A P U B L I C AT I O N O F T H E G R A N D R A P I D S BA R A S S O C I AT I O N
The Grand Rapids Lawyer Heartfelt Thanks to Incoming & Outgoing Officers & Trustees!
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THE GRAND RAPIDS LAWYER is published by the Grand Rapids Bar Association Waters Building 161 Ottawa Ave., NW, Suite 203-B Grand Rapids, MI 49503 www.grbar.org 616.454.5550 / 616.454.7707 fax Editorial Mieke Stoub Anne Marks-Gaertner
IN THIS ISSUE:
Advertising Coordinator Debbie Kurtz
5 President’s Perspective Thomas R. Behm
STAFF Executive Director Kimberly Coleman/ext. 105 firstname.lastname@example.org Executive Assistant/Membership/ Inns Administrator Debbie Kurtz/ext. 101 email@example.com Membership & Marketing Coordinator/ grab LAW Administrator Mieke Stoub/ext. 109 firstname.lastname@example.org Administrative Assistant Foundation Administrator Tricia Swanson/ext. 100 email@example.com Lawyer Referral Administrator Nancy King/ext. 107 firstname.lastname@example.org OFFICERS & TRUSTEES President Thomas R. Behm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 616.235.5500 President-Elect Patrick F. Geary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 616.458.5358 Vice-President Hon. Christopher P. Yates. . . . . . . . 616.632.5029 Secretary Randall L. Velzen. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 616.233.9160 Treasurer Elizabeth K. Bransdorfer. . . . . . . . 616.632.8000 Immediate Past President Kristin M. Vanden Berg. . . . . . . . . . 616.456.2468 Trustees Angel C. Duff. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 616.831.1747 Elizabeth Joy Fossel . . . . . . . . . . 616.336.6707 Joseph J. Gavin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 616.831.1722 Bradley K. Glazier. . . . . . . . . . . . . 616.458.6814 Benjamin H. Hammond. . . . . . . 616.458.3600 Sarah Riley Howard. . . . . . . . . . . 616.451.8496 Courtney L. Quist. . . . . . . . . . . . . 616.454.9008 Brian K. Lawson. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 616.340.3087 Marcus Jones. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 616.787.5799 ON THE COVER: The 2015-16 Officers & Trustees: (Top L to R) Randall L. Velzen, Patrick F. Geary, Hon. Christopher P. Yates, Thomas R. Behm, William M. Azkoul, Thomas G. Sinas, Joseph J. Gavin, Brian K. Lawson (Bottom L to R) Kimberly A. Coleman, Elizabeth Joy Fossel, Angel C. Duff, Anita L. Hitchcock, Molly E. McManus (Inset L to R) Benjamin H. Hammond, Marcus Jones, Brad K. Glazier, Courtney L. Quist
May/June 2015 9
6 Michigan Supreme Court Affirms Mind-Body Connection Thomas G. Sinas
Keeping Solos/Small Firms Ethically Compliant David E. Szostek & Victoria A. Vuletich
15 Welcome New Officers & Trustees Kimberly A. Coleman 16 Pictures
17 In Pursuit of the Dream Laurel A. Romanella
12 Upcoming Events & Announcements
7 Recent Developments in the Sixth Circuit Court Bradley K. Glazier
18 Welcome New Members
13 YLS Update Callista A. Gloss
8 How to Build a Rewarding Network Suzanne P. Sutherland
18 Member Notes
14 WLAM V. Judges Challenge Poems
19 GRBA Golf Outing
MAY 2015 1 2
JUNE 2015 1 2 3 4 5 6
JULY 2015 1 2 3 4
3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23
7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27
5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
28 29 30
26 27 28 29 30 31
4 Summer Clerkship Reception New Vintage Place 5:00pm
19 ADR Section Meeting University Club 12:00pm 20 Family Law Section Meeting University Club 12:00pm
WLAM vs. Judges Charity Softball Game Fifth Third Ballpark 5:00pm
20 Real Property Section Meeting Water’s Building 4:00pm
Independence Day Bar Offices Closed
15 Legal Assistant Section Meeting McShane & Bowie 12:00pm
ADR Forum J. Gardellas 11:45am
20 Probate & Estate Planning Annual Meeting SpeakEZ Lounge 5:00pm 20 Ask-a-Lawyer Grand Rapids Public Library 6:00pm 21 Intellectual Property Section Meeting University Club 12:00pm 25 Memorial Day Bar Offices Closed 26 Labor & Employment Section Meeting University Club 12:00pm
GRBA Summer Office Hours: Beginning Tuesday, May 26, 2015, the Grand Rapids Bar Association office hours will be modiﬁed to the following: Monday – Thursday: 8:00am – 5:00pm Friday: 8:00am – 1:30pm Bar staff will resume our regular hours (8:30-5:00pm M-F) on Tuesday, September 7, 2015.
