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13 Miller Canfield Lawyers Named by Best Lawyers as "Lawyers of the Year"

September 3, 2015

DETROIT, MI (1 September 2015) – Miller Canfield announces that 13 of its lawyers have been identified as the leading practitioners in their practice areas by Best Lawyers® 2016. Only a single lawyer in each high-profile legal specialty in each large community is being honored as a “Lawyer of the Year.”

The lawyers being honored as “Lawyers of the Year” received particularly high ratings in surveys by earning a high level of respect among their peers for their abilities, professionalism, and integrity.  

The following Miller Canfield lawyers have been named Best Lawyers' 2016 “Lawyer of the Year” in the following cities and legal areas:

Ann Arbor, Michigan “Lawyer of the Year”

Thomas C. O'BrienCriminal Defense: White-Collar. O’Brien is an experienced trial lawyer who has represented clients in major criminal and civil cases, including some that received national attention. He has defended clients charged with murder, white-collar crime and fraud in both trial and federal grand jury and internal investigations. His civil cases have encompassed catastrophic personal injuries, complex business disputes and representation of health care providers and universities.  He has also taught trial practice at the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, University of Michigan Law School, Institute of Continuing Legal Education and Federal Bar Association. He has received awards for professionalism, integrity and civility in the practice of law (Photo:

Detroit, Michigan “Lawyers of the Year”

Michael P. McGee – Public Finance Law.  McGee currently serves as Miller Canfield’s Chief Executive Officer. In this role, he oversees the firm's 17 offices in five different countries. Prior to being elected as CEO in 2013, Mike was a senior member of Miller Canfield's Public Finance group, with primary responsibility for general obligation and revenue bond issues amounting to more than $3.5 billion. With two academic degrees in public policy in addition to law, he brings a unique perspective to his broad legal experience in structuring transactions. In addition, McGee has extensive experience as bond counsel on behalf of cities, counties, townships, authorities, and governmental entities of all types, and as underwriters' counsel in hundreds of transactions covering all areas of public infrastructure finance. He has also negotiated complex intergovernmental agreements for a wide variety of clients, including major economic development projects and related legislation. (Photo:

Megan P. Norris – Litigation: Labor and Employment. A proven problem-solver with a knack for taking on the toughest challenges, Norris can handle any issue related to employment, ranging from helping to determine appropriate discipline to advising them on conducting sexual harassment investigations to developing plans of action for handling difficult employees. As a nationally recognized voice on the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) (for which Megan also handles non-employment matters such as cases involving student disabilities) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), she also does a great deal of training on those laws as well as such areas as discipline and discharge and sexual harassment. Megan serves as Chair of Miller Canfield’s Managing Directors.(Photo:

Clarence L. Pozza Jr. – Bet-the-Company Litigation. Pozza Jr. has handled complex business, commercial and securities trials, arbitrations and mediations with distinction across the United States for more than three decades. His principal practice areas are commercial, corporate, financial, securities and insurance litigation, regulatory representations, alternative dispute resolution and preventive counseling. 

A past chairman of the firm, Clarence served as a managing director of Miller Canfield for 10 years and was head of the Litigation Group for eight years. Clarence’s lengthy record of achievement includes complex trial and appellate work in the federal and state courts as well as arbitration before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and American Arbitration Association. (Photo:

Larry J. Saylor, FCIArb – Litigation: Antitrust. Larry Saylor has litigated highly complex business disputes in state and federal courts throughout the country, and in domestic and international arbitration. He has handled antitrust, trade secret, consumer protection, franchising, and dealer law matters, including class actions, injunctions, and appeals. He has resolved highly technical matters involving computer software, pharmaceuticals, health care, and product design. Larry also counsels clients on antitrust, franchising and dealer law issues, and acts as an arbitrator and mediator. In a case that made front-page news, Larry served as co-counsel for a major computer company involved in a billion-dollar-plus dispute with a rival over antitrust and intellectual property claims. The case was successfully settled. (Photo:

Grand Rapids, Michigan “Lawyers of the Year”

Stanley J. Stek – Litigation: Banking and Finance. Stek focuses on general commercial litigation and eminent domain, with special experience in condemnation and land use litigation, ERISA litigation (fiduciary and benefit claims), commercial litigation, municipal litigation, zoning, public liability, negligence and personal injury. Through his efforts, he has helped his clients save millions of dollars and avert bankruptcy or outright dissolution. Stan is also experienced in personal injury and tort litigation and product liability cases. He has also tried condemnation cases where he achieved excellent results in complicated takings for multiple public and private parties including the cities of Grand Rapids, Kentwood, Hudsonville, Cedar Springs, South Haven, Wayland and Portage. (Photo:

Lansing, Michigan “Lawyers of the Year”

William J. Danhof – Banking and Finance Law. With more than 39 years of work in municipal finance, William J. Danhof has been involved with every type of bond issue imaginable, from sewer and water bonds to hospital and housing bonds. He was the principal drafter of the bond issuance provisions in the Michigan Strategic Fund and Michigan Shared Credit Rating legislation and was also instrumental in drafting numerous amendments to other state bonding statutes. Bill serves as bond counsel for the state of Michigan and for many colleges, cities, townships, school districts and counties and private companies. (Photo:

