Join us in congratulating attorney Rebecca Wilson on becoming Secretary for the Kiwanis Club of Macomb. She was sworn in on October 26, by Sue Petrisin, the first female President of Kiwanis International. Becky is honored to take a leadership role in an organization that does so much to help children locally and around the world.
At The Dobrusin Law Firm, we believe a cleaner, safer, healthier community is better for us all. To improve our local area and the world at large, our firm participated in Main Street Pontiac’s annual Earth Day Cleanup in the spring and the recent pre-Arts Crawl Clean Up last week.
On both occasions, as our staff and other enthusiastic volunteers swept, picked up trash, pruned, and weeded, The Dobrusin Law Firm provided snacks and supplies to keep the troops happy and well-fed. There was a bit of hard work and a ton of fun, and the results of everyone’s efforts were immediately noticeable.
We can’t save the world, but we can dramatically improve our little corner of it. These small efforts make a big impact, and volunteering in our local community also has extraordinary mental health benefits. If you missed this year’s Earth Day celebration or Pre-Arts Crawl Clean Up, we hope to see you next year! We’ll bring the snacks!
Our thanks to shareholder Daniela Walters for leading the firm’s efforts.
For many girls, the cost of a high school homecoming or prom dress can be a financial burden, especially when college tuition looms less than a year away or if there are more pressing economic needs. That’s where the Sparkle Network steps in, with help from shareholder Becky Wilson and The Dobrusin Law Firm.
The Sparkle Network is a Metro Detroit 501 nonprofit that helps various causes through fundraisers and programs. Two of the organization’s signature events – the Prom Closet Project Tour and the Dress Into a Dream Homecoming Dress Sale – give young ladies the opportunity to wear beautiful designer dresses and gowns to their most memorable high school occasions at little or no cost. Because of the programs’ growing popularity, retailers across Michigan offer new crops of dresses each year. Proceeds are funneled back into subsequent years’ sales.
Inspired by the Sparkle Network and its founder Maureen Lietz, Becky sought a meaningful way for the firm to aid the cause – and she found it. The Dobrusin Law Firm has hosted multiple dress sales in our Downtown Pontiac office, including a Prom Closet Project sale last spring. It’s been another fitting way (no pun intended) to show our dedication to the local community.
Helping high school girls isn’t the only thing the Sparkle Network does. Among its other activities are childhood cancer awareness (including craft room hospital visits and spa days for “princesses” aged five to sixteen who are in treatment or remission), Girls Night Out shopping events, and the Sparkle Wrapped Tour comedy shows.
Although the 2022 school year is over, the Sparkle Network is preparing for the next round of homecoming and prom dress shoppers. Volunteers and donations are always welcome, and there are still schools and clothing stores that aren’t familiar with the Prom Closet Project Tour or the Dress Into a Dream Homecoming Dress Sale. For more information, please visit the Sparkle Network website and Facebook page, or contact Maureen Lietz at 248-840-8136 or email@example.com.
For more than 100 years, the Chamber and its members have supported many worthwhile charitable and business activities. The organization’s approximately 170 members contribute to the entrepreneurial spirit, goodwill, and success of the Southeastern Michigan Italian-American community.
The Chamber is one of several organizations to which Becky donates her time, talent, and efforts. She is the secretary elect for Kiwanis Club of Macomb and a member of the Women’s Bar Association. She also volunteers with A Beautiful Me, which assists young women with confidence-building activities. To give back to the community, her pro bono work includes organizations such as The Daisy Project-MI and The Butterfly Collective as well as a new organization, Maddog Mania, recently established in honor of local football coach, Jim Madigan.
Becky devotes her practice to copyright protection and trademark prosecution from inception to registration. From new to ongoing branding initiatives, she understands her clients’ needs and works tirelessly to reach their desired goals.
We are proud of Becky’s dedication to supporting our community.
The Dobrusin Law Firm was a proud sponsor of the Catholic Community Response Team’s Par Fore Charity Golf Classic outing. Attorney Eric Hydorn’s foursome hit the links in support of the charity’s efforts.
The Catholic Community Response Team provides direct support and referral services to those whose basic daily necessities are unmet, primarily within Pontiac, Michigan. They assist with immediate food and household needs and long-term services like eviction prevention and stopping utility shut-offs.
The Team hosts numerous fundraising events, including the golf outing and holiday celebrations at Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving, to underwrite the costs incurred in pursuit of the organization’s critical mission.
The Dobrusin Law Firm champions efforts to elevate women in the legal profession. For four years, the firm has contributed to the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan Foundation to fund an annual scholarship. We are delighted to announce that the 2022 Dobrusin Law Scholarship recipient is Estella Park Riahi, a student at Michigan State University College of Law.
“Estella is a talented, socially-conscious, bright legal mind with an impressive business background,” said Kristen Pursley, managing shareholder of The Dobrusin Law Firm and Chair of the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan Foundation. “She has distinguished herself in the classroom and the community, and I’m sure she will be a leader in whatever discipline she pursues.”
Originally from Los Angeles, Estella earned her undergraduate degree from the University of California, San Diego. After college, she spent eight years working for her family’s business, which provides traditional Korean clothing to a racially and ethnically diverse clientele in L.A. There, Estella learned to empathize with and understand the challenges of fellow community business owners, many of them immigrants in her local hometown of Koreatown. The experience instilled in her a desire to understand the law and how it could work to support emerging businesses, especially those who struggle with access to legal services.
