Michigan Lawyers Weekly, a weekly publication covering legal news around the state, recently featured the Dobrusin Law Firm and our involvement with the City of Pontiac.
In “A Sidebar With Eric Dobrusin,” digital editor Kelly Caplan interviewed our founding shareholder about the many area activities and events the firm sponsors. Here are a few excerpts.
Q: The Dobrusin Law Firm has called Pontiac home since 2004 and has left an indelible mark on that community over the past 15+ years. What drew you to Pontiac? Why did you make such a commitment to the city?
A: Pontiac doesn’t receive nearly the attention it deserves. Aesthetically, its buildings (including ours) are architectural gems, and it offers a special environment teeming with creativity, intellect, and entrepreneurial spirit. We have benefited from that vibe, and we have been committed to the city because we want to be good neighbors and make a difference.
Q: Corporate social responsibility – being a good neighbor in the community – is not a mainstream initiative for most law firms. Why do you do it?
A: The simple answer is that it’s the right thing to do. One of our core values is a commitment to give back to the community. We foster an environment in which team members feel encouraged to champion causes that align with their beliefs and make them proud to be firm ambassadors. Community involvement increases employee engagement in our workplace, improves client relationships, and allows our people to grow their skillsets in ways they might not within the traditional firm experience.
As a law firm, our primary obligation is to our clients, but it was crucial to have someone coordinating our civic and philanthropic activities. Marijayne Renny, a Pontiac resident, is our dedicated community outreach coordinator. She works behind the scenes and on the front lines to help the firm honor our pledge to be a good neighbor.
Q: Your firm is particularly involved in the Phoenix Races. What is that event, and what prompted you to come up with the idea?
A: Alley Cat Café owner Danny Martinez and I had an idea to create a derby event in downtown Pontiac, and Daniela Walters and Marijayne Renny then spearheaded the coordination. By partnering with Main Street Pontiac, General Motors, and local technology-focused companies, the coalition established the Phoenix Races in 2018 to encourage STEAM education and careers. Pontiac middle and high school students team up with adult mentors – including Dobrusin Law Firm attorneys and staff – to build wooden, gravity-powered cars they then race in a one-day derby. The event fosters relationships between students and working professionals and funds scholarships awarded to rising seniors who enter the race.
This summer, the Phoenix Races are shifting gears from gravity-powered cars to skateboards that participants can continue to enjoy after the event. We’re delighted the Oakland County Sheriff PAL (Police Athletic League) Program and local skate shops have signed as partners.
Q: In what other ways do you “act locally” and give back to the Pontiac community?
A: We continually find ways to support Pontiac’s businesses and residents. Besides the Phoenix Races, the Dobrusin Law Firm sponsors other Main Street Pontiac initiatives, such as Canvas Pontiac, a juried competition with the Detroit Institute of Arts that turns the downtown into a walking art gallery, drawing artists from around the country, area neighborhoods, and the local high schools; and Hauntiac, a series of Halloween-themed activities and events. Each year, we sponsor and volunteer with the downtown Holiday Extravaganza, which provides a holiday parade and WinterFUN festival. And when job opportunities arise, we look to hire people from the Pontiac community.
More in line with our practice, we present intellectual property-related educational programs to local business support organizations, including the Pontiac Regional Chamber, T. Ramsey and Associates, and the Center for Pontiac Entrepreneurship. We help coordinate and participate in technology-centered networking opportunities, including networking sessions held by Oakland County’s Tech248 initiative, Main Street Pontiac’s technology group, and a Pontiac Tech Walking Tour organized by Automation Alley. We’ve sponsored two Leaders Dogs for the Blind “Double Dog Dare” fundraisers where participants rappel down Pontiac’s tallest building. And when we celebrated our firm’s 20th anniversary in 2019, we invited family, friends, clients, and colleagues to a party at Pontiac’s Little Art Theater with catering from Pontiac’s Moonlight Catering.
You can read the full article on the Michigan Lawyers Weekly website.