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Member Insurance Solutions is a marketing name of MDA Insurance & Financial Group. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is a nonprofit corporation and independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
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Two Eyes BY: THOMAS R. BEHM
“…the eye of the heart without the eye of the mind is simply mindless empathy. And, the eye of the mind without the eye of the heart is just heartless knowledge.”
ith the arrival of spring, I am reminded of a commencement speech I heard many years ago at a small liberal arts college. I don’t normally remember commencement speeches, but this one was notably different. It involved the story of a young nurse who was placed in the difficult situation of having to tell a first-time mother that her newly delivered child had died. The situation was compounded by the fact that the mother was in critical condition after her delivery. The question arose as to how to best tell the mother what had happened to her child. A wise person told the nurse, “When you walk into the patient’s room, you need two eyes. With one eye you must evaluate the patient’s condition to make sure she is stable and not in distress. With the other eye you must cry.” You see, the first eye is the eye of the mind, the eye of knowledge and discernment. The second eye is the ‘eye of the heart,’ the eye that weeps and shows compassion. You need two eyes.
As lawyers, we also need two eyes to counsel and fully represent our clients. It goes without saying that we are required to have the eye of legal knowledge and discernment. We must stay up to date on the law and the ever-changing legal principles that may affect our client’s rights and responsibilities. Our clients expect and need our very best legal insight, analysis and advice.
ability to show compassion is essential. The eye of the heart is mandatory. As lawyers, we have the opportunity to touch and improve the lives of many different people. In so doing, we should remember not to be so focused on legal knowledge that we neglect compassion; nor should we be so overcome by compassion that we neglect legal knowledge. Remember, the eye of the heart without the eye of the mind is simply mindless empathy. And, the eye of the mind without the eye of the heart is just heartless knowledge. We need two eyes.
The need for the second eye is less obvious and often times overlooked, or not acknowledged at all. Some may ask, “What good does a crying eye do?” Why not try to decrease the emotion in a situation and focus on legal knowledge and discernment? Why even consider the eye of the heart?
As this year draws to an end, I want to thank you for the opportunity to serve as your President. It has been a wonderful experience. I also want to thank the GRBA’s staff, Officers and Trustees for their hard work and dedication. Finally, a special thanks goes out to all the individuals who volunteered their time and energy to support and improve the GRBA this past year. Have a wonderful summer.
We all know that many times it is the emotion of a situation or conflict that brings the client to our office. Often, the client is suffering from a personal, financial or emotional loss that has caused him/her great distress. Our clients need our empathy, understanding and insight in their quest for justice. In those situations, our grbar.org
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Michigan Supreme Court Affirms Mind-Body Connection BY: TOM G. SINAS SINAS DRAMIS LAW FIRM (GRAND RAPIDS)
ith spring here, the holidays seem like a long time ago. But late last December, while most of us were buying presents, the Michigan Supreme Court issued a major decision in the world of tort law. The case of Hannay v. DOT, 497 Mich. 45 (2014), laid to rest an issue that, for years, was uncontroverted: whether claims for bodily injury include emotional and psychological damages.
