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Wendolyn Wrosch Richards

Principal and Pro Bono Counsel

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+1.313.496.7532
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+1.313.963.6420
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+1.313.496.7500
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Education

University of Virginia School of Law, J.D., 2002

University of Michigan, B.A., 1997

Bar Admissions

Court Admissions

U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Court of Appeals

  • 9th Circuit
  • 6th Circuit 

U.S. District Court

  • Northern District of California
  • Eastern District of Michigan

Wendy Richards is a skilled commercial litigator who has worked on numerous multimillion-dollar class actions and other complex matters. As the firm's Pro Bono Counsel, she heads Miller Canfield's pro bono program, which annually provides more than 8,000 hours of pro bono legal services to individuals, nonprofits and small businesses.

Under Wendy's leadership, the firm's pro bono strategy has garnered national recognition for taking on high-profile, high-impact matters. In 2020, the firm was shortlisted as one of the nation's best pro bono programs in the Chambers Diversity & Inclusion Awards: North America. Wendy has been involved in several high-impact litigation matters, including the well-publicized Hamama v. Adducci class action, impacting over 1,400 Iraqi nationals living in the U.S., which secured an injunction to stop their removal and allow class members the time to pursue relief in immigration court. 

Wendy also has extensive pro bono experience related to voting rights. In 2020, she worked with a consortium of law firms and the Stanford-MIT Healthy Elections Project to recruit lawyers to be poll workers on Election Day. She also led a nationwide effort to coordinate state-specific poll worker guides on behalf of The Brennan Center for Justice, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Association of Pro Bono Counsel, and she successfully represented the Brennan Center as amicus curiae against the challenge to Secretary of State Benson's right to mail absentee ballot applications to all Michigan voters.

In addition, to address COVID-19's devastating economic effects, Wendy established the remote COVID-19 Small Business Clinic in Detroit with Michigan Community Resources and the Lawyers for Good Government Foundation.

Representative Matters

Throughout her career, Wendy's work has focused on complex litigation including class actions, securities, and intellectual property matters. She is responsible for coordinating Miller Canfield's pro bono efforts firm-wide, which has resulted in the firm's involvement in several high-profile matters. Recently, Wendy has assisted in and led teams involving high-impact immigration litigation matters, community development projects, entrepreneurship opportunities for persons living in disadvantaged communities, as well as several other community enrichment or access to justice projects. 

Some of Wendy's more recent projects have included:

  • In cooperation with ACLU of Michigan and others obtained an injunction in a national habeas class action to prevent the imminent deportation of hundreds of Iraqi nationals without due process in the immigration courts. Clients are primarily Catholic, Kurdish and other religions and ethnic minorities, facing persecution, torture and possibly death if returned to Iraq. The team also successfully obtained an injunction ordering bond hearings to determine if the roughly 300 class members that have been in prolonged detention should be released. 
  • Lead role among 14 firms nationwide in coordinating a 50-state poll worker guide project on behalf of The Brennan Center for Justice, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Association of Pro Bono Counsel. Project focuses on encouraging qualified candidates to apply for the critical job of serving as poll workers on Election Day, and provides information on application, scope of duties, and high priority state-specific issues. 
  • Work as co-chair to coordinate law firms nationally in connection with the Association of Pro Bono Counsel's Voting Rights Task Force. The association works with pro bono counsel from major law firms across the country to ensure access to justice. Wendy co-chairs the Voting Rights Task Force for the association, which works to support voting rights groups in their efforts to improve systems related to the democratic process. 
  • To address COVID-19's devastating economic effects, Wendy established the remote COVID-19 Small Business Clinic in Detroit with Michigan Community Resources and the Lawyers for Good Government Foundation. Wendy co-created and has chaired the Small Business Legal Academy Detroit, which has partnered with Detroit Start-up Week to hold clinics where would-be entrepreneurs can obtain pro bono legal assistance with common business questions and issues.
  • Coordination of counsel to assist travelers detained at the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport following implementation of Executive Order 13769 related to travel restrictions. Wendy coordinated dispatch of a team of attorneys to the airport to be available to answer questions and provide support for those traveling to the United States and who were detained in January 2017. 
  • Executed a pro bono workshop in connection with volunteers from Stryker Corporation to provide legal assistance to organizations serving disadvantaged persons in the greater Kalamazoo area.  

