WLAM Board of Directors

Executive Committee

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Women Lawyers Association of Michigan (WLAM) held elections at their 100th Annual Meeting. WLAM is proud to present the following outstanding attorneys serving as Officers in 2018-2019: Donna MacKenzie, President; Alena Clark, President-Elect; Roquia Draper, Vice President; Ryan Kelly, Treasurer; Erin Klug, Secretary; and Julie Gafkay, Immediate Past-President.

WLAM President Donna MacKenzieView Bio

Donna M. MacKenzie is an attorney with Olsman MacKenzie & Wallace and she specializes in representing individuals injured as a result of nursing home neglect and abuse and medical malpractice. She is the author of a number of legal articles, and a featured speaker at seminars presented by the Institute for Continuing Legal Education, State Bar of Michigan, American Association for Justice, and Michigan Association for Justice. Ms. MacKenzie’s honors include recognition as a 2010 Up & Coming Lawyer by Michigan Lawyers Weekly, a four-time Super Lawyer “Rising Star”, a 2013 Super Lawyer, and a Pacesetter by the Michigan Association for Justice. Ms. MacKenzie was selected to the dbusiness magazine Metro Detroit Top Lawyers 2014 list. Ms. MacKenzie is on the Executive Board for the Michigan Association for Justice. She also serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice.

WLAM Vice President Alena ClarkView Bio

Alena M Clark serves as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for the County of Genesee in the Appellate Division.  She received her Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law in 2009.  She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts from Western Michigan University in 2006, which included a semester of study at the Universidad Autónoma de Quetéreo in Quetétaro, Mexico.  Alena has been a member of WLAM since 2009.  In addition to being a member of the WLAM State Executive Board as President-Elect, she also serves as President of the Great Lakes Bay Region, and has previously served as Vice President in the Wayne Region.  She has been honored twice as the recipient of the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan Regional Leadership Award; first for the Wayne Region in 2013, and for Great Lakes Bay Region in 2018.

WLAM Vice President Roquia DraperView Bio

Roquia Draper is an associate attorney with the all-specialty law firm of Warner Norcross & Judd LLP.  Ms. Draper specializes in the area of family law litigation , which includes pre- and post-nuptial agreements, divorces, custody and parenting time disputes, child support issues, and stepparent adoptions.  Ms. Draper graduated magna cum laude from Wayne State University Law School in 2011, and is a member of the Order of the Coif and the Phi Betta Kappa Society.  She is also a member of multiple Local, State and Federal bar associations, and is particularly active in the Oakland County Bar Association.   She additionally serves on the Executive Board and is a active member of the Oakland County Inns of Court.  She has been named as a Michigan Super Lawyers Rising Star for 2015 and 2016.

WLAM Treasurer Ryan KellyView Bio

Ryan’s practice focuses on all aspects of family law, including divorce, child custody and support issues, paternity, parenting time disputes and spousal support modifications.  Specifically, Ryan’s talents are best utilized in high conflict family situations for professionals, cases involving mental health and substance abuse issues, dealing with narcissistic personality disorders and special needs children.

Ryan is active in several organizations including serving as a Past President for the Women’s Bar Association of Oakland County and the current Treasurer of the Women’s Lawyers Association of Michigan.  She is also a member of the Wayne County Family Law Bar Association and Northville’s Main Street League and is frequently dedicating her time and energy to other local community organizations.

She serves on the Family Law Advisory Board and is a past member of the Young Lawyers Advisory Board for the Institute of Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) and is a regular contributor including as a speaker on drafting and enforcement of orders, Wayne County family law practice tips, checklists for managing your family law practice and “Prenuptial Agreements from the Family Law Practitioner’s Perspective.”

In 2012 she received a Certificate of Completion from the Family Law Certificate Program and has been named a “Michigan Rising Star” nearly every year of her practice, eight times (2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018).  This is an honor bestowed on no more than 2.5 percent of young Michigan attorneys.  In 2014 she was named as one of the Top Lawyers in Michigan for the area of family law by Detroit Business Magazine.  Ryan has also been named a Michigan Top Lawyer in family law for 2015, and a Top 10 Under 40 in the area of Family Law by the National Academy of Family Law Attorneys.

