Midwest "Lawyer of the Year" Honorees

We asked our "Lawyer of the Year" recipients in the Midwest what they found most rewarding and most challenging about their fields of law. Here is what they had to say.

Midwest "Lawyer of the Year" Honorees
Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers

October 18, 2021 03:00 PM

BL2022-Midwest-LOTY-Jeanette M. Bazis

Jeanette M. Bazis – Litigation – Intellectual Property – Minneapolis, MN

I enjoy the art of mastering complex facts and legal concepts and presenting them to judges and juries in an understandable way. Crafting a compelling story of the case—that leads to a successful client outcome—is an extremely rewarding part of my practice.

BL2022-Midwest-LOTY-Daniel A. Boehnen

Daniel A. Boehnen – Trade Secrets Law – Chicago, IL

The most rewarding thing about my legal career has been the tremendous success of my law firm, MBHB, which provides jobs supporting hundreds of families and career development for a hundred professionals. The second most rewarding thing about my field of law has been the opportunity to integrate law and technology, helping clients protect and defend innovations that improve the standard of living for mankind. The most challenging part of this field is keeping up with change and the pace of change. When I graduated law school, patent law was a relatively low key, backstage area of law practice. Since then, patent law now has become a prime time, center stage player in the fields of law. With that change comes vastly increased competition, including competition not only for clients, but also for attracting the young talent that is the lifeblood of any organization. Separately but in parallel, the changes—and the pace of changes—in science and technology are staggering; and they have changed society and our profession in ways not previously contemplated. Keeping up is a great challenge.

BL2022-Midwest-LOTY-Inajo Davis Chappell

Inajo Davis Chappell – Nonprofit / Charities Law – Cleveland, OH

Most rewarding about my field of law is that I have been able to incorporate my passion for civic engagement and community service into my law practice. It is particularly rewarding to assist nonprofit clients in resolving “bottom line” issues to help them deliver on mission and benefit our community. While law firms are striving to be more inclusive, implicit bias of decision-makers continues to be a challenge in recruitment, retention and advancement of diverse lawyers. Our field needs to make decisions equitably and fairly so that goals for diversity, equity and inclusion are not just aspirational.

BL2022-Midwest-LOTY-Michael P. Cooney

Michael P. Cooney – Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants – Detroit, MI

When stakes are high in nationwide litigation matters, companies need sound advice and experience to find swift resolution and success. Through my national trial practice, I enjoy advocating for my clients and tailoring unique defenses when complex cases arise. I have the opportunity to develop and structure the best approach, creating strategic solutions to help my clients achieve their business objectives. The pandemic presented litigators with never before seen challenges like virtual depositions and hearings. Litigators will continue to draw on their skills to adapt and be creative as technology, innovation, and most importantly, client service will continue to evolve rapidly.

BL2022-Midwest-LOTY-Robert E. DeRose II

Robert E. DeRose II – Employment Law – Individuals – Columbus-OH

Federal and state wage laws are complicated, and workers cannot effectively deal with the legal system without a lawyer willing to fight for them. As a wage and hour lawyer, I am in the unique position to help people who are the victims of wage theft. I get personal satisfaction knowing that my help often has a dramatic and positive impact on the life of my clients. Companies have lawyers to protect them, I find personal value in protecting workers.

BL2022-Midwest-LOTY-Mowitt S. Drew III

Mowitt S. Drew III – Family Law – Kalamazoo, MI

I find it rewarding to assist families through domestic transitions with diplomacy, strategic thinking and creativity. The field of family law is challenging when parties refuse to see the value in collaborative processes and use domestic litigation as a weapon. This ultimately produces prolonged catastrophic damage to the nuclear family, unnecessarily extending the crisis well into the future.

BL2022-Midwest-LOTY-Christine M. Hansen

Christine M. Hansen – Patent Law – Indianapolis, IN

What I find most rewarding are the clients and the science! I find it very rewarding to partner with my clients to develop a patent strategy to fit their business model. Also, I am very appreciative of the opportunities I have to work on complex and exciting life science discoveries, and to work with talented inventors and patent attorneys at my clients. I enjoy the people I work with at every step of my work: the inventors, the in-house patent counsel and the patent examiners. Life science patent prosecution involves many skills and finding the right people can be hard! Our team needs folks with a strong client focus, who can understand complex life science technology, and have strong written and oral communication skills. I enjoy training people but admit the job requirements are challenging!


BL2022-Midwest-LOTY-Richard T. Hewlett

Richard T. Hewlett – Litigation – Construction – Ann Arbor, MI

Working with clients as they develop and build their projects, especially in helping develop project contract documents. It is gratifying as you learn their business and assist them in achieving the project goals. It is exciting to see new building technologies and design approaches and staying abreast of the changes with clients.