This summer, Estella will clerk at a boutique law firm and assist with its intellectual property and transactional practices, focusing on technology startups and new businesses. In the fall, she will participate in Michigan State University College of Law’s First Amendment Law Clinic, where she will educate Michigan high school students regarding student press censorship, privacy issues, copyright, and trademark law involving social media and the internet.
With contributions from The Dobrusin Law Firm and 11 other law firms and corporations, the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan Foundation awarded $42,000 in scholarships to Michigan’s brightest law students. “Our organization’s mission to advance women in the legal profession is ongoing,” said Ms. Pursley. “Estella and the other 11 recipients have not only demonstrated their excellent academic performance at Michigan law schools, but they also exhibit leadership and a commitment to important areas of the law, including STEM, social justice, equality, child advocacy, and domestic violence.”
Since 1997, the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan Foundation has awarded more than $730,000 to over 280 women law students. For more information and a list of all recipients and sponsors, please click here.
We are thrilled to announce that The Dobrusin Law Firm is an official sponsor of another great team – the Flint City Bucks of the United Soccer League! This weekend, the Bucks begin regular season play at historic Atwood Stadium, Kettering University’s home field.
Founded in 1995, the Bucks have been one of the most successful minor league soccer teams in the country, qualifying for eleven U.S. Open Cups, winning eleven divisional championships, and securing four national titles. In 2000, they were the first Premier Development League squad to defeat a Major Soccer League (MLS) team in the U.S. Open Cup when they beat the New England Revolution at Foxboro Stadium. The MLS has drafted more than 80 Bucks players since 1999, and Bucks alumni currently play professional soccer in the U.S., England, Scotland, Norway, Belgium, Israel, Trinidad & Tobago, and Puerto Rico.
The Dobrusin Law Firm’s decision to sponsor the Bucks aligns with our community-oriented values. “We chose the Bucks, not simply because of their championship pedigree,” said Founding Partner Eric Dobrusin, “but also for their commitment to the Flint community and the organization’s desire to be a source of pride for the City of Flint.” The firm is exploring how to leverage this opportunity to introduce “the beautiful game” to kids in Flint and Pontiac and offer local youth unique experiences with the team.
This coming season promises to be exciting as the Bucks look to add a fifth championship star to their jerseys. To view the team schedule and purchase game tickets, please visit flintcitybucks.com.
Let’s go, Bucks!
Photo Credits: Franklin Dobrusin
The Dobrusin Law Firm is proud of Shareholder Daniela Walters’ continued dedication and commitment to the City of Pontiac through her role as Advisory Council chair for Pontiac’s BIG IDEA Grant Program. Sponsored by Flagstar Bank and coordinated by Main Street Pontiac, the program provided $500,000 in grants and loans for small businesses that proposed BIG IDEAS to bring jobs and growth to the city.
An economic stimulus for growth in downtown Pontiac and city-wide, Pontiac’s BIG IDEA Grant Program provided more than 70 grants of up to $10,000 to small businesses over the program’s five-year run. A competitive application process determined the grants’ recipients, with an annual $50,000-$100,000 award going to a business with a game-changing BIG IDEA to produce a significant number of jobs or greatly attract visitors to Pontiac.
An ardent supporter of our hometown city, Daniela was instrumental in the program’s success from its inception, starting as a program member up to her current role as Advisory Council chair. As chair, Daniela devoted her time throughout the grant process, coordinating the overall program, reviewing grant applications, and working with the council to select the recipients, and managing fund distribution. Our office staff, including Kim Tombrella and Jim Luckhardt, have also spent the past few years interfacing with recipients as our office also provided a central location for applicants and recipients.
The Dobrusin Law Firm is honored to be a part of the Pontiac community and appreciates Flagstar Bank, Main Street Pontiac, and Daniela’s dedication to making our city grow and thrive.
It’s no secret shareholder Erin Klug has a passion for animals and their well-being. One outlet for her passion is The Barn Sanctuary, a Chelsea, Michigan nonprofit that provides a loving home to farmed animals in crisis. Erin was recently elected to its board of directors because of her longstanding dedication to the organization and the cause; only a few days later, she was elected secretary.
Founded in 2016, The Barn Sanctuary rescues and rehabilitates farmed animals—the most abused and neglected group of animals in the world—by offering them a safe haven where they can recover, thrive, and demonstrate the need for society to progress to a plant-based lifestyle. More than 100 cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, ducks, sheep, and goats call the sanctuary home.
This is the second leadership role in the animal rights and welfare space Erin has assumed of late. In September 2021, she was voted Chair-Elect of the State Bar of Michigan’s Animal Law Section, a group of attorneys that provides education, information, and analysis about legal issues affecting animals. Erin also serves as board member for Attorneys for Animals, a Michigan nonprofit organization advocating for animals and providing resources for those that care about them.
The Rochester Hills City Council selects and appoints members based on their experience in archaeology, architecture, building construction and engineering, historic preservation, and community service. Bryan holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial and Operations Engineering from the University of Michigan.
The Commission investigates requests for establishing or changing historic districts, approves or disapproves plans for work on resources within those areas, and maintains a list of potential districts. Bryan was also named to the Historic Districts Study Committee, which evaluates and advises on preservation and protection of resources within historic areas.
