2017 NEXT Conference


Dan Abrams
Chief Legal Affairs Anchor for ABC News

Dan Abrams is the CEO and founder of Abrams Media and the chief legal affairs anchor for ABC News. Previously, he was the co-anchor of Nightline. Prior to 2011, Dan was at NBC News for 15 years as, among other things, a reporter for NBC Nightly News, host on MSNBC, and chief legal correspondent for NBC News. From 2006 to late 2007, Dan served as general manager of MSNBC, where he presided over a period of unprecedented growth, with ratings and profits each increasing well over 50 percent during his tenure. In addition, he hosted The Abrams Report, a nightly legal affairs program, and the acclaimed Verdict with Dan Abrams. A graduate of Columbia University Law School, Dan is also a recognized writer. He has published articles in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Yale Law & Policy Review, Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, and Mediaite.com, among many others. In 2011, Abrams published his first book, Man Down: Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt That Women Are Better Cops, Drivers, Gamblers, Spies, World Leaders, Beer Tasters, Hedge Fund Managers, and Just About Everything Else, which made the Washington Post bestseller list. He is the founder of eight web properties, including Mediaite, a news and media website; Runway Riot, fashion site for women of all sizes; The Mary Sue, covering tech and geek culture; and LawNewz, which covers crime and legal news. Together, the Abrams Media Network serves close to 15 million unique visitors per month.

Gary P. Bauer
Western Michigan University Cooley Law School
A tenured, full professor of law at WMU Cooley Law School, Professor Bauer teaches wills, trusts, and estates in a clinical third year program for students which is designed to help students learn the substantive material in the context of live client interaction. In addition, Professor Bauer has taken the lead in preparing students for the business of law through courses that he teaches such as Solo by Design. He has also established Google Groups along with Directed Studies, designed to help students develop a sound and viable business plan before graduation. A member of the ABA, State Bar of Michigan, and Ingham County Bar Association, as well as a member and past chair of the Law Practice Management Section of the State Bar of Michigan. Professor Bauer has been dedicated to the promotion of solo practice as a viable option for law school graduates with proper preparation and planning. Professor Bauer was a member of the planning committee for ICLE’s first Solo & Small Firm Institute and has been a presenter at that seminar on several occasions. He has also authored a number of law review articles, done presentations, and written articles in non-legal publications. He was awarded the ABA Solo, Small Firm, & General Practice Division "Solo and Small Firm Trainer Award," which recognizes attorneys who have made significant contributions to educating lawyers or law students regarding the opportunities and challenges of a solo and small firm practice.
Nancy Boari
Northwestern Mutual
Nancy Boari has more than 25 years of experience in health care and 18 years as a long-term care specialist. She became fully licensed with her Series 6, 65, and CLTC certifications. Her expertise is in understanding long-term care industry contracts, and she assists families and employers in designing long-term care benefits. In addition to ICLE, Ms. Boari has been a presenter for the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants. She has also been a board member of Canterbury on the Lake Care Continuum Center in Waterford and supports the Alzheimer's Association. Ms. Boari is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a degree in social work and has an MA in guidance and counseling from Oakland University.
Bridgette A. Carr
University of Michigan Law School
Professor Bridgette A. Carr has dedicated her career to advocating for the rights of human trafficking victims and advancing comprehensive domestic and international anti-trafficking policies. Her work focuses on driving paradigm shifts in the way human trafficking victimization is perceived and addressed, and helping reintegrate victims by developing legal solutions that address the complex issues of coercion and victimization. As founding director of the University of Michigan Law School Human Trafficking Clinic—the first clinical law program solely devoted to this issue—Professor Carr, her colleagues, and a new generation of trainees have provided free legal services to victims since 2009. They support the wide-ranging needs of men, women, and children (both foreign nationals and U.S. citizens) who have been victimized by trafficking crimes.
