2015 BOARD OF DIRECTORS CANDIDATES
Keefe A. Brooks was born and raised in this community and has been a lifelong resident of Oakland County. He received his undergraduate degree with high distinction from the University of Michigan in 1977. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Michigan School of Law in 1980, where he also was made a member of the Order of the Coif, graduating in the top 5 percent of his class.
Keefe has practiced civil litigation his entire career, having spent 29 years with the Butzel Long firm before leaving to form a litigation/bankruptcy boutique firm, Brooks Wilkins Sharkey & Turco, PLLC. He concentrates his practice in commercial litigation matters, director and officer liability, shareholder disputes, business torts, insurance coverage, professional liability and financial institution matters. Keefe served 10 years on the board of directors of Butzel Long and six years on the executive committee. He currently serves as the managing member of Brooks Wilkins Sharkey & Turco.
Keefe has been inducted as a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the International Society of Barristers. He is also a fellow of the Michigan State Bar Foundation and a life fellow of the Oakland County Bar Foundation. In addition to the State Bar of Michigan, Keefe is a longtime member of the Oakland County Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association, the Federal Bar Association and the Association of Defense Trial Counsel.
Keefe has been active in a wide variety of OCBA activities. In addition to serving on the OCBA board of directors for the past four years, he currently serves as a master emeritus in the Inns of Court program. He has on two occasions served as co-chair of the civil section of the Oakland County Circuit-Probate Court Bench/Bar Conference, and one time as overall co-chair. He served on the PACJC Committee of the OCBA for six years, co-chairing it for two years. He served as a member of the Nominating Committee for the OCBA board of directors for four years. He served on the ad hoc committee chaired by U.S. District Court Judge David Lawson to generate suggested qualifications for judicial candidates, and participated in televised interviews of the candidates. Keefe has also volunteered as a settlement facilitator and discovery mediator at the Oakland County Circuit Court.
Keefe and his wife, Terri, live in Bloomfield Township. Keefe has two adult children and four grandchildren.
Gerald "Jerry" P. Cavellier is an equity partner and the head of the domestic relations/family law practice area at Hertz Schram PC in Bloomfield Hills. He is a graduate of Oakland University and the Detroit College of Law (now known as Michigan State University College of Law). His entire practice focuses on family law matters including divorce, child custody, child support, parenting time, spousal support, property division and post-judgment matters. He is also very familiar with more complex issues including marital tort litigation, division of closely held businesses, grandparent visitation issues, Hague Child Abduction Convention cases, and interstate custody and support issues. Mr. Cavellier is a member of the Hague Convention Attorney Network, an organization created to assist parents seeking to invoke the Hague Child Abduction Convention in the United States.
Mr. Cavellier is collaboratively trained and is a member of the Collaborative Professionals Institute of Michigan (CPIM) and International Association of Collaborative Professionals (IACP). A trained mediator, Mr. Cavellier mediates family law cases and is a member of the Family Mediation Council of Michigan. He is currently an adjunct professor of law at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, where he teaches family law. Mr. Cavellier is a longstanding advisory board member of Common Ground, a non-profit organization that provides assistance to families in crisis including victims of crime, people with mental illnesses and homeless youths.
Mr. Cavellier has been a member of the OCBA since 1996 and a sustaining member since 2006, and became a fellow of the Oakland County Bar Foundation in 2008. He has been a member of the OCBA Family Court Committee from 2002 to present. He served as vice-chair of the committee in 2005-06 and as chair in 2006-07. Mr. Cavellier currently is a life fellow of both the Michigan State Bar Foundation and the Oakland County Bar Foundation. He received the Pro Bono Service award in 2004 from the HELP Collaborative/FLAP. In recent years, he has been a regular contributor to the annual LACHES family law edition.
Mr. Cavellier lives in Troy with his wife, Jillian, and their three children, 16-year-old twin boys and a 13-year-old daughter. For fun, Mr. Cavellier is a patroller with the National Ski Patrol and is the legal advisor to the Eastern Michigan Region of the National Ski Patrol.
Syeda F. Davidson is an associate at Burgess Sharp & Golden, PLLC, where her practice focuses on the representation of individuals in employment and other civil rights matters. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and earned her Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Thomas M. Cooley Law School (now Western Michigan Thomas M. Cooley Law School). Before she joined the firm in 2013, Syeda was a staff attorney at Lakeshore Legal Aid, where she represented survivors of domestic violence in civil proceedings.