“The court held that damages like pain, suffering, and emotional distress did not fall within that definition and thus were not compensable.” - Michigan Court of Appeals
The confusion over this issue was created in 2013 when the Michigan Court of Appeals issued its decision in Hunter v. Sisco, 300 Mich. App. 229 (2013). The specific issue there was whether emotional and psychological injuries were compensable in tort claims under the Governmental Tort Liability Act (GTLA). Under the GTLA, a governmental agency is generally immune from liability for injuries that occur during a governmental function. See MCL 691.1407(1). However, the GTLA has an exception that imposes liability for “bodily injury and property damages resulting from negligent operation… of a motor vehicle.” MCL 691.1405. The issue in Hunter was whether the phrase “bodily injury” in the motor vehicle exception of the GTLA included emotional and psychological injuries. The Court of Appeals held that it did not. The court reasoned that “bodily injury” encompassed only “a physical or corporeal injury to the body.” Hunter, 300 Mich. App. at 204. The court held that damages like pain, suffering, and emotional distress did not fall within that definition and thus were not compensable. Id. Hunter had significance outside of governmental immunity, particularly
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in the area of auto law. That is because the Michigan No-Fault Act uses the exact phrase “bodily injury” to describe when PIP benefits are payable. See MCL 500.3105(1). The No-Fault Act also requires proof of a “serious impairment of body function” (MCL 500.3135(1)) in order to bring a liability claim against the at-fault driver. As such, many attorneys believed that the ultimate outcome in Hunter would reverberate around the world of tort law. In a unanimous opinion, the Michigan Supreme Court quelled the anxiety. In the consolidated cases of Hannay v. DOT, it overruled the Court of Appeals’ decision. The court held that emotional and psychological damages were compensable under the GTLA. Moreover, the court clarified that these forms of damage have always been a bedrock component of tort claims. The court specifically said: “It is a longstanding principle in this state’s jurisprudence that tort damages generally include damages for all the legal and natural consequences of the injury… which may include…pain and suffering and mental and emotional distress damages.” Id. at 65. The unanimity and clarity of the Hunter opinion underscores the holding. Although the lower court in Hannay went to great length to justify its very textual definition of “bodily injury,” the Supreme Court saw just how significantly that reasoning departed from centuries of common law. Otherwise stated, the Justices saw what all of your non-lawyer friends would never dispute: that the mind and the body are inseparable, and an injury to one is an injury to the other.
Recent Developments in the Sixth Circuit Regarding Medical Examinations and the ADA BY: BRADLEY K. GLAZIER · BOS & GLAZIER
he Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) prohibits employment discrimination against persons with disabilities. The ADA also contains a prohibition against certain medical examinations. The ADA’s medical examination and inquiries provision states: “A covered entity shall not require a medical examination and shall not make inquiries of an employee as to whether such employee is an individual with a disability or as to the nature or severity of the disability, unless such examination or inquiry is shown to be job-related and consistent with business necessity.” 42 U.S.C. § 12112(d)(4)(A). Recent developments in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals have expanded employees’ rights under the medical examination provision. This article discusses a recent case interpreting section 12112(d) of the act. AN EMPLOYEE NEED NOT MEET THE ADA DISABILITY DEFINITION TO BE PROTECTED BY SECTION 12112(D). Generally speaking, the ADA protects individuals who meet the act’s definition of being “disabled.” Individuals may be considered “disabled within the meaning of the Act” and, therefore, qualify for ADA protection in three circumstances: if the individual (1) has “a physical or mental impairment that substantially