WLAM Secretary Erin KlugView Bio

Erin Klug is a patent attorney at Varnum’s Novi office where she practices in the field of intellectual property.  She focuses her practice on both domestic and international intellectual property matters including patent procurement, trademarks, copyrights, licensing and IP litigation. Erin represents a wide range of clients including automotive suppliers, medical device companies, consumer product developers and tech startups.  Ms. Klug earned her J.D. from Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland, OH and her B.S. of Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan. Erin is the current President of the Women’s Bar Association (the Oakland Region of WLAM), is a Director on the Executive Board of Attorneys for Animals and is a member of the Michigan Intellectual Property Inn of Court.

WLAM Immediate Past President Julie GafkayView Bio

Julie A. Gafkay was admitted to practice in Michigan in November 1995.  She is the owner of Gafkay Law, PLC and practices employment discrimination and sexual harassment throughout Michigan.  She is the immediate-Past President of Women Lawyers Association of Michigan.  She serves on various professional boards and committees, as well as being involved in community boards and organizations.

Directors at Large

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Kristina BilowusView Bio

Kristina is a family law practitioner with Findling Law, P.L.C. in Royal Oak and is an adjunct professor at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School. She obtained both her JD and LLM from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School. Kristina serves as a Director at Large for Women Lawyers Association of Michigan and is the elected Treasurer of the Women’s Bar Association. Additionally, she is a member of the Young Lawyers Section Executive Council and Treasurer of the Hellenic Bar Association.

Kelly BrushaberView Bio

Coming soon!

Erin FlynnView Bio

Erin is an associate attorney at the law firm of Kelly & Kelly, P.C. in Northville.  Her practice focuses on all aspects of Family Law including high conflict divorce, child custody, paternity, and support issues.

Erin is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and the State Bar of Michigan Family Law Section.  She is the President-Elect of the Women’s Bar Association, Oakland Region; a Director at Large for the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan; President of the Northville Kiwanis Club; and a member of Impact100 Oakland County, and also sits on the Impact100 Grant Review Committee.

Tanya GrilloView Bio

Tanya Grillo is a Regional Manager for the Michigan indigent Defense Commission (MIDC).  Tanya works with all the courts in Lapeer, Macomb, Oakland and St. Clair Counties in the State of Michigan’s goal to reform the indigent defense system.  Prior to her position with the MIDC she was a solo practitioner and primarily practiced criminal law.  Tanya always had a passion for helping indigent clients and served as appointed counsel in both Macomb and Oakland County.  Her desire to help those most in need of legal assistance and her vast experience in courts throughout Metro-Detroit has made her a catalyst of change in a broken system.

Tanya strongly believes in giving back to her community and her profession.  She is the past President of the Women’s Lawyer’s Association of Michigan-Macomb Region, former secretary of Sobriety Today Our Purpose (S.T.O.P), past Co-Chair of the Criminal Law Committee in Macomb County and a member of the Macomb and Oakland Bar Associations and the Criminal Defense Association of Michigan.  She also gives of her time to charitable organizations as you will find her giving her time to homeless shelters, food banks, and other charitable causes throughout the year.

Prior to going entering a career in the law, Tanya worked at Quicken Loans.  She is received her Juris Doctorate from Thomas M. Cooley Law School and a Bachelor’s Degree from Central Florida University.

Lindsay Kelley-BlivenView Bio

Lindsay Kelley-Bliven is a principal within the firm of Kitch Drutchas Wagner Valitutti & Sherbrook where she has practiced for ten years. She focuses her practice on birth trauma litigation and medical malpractice defense. Ms. Kelley-Bliven is also a member of her firm’s Pro Bono Committee and participates in several pro bono opportunities provided in the area including criminal expungements, personal protection orders for victims of domestic violence and the Homeless Experience Legal Protection Clinic.  Ms. Kelley-Bliven received her B.A. in History from the University of Michigan and her law degree from Wayne State University Law School.   She lives in Ann Arbor, MI where she raises her 6 year old twins, coaches soccer and continues to cheer for the Michigan Wolverines.

