us on the special challenges clients face while keeping their data compliant and secure, and how we can help them in a world where hackers lurk in the dark corners of the Internet.

We also were treated to an update on the firm’s Hackathon Support Group, which was formed in response to our participation in the Women in Law Hackathon, an innovative national program organized in 2016 by Stanford Law School and Diversity Lab to advance the careers of women in the legal profession. Our group updated us on the progress we’re making improve big law firm diversity this year and for years to come. The initiatives we’re working on this year are particularly important as we continue to live our values of inclusiveness, respect and support of one another.

We enjoyed a thoughtful presentation by Comerica Bank Michigan Market President Michael Ritchie, who gave us a look at the middle-market business climate, how it has changed since the Great Recession, and insights into the qualities which separate good companies from great companies.  Very thought-provoking.

And finally, one of my favorite high points of the annual meeting, we elected new principals. It’s a pivotal moment in an attorney’s career, when they reach the milestone of having acquired the legal prowess and client relationships to be a leader in the firm. I’m pleased to announce the names of our newly elected principals:

  • Stuart Heath, a member of the firm’s Litigation and Dispute Resolution Group, specializing in product safety, product litigation and torts, and electronic discovery records management. He is a graduate of Carleton University and Michigan State University College of Law.
  • Lara Kapalla-Bondi, a member of the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Group. She specializes in commercial contract disputes. She is a graduate of Albion College and Michigan State University College of Law.
  • Heather Olson, a member of the Real Estate Group, with special expertise in representing lenders, special servicers and receivers in commercial real estate loan workouts, foreclosures, receiverships and real estate (REO) sales. She is a graduate of Hamilton College and Wayne State University Law School.
  • Wendolyn Wrosch Richards, who leads the firm’s pro bono practice team, which annually provides more than 5,000 hours of legal services to individuals and groups which would otherwise not be able to afford legal representation. She is also a member of the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Group. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the University of Virginia School of Law.
  • Stephen Rohr, a member of the Personal Services Group, focusing on estate planning, business planning, tax litigation and trust and estate administration. He is a graduate of Miami University and Michigan State University College of Law. He earned his LL.M. from Georgetown University.

I have had the pleasure of working with these fine attorneys and watching them grow personally and professionally, and look forward to watching them as they enter this exciting new chapter in their lives and careers.

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