Amy Marie Christen
Amy Marie Christen practices in all areas of employee benefits law. Her experience involves compliance and design of qualified retirement plans, including governmental and private sector-defined benefit plans; profit-sharing and 401(k) plans); sections 457 or 403(b) plans; SEP or other nonqualified plans; and health and other welfare plans, including health care reform (PPACA), cafeteria plans, severance plans, COBRA, and HIPAA. She also advises clients on employee benefit concerns in mergers and acquisitions and ERISA litigation. Before joining the firm, Ms. Christen practiced employee benefits law for a boutique benefits firm; prior to that, she was with a major Detroit-based law firm. Ms. Christen also clerked for the Ohio Court of Appeals.
John J. Conway
J.J. Conway Law
Principal attorney and owner of the firm, John J. Conway has been in solo law practice since 1999, handling a wide range of litigation matters. He represents clients in matters involving ERISA, employee benefits, as well as other general litigation throughout the United States. Mr. Conway also serves as of counsel to Fildew Hinks, PLLC. He previously worked for the Michigan Court of Appeals as a prehearing attorney. Active in the American Bar Association, Mr. Conway is a past member of the Young Lawyers Division Council and a member of the Litigation Section and the Labor and Employment Law Section, where he serves on the ERISA and Employee Benefits Litigation Subcommittee of the Employment Rights and Responsibilities Committee. Mr. Conway is also active in the State Bar of Michigan, where he is a former member of its Board of Commissioners, a past chair of the Young Lawyers Section, and a current member of the Labor & Employment Law Section. A fellow of the American Bar Foundation and Michigan State Bar Foundation, he has also participated in many community and alumni organizations. In 2010, Mr. Conway was awarded the State Bar of Michigan Champion of Justice Award for his work in securing health care benefits for children with autism.
Alton T. Davis
Alton T. Davis PLLC
Alton T. Davis served 21 years, including 17 as chief judge of the 46th Circuit Court. Prior to his time on the bench, he spent ten years in private practice. He also served for four years as chief assistant prosecuting attorney and then prosecuting attorney in Crawford County. Mr. Davis has been involved in multitude of professional, public, and civic organizations throughout his career. He earned his Juris Doctor degree in 1974 from Detroit College of Law. Mr. Davis is presently providing dispute resolution services; mediation, arbitration, and consulting throughout Michigan.
Ross Fishman
Fishman Marketing Inc.
Ross Fishman, CEO of the corporation, is best known for strategic marketing planning and the development of marketing materials (such as online and print advertising and social media tools) for more than 200 firms worldwide. Mr. Fishman has conducted more than 300 firm retreats and training programs on six continents. A fellow of both the College of Law Practice Management and the Litigation Counsel of America, Mr. Fishman has written hundreds of articles and sat on the editorial board of five national magazines. He was a commercial litigator in Chicago from 1985-1990 before moving to Winston & Strawn LLP to practice marketing full-time, later becoming marketing partner of Ungaretti & Harris. His company has received many international marketing awards, including the Legal Marketing Association’s grand prize, the Best of Show honor, five of the 10 times ever presented. As recipient of LMA’s first peer-selected LMA Lifetime Achievement Award (1998), Mr. Fishman was the first legal marketer inducted into the LMA Hall of Fame. He has been hired as the marketing expert witness in three precedent-setting branding- and social media-related lawsuits.
Jill Ford
Special Advisor to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan
Jill Ford heads the city of Detroit’s innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives. She came to Detroit from the San Francisco Bay Area, where as an angel investor and advisor she transformed emerging businesses using strategies forged in mobile gaming. Ms. Ford brings a wealth of global leadership in the mobile and games industries. Her experience includes heading Disney Mobile’s worldwide distribution to mobile manufacturers and running Motorola’s global games usage. Ms. Ford (who has traveled to more than 15 countries) also ran a company in Ghana that discovered, developed, and funded new entrepreneurs. She combines a Wharton MBA in finance and entrepreneurial management with a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Harvard University.