Hon. Kirsten Frank KellyView Bio

Hon. Kirsten Frank Kelly was elected to the Court of Appeals in 2000 and re-elected in 2006 and 2012. Prior to her election to the Court of Appeals, Judge Kelly was appointed to the Wayne County Circuit Court by Governor John Engler in 1994, where she was appointed the presiding judge of the Family Division in 1997 and residing judge of the Juvenile Division in 1999. She was elected a municipal judge in 1987, and twice reelected. Judge Kelly serves on the Rules and Family Law committees of the Michigan Judges Association and has previously served as president of the Michigan Association of Municipal Judges and on the board of directors of the Michigan District Judges Association. Prior to her judicial career she practiced civil litigation as a partner at the Detroit law firm of Durant and Durant, after graduating from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. Judge Kelly also is a member of a number of civic organizations.

Hon. Denise Langford MorrisView Bio

Coming soon!

Amanda NarvaesView Bio

Amanda P. Narvaes is a trial attorney who practices with the law firm Drew, Cooper & Anding P.C. in Grand Rapids. She represents business owners in complex commercial litigation and individuals in consumer protection cases. Amanda has been involved on the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan’s Western Region Board since 2011, and served as its President during the 2015-2016 year.  She currently serves as the Regional Representative for the Western Region.

Samantha OrvisView Bio

Samantha Orvis is an attorney in Garan Lucow Miller P.C.’s Grand Blanc office. She handles civil litigation matters, including the defense of personal injury and property damage claims. Samantha earned her law degree cum laude from Wayne State University Law School and her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan – Flint.

Samantha is very active with many bar associations and non-profit organizations, serving as the Treasurer for the Young Lawyers Section Executive Council for the State Bar of Michigan and as the Women Lawyers Delegate for the Board of the Genesee County Bar Association, among others. She is dedicated to serving her community and the public in other ways as well. Samantha serves as the Secretary on the Board of Directors for New Gateways, Inc., a non-profit organization that enriches life for adults with mild to severe multiple developmental disabilities by offering choices and community involvement.  She also sits on the Board for the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center, which was founded to protect the world’s greatest freshwater resource and the communities that depend upon it.

In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, gardening, and trying to beat her best time from last year’s road races.

Kirsten SilwanowiczView Bio

Kirsten J. Silwanowicz is an Assistant General Counsel at the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART), which is the regional transportation authority that serves the four south eastern counties of Michigan. She graduated from Michigan State University in 2009 with her Bachelor’s of Arts in Spanish and then from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law in December of 2011. She began her practice in Texas, where she is also licensed, and is also active in her women’s attorney organization there called Attorneys Serving the Community. She also is the current Treasurer for the WLAM Wayne Region.

Shawndrica SimmonsView Bio

Shawndrica N. Simmons is a solo practitioner at the lawchic.com. Her civil litigation practice focuses on Labor & Employment Law, Family Law and Contractual Law. She has been in the legal field for over twenty years. Her professional experience has evolved from being a court clerk to a staunch litigator. She is currently treasurer of the State Bar of Michigan Solo & Small Firm Section and a diversity & inclusion committee member of the State Bar of Michigan and the National Conference of Bar Presidents. As Chancellor of the People’s Law School and current President of the Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Michigan, she seeks and secures funding, lecturers, and venues to host informative sessions on legal and social topics affecting marginalized communities. Born in Louisiana and reared in the Midwest and Southern United States, she is a high school graduate of the Phoenix Union High School District in Arizona; the University of Michigan-Dearborn, the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan and the Harvard Trade Union Program (Harvard Law) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She can hold a non-judgmental conversation with anyone.

Nicole SmithsonView Bio

Coming soon!

