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Bodman Announces Practice Group Leadership Appointments

By: Bodman PLC


Bodman PLC is pleased to announce new leadership appointments in the firm’s Aviation Law and Finance, Banking, High Net Worth, Intellectual Property, and Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution practice groups.

The new appointments include the following:

  • Brian E. Kersey of the Grand Rapids office has been appointed co-chair (with current co-chair Bonnie S. Sherr) of the Aviation Law and Finance Practice Group, succeeding Carla S. Machnik who remains an active member of the group.
  • Adam B. Norlander of the Detroit office has been appointed co-chair (with current chair Robert J. Diehl, Jr.) of the Banking Practice Group.
  • Christine L. Phillips of the Detroit office has been appointed co-vice chair (with current vice chair Jaimee L. Witten) of the Banking Practice Group.
  • Kelly M. Burnell of the Detroit office has been appointed co-chair (with current chair Andrew H. Curoe) of the High Net Worth Practice Group.
  • Justin P. Bagdady of the Ann Arbor office has been appointed vice chair-IP litigation of the Intellectual Property Practice Group (with Susan M. Kornfield remaining as group chair).
  • Michelle Thurber Czapski of the Troy office and Thomas J. Rheaume, Jr. of the Detroit office have been appointed co-chairs of the Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution Practice Group, succeeding Thomas Van Dusen who remains an active member of the group.
  • Sarah L. Cylkowski of the Detroit office has been appointed vice chair of the Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution Practice Group.

“Continual growth and change in our leadership ranks – adding diversity and new voices – is one of our greatest strengths as a firm,” said Bodman Chair Carrie Leahy. “We also thank those leaders who are stepping down from their positions for their service.”

Kersey concentrates his practice in aviation law and commercial finance matters. His aviation law work encompasses purchase and sale transactions, regulatory compliance, risk management, tax planning, Part 91 and Part 135 operations, and management and leasing arrangements for both aircraft and hangar space. He has extensive experience in international aviation purchases and sales. His aviation clients range from individuals buying or selling single engine aircraft to family offices and corporate flight departments buying or selling large cabin jet aircraft, with the aircraft being based throughout the United States. Kersey is a former chair and the current treasurer of the State Bar of Michigan Aviation Law Section Council.

Norlander represents national and regional financial institutions in the structuring, negotiation, and documentation of commercial, agented and syndicated lending transactions. His experience encompasses leveraged buyout and leveraged recapitalization loans, asset-based loans, real estate financing, letters of credit and bankers acceptance facilities, direct bond purchase transactions, and multi-rate, multi-currency loans and facilities. He has particular experience in transactions involving borrowers in the environmental services and automotive industries.

Phillips represents lenders in the structuring, negotiation, and documentation of real estate and general commercial loans. She also has experience representing for-profit and non-profit project owners and developers and lenders in real estate finance matters, including applications for loans insured by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Phillips has years of experience in general real estate law. She has drafted and negotiated all manner of real estate-related legal documents, including reciprocal easement agreements, purchase agreements, construction agreements, leases, tenancy in common agreements, and operating agreements, among others.

Burnell advises high net worth individuals and families on managing many aspects of their personal and financial affairs. She advises clients on estate planning, trust and estate administration, wealth transfer, and tax planning matters. She also counsels business owners on entity formation and restructuring, complex transactions, and succession planning. She has a particular expertise representing high net worth clients in personal and business real estate transactions and in connection with economic development projects. She is a member of the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation Network of Professional Advisors, the Financial and Estate Planning Council of Metropolitan Detroit, the Michigan Women’s Tax Association, and the Washtenaw Estate Planning Council.

Bagdady assists companies and their executives in commercial litigation disputes, intellectual property and brand protection counseling and litigation, and when faced with regulatory investigations or enforcement actions. His intellectual property litigation practice includes proactively monitoring activity that infringes his clients’ intellectual property rights and helping clients take down infringing or harmful content. He has litigated intellectual property cases in federal courts throughout the country, including defending against claims of infringement as well as helping companies enforce their rights against infringers, cybersquatters, and competitors engaging in unfair business practices.

Czapski, who also chairs Bodman’s Insurance Practice Group, represents major corporate clients in litigation and alternative dispute resolution proceedings involving product liability claims, consumer protection claims, insurance and ERISA disputes, contract matters, and a broad range of other commercial and business disputes. Her clients include insurance and financial service companies, manufacturers, Tier-1 automotive suppliers, telecommunications companies, and pharmaceutical companies. She is active with the Defense Research Institute including past service as chair of the Commercial Litigation Committee. She serves on the board of directors of the National Foundation for Judicial Excellence and on the Class Action Task Force for the Center for Law and Public Policy.

Rheaume represents clients in complex commercial litigation matters, including appeals, and serves as local counsel for national and international law firms. He is a former law clerk to Justice Stephen J. Markman of the Michigan Supreme Court. He has written appellate and amicus briefs in state and federal appellate courts, including the United States Supreme Court. Rheaume is active in several professional associations and is the current President of the Michigan Chapter of the Federalist Society. He is also a board member of the Detroit Economic Club’s Young Leader Program and an active member of the Catholic Lawyers Society of Detroit.

Cylkowski litigates complex matters in state and federal courts, with a particular focus on commercial health care disputes, class actions, e-discovery and antitrust cases. Her clients include insurance companies, banks, automotive manufacturers and various other corporate commercial litigants. She has extensive experience counseling clients through large-scale discovery, including multidistrict litigation discovery. In this role, Cylkowski works with her clients’ employees, experts, co-counsel and opposing counsel to streamline discovery and avoid unnecessary costs.

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