According to the Rochester Hills website, the city “has a rich heritage dating back to the early 1800s. In 1978, the former Avon Township established a study committee that evaluated and eventually recommended areas of the township to be designated as historic districts.” Currently, there are 30 such areas in Rochester Hills.
Since 1998, the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan Foundation (WLAM Foundation) has encouraged and supported the next generation of women attorneys by partnering with other benefactors to fund annual scholarships. This year, the Foundation will award $42,000 to 12 outstanding law students attending Michigan’s five accredited law schools (University of Michigan Law School, WMU Cooley Law School, Michigan State University College of Law, Wayne State University Law School, and University of Detroit Mercy School of Law).
In 2019, our firm established a scholarship under the WLAMF umbrella, joining a circle of donors that has included General Motors, Masco Corporation, Miller Canfield, and Dickinson Wright. Managing shareholder and WLAMF president Kristen Pursley announced The Dobrusin Law Firm Scholarship will be offered again this year with an award totaling $3,500.
The Foundation Board will begin reviewing students’ applications this month. The scholars will be announced in April and recognized at the WLAMF Annual Meeting in June 2022.
Founded in 1934, the Detroit Economic Club (DEC) provides a platform for international dignitaries and business leaders to explore issues that shape the economic environment. The organization also seeks to identify and encourage tomorrow’s leaders, helping them develop professional skills through its Career Readiness Academy (CRA).
Recently, Dobrusin Law Firm shareholder Paul Palinski renewed his commitment to serve as a volunteer CRA Mentor through 2022. He joined the program in 2020.
The CRA is a five-month program where Southeast Michigan high school students connect with Paul and other young DEC leaders to discuss personal branding, career paths, networking, interview preparation, resumé writing, and LinkedIn usage. Over the curriculum’s six sessions, the students receive personalized attention and forge meaningful mentor-mentee relationships.
Paul exemplifies our firm’s pledge to support the communities in which we live and work. Besides the DEC, he is a member of McLaren Oakland Hospital’s board of directors and the governing council of the State Bar of Michigan’s Intellectual Property Law Section.
Dobrusin Law Firm shareholder Katie Pacynski served as a panelist for a virtual discussion – The “411” on IP-Related Jobs – coordinated by Michigan State University College of Law’s Career Services Office.
The panel addressed various career paths for the audience of first- and second-year law students. Topics included:
- Different types of intellectual property-related law practices.
- Working in small and midsize law firm environments.
- Tips for choosing and pursuing a legal career in IP.
Kristina Bilowus, Assistant Director of Career Development at MSU Law, moderated the October 19, 2021, webinar, which featured Katie, Peter Keros from Burris Law, and Elizabeth Erickson of Quinn IP Law.
In another act of community involvement, Dobrusin Law Firm shareholder Rebecca Wilson has been a member of the Kiwanis Club of Macomb since it was chartered. Although the pandemic halted their philanthropic activities in 2020, Becky and her Kiwanis Club colleagues resumed their fundraising efforts earlier this year, continuing their mission to support local children’s charities and give back to the community.
Recently, the Club presented a $500 check to the Parents and Friends of Glen H. Peters School. Founded 23 years ago, the Parents and Friends group acts as a parent-teacher organization for the special needs school in Macomb Township. Over the past two decades, they have raised money for playground equipment, a splash pad, and other features.
The Kiwanis Club of Macomb also presented $500 checks to Maggie’s Wigs 4 Kids, a grassroots non-profit that provides wigs and support services at no charge to children and young adults experiencing hair loss due to cancer, alopecia, trichotillomania, burns, and other disorders; and North Star Reach, Michigan’s only barrier-free, fully-accessible medical camp serving children with significant health challenges and their families at no charge.
Pictured in the photo above (left to right): Laura Austin, Kiwanis Club of Macomb; Jill Pinkston-Bonner, Glen H. Peters School parent and media relations coordinator for the Parents and Friends group; Karen Brouillard, parent, president, and founder of the Parents and Friends group; Rebecca Wilson, parent and Kiwanis Club of Macomb member; Shelley Petty, Parents and Friends group vice-president and PTO chair; Jennifer Shelton, Glen H. Peters School principal; and Pam Loller, parent and Parents and Friends group member.
As many people know, Dobrusin Law Firm shareholder Daniela Walters is an avid supporter of our hometown of Pontiac. In 2017, she co-founded Main Street Pontiac, a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering a vibrant, safe, and inclusive downtown in Pontiac by collaborating with partners in the city, and she currently serves as treasurer.
Earlier this year, Main Street Pontiac, together with City leadership and downtown restaurants, was able to create the structure for and launch downtown Pontiac’s own social district, “The Circuit.” Overseen by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission, a social district designation allows licensed and permitted bars and restaurants to sell alcoholic drinks on their premises to customers for consumption off-premises within the social district boundaries.
The Circuit lets visitors purchase alcoholic beverages from one of the participating venues and stroll downtown Pontiac, as long as they adhere to these rules:
- Order from one of the participating venues, including Exferimentation Brewing Company, Fillmore 13 Brewery, Charlene’s, Alley Cat Cafe, Little MO, Liberty Bar, and Lafayette Grande.
