Legal Experience

As a licensed attorney, I have considerable experience representing clients in a multitude of legal areas. I attended Florida State University College of Law, where I was the Executive Editor of the Law Review and represented indigent criminal defendants for the Tallassee Public Defender’s office. After law school, I joined a busy general practice firm in southern Michigan as an associate attorney. I would then become a partner in a general practice firm in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Through my legal practice, I have represented individuals, businesses, property owner’s associations, a hospital, a secondary school, and municipalities. Throughout my legal career, I have been the primary attorney working my cases, even when I have worked under the supervision of a more experienced attorney.

My experience includes the following:

  • Appellate Practice: I have successfully won appellate cases in the Michigan Court of Appeals, the Michigan Supreme Court, and the United State Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
  • Bankruptcy: I have represented individuals and creditors in federal bankruptcy hearings, including in adversary proceedings.
  • Business Law: I have assisted numerous businesses in incorporating as a business and in resolving legal disputes.
  • Child Neglect: I have been an appointed attorney in many child neglect cases, both for trial-court level neglect proceedings and for appeals of orders terminating parental rights.
  • Collections: I have assisted many individuals and businesses in collecting outstanding debts.
  • Contracts: I have drafted and revised contracts, and I have litigated many cases for breach of contract.
  • Criminal Defense: I have been retained and appointed as a public defender for many individuals accused of misdemeanor and felony offenses.
  • Employment Law: I have represented employers and employees in many cases involving termination and unemployment compensation. My representation has included participating in administrative hearings, arbitration, and employment contract negotiation.
  • Estate Planning: I have drafted wills and trusts for numerous individuals and couples.
  • Family Law: I have represented individuals in contested and amicable divorce cases as well as parents seeking child custody, child support, or parental visitation.
  • Insurance: I have worked with homeowners and insurance companies to resolve insurance disputes, and I have litigated to obtain a court declaration regarding insurance coverage.
  • Intellectual Property: Working with intellectual property specialists, I have helped clients protect their intellectual inventions.
  • Litigation: I have represented clients in numerous trial proceedings, including for contract disputes, contested divorces, property disputes, and personal injury cases.
  • Municipal Law: I have represented municipalities regarding ordinances revisions and violations, including by participating in board meetings as a retained legal advisor and by representing municipalities in court.
  • Nonprofits: I have helped nonprofit organizations obtain and maintain nonprofit status.
  • Personal Injury: I have helped individuals litigate and negotiate monetary damages arising from the negligence of others.
  • Probate: I have helped families resolve creditor claims and distribute the estate assets of deceased loved ones.
  • Pro Bono Representation: I have volunteered to represent many clients for reduced or zero cost to help assure that the justice system remains open to individuals of limited means.
  • Property Owners’ Associations: I have been the retained attorney of property owners’ association boards, providing advice regarding policies, resolving owner disputes, and representing the board in contested legal matters.
  • Real Estate: I have drafted numerous deeds transferring property, and I have litigated many disputes involving property boundaries and easements.

I am occasionally asked why, given my busy and successful legal practice, I decided also to pursue a Ph.D. in literature. The answer is simple: curiosity. I am a curious person who thrives on intellectual challenge. I also have a lifelong love of literature. My ongoing professional aim is to meld my legal and academic interests.

In my academic life, my legal experience has already proven quite useful:

  • I have routinely incorporated legal material into the courses I have taught to help provide context for the primary readings, including by assigning and discussing Supreme Court cases such as Brown v. Board of Education (finding unconstitutional the racial segregation of schools) and Obergefell v. Hodges (recognizing constitutional protections for same-sex marriage).
  • I have advised pre-law students and served on an honors thesis committee for a pre-law student’s thesis regarding human trafficking.
  • I have used my knowledge to assist various academic committees, such as by helping rewrite the constitution of my university’s teaching assistant’s union.
  • I have explored the interrelation of law and literature in my research.