Honors

The Fellows of the Michigan State Bar Foundation

DBusiness Magazine, Top Lawyers, Commercial Litigation, 2021-present

State Bar of Michigan Pro Bono Honor Roll, 2020

Michigan Lawyers Weekly, "Women in the Law," Class of 2018

Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan, Exceptional Achievement honorarium, 2018

University of Virginia School of Law, George Terrien Scholarship Recipient, Public Interest Law Association Fellowship Recipient

University of Michigan, high distinction, James B. Angell Scholar, Golden Key Honor Society

Professional Activities

Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Board Member, Democracy Reform Committee

Law Firm Antiracism Alliance, Chair Voting Rights Working Group

Association of Pro Bono Counsel, Co-Chair Voting Rights Task Force

Michigan State Bar Foundation, Access to Justice Statewide Steering Committee, Working Committee

State Bar of Michigan, Litigation & Business Law Sections; Implementation and Innovation Steering Committee; Delivery of Legal Services for All Standing Committee; Co-Chair, Pro Bono Workshop & Networking Meeting, 2016 & 2017

Goodwill Detroit, Donated Goods Retail Committee

Detroit Regional Chamber's Leadership Detroit, Class XXXVI

Civic, Cultural & Social Activities

Small Business Legal Academy Detroit

New Economy Initiative Neighborhood Business Strategy Worktable

Tau Beta Association

Detroit Athletic Club

Crain's General and In-House Counsel Summit, Pro Bono Award, Panel Judge, 2014-2015; Advisory Committee, 2014-2016

City of Grosse Pointe Downtown Development Authority, 2012-2013

Speeches

Voter Education and Protection Panel, WEGP, January 2021

Voting Rights Panel and Voting Rights discussion session, Moderator, Law Firm Anti-Racism Alliance, Fall Summit, Oct. 2020

"Cross Examinations Fundamentals," Moderator with Thomas Cranmer, Lakeshore Legal Aid

"Helping Small Business in the Time of COVID," Practicing Law Institute, Practicing Justice Podcast, Aug. 2020

"Partners in Impact: How Non-profits + Big Law Join to Make Change," hosted by the University of Michigan School of Law Pro Bono Board, March 2019

Pro Bono Happy Hour Podcast, Pro Bono Institute, December 21, 2018

"Hamama v. Adducci - What Now?", Presented by University of Michigan Middle Eastern Law Students Association, Feb. 26, 2019

"Voting Rights," Facilitator, ABA/NLADA Equal Justice Conference, May 2018

"Pro Bono and Big Law," Panelist, University of Michigan Law School, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 2017 & 2018

"Political Discourse in the Workplace," Panelist, Employment Law Section Diversity Roundtable, State Bar of Michigan Employment Law Section, Detroit, Michigan, 2017

"Rapid Response Pro Bono," Panelist, State Bar of Michigan Pro Bono Workshop, Lansing, Michigan, May 2017

"Voting Rights and Pro Bono," Panelist, ABA/NLADA Equal Justice Conference, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 2017

"Corporate Basics for Entrepreneurs," Ford Motor Company-New Economy Initiative Small Business Clinic, Dearborn, Michigan, Oct. 2016

Publications

"What Do Poll Workers Do?", New York Magazine, The Cut, Nov. 3, 2020

"Pro Bono Attorneys Look to Fill Poll Worker Gap During Pandemic," Law360, Oct. 25, 2020

"First Responders for Democracy," Michigan Lawyers Weekly, Oct. 5, 2020

"Big Law and the Ballot; Pro Bono Fight for Mail-In Voting," Law360, Aug. 23, 2020

"Lawyers Offer Free Assistance to Underserved During Pandemic," Michigan Lawyers Weekly, May 14, 2020

"Detroit nonprofits, businesses can get free legal help regarding COVID-19," Detroit Legal News, May 8, 2020

"New legal clinic to help Detroit nonprofits, small businesses," Detroit Free Press, May 7, 2020

"Attorneys provide pro bono legal services to nonprofits on National Day of Service," Corp! Magazine, Feb. 11, 2020

"Crowdfunding Resources," contributor, Michigan Community Legal Resources, September 2015

"Crowdfunding for Non-Profits, Legal Considerations for 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Organizations," contributor, Michigan Community Legal Resources, September 2015

"Crowdfunding for the Entrepreneur: A Guide for Small Businesses in Michigan," contributor, Michigan Community Legal Resources, September 2015

"Crowdfunding & Local Investing: A Guide for Investors in Michigan," contributor, Michigan Community Legal Resources, September 2015

"Employment Law Manual, A Guide for Non-Profit Organizations in Michigan," co-author, Michigan Community Legal Resources, Second Ed., July 2015

Articles