- Use the designated labeled and disposable cup provided by each participating venue for alcoholic consumption within the district and dispose of cups properly.
- Enjoy responsibly by being safe and using good judgment.
Visitors are asked to remain on the designated sidewalks (Saginaw Street and Lawrence Street), alleys (West Alley), and common areas (Hidden River, Saginaw Green “Yellow Chair”) within The Circuit.
The Dobrusin Law Firm is proud to be part of the Pontiac community. We applaud Daniela, the Main Street Pontiac Board of Directors, and the city government for creating opportunities to bring people downtown.
Common Ground is a 24-hour crisis services agency committed to helping youths, adults, and families in turmoil. By phone, online, and in-person, the nonprofit organization serves the community by providing professional and compassionate assistance to more than 80,000 people annually.
Common Ground also holds a special place in our hearts – not only do they call Pontiac home (like our firm), but also our founding shareholder Eric Dobrusin is a former member of Common Ground’s Board of Trustees.
Recently, Michigan Real Estate Masterminds held its fourth annual golf outing at Twin Lakes Golf Course to raise funds for this year’s beneficiary, Common Ground. In addition to the Dobrusin Law Firm’s hole sponsorship, two of our attorneys participated in the day’s events. Associate Eric Hydorn hit the links, and shareholder Rebecca Wilson staffed the registration table.
Pictured: Eric Hydorn (left) and his foursome of golfers; Common Ground President & CEO Heather Rae and Becky Wilson.
Each year, the Dobrusin Law Firm comes out in full force to sponsor and support the Main Street Pontiac Phoenix Derby Races! Although the pandemic forced a cancellation in 2020, the event returned for a third year – with a slight change of vehicle.
In the past, the Races teamed area middle and high school STEAM students with working engineers to build wooden gravity-powered cars. This year, skateboards were the focus, a tie-in with the Pontiac Skatepark Project initiative to construct a safe, accessible, and sustainable skatepark facility in the city.
When kids showed up at assigned time slots, they were given skateboard kits and tools and watched a video showing how skateboards are made. Then it was off to their workbenches to build their boards with help from the experts. Safety is always the top priority, and thanks to generous sponsors, each contestant received safety equipment and then short lessons on their new boards by experienced skaters part of the Pontiac Skatepark Project.
At the end of the competition, Main Street Pontiac awarded three scholarships of $1,000 each based on earlier submitted essay-style applications, and four $50 gift cards to the People Skate and Snowboard skate shop as prizes for superior craftsmanship.
Marijayne Renny, the Dobrusin Law Firm’s community outreach coordinator, has been working diligently to raise funds and awareness for the Pontiac Skatepark Project. Marijayne and Daniela Walters took on the added job of leading the firm’s involvement with the Phoenix Races in 2021.
We thank Marijayne and Daniela for their tireless efforts and everyone else who helped make this year’s Phoenix Derby Races such a success!
Dobrusin Law shareholder Paul J. Palinski has been named to the board of trustees of McLaren Oakland, a 328-bed hospital providing primary and specialty healthcare services to the greater Pontiac and Oakland County communities.
“Social responsibility is a pillar of our law firm, as is our commitment to Pontiac,” said Mr. Palinski, who devotes his practice to intellectual property matters, including patent counseling and strategic patent prosecution with a focus on mechanical, electromechanical, and biomedical technologies. “I am honored to join the McLaren Oakland board and help support the hospital’s mission to be the recognized leader and preferred provider of health care services in the area.”
McLaren Oakland is part of McLaren Health Care. This integrated health network includes 13 hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, imaging centers, an employed primary care physician network, commercial and Medicaid HMOs covering more than 630,000 lives, home health and hospice providers, retail medical equipment showrooms, pharmacy services, and a wholly-owned medical malpractice insurance company. McLaren operates Michigan’s largest network of cancer centers and providers, anchored by the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, one of only 49 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive centers in the U.S.
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.
In Pontiac, longboarders and shortboarders need a new place to ride. Providing a modern skatepark is the impetus behind a new project in the city, one the Dobrusin Law Firm actively and proudly supports.
The Pontiac Skatepark Project seeks to build a safe, accessible, and sustainable 10,000 square-foot facility for youth and adults. Tentatively slated for construction across from Pontiac’s high school and middle school, the new facility will replace the current park consisting of broken-up tennis courts with deteriorating rails.
Pontiac resident Marijayne Renny is the Dobrusin Law Firm’s community outreach coordinator, an avid roller skater (even previously part of Detroit Roller Derby), mother of a roller-skating daughter, and wife of a skateboarding husband. She spends her free time teaching kids how to comfortably roller skate and helped identify the need for a better quality skatepark in Pontiac. She has been particularly active with this initiative, helping prepare grant applications and leading corporate and grassroots donation efforts.
So far, the Skatepark Project (previously known as the Tony Hawk Foundation) and the Ralph Wilson Foundation have extended up to $250,000 in grant money, and another $50,000 grant will pay for “green space” elements, including edible landscaping features. To receive the full $250,000 grant, the Pontiac Skatepark Project needs to raise matching funds of at least $50,000, but ideally $250,000, by November 1, 2021, then complete construction of the park by November 2022. To help with fundraising efforts and financial management, the Pontiac Skatepark Project has partnered with Oakland County Sheriff Police Athletic League which is a 501c3.