BL2022-Midwest-LOTY-Lindsay M. Johnson

Lindsay M. Johnson – Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants – Dayton, OH

Clients come to me at some of the most trying times in their lives. I take great pride in assisting and counseling my clients to achieve successful resolutions. The necessity of a comprehensive understanding of healthcare standards and knowledge of current medicine and treatment. These challenges make the practice of healthcare malpractice defense law both highly interesting and dynamic.

BL2022-Midwest-LOTY-Jin-Kyu Koh

Jin-Kyu Koh – Securities / Capital Markets Law – Detroit, MI

What I find most rewarding about my field of law (corporate finance transactional practice) is being part of a team with a common objective to accomplish the client’s goals. Through this experience, I have been blessed to meet and work with great professionals across various specialties (e.g., investment banking, finance, accounting, etc.) and industries. I have also met and worked with really intelligent, driven and energetic individuals. Many times, these projects result in a “win-win” outcome for both sides. Often it is a big problem-solving exercise—understanding the motivations and objectives of both sides and finding solutions that are mutually satisfactory. Not infrequently, the parties may be at a standstill on one or more issues in connection with a transaction. It can be challenging understanding the motivations and objectives of a party that at first glance do not seem rationale or tied to a business objective. I appreciate that sometimes the primary driver of a standstill is emotion more than a business rationale. In such circumstances, it is important to understand the underlying rationale to determine whether a mutually agreeable solution is obtainable. Although at times frustrating, overcoming these challenges can be quite satisfying—solving a more difficult puzzle.

BL2022-Midwest-LOTY-Kay Standridge Kress

Kay S. Kress – Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law – Detroit, MI

Most rewarding about my field of law are the fast pace of the practice, the intellectual stimulation of working within a statutory framework that allows for creativity and problem solving and the collegiality of the bar. Most challenging is evaluating the unique dynamics and constituents of each case to assist clients in assessing their best path forward.

BL2022-Midwest-LOTY-Bushra A. Malik

Bushra A. Malik – Immigration Law – Troy, MI

I went into the field of immigration law because I wanted to help the immigrant community that I grew up in. I find it rewarding to be able to help immigrants navigate the bureaucracy of the ever changing immigration laws, and to help them understand the requirements and processes. Whether it is a corporate client, a family petition, or an asylum seeker, in the end we are assisting human beings whose lives and futures are dependent on the advice we give as immigration attorneys. The most challenging aspect of our practice is the sometimes unfair and illogical rules keep US companies from hiring the talent they need, unnecessarily separate family members and limit our ability to protect individuals who are seeking refuge in the U.S.

BL2022-Midwest-LOTY-Elizabeth L. Sokol

Elizabeth L. Sokol – Appellate Practice – Troy, MI

Interacting with clients is both the most rewarding thing about appellate practice and the most challenging. By the time I get involved, my client has either won or lost a case of importance to them, either personally or as a business matter. The balancing act of meeting—or hopefully exceeding—their expectations, while explaining the limitations of what counsel on appeal can do is often a tightrope. Creatively keeping balance on the tightrope as the various strengths and weaknesses of a matter pull in different directions is hugely satisfying.

BL2022-Midwest-LOTY-Robert E. Tunheim

Robert E. Tunheim – Corporate Law – Minneapolis, MN

Being able to work with talented businesspeople to help them reach their objectives. Most days, it hardly feels like ‘work.’ With electronic means at our disposal, I am rarely ‘off the clock.’ My clients know they can reach me any time, and that can cut into family time or just an opportunity to catch my breath.

BL2022-Midwest-LOTY-Patricia A. Wise

Patricia A. Wise – Employment Law – Management – Toledo, OH

Most gratifying is collaborating and partnering with employers in the area of employment law. I love being able to help them avoid problems and resolve issues. It is a very collaborative practice area, and I often find myself using the pronoun “we” as we consider solutions and strategies. Employment law is rapidly changing, especially in light of the pandemic. We are all facing questions we have never contemplated in the workplace. It is a challenge to keep up but rewarding to be able to assist my clients.

BL2022-Midwest-LOTY-Gregory L. Wysocki

Gregory L. Wysocki – Closely Held Companies and Family Businesses Law – Detroit, MI

I find it very rewarding to work with entrepreneurial families and business owners. Challenges arise when working with family owned/closely held businesses when making the operational/ownership transition from generation to generation. Also challenging is succession planning, as it is an organic process which requires constant reexamination and adjustment.

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