Syeda is involved with many professional and community activities, including several positions with the OCBA. She has chaired the Law-Related Education Committee, the PALS Committee, and is finishing her term as chair of the New Lawyers Committee. Syeda was honored to be awarded the OCBA's Distinguished Service Award in 2011.
Syeda is also active with the State Bar of Michigan, where she serves on the Equal Access Initiative of the Justice Initiatives, and was recently elected treasurer of the Young Lawyers Section. She has also represented Oakland County on the Representative Assembly in the past.
Nationally, Syeda is an associate editor for the American Bar Association's publication, TYL (formerly The Young Lawyer). Her articles for the publication attempt to highlight less-mainstream choices for new lawyers, such as "How Tending Bar Can Help You Better Serve the Bar," and "Don't Tell Me I Had to Start Somewhere: Legal Services as a Career Choice."
Outside of the practice of law, Syeda serves on the board of directors for Affirmations, a community center focused on LGBT education and advocacy, and Detroit Together Men's Chorus, a choir for LGBT-supportive individuals. Additionally, she is the secretary of the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan Oakland Branch.
Syeda relaxes by playing the bass guitar and practicing aerial acrobatics. She resides in Royal Oak with her fiance, Mark, and their cat, who is appropriately named Kitty Cat.
Melinda N. Deel was elected to the Oakland County Bar Association board of directors in 2014. She is a sustaining member of the OCBA and has been actively involved in the organization since she became an attorney in 2001. She is serving as a captain for the 2015 Oakland County Circuit-Probate Court Bench/Bar Conference. She was honored to receive the OCBA Distinguished Service Award in 2007. She has served as the chair of the Juvenile and Law-Related Education committees. Ms. Deel was instrumental in advocating for and obtaining a pay increase for court-appointed counsel in child protection proceedings.
Ms. Deel has participated in the OCBA's Inns of Court and is a fellow of the Oakland County Bar Foundation. Since 2006, Ms. Deel has developed the curriculum and served as moderator for the OCBA Juvenile Law Brown Bag Lunch lecture series. She presented the topic "Appeals: From Beginning to End" in the series. Ms. Deel authored the LACHES articles "Found Within the County: The Court's Jurisdiction in Child Protective Proceedings," "Recent Amendments to the Juvenile Code," "The Doctrine of Anticipatory Neglect in Child Protective Proceedings," "Juvenile Competency," and "Discovery Practice in Child Protection Proceedings." She served as the chair and was a presenter for the OCBA Juvenile Guardian Ad Litem Training.
In addition to her bar-related activities, Ms. Deel has served on the board of directors and as president of the Troy Jaycees. She has also served on the board of directors of Troy People Concerned, a public-service organization that provides assistance to underprivileged individuals. Ms. Deel has served on the CARE House Advisory Committee, and the Legal and Legislative Committee. She has been actively involved in and served as a speaker for the Troy Chamber of Commerce.
Ms. Deel graduated from Michigan State University - James Madison College in 1998 and Michigan State University College of Law in 2001. While in law school, she clerked for the U.S. Attorney General's office in Lansing.
Ms. Deel and her husband previously were partners in the Troy-based law firm Deel & Deel, PLLC. Later, she served as judicial staff attorney for the Honorable Martha D. Anderson. Ms. Deel is now a solo practitioner, practicing in the areas of juvenile law, family law, probate and estate planning, and appeals.
She is married to Ryan Deel, the judicial staff attorney for the Honorable Linda S. Hallmark. They are the very proud parents of wonderful 6-year-old twin sons, Jack and Brennan.
Timothy P. Flynn has been a partner in the Karlstrom Cooney, LLP law firm in Clarkston for the past 10 years. Managing a general litigation practice in the civil courts - both federal and state - throughout Michigan, Flynn employs seven legal professionals, three of whom are lawyers.
Among the first 50 attorneys in Michigan to receive a Family Law Certificate from the Institute for Continuing Legal Education, Flynn has completed more than 750 divorces from start to finish. A lawyer for 27 years, he has represented more than 2,000 clients.
In addition to family law, Flynn is an active criminal defense lawyer representing clients in trials and appeals across Michigan and in federal court. Flynn maintains endorsement for felony assignments by the Oakland County Circuit Court, and served three years as a docket attorney for the Michigan Appellate Assigned Counsel System (MAACS). Flynn is the immediate past chair OCBA Criminal Law Committee, having served the previous year as vice chair.
Two Michigan attorneys general (Cox and Schuette) have appointed Mr. Flynn as a special assistant attorney general in the AG's felony Child Support Division, and to serve Oakland County as a public administrator. Citizens Alliance for the Oakland County Probate and Circuit Courts, the courts' advisory committee, has tapped Flynn's knowledge of probate matters in providing monthly presentations to lay persons appointed to serve as adult guardians.
