Miller Canfield Grows Financial Services Group

Miller Canfield is pleased to announce that Kasturi Bagchi and Alan Aboona have joined the law firm’s nationally recognized Financial Institutions Group.

Bagchi is a principal attorney with more than 20 years of experience handling real estate development and finance matters. Previously a partner in Honigman’s real estate practice, she counsels and manages risk for clients in loan, real estate and other asset-based transactions. She is licensed in Michigan, California and New Jersey and serves on the Indo American Chamber of Commerce USA Board of Directors.

Aboona is an associate attorney who represents national, regional and local financial institutions in real estate, construction, working capital and equipment financing, including syndicated transactions, tax credit and other government-supported financings and asset-based lending.

“Kas and Alan are outstanding additions to our Financial Institutions Group,” said Miller Canfield CEO Megan Norris. “They will add strength and capacity to one of our core practices, for which we have been known since we were founded nearly 170 years ago.”

Miller Canfield’s Financial Institutions Group provides services across a broad range of legal disciplines, including general and asset-backed transactions, real estate finance, public finance, insolvency, restructuring, workout, foreclosure and bankruptcy services.

Miller Canfield Elects Amy Johnston to Serve as Chair of Managing Directors

Miller Canfield is pleased to announce that Amy Johnston has been elected to serve as the new Chair of the Managing Directors.

Johnston is a principal attorney and the co-leader of Miller Canfield’s Litigation and Dispute Resolution Group. She has served on the firm’s five-member Board of Managing Directors since her election in 2016.

“Amy has provided solid leadership as a Managing Director and the firm is better and stronger for it,” said Miller Canfield CEO Megan Norris. “Her business savvy and understanding of the workings of the firm will serve us well as the directors move forward with their vision.”

Johnston will focus on continuing to attract and retain top talent from a diverse candidate pool and building on the firm’s investment in its technological infrastructure.

“The firm is fortunate to have such a dynamic and energetic group of Managing Directors. It’s an honor and privilege to serve as the Chair,” Johnston said. “I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues and our new CEO to achieve our goals.”

Johnston succeeds Joseph Fazio, who served as Chair in 2020 and 2010-2013, and served on the Board of Managing Directors for more than a decade. Her election marks the first time in the firm’s history that the top two leadership positions are held by women. Norris became the firm’s CEO in February 2021. Additionally, in 2020 the firm named Michelle Crockett as its Deputy Executive Officer and Chief Diversity Officer.

Johnston is publicly recognized as a leading lawyer. In 2021, she was recognized by Hour Detroit®’s Top Women Legal Leaders and in 2020, she was named as one of the Best Women Lawyers in America by Best Lawyers®. Johnston has been recognized in the top 5 Women Lawyers and top 10 Women Business Lawyers by Leading Lawyers. She was also honored for her leadership as Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s 2014 Women in the Law. In addition, she has been recognized on U.S. News & World Report’s “Top 25 Women Lawyers in Michigan” list since 2016, “Top 50 Women Lawyers in Michigan” since 2011 and “Best Lawyers in America” since 2008. She has been a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, the trial lawyer honorary society, since 2007. Licensed in Michigan and Ohio, Johnston received her J.D., cum laude from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law and her Bachelor of General Studies from the University of Michigan.

Miller Canfield Names First Woman CEO Megan Norris

Miller Canfield is pleased to announce that Megan Norris will become the firm’s Chief Executive Officer. Norris, the firm’s first woman CEO, will assume her new duties on Feb. 26, 2021.

Norris is one of the most highly respected employment and labor attorneys in Michigan. She is an accomplished litigator who has been elected by her national peers to join the prestigious College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and the American College of Trial Lawyers.

She is a leader both within the firm and among lawyers nationwide. She is a nationally recognized expert and frequent public speaker on the topics of the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Americans With Disabilities Act. Within the firm, she has served as the leader of the Employment and Labor Group, overseeing the firm’s large and active team of dedicated employment and labor attorneys and staff. She served for eight years on the firm’s Board of Managing Directors, the last six years as chair.

Norris will focus on providing client value and efficiency when she takes the helm.

“In many ways, for nearly 170 years, the firm’s focus has never changed: Our primary purpose is always to serve our clients. And we can’t do so without the best attorneys in the business,” Norris said. “What is always changing is what our clients need. Clients face budgetary restrictions, so we must adapt to provide high-quality legal services in more efficient ways while remaining profitable.”

She will also continue to invest in attracting and retaining diverse lawyers, an area in which Miller Canfield has for decades been a leader.

“Clients now demand that their law firms commit to diversity just as they are doing themselves. This is an area where the firm has been historically strong and is now much more competitive. So, I expect that much of my time will be spent on our human capital—recruiting and retaining top talent, and putting our people to work to figure out how we can always better serve our clients,” Norris said.

Norris succeeds Michael McGee, who is stepping down after serving as CEO since 2013.

“Megan is an exceptional leader who will bring great vision and values to her work as CEO. The firm has benefitted tremendously from her leadership, and we are extraordinarily fortunate to have her serve in this capacity,” McGee said.