limits one or more major life activities of such individual;” (2) has “a record of such an impairment;” or (3) is “being regarded as having such an impairment (as described in paragraph (3).” 42 U.S.C. 12102(1). But an employee need not be disabled in order to benefit from the medical examination provision. Subsection (d)(4) protects all employees from medical inquiries, regardless of whether they have a qualifying disability. See, Kroll v. White Lake Ambulance Auth., 691 F.3d 809, 813 n. 6 (6th Cir.2012), affirmed following remand, 763 F.3d 619 (6th Cir. 2014). In the Kroll case, the employee denied being disabled and would have had difficulty proving eligibility for protection under the ADA, other than through the “regarded as” being impaired prong of the ADA’s definition of disabled. Proceeding under the medical examination provision may also be superior to a straight ADA disability claim because a discriminatory motive is not a required element of proof in a medical examination claim. WHAT IS A MEDICAL EXAMINATION? Employers may request an employee to undergo a fitness for duty examination so long as the examination meets the “job related and business necessity” tests. A pilot who suffered an eye injury, for example, may be requested to see an
optometrist or an ophthalmologist to confirm his ability to fly a plane safely. But what about a request that an employee receive counseling? In the Kroll case the court found that mandated psychological counseling may qualify as a “medical examination.” The court relied, in part, on EEOC guidance on the subject. See, Enforcement Guidance: Preemployment Disability–Related Questions and Medical Examinations, at 14 (1995), www.eeoc.gov/policy/ docs/preemp.html. In Kroll, the Sixth Circuit found that there were genuine issues of material fact over whether the counseling was covered because “the exact substance of the ‘counseling’ Kroll was instructed to attend remains unclear and somewhat in dispute by the parties.” Id. p 818. In Bates v. Dura Auto. Sys., Inc., 767 F.3d 566 (6th Cir. 2014), the court found that there were genuine issues of material fact over whether a drug test was a “medical examination” as defined by the ADA. The Sixth Circuit’s employeefavorable decisions interpreting the medical examination provisions may be seen as following a trend of cases denying employer summary judgment motions following the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Amendment Act in 2008. Those amendments expressed Congress’s intent to expand courts’ interpretation of the disability definitions in the ADA.
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Getting to Know People: How to Build a Rewarding Network BY: SUZANNE P. SUTHERLAND · HILGER HAMMOND
DEVELOP A NETWORKING MINDSET
The right frame of mind is critical. Although some specific result, such as bringing new business to your firm or obtaining a certain position, may have inspired you to network. But, the objective should be getting to know people. Focusing solely on the desired end can lead to unwarranted feelings of failure if it is not promptly achieved as a direct result of networking efforts.
know we should be doing, but so few of us seem to know what it actually means or how to do it effectively. Wayne State University Law School recently invited me to present on the topic to current students. In preparing, I realized that this skillset is equally useful as a practicing attorney. It is never too late to put these
Constantly seek out opportunities to connect with others. Strike up conversations at the grocery store, coffee shop, or anywhere else. This is a great way to practice small talk and you never know who you might meet. I happened to meet the CEO of a major auto manufacturer while riding public transportation in just this way. BE STRATEGIC As with most things, a plan is essential to success. Set a goal that is achievable and slightly outside of your comfort zone. This goal should relate to that overarching end result that motivated you to network. Find a way to hold yourself accountable. I did this by asking a respected colleague to follow up with me periodically. Develop outlines for your “elevator pitch” and invitations to connect. Take generic templates (widely available online) and make them your own. The key is to stay flexible, with bullet points to avoid sounding scripted. Don’t be afraid to ask questions that may seem obvious.
your consideration, I
Although it is important to have a plan, avoid filtering out potential contacts. Remember the networking mindset. You never know what you can learn from someone else or who she might introduce to you.
offer my presentation
on how to build a
This final key is the simplest, but often the most difficult to put into practice. Continue the strategy. When you achieve the result that started your networking endeavor, set a new goal and repeat the method. Measure networking success according to the process, not by how long it takes to achieve that results-focused objective.
tools into action. For
Perpetuation also occurs when others in your network take action to help you. For example, someone might connect you with one of his own contacts or refer or recommend you for opportunities he knows you are seeking. This is very rewarding. It is equally, if not more rewarding, when you can do this for others. The opportunities to grow your network are endless. An action plan builds confidence and eventually your comfort zone will expand to include networking.