Maintaining a career-long interest in legal writing and appeals, Flynn appears regularly in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and the Michigan Court of Appeals. Serving two years as a pre-hearing attorney for the Michigan Court of Appeals was his first job out of law school, followed by five years in the appellate section at Plunkett & Cooney. He has authored briefs submitted to the United States Supreme Court and the Michigan Supreme Court.
For eight years in the middle of his career, Flynn was an assistant professor and director of legal studies at the University of Detroit Mercy. His article on civil rights in the law enforcement seizure context was published in the UDM Law Review. As a professor of legal studies, Flynn trained paralegals in all aspects of assisting attorneys in private practice, publishing a comprehensive article on this subject in the Michigan Bar Journal.
Dean M. Googasian is a partner and chief executive officer at The Googasian Firm, P.C. in Bloomfield Hills. He focuses on a litigation practice representing individuals in catastrophic injury cases, consumers in class actions, and individuals and corporations in commercial litigation. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and a summa cum laude graduate of Wayne State University Law School, where he served as editor in chief of The Wayne Law Review.
After law school, Googasian clerked for the Honorable Marilyn Kelly, justice of the Michigan Supreme Court. In 1998, he relocated to Washington, D.C., where he served under his mentor, James K. Robinson, as special assistant to the assistant attorney general for the Criminal Division of the United States Department of Justice, where he received the DOJ Special Achievement Award.
Googasian returned to Michigan in 1999, practicing in the litigation department at Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP before joining The Googasian Firm in 2001.
He joined the Oakland County Bar Association upon returning from Washington and has actively participated in the OCBA, including in Inns of Court; serving for several years on the Membership Committee, where he currently chairs its member recruitment subcommittee; and speaking at the OCB ABC's of Practice and Introduction to Practice - Law Practice Management seminars.
He is a frequent author, having written numerous law review articles and a book chapter. In 2007, he received the Distinguished Brief Award from the Thomas M. Cooley Law Review for a brief submitted to the Michigan Supreme Court on behalf of the State Bar of Michigan. Since 2009, he has been recognized as one of Michigan's Super Lawyers.
Mr. Googasian also serves other community organizations. Mr. Googasian is a fellow of the Oakland County Bar Foundation and the Michigan State Bar Foundation. He is a longtime board member of the Franklin Baseball League including a recent three-year term as its president, and volunteers extensively with the Matthew Bittker Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to funding pediatric cancer research.
He is a second-generation member of the OCBA. His father, George Googasian served as president of the OCBA in 1985-86. Googasian, his wife, Nina, two sons and rescue dog, Rex, live in Bloomfield Township.
His greatest athletic achievement was a first-place finish in the inaugural 1980 OCBA Fun Run.
Lisa J. Hamameh is a senior attorney with Foster Swift Collins and Smith, PC and is based in the firm's Farmington Hills office. She has a comprehensive municipal law practice, and also practices in the areas of zoning and land use, liquor licensing law, and condominium and homeowners' association law.
She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice from Wayne State University in 1995 and is a 2000 graduate of Wayne State University Law School.
Lisa has a lengthy history of giving back to the profession and to the community. Active in the OCBA since 2002, Lisa is a past chair of the Municipal Law Committee, was a director on the New Lawyers Committee, and currently serves as the vice chair of the Membership Committee. Lisa has served as an executive council member for the state bar's Young Lawyers Section, and currently serves as a district representative for the State Bar Character and Fitness Committee. Additionally, she frequently volunteers as a judge for Wayne State University's First Year Moot Court program and has served as a judge and coach for various high school mock trial tournaments. A frequent author, Lisa co-authored a chapter on liquor licensing in the ICLE publication Michigan Municipal Law (2012) and a chapter on plea bargaining in the ICLE publication Michigan Criminal Procedure (2010). She has also written articles for several magazines and newsletters, including OCBA's LACHES.
Lisa shares her knowledge and passion of the law with the community. She is a regular speaker at the White Lake Citizens Academy's Judicial Night and presents training sessions for municipal clients and organizations on a wide range of municipal issues.
Recognizing her talent and commitment, Lisa received the OCBA's Frances R. Avadenka Memorial Award in 2011. Additional recognitions include being named a 2014 "Women in the Law" by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. In 2011 and 2012 she was recognized as a "Rising Star," and in 2013 and 2014 was named a "Super Lawyer" for government, cities and municipalities by Super Lawyer magazine. In 2014, Lisa was recognized as a "Top Lawyer" by dbusiness magazine.