Barron K. Henley
Affinity Consulting Group
Barron K. Henley is a member of the American, Ohio, and Columbus Bar Associations, and the Worthington Estate Planning Council. He is also a member of the ABA Law Practice Management Section, a board member for the ABA TECHSHOW, and is the former chair of the Ohio State Bar Association Law Office Automation and Technology Committee. Mr. Henley heads Affinity’s document assembly/automation and software training departments; he is a renowned expert on Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat, and HotDocs document assembly software; and has authored legal-specific manuals on HotDocs, Adobe Acrobat, and Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook. Barron is also an expert in launching new law firms, overhauling existing firms, and documenting and re-engineering law firm processes. He teaches continuing legal education classes throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Ashish S. Joshi
Lorandos Joshi PC
Ashish S. Joshi is the managing partner and a trial lawyer at the firm. Mr. Joshi’s cases have covered a wide spectrum, including international cases involving theft of trade secrets; high net-worth international divorce cases; cases involving parental alienation; cases involving the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction; World Bank projects mired in litigation in a foreign jurisdiction amidst allegations of local corruption; and cases alleging Medicare and health care fraud. His cases have also covered insider trading; RICO; money laundering; alien smuggling; and child pornography. Mr. Joshi has been admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States and the state bars of New York, Michigan, District of Columbia, and Gujarat, India. He has published a number of articles and coauthored books on several topics including criminal defense, commercial litigation, international litigation, and trial practice. He has made several presentations for continuing legal education programs hosted by the American Bar Association, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and various state and local bar associations. Mr. Joshi serves as editor in chief for Litigation, a journal published by the ABA Litigation Section.
Jeffrey E. Kirkey
Institute of Continuing Legal Education
Jeffrey E. Kirkey joined ICLE in 1998 and now directs the development and implementation of ICLE's education services, including major events, hands-on training, on-demand seminars, contract services, and online initiatives. He also teaches technology-related programs. Before joining ICLE, Mr. Kirkey worked at a small law firm in Ann Arbor and headed a computer consulting firm specializing in helping law offices. He is active in the Association for Continuing Legal Education (ACLEA), serving in a variety of leadership roles and frequently presenting at ACLEA conferences on technology, innovation, and business-related topics. A member of the State Bar of Michigan, Mr. Kirkey is a past chair of its Young Lawyers Section and also served on the Bar's Board of Commissioners.
Hon. David M. Lawson
U.S. District Court—Eastern District of MI
Hon. David M. Lawson was nominated to the U.S. District Court by President Clinton in 1999 and began service in 2000 after a unanimous confirmation by the Senate. Before that, he served clerkships in the Oakland County Circuit Court (Hon. John N. O'Brien) and the Michigan Supreme Court (Hon. James L. Ryan) and practiced law in small, medium, and large law firms in southeast Michigan for 24 years. He focused his practice on criminal defense at both a trial and appellate level; family law; civil tort litigation, including medical and legal malpractice, products liability, and insurance coverage litigation representing both plaintiffs and defendants; employment litigation; commercial litigation; and transactional work. He has been a faculty member of the Michigan Judicial Institute since its inception in 1977 and has lectured extensively on evidence and procedure throughout the country for over 25 years. He has published several articles on these subjects. He is a visiting professor of evidence and constitutional law at Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School and has served as a lecturer at the University of Detroit Law School, the University of Michigan Law School, ICLE, the Wayne County Clinical Advocacy Program, and several national and local bar association seminars.
John D. Mabley
Chalgian & Tripp Law Offices PLLC
John D. Mabley practices in the areas of probate and estate planning and will and trust litigation. He is a former chair of the Probate & Estate Planning Section of the State Bar of Michigan. Mr. Mabley is also a fellow and current state chair of the American College of Trust & Estate Counsel. A frequent lecturer for ICLE, he has written several articles for the Michigan Probate & Estate Planning Journal and is a contributor to several ICLE publications.