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Easy and Affordable Tech Tips for Keeping Solos/Small Firms Ethically Compliant in an On-Line World BY: DAVID E. SZOSTEK & VICTORIA VULETICH
he ease and affordability of online billing, client management, document storage, and payment platforms is a powerful lure. When you sign-on or hit send on these sites, is there a little voice inside your head wondering whether these platforms are truly safe and whether using them could lead to an ethics violation? There should be, because convenience usually comes with trade-offs, but your law license does not have to be one of them. This is the first in a series of articles to inform you of easy and affordable tips for even the biggest Luddite that will help solve some important ethics concerns. The first tip we will discuss is storing client files electronically. Attorneys are required to exercise reasonable care to prevent their vendors from disclosing or using client information, per MRPC 1.6(d). What constitutes “reasonable care” is really the issue when you choose how to electronically store client files. If you store your client files on your laptop or desktop, you are not intentionally exposing your client files to others, but this may not provide you the ethics protection you think that it does. If your computer is lost, stolen, hacked, or its hard drive breaks, you could completely lose your client files and potentially allow others to view confidential information. These situations could land you in trouble with the ethics board. The solution: offsite copies and local file encryption. A good, affordable, usable solution to that problem is to store your client files in “the cloud” and use a software program to seamlessly encrypt your data before it reaches the cloud. That way, you will not
lose client data or potentially allow others to view if any of the above situations happened since your data would be encrypted and in the cloud. Although most cloud storage providers advertise encryption features, that is misleading; only using a cloud storage provider in conjunction with local encryption software to encrypt your files before they reach the cloud will provide you the security you need to avoid ethical pitfalls. Plus, by storing items in the cloud, you can view previous versions of your files in case you need to see what a prior version looked like (depending on your selected cloud provider).
About the Authors: David Szostek is a partner at Edward Allen Law, where he practices business
Although this solution may sound complex, it is both easy and affordable.
First, select your cloud storage provider. We recommend DropBox for Business or Google Drive. Second, select an encryption. For more tech-savvy attorneys, we recommend cloudfogger.com, which is free, encrypts the files on your computer before storing them in the cloud, and works with any cloud storage provider and device (Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android). For a more user-friendly solution, we recommend boxcryptor.com, which costs $96/year per user. Third, backup your encryption key in a safe place, like a safedeposit box. Fourth, incorporate a provision into your engagement agreement stating that you use cloud storage and you cannot control the vendor’s security measures. That is it.
property, and Vuletich teaches professional responsibility at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School and has a private ethics practice that serves Michigan lawyers and law firms.
After the initial setup, all you have to do is log in to your encryption program once when you log on to your computer and all of your client files will be encrypted locally and offsite in your cloud. Then poof: you avoided a potential ethics violation. Our next installment in this series will cover password management.
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10 The Grand Rapids Lawyer
BENCH BAR conference
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UPCOMING EVENTS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
OFFICE SPACE FOR LEASE 2810 East Beltline Lane NE Grand Rapids, MI 49525
Summer Clerkship Reception Hosted by Miller Johnson Thursday, June 4, 2015 at 5:00pm
7,696 sq ft stand-alone office building near East Beltline and 3 Mile. Excellent for law office. Located directly across from the new Spectrum Health Center on 3 Mile.
New Ventage Place 889 Broadway Ave. NW
Contact Todd Almassian (616) 364-2100 or email@example.com.
WLAM vs. Judges Charity Softball Game Saturday, June 6, 2015 at 5:00pm Fifth Third Ballpark For tickets, contact Linda Jo Carron at firstname.lastname@example.org
LOOKING TO RETIRE?
- More information on page 14 -
Interested in transitioning or selling your West Michigan estate planning or business practice?
GRBA Golf Outing
Please reach out to email@example.com.
Thursday, August 20, 2015 at Thornapple Pointe Golf Club Registration begins at 12:00pm. Shotgun start at 1:00pm
Will consider outright purchases and association options. Additional practice areas can be accommodated. Confidentiality assured.