Despite all of her commitments, Lisa manages to find time for her Detroit Tigers and improving her tennis game.
Kaveh Kashef, of the law firm of Clark Hill, is a current member of the OCBA board of directors and has been an active member in the OCBA since 2003. A graduate of the University of Michigan, he returned to the state in 2002 after graduating from Tulane Law School with honors and completing a judicial clerkship in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
Kaveh has actively served the OCBA through several of its committees and programs. In 2011, he was unanimously elected to the board of the trustees of the Oakland County Bar Foundation (OCBF), and was elected to the OCBA board of directors in 2012. He is a former member of the Membership Committee and the former vice-chair and chair of the CLE (now called Professional Development) Committee. He is a past chair of the New Lawyers Council, on which he held a director or executive position for seven years. Kaveh was involved with the Inns of Court from 2003-2011. From 2010 to the present, Kaveh has served as a member of the OCBA Strategic Planning Group, identifying key priorities for the OCBA and developing a plan to address those priorities.
Kaveh and his colleagues on the New Lawyers Council served to create programs that provided newly admitted attorneys and law students opportunities to gain practical experience and networking connections. In addition, one of the NLC's core missions is to conduct charitable fundraising for a local charitable organization, and it has donated thousands of dollars to various charities. While Kaveh chaired the NLC, it set records in terms of participation and fundraising.
In addition to his involvement with the OCBA, Kaveh served as a member of the State Bar Civil Procedure and Courts Standing Committee from 2006-2012.
Kaveh is an equity member in the Litigation Practice Group in Clark Hill's Birmingham office. He specializes in the fields of automotive, construction, real property and commercial law. He was named a "2012 Top Lawyer" by dbusiness magazine, and was selected for inclusion to the Michigan Lawyers Weekly's 2011 "Up and Coming Lawyers" list. In addition, Kaveh has been recognized in the 2008 through 2014 editions of Michigan's Super Lawyers and was named to The National Trial Lawyer's "Top 40 Under 40" for the state of Michigan.
Kaveh is married to Caitlin, also an attorney practicing in Oakland County, and they recently became parents with the birth of their son, Kian.
Sarah E. Kuchon is a forthright advocate for our profession. Sarah has been active in bar associations on both the state and local levels. As an active member of the Oakland County Bar Association, the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan, the Women's Bar Association of Oakland County, a fellow of the Oakland County Bar Foundation and a fellow of the Michigan State Bar Foundation, she regularly attends and supports the bar's events. She has served or continues to serve on the OCBA Circuit Court, Circuit Court Case Evaluation, Membership and Diversity committees. Sarah also serves on the Representative Assembly of the State Bar of Michigan and sits as a director-at-large on the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan board of directors.
In addition to her bar activities, Sarah has been active in her community. Sarah has served as a volunteer for the Capitol Area Response Effort, an organization that responds to and provides resources to victims of domestic violence. Sarah volunteered at the Women's Survival Center for several years, receiving a volunteer award from that organization in 2004. She served several years on the board of directors of Homes for Autism, a statewide organization providing housing for autistic adults. She served as secretary of that board from 2006 to 2008. Sarah is a member of Michigan Association for Justice. She is a member of the Negligence Law Section of the State Bar, and authored the "Point" in the Winter 2003 Negligence Law Section Quarterly. She has served as a volunteer for the Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan.
Sarah, and her husband, Clifford, have two daughters: Hannah, 11 years, and Olivia, 5 years. Sarah and her family live in Rochester Hills with three large and lazy Heinz-57 mutts rescued from the Michigan Humane Society, a bearded dragon and a hedgehog.
Moheeb H. Murray is a partner at Bush Seyferth & Paige PLLC in Troy. Moheeb focuses on complex commercial and insurance coverage litigation. He advises and represents clients ranging from individuals to Fortune 500 companies.
Moheeb has been an active member of the OCBA from the very start of his legal career. Currently, he serves on the OCBA Circuit Court and Membership committees, and is an OCBA sustaining member. Early in his career, he was an associate in the OCBA Inns of Court for two terms, and later served as a barrister from 2009 through 2014. He is also a mentor in the OCBA's Mentor Match Program, has participated in the OCBA's pro bono legal aid programs, and has presented for the past three years in the "Law Practice Management" installment of the OCBA's Introduction to Practice seminar series.