Most recently, the Pontiac Skatepark Project hosted SK8 Art in downtown Pontiac to raise awareness about the project on international Go Skateboarding Day. The evening was full of music and skating in the West Alley in downtown Pontiac and kickstarted a week-long silent auction of custom-painted skateboard decks.
Up next is this year’s Phoenix Races on Friday, August 13th, another Dobrusin Law Firm-supported event. This year, the Phoenix Races are replacing derby cars with skateboards to bring further awareness to the Pontiac Skatepark Project.
Dobrusin Law Firm associate Eric Hydorn recently spoke to an audience of business leaders at a program hosted by the Pontiac Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Eric’s presentation – Intellectual Property: A Practical Summary for Small Business – provided Chamber members and guests with an overview of patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets, including the scope of protection offered by each. The program was presented through the lens of IP assets of well-known companies and brands to illustrate how IP typically fits into business models.
The presentation also included mock scenarios involving hypothetical rights-holders and how they could leverage those rights to protect and monetize their IP.
The Dobrusin Law Firm has been actively involved in the Pontiac community, and we welcome the opportunity to expand our engagement with local business owners, executives, and managers through our educational programs and other events.
In 2019, our firm joined the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan Foundation’s (WLAM Foundation) annual scholarship program to encourage and support the next generation of attorneys, especially female attorneys. We are pleased to announce the recipient of this year’s WLAM Foundation Dobrusin Law Firm Scholarship is Nichole Van Blaricum, a second-year student at Wayne State University Law School.
Nichole received a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Michigan State University in 2008 and spent the following year surveying and archiving artifacts at the Buried Gardens of Kampsville, Illinois, with the Center for American Archeology. She then earned a Master of Science in Historic Preservation from Eastern Michigan University in 2013, supplementing her studies by helping to restore the Bahreden Lodge in Pine, Colorado, and conducting surveys for the Michigan Barn Preservation Network, where she now serves as the Network’s secretary and a member of the board. A certified architectural historian, Nichole has documented conditions and locations of historic Detroit homes and wrote the history portion of the Packard Plant Project website.
Turning her sights on the law, Nichole entered Wayne State University Law School in 2019 and has continued to give back. She clerks part-time for a busy Detroit boutique law firm, volunteers with the school’s Asylum & Immigration Law Clinic, and was awarded an Innovation Grant to restructure and teach the Introduction to Cultural Anthropology online course as an adjunct professor at Mid-Michigan Community College.
The Dobrusin Law Firm is one of eight law firms and professional organizations that sponsor the WLAM Foundation’s annual scholarship program, which awards scholarship money to Michigan’s brightest women law students. Besides their superior academic performance at Michigan law schools, this year’s 11 recipients demonstrate leadership and advance performance in important areas of the law, including STEM, social justice, equality, child advocacy, and domestic violence.
“We are committed to promoting women in the legal field,” said Kristen Pursley, WLAM Foundation President and Managing Shareholder at the Dobrusin Law Firm. “As a mother and non-traditional law student, Nichole demonstrates the courage and resolve to pursue her dream, not only for herself but also as an example to her children. It is our privilege to celebrate her with the Dobrusin Law Firm scholarship.”
Launched in 2012, the Build Institute helps people turn their business ideas into reality by providing them with the necessary tools, resources, educational programming, and a support network in Detroit. More than 1,800 aspiring and experienced entrepreneurs have now graduated from the program, many of whom have started successful ventures in the city.
Recently, Build Institute launched a Build Basics course in downtown Pontiac in partnership with T. Ramsey & Associates and Pontiac Policy Council focused on serving the entrepreneurial community in the Pontiac area.
On October 12, 2019, shareholder Daniela Walters presented at Build Basics about intellectual property matters small businesses often encounter. During the seminar, Daniela addressed issues that arise involving patents, trademarks, and copyrights.
Daniela is a frequent speaker on IP issues to startup audiences and is active in the Metro Detroit business community. She is the co-founder and President of Main Street Pontiac and a member of Leadership Oakland’s LOXXX Cornerstone Class. Daniela recently received Main Street Oakland County’s Community Influencer Award and was named to Oakland County Executive’s “Elite 40 Under 40.”
Photo Credit: T Ramsey & Associates
On September 14, the Dobrusin Law Firm proudly sponsored LO Palooza 2019, an all-day music festival that raises funds for special needs recreational spaces in Orion Township. During its six-year history, the event has paid for improvements large and small, including wheelchair swings, adaptive playground equipment, and North Oakland’s Miracle Field, a fully inclusive and accessible baseball field. Sawyer Fredericks, the winner of season 8 of NBC’s “The Voice,” headlined this year’s line-up of performers.
“Our community comes together for this event, and it’s remarkable to witness the impact LO Palooza makes on so many people and their families,” said Becky Wilson, a shareholder at the Dobrusin Law Firm. “Orion Township and The Daisy Project – Michigan help make a positive difference in how our kids experience sports and recreation. Everyone is extremely grateful.”
In addition to the firm’s financial support, Becky volunteered at the event. She has also worked on several pro bono tasks for The Daisy Project.
Although the dust has barely settled after LO Palooza 2019, it’s not too soon to think about your plans for September 19, 2020. Mark your calendars for a fantastic day of musical entertainment, food trucks, and vendors. You won’t want to miss it!