12 The Grand Rapids Lawyer
- More information on page 19 -
Keeping An Open Mind About Your Law Practice BY: CALLISTA A. GLOSS · WEST MICHIGAN LEGAL GROUP PC
hen you begin your career as a new attorney, it is extremely important to try practicing in a few different areas of law to get a better feeling for what you want to focus on. Represent someone in a simple family law case, a misdemeanor criminal case, or even a landlord-tenant case. Keep an open mind about the possibilities of where your career could take you, and don’t limit what you might do until you find out for certain that it isn’t right for you. I’ve wanted to be an attorney for as long as I can remember, but if someone had told me that one day I would become a criminal defense attorney, I would’ve cringed. Why would I want to represent guilty people? How could I do that with a clear conscience? This was the last thing I wanted to do. Thankfully, I gave criminal defense a chance and have become quite passionate about it. In my short time as a criminal defense attorney, I’ve learned so much and have grown a lot professionally and personally. I’ve represented clients in criminal cases ranging from low-level misdemeanors such as traffic tickets to severe felonies such as criminal sexual conduct. I now realize how important criminal defense is, and even have a deeper appreciation for the right to a trial by a jury of one’s peers. We are extremely lucky that we live in a country that gives us this right because not every country does. Did you know that Singapore abolished the right to a trial by jury in 1969? I can’t even fathom why anyone would think that would be a good idea.
representation and how every defendant is entitled to have a qualified person (an attorney) help with his or her case. Many times the accused is guilty. Oftentimes the accused is guilty, but of a lesser crime than with what he or she was charged. In either case, the defendant still needs an attorney to make sure that the police did not violate his rights or to help her navigate through our complex legal system. I can’t make a guilty person innocent, but every person accused of a crime, whether innocent or guilty, deserves the right to be represented. I am proud of my job as a criminal defense attorney. I help people who have put themselves in bad situations for many different reasons, such as addictions, poverty, and impulsiveness. I counsel my clients as best as I can on how to stop this behavior so that they won’t find themselves in trouble again. Some people never change, but some do. It is the people who do change who continue to give me hope. If I only end up helping one person to make a significant change in his or her life throughout my entire career, then it will all be worth it.
I’ve also learned that representing individuals accused of crimes is much more than having a jury trial. It is about the right to
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WL AM vs. Judges Annual Charity Softball Game The Judges Response:
Women’s Lawyers Annual Challenge Poem:
TO THE TUNE OF THE SOUND OF MUSIC “MY FAVORITE THINGS”
It’s Our Ball Game
~ Rodgers & Hammerstein
(to the tune of “It’s My Party” by Lesley Gore) It’s our ball game, and we’ll cry if we want to, Cry if we want to, Cry if we want to, You would cry too if Faber left you. Nobody knows where our wins have gone, But the YW wins just the same, Losing Fabes is just so wrong, At least we made sure she’s lame. It’s our ball game, and we’ll cry if we want to, Cry if we want to, Cry if we want to, You would cry too if Faber left you. Faber needs an ACL, she’s damaged goods for your ranks, And it’s not an election year, Good luck fielding a team, We can practically smell your fear. It’s our ball game, and we’ll cry if we want to, Cry if we want to, Cry if we want to, You would cry too if Faber left you. You have some new talent, but their skills may be poor, Your win is far from a lock, When you lose this year, You know the Women will mock. It’s our ball game, and we’ll win if we try to, Win if we try to, Win if we try to, You will cry now, when we don’t tie you! SPORTINGLY CHALLENGED… by the Women Lawyers!
Softball at Fifth Third with sunshine and blue skies, Well-oiled mitts and big wooden bats, Clean softball jerseys and really sharp cleats, These are a few of my favorite things. Judges and lawyers and families have fun, Bat boys and bat girls and subs who will run, Out of shape athletes gasping for air, Hoping the umpire will call their ball fair. When the coach yells, when my knee swells, If we lose the game, I simply remember we usually win, And then I don’t feel so bad. The judges have won this more often than not, The women try harder but don’t win a lot, The families come out to the park to have fun, They hope and pray that they’ll see a homerun. So come out and support the YWCA, The game is on June 6th at the Fifth Third Ball Park. The truth as we know it, the judges can’t lose, Soon the lawyers are singing the blues. When the coach yells, When my knee swells, If we lose the game, I simply remember we usually win, And then I don’t feel so bad! ~Musically challenged but sportingly submitted, Coach Judge Smo
Saturday June 6 • 5:00pm Fifth Third Ballpark
Tickets are $15 for Adults & $10 for Kids (ages 3-12)
To order tickets, contact Linda Jo Carron at firstname.lastname@example.org Proceeds benefit YWCA of West Central Michigan
14 The Grand Rapids Lawyer
Whitecaps game follows at 7:00pm
Stay late for the post-game fireworks!