Hon. Lita Masini Popke
Third Judicial Circuit Court
Hon. Lita M. Popke has been a member of the Family Division of the Wayne County Circuit Court in Detroit for over 10 years. From January of 2005 through December of 2007, she served as the presiding judge of the division and has been chief judge pro tem since 2009. Judge Popke has also been a member of the court's executive committee since 2005. In addition to her duties on the bench, she served as a member of the Child Support Leadership Council by appointment of the Michigan Supreme Court from 2004 through 2009. Judge Popke has also served on the Michigan Judicial Institute (MJI) Family Division Academic Advisory Committee, on the SCAO Post-Judgment Docket Committee, and on the faculty for the MJI New Judges Seminar. She has also served as an advisory board member for Dads From Day One and as a board member for the Mediation Tribunal Association. Before joining the bench, Judge Popke was an appointed member of the State Board of Ethics, a Wayne County mediator, and an active participant in various community organizations. She remains a member of the Schoolcraft College Development Authority. Judge Popke has been an invited speaker on family law topics at numerous conferences, seminars, and radio programs throughout the state. She is currently the secretary of the Michigan Judges Association.
Lindsey M. Medina
Clark Hill PLC
Lindsey M. Medina is an immigration attorney with the firm. Her practice includes representation of Fortune 100 and 500 companies, scientists and engineers, religious institutions, business executives, computer and business personnel, and other professionals and their families as they plan for entry into the United States. She has presented on immigration matters, including I-9s and F-1 OPT/STEM. Ms. Medina graduated with honors from Michigan State University in 2009 and attended Thomas M. Cooley Law School, graduating magna cum laude and in the top 2% of her class.
Odey K. Meroueh
Meroueh & Hallman LLP
Odey K. Meroueh, co-founder of the firm, is secretary of the Solo & Small Firm Section of the State Bar of Michigan. He is also chair of the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (Solo & Small Firm Section). Mr. Meroueh was selected as a 2017 Super Lawyers Rising Star. He received his JD from Washington University School of Law, where he was awarded the Excellence in Alternative Dispute Resolution Award.
Sueann T. Mitchell
Gielow Groom Terpstra & McEvoy
Sueann T. Mitchell practices in the areas of estate planning, estate and trust administration, real estate, and business law. Ms. Mitchell is an active member of the Probate & Estate Planning Section of the State Bar of Michigan and assists with the drafting of probate-related legislation as a member of the Section’s Legislation Development & Drafting Committee and as chair of a Ad Hoc Legislation Drafting Committee. She is a member of the Real Property, Trust, & Estate Law Section of the American Bar Association; Ottawa County Bar Association; and Muskegon County Bar Association. Ms. Mitchell serves on the executive committee of the Lake Michigan Estate Planning Council and is the author of an article published in Michigan Bar Journal.
David A. Moran
University of Michigan Law School
David A. Moran is a clinical professor of law at the University of Michigan Law School, where he teaches courses in criminal law and criminal procedure and directs the Michigan Innocence Clinic, which has exonerated sixteen wrongfully convicted criminal defendants since its founding in January 2009. From 2006 to 2008, he was an associate professor and associate dean for academic affairs at Wayne State University Law School, where he joined the faculty in 2000. Prof. Moran has argued five cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, including a double jeopardy case, Evans v. Michigan, which he won in 2013, Halbert v. Michigan, which he won in June 2005, and a Fourth Amendment case, and Hudson v. Michigan, which he lost in June 2006. He has published articles in, among other journals, Cato Supreme Court Review, Ohio State Law Journal, Villanova Law Review, and American Criminal Law Review. In 2010, Michigan Lawyer's Weekly named Prof. Moran Lawyer of the Year.
Hon. Christopher M. Murray
Michigan Court of Appeals
Hon. Christopher M. Murray has served on the Court of Appeals since 2002 and was chief judge pro tem from 2007-2009. He previously served as a judge on the Wayne County Circuit Court, as deputy legal counsel to Gov. John Engler, and worked as an attorney in private practice. Judge Murray is a member of the Michigan Board of Law Examiners, chair of the advisory board for the Michigan chapter of the Federalist Society, and served two terms on the Michigan Model Civil Jury Instruction Committee. Judge Murray previously served on the board of directors of the Catholic Lawyers Society, the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association, and the Incorporated Society of Irish-American Lawyers. While in private practice Judge Murray served as chairperson of the State Board of Ethics and was a member of the Local Government Claims Review Board. He is a graduate of Hillsdale College and the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.