Now in its fourth year, the Ride 2 End Suicide brings together suicide survivors, their families, friends, supporters, and local biking enthusiasts to raise awareness about health and recovery and to raise money for life-saving suicide prevention programs. The ride also honors the legacy of Marie Jozefiak, the inspiration for the annual bike event.
The Dobrusin Law Firm proudly sponsored this year’s event and also supported senior counsel Terry Finerman and building services manager Jim Luckhardt as they pedaled the 30-mile route with 300 other riders on September 7th.
Funds raised during the ride will assist KnowResolve and Common Ground. Both non-profit organizations provide suicide awareness and prevention services to the community, connect people struggling with available resources, and provide education, support, and crisis intervention programs.
KnowResolve recently established The Shed, a new community center located in Shelby Township for teens, by teens, with programs that focus on the arts with music, poetry readings, storytelling, open mic nights, art and photography exhibits, classes, and workshops. The center also offers support groups and drop-in counseling, as well as yoga, meditation, and restorative practices.
If your end-of-summer plans don’t include LO Palooza, be sure to shuffle your schedule and join the Dobrusin Law Firm on September 14 for a fabulous day of live music, food trucks, face painting, and a fierce corn hole competition!
Now in its sixth year, LO Palooza is a joint effort between Orion Township and The Daisy Project – Michigan. The event has helped fund significant improvements to area playgrounds and parks, including wheelchair swings, special playground equipment, and beach mats that enable wheelchairs to navigate sand and terrain that is otherwise inaccessible. Proceeds from this year’s event will help further adapt North Oakland’s Miracle Field, Michigan’s first baseball field for children with physical or cognitive disabilities.
LO Palooza will be held at the Wildwood Amphitheater and begins at noon. Seven bands are scheduled throughout the day and into the evening, with food and beverages available to purchase from three food truck vendors and a beer tent. Admission is $15 per person if purchased online ($20 at the gate), and children under the age of 12 enter for free!
With the event just around the corner, there are still volunteer opportunities available. Click here to learn how you can help.
Now in its seventh year, Canvas Pontiac is a collaborative effort with the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) and the Pontiac Arts Commission. The program invites artists from around the globe to submit and display their work in photography and handcraft mediums. Additionally, the program includes a scholastic category for Pontiac High School and International Technology Academy students.
The Dobrusin Law Firm is a proud sponsor and an active partner in Canvas Pontiac, with coordination and planning executed by the Firm’s Community Outreach Coordinator Marijayne Renny and shareholder Daniela Walters. Submissions were evaluated by a panel of judges with diverse art backgrounds – including Marijayne and three-time finalist Franklin Dobrusin – who considered more than 150 entries, ultimately selecting the top 25 submissions.
The final 25 selections were debuted at Fete de l’Art, a kickoff event presented by the DIA and hosted by Main Street Pontiac, and are now showcased on 8’x10’ canvases installed on various buildings throughout the downtown, creating an outdoor walking gallery and adding additional interest and aesthetic appeal. An estimated 18,000 commuters and visitors walking the streets of downtown Pontiac will see the new canvases. The artists enjoy the opportunity for increased exposure and the top three artists in each category received a cash prize.
The Dobrusin Law Firm was delighted to work with Main Street Pontiac and the Pontiac Arts Commission to co-sponsor this important community program with the DIA, The Treasury, and McLaren Oakland. We invite you to walk the tour, celebrate this year’s winners, and support the arts in Pontiac. Click here to learn more.
What a great day it was at the 2019 Phoenix Derby Races!
Area middle and high school STEAM students put their minds to work to engineer and build the fastest wooden gravity-powered cars in Pontiac. Races for the checkered flag were hard-fought and the celebrations were well-earned by the students and their professional STEAM collaborators and mentors.
Speeding past the finish line first was team “Burnt Toast,” consisting of middle schoolers, with teams “City Girls” and “Missing Partz” as close second- and third-place finishers, respectively. A total of ten student teams participated in the student portion of the event.
At the conclusion of the student races, Main Street Pontiac, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works with the City of Pontiac government, Oakland County Economic Development, and the Pontiac Downtown Business Association, awarded $1,000 scholarships to Shar’Day Hardiman, Jouchee Yang, and Rebecca Murray (pictured above) – three students intent on pursuing post-secondary educations in STEAM fields. The scholarships were made possible through sponsorship by McLaren Oakland, General Motors Pontiac Engineering Center, The Dobrusin Law Firm, and Main Street Pontiac.
The day-long event was topped off by friendly adult-bracket races. Competition for the fastest car was fierce, but in some races, winning had as much to do with speed as it did with style. Either way, efforts in both categories were impressive and entertaining! The top teams included independent racer Nick Walters and Dobrusin’s downtown business neighbors LocalHop and First Presbyterian Church of Pontiac.
Now in its second year, the Phoenix Derby Races are made possible through significant involvement from our community neighbors and partners. Special thanks to Dobrusin Law Firm shareholder Daniela Walters and Community Outreach Coordinator Marijayne Renny, two of the event’s primary coordinators. In addition to The Dobrusin Law Firm, sponsors and partners included:
- General Motors Pontiac Engineering Center
- DASI Solutions
- M1 Concourse
- Genisys Credit Union
- Alley Cat Café
- Marriott of Auburn Hills and Pontiac
- The City of Pontiac
- Pontiac Regional Chamber
- Harmony Healing
- STAR EMS
- Honor Community Health
Thank you to everyone for making the Phoenix Derby Races such a great educational and family-friendly event. We look forward to next year’s competition!