Welcome New Officers and Trustees! BY KIMBERLY A. COLEMAN â€˘ EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
n behalf of the staff and the trustees of the Grand Rapids Bar Association, I am pleased to welcome our new officers and trustees, whose terms will begin July 1, 2015. Congratulations to Vice-President Elizabeth Joy Fossel and Secretary Benjamin H. Hammond, who are transitioning from their trustee positions to serve as officers of the board. Congratulations also to Treasurer William M. Azkoul and Trustees Anita L. Hitchcock, Molly E. McManus and Thomas G. Sinas. We look forward to working with you in the years ahead. Many thanks to all the exceptional candidates who agreed to stand for election this year and to the Nominating Committee for its work on the 2015 Election. Lastly, we want to recognize the hard work and dedication of our out-going officers and trustees. Heartfelt thanks to our out-going President Thomas R. Behm, Secretary Randall L. Velzen, Treasurer Elizabeth K. Bransdorfer and Trustee Sarah Riley Howard. The support and leadership you provided to the Association has been greatly appreciated. Best wishes to you now and always.
Elizabeth Joy Fossel Vice President
Benjamin H. Hammond Secretary
William M. Azkoul Treasurer
Anita L. Hitchcock Trustee
Molly E. McManus Trustee
Thomas G. Sinas Trustee
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u o Y k n a Th ! y t i C d n o c Se
Justice Foundation Benefit Dinner
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In Pursuit of the Dream BY: LAUREL A. ROMANELLA · ROMANELLA PARTNERS, PLLC
love March Madness — two words that evoke images of brackets, Cinderella stories, and one shining moment. This year’s field of 68 was whittled down to a single national champion—Duke. After the trophy was presented and the nets cut down, Duke’s captain reflected that dreams do come true, adding that consistent focus on the small things made all the difference. Behind his statement, there are lessons about vision and how to achieve it that can be applied to the practice of law. Vision. A vision is a dream that you see in your mind. My dream was to become an attorney. Diploma and bar card in hand, I can say that dreams do come true. But when the euphoria wears off, reality sets in — that particular dream is over. Now I’m an attorney engaged in the business of the law. Is a vision still necessary or are dreams a thing of the past? After studying other industries, Fortune 500 companies, and entrepreneurs, it is evident that successful businesses have a clear vision, and a new vision was vital to my own success. Vision to Reality. Creating a vision is important. But the Duke team didn’t just dream their way to a national championship. Behind the scenes, they executed a concrete plan for success. As a practicing attorney, how do you take your dream from vision to reality? By running your practice like a business, focused on goals, infrastructure, and experience.
Goals. Goals are pieces of your vision, broken down into manageable bites. Goals should be specific, measurable, realistic, and timed. Update these goals often, schedule time to work on them, and verify that your daily activities advance them. Now your actions are more deliberate and your energy more focused on the pursuit of your vision. Infrastructure. It takes a lot of effort to complete a goal or achieve a vision — not busy-work effort but focused effort, supported by a solid infrastructure of data, people, processes, and technology. With these supports in place, you may notice that your work is more efficient and organized, and your resources and systems accelerate rather than limit your progress forward. Within any infrastructure, process is important but often overlooked. You may have hundreds of processes that bolster your business. If you flow-chart or write them down, you may find that it’s easier to evaluate which key processes are working as intended. Then you can readily tweak them to achieve the best results. Remember that you can’t fully use or improve what you don’t understand. Experience. Every business has a unique culture or vibe that others feel. What is your desired vibe? How do others feel after they interact with you or your business? Do the desired state and the actual experience match? You may find it helpful to articulate
the experience you want others to have, and then create the environment and culture to match. It’s also wise to measure others’ experiences with surveys and use results or comments to continually boost your vibe. These things may seem foreign or unattainable — lofty even — especially if you don’t have a business background or you’re just starting out. But for most business owners, these things are foundational to success. Without a vision or consistent focus on the small things, you won’t move forward as quickly, or you may get off track. Instead, see your vision and purposely pursue it. You’ll find that it just may come true.