Michael P. Nowlan
Clark Hill PLC
Michael P. Nowlan is a member and Immigration Practice Group coleader with the firm. He is a member of the Future of Immigration Law Practice Task Force and has served as a member and chair of the AILA Business Committee; vice chair of the AILA Nebraska Service Center Liaison Committee; member of the AILA Customs and Border Protection Liaison Committee; and chair of the Michigan AILA Chapter. Mr. Nowlan has lectured extensively on immigration matters and published several articles for AILA and Matthew Bender (Lexis).
Kathryn L. Ossian
Ossian Law PC
Kathryn L. Ossian is a principal and leader of the firm's Information Technology Team, as well as deputy leader of the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Practice Group. Her information technology (IT) and intellectual property (IP) practice covers over 25 years and includes extensive experience in negotiating and drafting software licensing agreements; distribution and maintenance and other IT agreements; computer law; consulting clients in Internet law; and IP dispute resolution. Ms. Ossian is a certified faculty member at the University of Phoenix teaching graduate level business law courses. She is listed in the IT law section of Best Lawyers in America, as well as Michigan Super Lawyers in the IT/outsourcing section. Ms. Ossian is a frequent speaker and has published several articles relating to her areas of practice.
Sarah L. Ostahowski
Sarah's Law Firm PLC
Upon graduation from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 2011, Sarah L. Ostahowski opened her own practice in the small village of Shepherd. Just over a year later, she opened a second office in Alma. Unlike many young graduates, Ms. Ostahowski chose to open a niche practice and she focuses entirely on estate planning and elder law, helping families plan for life's unexpected circumstances. In addition to her practice, Ms. Ostahowski is a speaker for numerous law school functions, counseling students who are looking to go directly into solo practice. She is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, the American Bar Association, and WealthCounsel.
Terrence G. Quinn
TGQ Law Firm
Terrence G. Quinn is president of the firm, focusing on estate planning, probate, and elder law. A 2002 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, Mr. Quinn began his career as a general practitioner in a large mid-Michigan firm. Shortly afterward, he undertook an effort to develop a concentration in the areas of estate planning and elder law, including his successful completion of ICLE’s Probate & Estate Planning Certificate Program. Mr. Quinn frequently conducts seminars and workshops across the state. He is an ICLE contributor and has served as faculty for ICLE’s Probate & Estate Planning Institute, among other events. In 2015, Mr. Quinn was honored by the National Black Lawyers as a Top 100 attorney in Michigan. He was also appointed in 2015 to the State Bar of Michigan Character & Fitness Committee. Mr. Quinn is also an associate pastor at his church in Ypsilanti. He has been recognized by his hometown city of Flint with Terrence Quinn Day and has received the Key to the City, among other honors.
Amy L. Sankaran
University of Michigan Law School
Amy L. Sankaran became director of externship and pro bono programs at the law school in 2011. Professor Sankaran serves as the externship faculty supervisor for full-time externship placements, including in South Africa and India. In fall 2011 she launched the Michigan Law part-time externship program for students working in local government, nonprofit, or judicial placements. As director of the pro bono program, Professor Sankaran identifies pro bono projects for which law firms and organizations need law student assistance, and then recruits and guides students involved in the projects. She previously served as a law clerk to Hon. Arthur J. Tarnow of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan; a litigation associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, and Flom LLP in Washington, D.C.; and an adoption attorney at the Children's Law Center. She returned to the law school in 2005 to become assistant director of admissions. In 2008 she became an attorney-adviser, focused on government and nonprofit careers, and pro bono manager (in which capacity she was responsible for launching the Pro Bono Pledge in 2009). Professor Sankaran is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and its Pro Bono Initiative.