Community engagement is an important part of the Dobrusin Law Firm’s culture, and as a proud member of the Pontiac business community, we opened our doors to the public during a downtown walking tour organized by Automation Alley and DASI Solutions.
The June 13th “Morning Member Mingle” showcased Pontiac’s growth and innovation against a backdrop of its renovated historical buildings. Visitors were first welcomed to the Mingle at a breakfast networking session at The Lafayette Grande Banquet Facility with presentations from each of the participating businesses. Dobrusin Law Firm’s Daniela Walters spoke to the audience about the firm’s decision to move into Downtown Pontiac more than 15 years ago and the importance of being engaged in the local community with organizations like Main Street Pontiac. After the breakfast, visitors took part in an open house walking tour, where conversations continued about the region’s continued rebirth and the roles technology and manufacturing have played in its renaissance.
Other businesses that participated in the Pontiac Tech Walking Tour included:
- Cynerge Consulting
- DASI Solutions
- FIRST Robotics Team 0469
- General Motors
- The Lafayette Grande
- The Next Foundation
- Paissa Wine Cellar
- PC Miracle
- Pike Street Properties – Opportunity Zone
- Pontiac’s Little Art Theatre
- Pontiac Surveillance Group
- Pontiac Transportation Museum
- The Riker Building
- The Treasury
It was our pleasure to join with fellow Pontiac-area neighbors, and we look forward to committing future resources to the city. Click here to learn more about Pontiac’s growing tech scene and ways you and your organization can get involved.
The Dobrusin Law Firm’s Kristen Pursley reviewed submissions for the Empower Change MI pitch competition to support aspiring women entrepreneurs launching and growing social venture enterprises in the region. The Empower Change MI initiative is a collaboration between the Michigan Women’s Foundation and Ford Motor Company Fund.
Social enterprises seeking startup or growth funding were invited to submit two-page concept papers and financial overviews by Sept. 15, with the requirement that they exist to solve a real community problem, have a business model that will ultimately be sustainable, and focus on a product or service people will pay for.
The Women’s Foundation secured volunteers, like Kristen, to evaluate and score the concept papers, and divvied the submissions into three categories – ideation, launch, and growth.
“The women (and a few good men) in this competition are learning how to skillfully blend traditional capitalism with an idea that could change their neighborhood…or even the world,” said Kristen.
Finalists receive educational opportunities, technical assistance, and mentorship to fine-tune their plans in preparation for a February 2019 pitch competition. A panel of judges will choose the winners who will receive cash grants from The Ford Fund.
The Dobrusin Law Firm’s Theresa Orr moderated the “Key Opportunities and Concerns for Legal Departments in an Evolving Industry” panel at the Autolex: Autonomous Vehicle Legal Forum, organized by Managing Intellectual Property and Benchmark Litigation in Detroit, Michigan on September 25, 2018.
At the forum, attendees and presenters discussed the increasing reality of autonomous vehicles on the automotive industry as they continue to disrupt the current landscape.
“Key Opportunities and Concerns for Legal Departments in an Evolving Industry” panel topics included:
- Legal department do’s and don’ts for unleashing the potential for innovation
- Opportunities and risks in a robust R&D environment to be “first to market”
- Fighting the theft of trade secrets
- Coping with the M&A activity of OEMs
- Can auto companies monetize features directly? What are the fee models and ‘consumer terms’ likely to look like?
The panelists were: Jason Skinder, global patent counsel, Aptiv; Antun Peakovic, director of IP, Schaeffler; and William Orlewicz, general counsel, Magnum Manufacturing.
Theresa has 27 years of experience practicing law, including 26 years registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). She has experience in prosecution and litigation in all areas of intellectual property, including 10 years’ experience as in-house counsel. For the past three years, she was VP and General Counsel at NSK Americas, Inc. and prior to that was Associate General Counsel there. Prior to that, she had three years as Chief Patent Counsel and General Counsel at HoMedics, Inc., a consumer products company.
For more information about the forum, click here.
On September 15, The Dobrusin Law Firm served as the official sponsor of LO Palooza’s Green Room, which covered the costs associated with hosting the local artists backstage for this event.
LO Palooza is an all-day music festival held at Wildwood Amphitheater, with food trucks, vendors, a petting zoo, face painting, a rock wall, a beer tent, a bounce house, a corn hole tournament and much more.
The event, a joint effort between Orion Township and The Daisy Project – Michigan, raised money to help complete the construction of Miracle League North Oakland, a fully accessible baseball field. The new field, a custom-designed, synthetic turf field that accommodates wheelchairs and other assistive devices while helping to prevent injuries, will be located in Friendship Park.
“I like to see the community come together for the common good,” said Becky Wilson, a shareholder at The Dobrusin Law Firm. “Every child deserves to have a chance to enjoy America’s favorite pastime on a team of their own!”
In addition to the firm’s sponsorship, Becky volunteered the day of the event. She’s also worked on a number of pro bono tasks for The Daisy Project – Michigan.