McGee will resume his practice in the firm’s Public Finance Group. Under McGee’s leadership, the firm renewed and strengthened its commitment to law firm diversity, equity and inclusion, becoming the only firm in Michigan, and one of only 24 nationwide to have earned Mansfield Plus Certification for three years in a row. Certification is awarded to law firms that meet high standards for significant representation of women, people of color and LGBTQ+ attorneys in firm leadership roles. Additionally, during McGee’s tenure as CEO, the firm expanded capacity in the rapidly growing autonomous and connected vehicles sector and the aerospace and defense industry, and grew its footprint domestically and internationally, forging alliances through North and South America and adding offices in Washington, D.C., Ohio and Qatar.

“I have had the good fortune to work with Mike McGee and the Managing Directors, both as a Group Leader and as a Managing Director, and I am honored that they have chosen me as the firm’s next CEO. Mike leaves big shoes to fill, so I am grateful that he will remain a valued partner and trusted advisor as we embark on the firm’s next decade,” Norris said.

Norris is the recipient of the State Bar of Michigan Labor and Employment Law Council Distinguished Service Award, is ranked in the prestigious “Chambers USA” guide of America’s leading lawyers, and has earned recognition in Michigan Lawyers Weekly Leaders in the Law, Lawdragon 500, Crain’s Detroit Business Notable Women Lawyers in Michigan, Best Lawyers in America and DBusiness Magazine Top Lawyers. She has served on the United States District Court Local Rules Advisory Committee, the Board of Directors for the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association, the National Employment Law Institute Advisory Board, the Institute of Continuing Legal Education Labor Advisory Board, and the City of Detroit Police Commission, which she chaired in 2003 and 2004.

Miller Canfield Announces 11 New Hires in 7 Offices

Miller Canfield is pleased to announce that nine associate attorneys have joined the firm in six of the firm’s key practice groups: Corporate and Transactions, Employment and Labor, Energy and Environmental, Financial Institutions, Litigation and Dispute Resolution, and Real Estate. Miller Canfield’s new associates are:

Joanna Dreaver, Litigation and Dispute Resolution Group, Troy, Michigan. She comes to the firm after working as a contract attorney at Perdue Law Group in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In 2015, Dreaver was a summer intern for U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit Judge Helene White. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and earned her Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from the University of Michigan.

Michael Fisher, Energy and Environmental Group, Lansing, Michigan. He is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and he earned his Master of Public Administration from Central Michigan University and his Bachelor of Science in environmental biology from Ferris State University. He was a legal extern at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Appeals Board in Washington, D.C. Fisher was a law clerk for the U.S. Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division and interned at the U.S. Department of the Interior. Before law school, Fisher worked for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan, where he was an environmental response program specialist and a water resources technician.

Kareem Gibson, Financial Institutions Group, Detroit. He is a graduate of Wayne State University Law School and the University of London, where he earned a Graduate Diploma of Law. He earned his Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of South Carolina. While studying in London, Gibson was a student advisor at the Start-Ed Legal Clinic, where he helped clients with contractual and other business issues.

Dominique Giordano Gonzales, Real Estate Group, Chicago. She comes to Miller Canfield from Cook County Circuit Court, where she was a clerk for Judge Celia G. Gamrath. Prior to her clerkship, she worked as a corporate counsel extern for Whirlpool Corp. in Benton Harbor, Michigan. She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame Law School and earned her Bachelor of Arts, with double majors in political science and Spanish, from Villanova University.

Arthur Griem, Corporate and Transactions Group, Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is a graduate of Wayne State University Law School and earned his Bachelor of Science in leadership and management studies from New York University. Griem worked as a legal extern for TI Automotive in Auburn Hills. While at NYU, he was a captain of the university’s ice hockey team, which won the ACHA Division II national championship in 2015.

Vera Hansen, Corporate and Transactions Group, Detroit. She is a graduate of Wayne State University Law School and earned her Bachelor of Arts in political science and law at the University of Tübingen in Tübingen, Germany. She was a legal intern at Lear Corp. in Southfield ad at Tata Motors in Pune, India.

Alyssa Hussein, Litigation and Dispute Resolution Group, Detroit. She is a graduate of University of Detroit Mercy Law School and the University of Windsor Faculty of Law and earned her Bachelor of Arts in women and gender studies, political science and history from the University of Toronto.

Erica Jilek, Employment and Labor Group, Detroit. She is a graduate of Wayne State University Law School and earned her Bachelor of Science in political science from Central Michigan University.

Barbara Moore, Employment and Labor Group, Kalamazoo, Michigan. Moore comes to Miller Canfield from Varnum in Grand Rapids, where she was an associate in the firm’s employment and labor practice. Before joining Varnum in 2018, she was a legal intern at the United Community Housing Coalition in Detroit. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Michigan State University.

In addition to the nine new associates, the firm announced that senior counsel attorneys Howard Weissman has joined the firm’s Corporate and Transactions Group in Washington, D.C., and L. Steven Platt joined the Employment and Labor Group in Chicago.

Platt was previously a partner at the Chicago firm of Robbins, Salomon & Patt, where he headed the labor and employment practice, with a special focus on employment litigation and class action wage and hour litigation. He has decades of experience that will certainly bolster our powerhouse Employment and Labor Group.

Weissman comes to Miller Canfield from Baker & McKenzie, where he was part of the firm’s compliance and investigations practice since 2014. He had previously served as vice president and associate general counsel at Lockheed Martin Corp.