Vivek S. Sankaran
University of Michigan Law School
Professor Vivek S. Sankaran is a clinical professor of law and directs both the Child Advocacy Law Clinic and the Child Welfare Appellate Clinic. He also founded the Detroit Center for Family Advocacy, which aims to safely reduce the number of children in foster care by providing families with legal and social work advocacy. Professor Sankaran's research and policy interests center on improving outcomes for children in child abuse and neglect cases by empowering parents and strengthening due process protections in the child welfare system. He sits on the steering committee of the ABA National Project to Improve Representation for Parents Involved in the Child Welfare System and has litigated numerous cases on behalf of parents before the Michigan Supreme Court. Professor Sankaran also has authored scholarly pieces and practical resource guides to assist professionals working with parents in the system and regularly conducts national and statewide training on these issues. He was appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder to the Child Abuse Prevention Board. Professor Sankaran was named the 2004 Michigan Law School Public Interest Alumni of the Year and in 2006, was certified as a child welfare specialist by the National Association of Counsel for Children, and in 2011, he was named the Parent Attorney of the Year by the Michigan Foster Care Review Board.
Cynthia L. Umphrey
Kemp Klein Law Firm
Cynthia L. Umphrey practices in the areas of business law, exit planning, estate planning, and post-death administration. She assists families and business owners in making significant personal and professional life decisions. As an exit planning strategist, Ms. Umphrey helps owners of closely held businesses in scaling back their involvement, retiring, or transitioning their companies to new owners. She is a member of the Business Law Section Council of the State Bar of Michigan and cofounder and acting chair of the section's Small Business Forum. Ms. Umphrey is also a member of the Oakland County Bar Association and the Entrepreneurs Organization. The Detroit Legal News, Oakland Legal Press, and Bottom Line Business Publications have published or quoted her articles, and she has appeared on the Business Reality Network. Ms. Umphrey is a frequent lecturer for ICLE, Lorman Education Services, the National Business Institute, and other organizations.
Paul J. Unger
Affinity Consulting Group
Paul J. Unger is one of the founding partners of Affinity Consulting Group, a legal technology consulting firm focused on automating and streamlining law firms and legal departments. Mr. Unger specializes in trial presentation consulting, document management software, and legal-specific software training for law firms and legal departments throughout the Midwest. He has provided trial presentation consultation for over 300 cases in the past 10 years. Mr. Unger is a member of the American Bar Association (ABA), the Ohio State Bar Association, and the Columbus Bar Association, as well as the Ohio Association for Justice and the Franklin County Association for Justice. He is an adjunct professor for Capital University Law School's Paralegal Program and is a frequent lecturer for CLE programs throughout the United States. Mr. Unger is the author of "PowerPoint for Legal Professionals," "Adobe Acrobat for Law Firms," and "Technology and Time Management for Lawyers." He is also a certified trainer for Sanction Trial Presentation software, Amicus Attorney client/matter management software, and Worldox document management software.
Justice Kurtis T. Wilder
Michigan Supreme Court
Justice Kurtis T. Wilder was appointed to the Michigan Supreme Court by Gov. Rick Snyder in May 2017. He previously served as one of 28 judges on the Michigan Court of Appeals, appointed by Gov. John Engler in 1998, elected in 2000, and reelected in 2004. Justice Wilder also served previously as chief judge of the Washtenaw County Trial Court. A fellow of the Michigan State Bar Foundation, Justice Wilder is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, the Michigan Judges Association, the Association of Black Judges of Michigan, the Federalist Society, and the Wolverine Bar Association. He is a former chair of the State of Michigan Community Corrections Advisory Board and served as a member of the State Bar of Michigan Standing Committee on Justice Initiatives and Subcommittee on Judicial Ethics. Justice Wilder is the chair of the board of trustees of Nonprofit Enterprise at Work, trustee of the Interlochen Center for the Arts, secretary of the board of directors of the Sphinx Organization, and member of the President's Advisory Council at Walsh College.