“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” ~ Jack Welch
The Grand Rapids Lawyer
Welcome New Members! Jeffrey Arnson
MEMBER NOTES Elizabeth K. Bransdorfer, Mika Meyers Beckett & Jones, will be honored with the Outstanding Member Award from the Woman Lawyers Association of Michigan Western Region. Patrick B. Ellis, Rhoades McKee, has been elected shareholder. Frederick D. Dilley, Foster, Swift, Collins & Smith, PC, is included in Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s 2015 list of Leaders in the Law. Joseph A. Lucas, Rhoades McKee, has been elected shareholder. Kelly A. Petrocelli, Rhoades McKee, has been elected shareholder. The Honorable Sara Smolenski will be recognized at the Girls Choral Academy Fall Benefit “Let Their Voice Be Heard” on November 4, 2015. Nathaniel R. Wolf, Mika, Meyers, Beckett & Jones, received a Certificate of Excellence for Distinguished Leadership in Legal Services from Grand Rapids Area Professionals.
Visit our website for more news from your fellow Bar members • www.grbar.org 18 The Grand Rapids Lawyer
GRAND RAPIDS BAR ASSOCIATION
Sponsored by the Justice Foundation of West Michigan & The GRBA Young Lawyers Section
August 20, 2015 • Thornapple Pointe Golf Club Join us for this 18 Hole, 4 golfer scramble with a shotgun start. SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES: Hole Sponsor - $250 • Beer Sponsor - $370 Teams compete in the Firm (4 golfers from same firm) or Mixed (any combination of firms) division. A travelling trophy goes to the winning firm. Many other awards and prizes are presented.
REGISTER EARLY TO RESERVE YOUR SPOT!
Cost is $125 per person (includes 18 holes of golf with cart, prizes, boxed lunch and dinner.) Registration begins at 12:00pm with lunch available. Shotgun start at 1:00pm. Dinner and awards presentation to follow (must be present to win) Cash Bar at the 19th Hole!
Reservation Form — GRBA Golf Outing Please register the four people listed below for the Grand Rapids Bar Association’s 2014 Golf Outing. The person listed as “Golfer #1” will serve as the team contact. Golfer #1 Name:_______________________________________________
Please enter us in the following division: q Firm q Mixed
q Single Golfer - The GRBA will match up single golfers who don't have a foursome.
City:_____________________________ State:_________ Zip:__________ Phone:_______________________________________________________ Email:________________________________________________________
Return this reservation form and check(s) totaling $500 (payable to GRBA) to:
Golfer #2 Name:______________________________________________ Phone:____________________________Firm:_______________________
Grand Rapids Bar Association 161 Ottawa Ave NW, Ste 203B Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Golfer #3 Name:______________________________________________ Phone:____________________________Firm:_______________________ Golfer #4 Name:______________________________________________
Reservations must be received by August 13, 2015
Questions? Call 616-454-5550
The Grand Rapids Lawyer
Accountants & Consultants
161 Ottawa Ave. NW Suite 203-B Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Our expertise in Litigation Services can help you with: • •
• • • •
Business valuations Evaluation of issues and formulations of strategies Depositions Damage theory and calculations Settlement negotiations Expert testimony
CONTACT: Leslie N. Prangley III, CPA CVA
11th Floor, Bridgewater Place 333 Bridge Street NW Grand Rapids, MI 49504 Ph: 616-774-9004 Fx: 616-774-9081
Grand Rapids Lawyer - Grand Rapids Bar Association Newsletter May/June 2015