Christopher J. Dembowski – Public Finance Law. Christopher Dembowski has played a key role in establishing many financing programs for various State of Michigan authorities, including the State Building Authority, Michigan Strategic Fund, Michigan Tobacco Settlement Finance Authority and Michigan Finance. He assisted in drafting legislation that either created those authorities or established new programs administered by them. For the Michigan Municipal Bond Authority, Chris has been involved in establishing its School Aid Note Program, Local Government Loan Program, Clean Water Revolving Fund Loan Program, Drinking Water Revolving Fund Loan Program, School Loan Revolving Fund Program and Strategic Water Quality Initiatives Fund Loan Program. Chris also has experience representing cities, villages, townships, municipal authorities and school districts in public finance transactions. (Photo:

Clifford W. Taylor – Appellate Practice. Clifford Taylor, former Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, appears on behalf of amici curiae on appeals involving federal and state constitutional, statutory and public policy matters. He consults regarding appeal strategy, court decisions and justices, settlement strategy on appeal, and participates in mock appeals and preparation for oral argument on appeal. He also serves as an arbitrator and mediator. Justice Taylor was appointed to the Michigan Court of Appeals in 1992 and elected later that year. He remained in that position until 1997 when he was appointed by former Governor John Engler to the Michigan Supreme Court. He was elected Justice in 1998 and reelected in 2000. In 2005, he was elected Chief Justice by his colleagues and re-elected in 2007. He served as Chief Justice until 2009. Prior to his judicial appointments, Justice Taylor was in private practice, specializing in tort defense, oil and gas land acquisition, and litigation for major oil producers. His background also includes being an assistant prosecuting attorney in the Ingham County Prosecutor's Office. (Photo:

Sherri A. Wellman – Natural Resources Law. Sherri Wellman has more than 28 years of experience in administrative, energy, public utility and telecommunications law, representing electric and gas public utilities, oil and natural gas producers, and transmission companies in administrative proceedings and before the courts. Sherri routinely counsels Miller Canfield’s energy clients on complex rate-making issues, and has been involved with the Michigan Public Service Commission seeking approval of the acquisition, transfer or merger of a jurisdictional regulated utility or its assets. Her experience includes the successful defense of natural gas utilities against challenges to their gas purchasing practices by Michigan’s Attorney General and a residential consumer group.  She has also served as lead appellate counsel for the association of Michigan's electric and gas companies and other energy clients (Photo:

Troy, Michigan “Lawyers of the Year”

Brad B. Arbuckle-- Mergers and Acquisitions Law. Arbuckle focuses his practice on structuring and executing domestic and international business transactions, on corporate and securities matters, and brings value to a wide array of commercial transactions. He has directed and been involved in dozens of transactions involving foreign companies, including many from China, India, Mexico, and Latin America. His practice specialties include mergers and acquisitions, corporate and commercial law, corporate governance and securities, private equity, venture capital, equity and debt financing, as well as international transactions, joint ventures and general corporate matters. His clients include publicly traded companies, investment funds and equity funds, financial institutions, privately held companies and corporate governing boards. He has substantial experience in securities regulation for publicly and privately held companies in a variety of industries, including banking, insurance, utility, natural resources, manufacturing and consumer goods (Photo:

Thomas W. Cranmer-- Litigation: Securities. Thomas W. Cranmer is a trial lawyer who concentrates his practice in civil and criminal litigation. With more than 35 years of courtroom experience, his practice focuses on white-collar criminal defense, complex commercial litigation and "bet-the-company" litigation. He is recognized as one of Michigan’s leading lawyers. He has been listed in the Top 10 Attorneys in every edition of Michigan Super Lawyers and he has been the highest or second highest rated attorney out of more than 44,000 Michigan attorneys for the past seven years in a row. In 2015, he received the Excellence in Defense Award from the Michigan Defense Trial Counsel. He was also recognized by Michigan Lawyers Weekly as its Lawyer of the Year for 2014. Prior to joining the firm, Tom served as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in Oakland County, Michigan, and an Assistant Chief of the Criminal Division of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Michigan. Tom has extensive experience as a leader and instructor of trial advocacy including teaching for one of the preeminent trial advocacy programs in the United States, the National Institute of Trial Advocacy. (Photo:

Ronald H. Riback-- Banking and Finance Law. Ronald Riback’s primary area of practice is devoted to representing financial institutions in loan originations (both real property and personal property secured transactions) and loan work-outs. With this background, he also regularly represents clients in their banking relationships. Ron’s practice also includes representing and counseling clients with respect to general corporate/business transactions, including buying and selling privately held businesses as well as real estate-related transactions. (Photo:

Since its inception in 1983, Best Lawyers has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Because Best Lawyers is based on an exhaustive peer-review survey in which more than 39,000 leading attorneys cast almost 3.1 million votes on the legal abilities of other lawyers in their practice areas, and because lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed, inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor. Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers “the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice.”

The law firm of Miller Canfield offers businesses, governments, nonprofits, individuals and families a broad array of integrated legal and business services in over 55 areas. With Michigan roots for 160 years and a global reach for two decades, the firm has offices in Michigan, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Canada, Mexico, Poland and China. For more information, visit