Angela WalkerView Bio

Coming soon!

Nicolette ZacharyView Bio

Coming soon!

Regional Representatives

Laura KubitView Bio

Coming soon!

Kristina JosephView Bio

Kristina Joseph is an attorney with the David Griem & Associates law firm where her practice focuses primarily on criminal defense.  She enjoys vigorously defending her clients in cases ranging from misdemeanors to capital felonies, both in state and federal court.  Kristina is a member of many local and state bar associations including the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan and the Detroit Bar Inn of Court.  She is licensed to practice law in Illinois, Michigan, and the Eastern District of Michigan.

Kristina graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor’s of Arts from the James Madison College, a minor in Spanish and a specialization in business.  She earned her J.D. from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law where she served as the Executive Director for the Moot Court Board and was inducted into the National Order of Barristers for trial advocacy.

Elisha OakesView Bio

Coming soon!

Susie ChalgianView Bio

Susan L. Chalgian concentrates her practice in the areas of elder law, estate planning, and special needs planning, and is an accredited attorney with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. She is co-author of the ICLE publication, “Advising the Older Client or Client with Disability” and is frequent speaker on issues of elder law. In addition to acting as a board member for state-wide WLAM and a board member for the Mid-Michigan WLAM region, she is an active member of both the Elder Law and Disability Rights Section of the State Bar and the Probate and Estate Planning Section of the State Bar. She is also a board member for the Greater Lansing Estate Planning Council (GLEPC).

Stephanie MartinView Bio

Stephanie A. Martin is an associate in Plunkett Cooney PC’s Insurance practice group.  Stephanie handles coverage cases throughout the United States, representing and counseling national insurance companies in complex coverage disputes in the areas of construction law, personal injury, premises liability and toxic tort.  A native New Yorker, Stephanie received her law degree from The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law in Washington, DC in 2013.

Kym LondonView Bio

Kym is a partner at Hamilton, Graziano & London, PLC in Ann Arbor, Michigan where she practices Family Law, Probate and Estate Planning. In addition to her practice, she is a clinical Adjunct Professor for the WMU Cooley Innocence Project.  Kym graduated from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, cum laude in January 2011.  She received her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Michigan.  She is a civil and domestic mediator and received her training as a domestic mediator from the Mediation Training & Consultation Center in Ann Arbor.  In 2017, Kym received the ICLE Certificate in Family Law.  She the Immediate-Past President of WLAM, Washtenaw Region and has served as a member of the WLAM Statewide Legal Affairs Committee. She is currently serving on the WLAM, Washtenaw Region Board of Directors as the Regional Representative.  Kym is also a member Washtenaw County Bar Association and serves on the WCBA Bias Awareness Committee. She served for three years as Co-Chair of the WCBA Solo and Small Firm Section.

Kym London is admitted to practice law in the State Courts of Michigan and in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Amanda Tourangeau MarlerView Bio

Amanda Tourangeau Marler graduated from Michigan State University with a BA in Business Administration.  After graduating from Michigan State, Amanda continued her education at University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.  Upon gradation, Amanda worked as a Staff Attorney for Neighborhood Legal Services Michigan assisting homeless veterans and veterans at risk of becoming homeless with their legal barriers to stable permanent housing. In 2015, Amanda became an Administrative Law Judge with the Michigan Administrative Hearing System working first in the Unemployment Division and then moving into the Benefit Services Division. Since starting law school, Amanda’s been a Detroit resident and enjoys checking out all of the new restaurants popping up downtown, visiting all of the new parks and green spaces, and hanging out with family and friends.

Amanda NarvaesView Bio

Amanda P. Narvaes is a trial attorney who practices with the law firm Drew, Cooper & Anding P.C. in Grand Rapids. She represents business owners in complex commercial litigation and individuals in consumer protection cases. Amanda has been involved on the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan’s Western Region Board since 2011, and served as its President during the 2015-2016 year.  She currently serves as the Regional Representative for the Western Region.