The Dobrusin Law Firm provides effective strategic advice on issues of patentability, infringement, validity, registerability of trademarks, licensing, confidentiality, employment agreements, noncompetition matters and the procurement of Intellectual Property rights.
The Women Lawyers Association of Michigan (WLAM) has won the Kimberly M. Cahill Bar Leadership Award for 2018. This award symbolizes excellence in promoting the ideals of professionalism and equal justice for all.
Accepting the award at the State Bar of Michigan Awards Banquet was the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan Foundation‘s (WLAM Foundation) President Kristen Pursley, attorney and shareholder at The Dobrusin Law Firm, and WLAM President Donna MacKenzie of Olsman, MacKenzie, Peacock & Wallace.
This award is established in memory of Kimberly M. Cahill, president of the State Bar of Michigan (2006-2007). Her volunteer leadership efforts in state and local bar organizations included serving as chairperson of the Representative Assembly, president of the Women Lawyer’s Association of Michigan, and president of the Macomb County Bar Association.
In 2018, WLAM celebrated 100 years of supporting its mission of securing the full and equal participation of women in the legal profession in furtherance of a just society. Since 1997, the WLAM Foundation has awarded over $610,500 to 252 outstanding women law students attending Michigan law schools. The Foundation will be giving out $35,000 in scholarships this year – including a scholarship endowed by The Dobrusin Law Firm.
Daniela Walters, a patent attorney at The Dobrusin Law Firm, and president of Main Street Pontiac, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works with the City of Pontiac government, Oakland County Economic Development, and the Pontiac Downtown Business Association, was a driving force behind the inaugural Pontiac Phoenix Races.
The event, open to Pontiac resident high school students, encouraged kids to form a team, work with mentors to build wooden gravity-powered cars, and race the cars down Wayne and West Lawrence Streets which were closed to traffic, all in one day. There was also a bracket-oriented competition for adults who wanted to join in the fun. The goal of the event was to cultivate comfortable and fun relationships between professionals in STEAM careers with high school students in Pontiac and with one another while also creating scholarships for rising seniors who entered the race.
“It was wonderful to bring such a popular, old pastime as the derby races to downtown,” said Daniela. “The day was about camaraderie and fostering interest and involvement in STEAM fields – science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics.”
Daniela also gathered a group of law clerks, interns, and attorneys from Dobrusin Law to test build their selected kit.
Last year, the City of Pontiac, Downtown Pontiac Business Association, and Main Street Pontiac presented The Dobrusin Law Firm with their Partner Award at the Community Awards dinner, honoring its dedication to improving the downtown community. The Dobrusin Law Firm was selected for the Partner Award not only for continuously and reliably sponsoring a number of events over the years, but also for supporting the active involvement of their employees in a myriad of organizations within the community.
Managing shareholder Kristen Pursley has been named a judge in the 2018 North American MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge (IIC), a platform for recognizing and rewarding organizations that are promoting technology as a vehicle for positive change in a world where automation poses potential challenges for employment.
The brainchild of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, the IIC was launched two years ago to celebrate businesses and nonprofits around the world that are using technology to solve a grand challenge of our time — to create not only prosperity, but shared prosperity by reinventing the future of work in the digital era. This year, the IIC has expanded to a global tournament model, collaborating with partners in five regions — North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. Detroit, where MIT has partnered with the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, is hosting the challenge’s North American region.
“Being part of the Pontiac community, we see firsthand what happen when low- and middle- income workers are left behind — or even harmed by advances that otherwise benefit business, economy, and society,” said Kristen. “I am so pleased to be part of this initiative which promotes ‘digital heroes’ – organizations harnessing technology to create a more equitable economy, as we face some of the most disruptive changes in human history.”
Kristen and other judges will choose 12 regional challenge winners to be acknowledged and awarded cash prizes at the IIC North American Celebration held in Detroit in September. Four regional champions will win $20,000 each and eight finalists will each win $5,000. Following the celebration event, four North American winners will advance to the IIC Global Grand Prize Tournament, hosted at MIT in Cambridge, MA, in October. Four global grand-prize winners, chosen from the regional winners around the world, will be awarded $1 million in prize money.
The Dobrusin Law Firm proudly supports Art&Soul Dreams, a nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness and inspiring adoption of foster children in Michigan. The organization’s mission is to change the culture and create a paradigm shift of how our society views foster children specifically, and the concept generally.
To accomplish this, Art&Soul Dreams has created a traveling photo exhibit of adoptable foster children between the ages of 8-17 that quietly seizes one’s attention, opens hearts, and inspires thoughts and actions from a positive viewpoint. The photos are taken by local recognized photographers with the mission to capture the soul of the child.
This year’s opening reception – a free, family-friendly event – will be held at the Pontiac Creative Arts Center on Saturday, August 18 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The exhibit will continue until the end of the month.
“We are honored and humbled to give back to the community we serve by supporting and strengthening organizations that improve our neighborhoods,” said Katherine Pacynski, a Dobrusin shareholder and Art&Soul Dreams board member. “Art&Soul works tirelessly to augment and enhance the efforts of the foster care facilities in our state through a combination of art and activism.”
Art&Soul Dreams has had success in matching children to their forever families and they are hoping to continue the success through this exhibition and help from others spreading the word. For more information about supporting its important mission, please visit: www.artandsouldreams.org.