Moheeb has been recognized by his peers for having a track record of leadership. He was named to Advantage Oakland's "Oakland County Executive's Elite 40 Under 40" (2015), Michigan Lawyers Weekly's "Leader in the Law" (2014), and the American Arab Chamber of Commerce's Legal Professional of the Year (2013). Moheeb was once again selected as a "Rising Star" by SuperLawyers. He serves as a co-chair of the Insurance Practice Area Committee for the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms. Moheeb is a fellow of the Oakland County Bar Foundation.
Moheeb also is active in the community. He serves as a board member for the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding and for Zaman International. He is a volunteer pro bono attorney for the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project through the U of M Law School, and provides pro bono services in other civil litigation matters. Moheeb regularly serves as a judge for the U of M's Campbell Moot Court Competition and the MCCE (Michigan Center for Civic Education) Michigan High School Mock Trial Tournament. Moheeb also serves as the vice president of the Michigan Muslim Bar Association.
Moheeb graduated from the University of Michigan Law School, cum laude, and from the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business with high distinction.
Before joining BSP in 2005, he was an attorney with Clark Hill P.L.C. Moheeb is a lifelong Oakland County resident, and lives in Rochester Hills with his wife, Nissrine, and their two sons.
James J. Parks has served on the board of directors since 2009. If re-elected, he will serve as the secretary to the executive board. Jim currently serves as board liaison to the Employment Law, Employee Benefits, and Forum for In-House Counsel committees. Jim earlier served as chair of the Circuit Court and the Lawyer Referral Service committees. He is a founding member of both the Diversity and Employment Law committees. He co-hosted a cable TV program ("Lawyers Roundtable") promoting the OCBA. Jim also served as a delegate for the Sixth Circuit at the Michigan Representative Assembly. Jim contributes as a fellow of the Oakland County Bar Foundation, a long-term sustaining member of the OCBA, a mentor to new lawyers and a supporting member of the Lawyers Conference Room at the Oakland County courthouse.
Jim is an equity partner with Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss, P.C. Before joining Jaffe, Jim was partner in a small law firm. Jim continues to enthusiastically recruit and involve new members in the OCBA and OCBF including: the new "Pod" program, Membership Committee, Circuit Court Committee, Paralegal Committee, Golf Outing, Inns of Court, Diversity Dinner, Annual Meeting, Holiday Gala, Foundation Signature Event and seminars. Jim continues to solicit support for the OCBA and OCBF through a Silver Sponsorship for the Signature Event together with individual and corporate donations and sponsorships.
Jim's passion for mentoring youths led him to involvement with Winning Futures. He currently serves on the Board and as a mentor. He is also on the board of directors for the Generation of Promise program (located at Focus: HOPE), has headed up the stewardship drive at his church and is past chair of the Zoning Board of Appeals for the Village of Beverly Hills.
Jim has been married for 37 years to Mary Beth and has lived in Beverly Hills for 30 years. He has three grown children, whom he spends most of his free time chasing around the globe. They currently live in Colorado and Australia.
Michelle Carter Pierce is general counsel and director of human resources of Allied Human Services, Inc., a national healthcare consulting company. Prior to joining Allied, Mrs. Carter Pierce was a member of Bodman PLC where she practiced complex commercial litigation and alternative dispute resolution. At Bodman, Mrs. Carter Pierce represented clients involved in a variety of contract, real property and construction matters.
Mrs. Carter Pierce is a longtime member of the Oakland County Bar Association, participating in the Inns of Court and serving as a member of the Inns of Court executive board. She is also a former member of the Nominating Committee, and is a fellow of the Oakland County Bar Foundation.
Mrs. Carter Pierce is a past president of the Wolverine Bar Association (2009-2010), and formerly served on the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association's board of directors (2010-2013). Former Chief Justice Marilyn J. Kelly appointed Mrs. Carter Pierce to a two-year term on the Michigan Supreme Court's Solutions on Self-Help Task Force in 2010. Mrs. Carter Pierce is a contributor to the Institute of Continuing Legal Education and currently serves as a member of its Litigation Advisory Board. She has served on the board of directors of Volunteers of America-Michigan since 2006, and is an active member of the State Bar of Michigan and the National Bar Association.
Mrs. Carter Pierce is admitted to the state bars of Michigan, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and is also admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court of New Jersey and the eastern and western districts of Michigan.
She was recognized by dbusiness magazine in 2014 and 2015 as Michigan's "Top Corporate Counsel," and featured in their May 2010 edition of "30 their Thirties: Business Leaders of Tomorrow...Today." Mrs. Carter Pierce was named by Super Lawyers as a "Rising Star" for business litigation for 2009, 2010 and 2011.