Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Meet the 4 finalists for East Lansing City Attorney; interviews to take place on Sept. 3

September 3, 2020
<p>East Lansing City Hall pictured on Sept. 12, 2017, on Linden Street. Here, the City Council meets to discuss residents&#x27; concerns.</p>

East Lansing City Hall pictured on Sept. 12, 2017, on Linden Street. Here, the City Council meets to discuss residents' concerns.

Photo by Anntaninna Biondo | The State News

Earlier this summer, a contentious East Lansing City Council meeting led to the termination of the city attorney’s contract. 

The council finalized the four candidates during a meeting on Aug. 27, who will be considered for the city attorney’s position on Thursday evening. The four candidates are Foster Swift, Clark Hill PLC, Rosati Schultz and George Brookover.

All applicants submitted letters to apply to the city attorney’s position that will open up when the current city attorney, Tom Yeadon’s contract is up following the vote to terminate it.

“With the talent, knowledge and experience of our attorneys, Rosati, Schultz, Joppich & Amtsbuechler, PC, can provide high quality and personalized legal services in an efficient and cost-effective manner,” a letter from Stephen P. Joppich to George Lahanas, the City of East Lansing City Manager reads. 

The four finalists will be interviewed on Thursday evening at 6 p.m. Each interview will last around 45 minutes. Residents will have a chance to make remarks at the meeting during the time set aside for public comments. Written comments can be emailed to the East Lansing City Council.

The applications submitted by firms for the city attorney position can be accessed online.

Rosati, Schultz, Joppich & Amtsbuechler, PC

Rosati, Schultz, Joppich & Amtsbuechler, PC is a legal firm based out of Farmington Hills that also has a Lansing office that originated with a team of 11 lawyers in 1993. 

In the letter to Lahana’s the firm stated that they wished to “meet the needs of the City of East Lansing and its citizens.” 

As a municipal law firm that currently has 25 lawyers, the firm has its lawyers primarily concentrated in areas of representation of local government entities, according to the application. 

In their application, the firm broke down many of the things that East Lansing Mayor Aaron Stephens said he was looking for following the meeting on Aug. 27. Those included cost and availability. 

"Some factors that I was considering, and this is in no particular order but No. 1 is gonna be (the) cost," East Lansing Mayor Aaron Stephens said on Monday. "Obviously, making sure that you know that we are keeping in mind our budget constraints, understanding the services and the scope that we are going to need. But also understanding the financial reality of what we're going to be able to pay for."

The firm, according to their application, said they would offer services for $170 an hour under a five-year term for attorneys with 10 or more years of experience on their staff.

George Brookover, P.C.

George Brookover, P.C. is among the finalists for the EL city attorney position. The two-person firm is based in East Lansing and was formed by Brookover in 1991, per the application. The other practicing lawyer with the firm is Nathan P. Boerma.

“We promise to strive to conserve the financial resources of the people of the city of East Lansing,” the firm's application says. “We promise to be responsive. This means that a member of the firm will return all phone calls and email inquiries during business hours within two hours of receipt.”

The firm offered in the application, “after a review of your most recent City Attorney Services contract,” to work in the city attorney’s position for a total annual fee of $516,000. This would be paid in 12 installments beginning on Oct. 5, 2020.

Brookover is an East Lansing native and studied at Cornell before attending the University of Michigan Law School.

Clark Hill PLC

The application for the firm was led off with a letter from Charles A. Lawler, a member attorney with Clark Hill PLC. The firm is based in Lansing and has offices in Birmingham, Grand Rapids and Detroit. 

The firm, according to its website, has a history dating back to 1890 and is one of the largest firms in the United States. 

The firm has more than 650 attorneys in 25 offices across the United States, Ireland and Mexico, their application states. 

“We understand that municipal law is about community improvement, service to residents and taxpayers, and cost-effective, timely results. As members of the Mid Michigan community, we are committed to providing sophisticated counsel to address the City’s unique issues and advance the City’s goals and objectives,” the letter to Lahanas that was submitted by Lawler reads.

As a part of the firm’s application, the terms and conditions stated that the minimum for the length of the contract with the city is for three years.

Foster Swift Collins & Smith, PC

Founded in 1902, Foster Swift Collins & Smith, PC has operated in Michigan as a professional firm with more than 93 attorneys, its application says. 

The firm, per the application, has operated as a Michigan professional corporation since 1989 and has Michigan-based offices in Lansing, Southfield, Grand Rapids, Detroit, Holland and St. Joseph.

“If offered the opportunity to serve the City of East Lansing, Michael Homier, the firm’s Municipal Practice Group leader will serve as the City Attorney. Mark Koerner and the other attorneys listed in this proposal may also provide their expertise and assistance in serving the legal needs of the City,” the proposal from the firm said.

It was unclear how much Foster Swift would ask in terms of cost.


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