Serving Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, and Shiawassee Counties
Mid Michigan Region Leadership
Click on image to e-mail Region Officers. Connect with Mid Michigan Region on Facebook.
Katie Tucker, President
Katherine Bennett, Vice President
Melanie Smith, Treasurer
Hon. Joyce Draganchuk Secretary
Susan Chalgian Mid Michigan Representative
Calendar of upcoming events
2016-2018 Catherine Tucker
2015-2016 Amanda Pileggi
2012-2015 Torree Breen View BioClose Bio
Torree J. Breen is a partner/director at the East Lansing-based firm, Willingham & Cotè, P.C. Ms. Breen serves as Secretary on the firm's Board of Directors. Ms. Breen is the chair of the Family Law Practice Group. She also serves as a member of the firm’s Litigation and Hospitality & Alcohol Law Practice Groups. Ms. Breen specializes in family law, which includes divorce, child custody disputes, prenuptial agreements, guardianships/conservatorships, and grandparent’s rights. On behalf of the Hospitality and Alcohol Law Practice Group, she specifically focuses upon Liquor Control Commission license violations and Lottery Commission violations.
She has proudly served as the President of the Women Lawyer's Association of Michigan, Mid-Michigan Section, from 2012-2015. In 2016, Ms. Breen was awarded a "Regional Leadership Award" by the Women Lawyer's Association of Michigan.
Currently Ms. Breen is a member of My ABC | WLAJ’s “The Crew,” airing in Mid-Michigan which features ten professional women from the Lansing community with the goal to share everyday information to empower women. Her videos are viewed both on-line and via daily TV programming throughout the week. The clips provide helpful information regarding divorce, custody, alimony and other related issues involving family law. She is also a guest blogger for the Lansing Bridal Association and participates as a guest speaker for the local Second Saturday Divorce Workshops.
2011-2012 Valerie Lafferty View BioClose Bio
Val has been a practioner in residential and commercial real estate as a broker, appraiser and attorney. Val has an undergraduate degree in multi-disciplinary social science from MSU (history, economics and political science), a masters degree from Wayne State in education/counseling and law degree from MSU Law. Jobs have included principal of Market Street Realty for acquisition, right-of-way management and appraisals and Appraisal & Acquisition Manager at Consumers Energy. For the past 7 years she has worked in State government, functioning as a chief appraiser for the Department of Natural Resources and then appointed as a member of the Michigan Tax Tribunal, hearing appeals and writing opinions for valuation, special assessments and charitable/religious, principal residence, and poverty exemptions. Val and her husband just moved to Lake Lansing in Haslett, looking forward to more outdoor recreation with family and friends. Val has taken many volunteer leadership positions over the years in the schools, in her Township and with professional associations like WLAM. She is currently a member of the Ingham County Bar Association, League of Women Voters, MSU Community Club, one book club and aspires to be more involved with the Lansing Oar & Paddle Club.
2008-2011 Sarah Elizabeth Wohlford
2007-2008 Angela Brown
2006-2007 Sandra Sorini Elser
2004-2006 Heather A. Gilkey View BioClose Bio
Ms. Gilkey is a successful attorney serving the needs of her clients in the areas of law regarding Real Estate , Corporate and Estate Planning. She has proven her legal acumen, business savvy and leadership skills as both a solo practitioner and in group practice. Ms. Gilkey has also supported the legal and general community (past and present) by serving on multiple boards, including the Burcham Hills Foundation, the Junior League of Lansing, ATHENA WIN, and the Zonta Club of East Lansing Area, to name a few. Prior to private practice, she also served as a law clerk for both the Ingham County Friend of the Court and Michigan Supreme Court, Judicial Institute.
Engaged in numerous real estate transactions and closings in excess of $20 million. Sole attorney responsible for closing several golf course sales. Pivotal member of the legal team that closed the largest historical rehabilitation project in Lansing, MI (restoration of the Lansing Board of Water and Light Power Plant) that enabled a historical building to become the site of the new world headquarters for the Accident Fund Insurance Company of America. Negotiated and drafted ground and existing structure leases.
Knowledgeable in business formation and corporate succession planning. Draft quit claim deeds, warranty deeds, land contracts, residential and commercial condominium documents, corporate by-laws, operating agreements, articles of organization, articles of incorporation, residential and commercial leases, employment manuals, buy-sell agreements, letters of intent, State of Michigan trademark applications, represent employers at administrative law hearings and draft purchase agreements.
Draft joint trusts, wills, living wills, family trusts and power of attorney documents. Also obtained court appointed Guardians and Conservators for incapacitated individuals.
2003-2004 Meredith Jagutis
2002-2003 Kristen M. McNelly View BioClose Bio
As trial counsel for a Fortune 100 company, Kirsten McNelly Bibbes runs a complex, fast-paced product liability and toxic tort defense docket in San Francisco, California. Kirsten obtained her undergraduate and law degrees from Brigham Young University, after which she spent two years at Dickinson Wright, and eleven years practicing with Foster, Swift, Collins & Smith, PC in Lansing, Michigan. She moved to California in 2011.
Kirsten is actively involved in pro bono matters, having volunteered her legal services to various non-profits benefiting disadvantaged children, including handling the adoption of Somali orphans and assisting immigrant children at risk of deportation.
2001-2002 Elizabegth Madigan
2000-2001 Elizabeth H. Latchana View BioClose Bio
Elizabeth H. Latchana (Beth) is a shareholder and attorney, specializing in employee health and welfare benefits at Fraser Trebilcock where she began her career in 1998. Beth received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Notre Dame Law School in 1998 and her Bachelor’s degree from Alma College in 1995. A few years after joining Fraser Trebilcock and volunteering in the community, Beth had the honor of serving as president of the Mid-Michigan Region of WLAM from 2000-2001.
Selected in 2015 as “Lawyer of the Year” for Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law in Lansing by Best Lawyers, the Genesee County native has achieved an AV Preeminent peer review rating by Martindale-Hubbell, and continues to be selected by Leading Lawyers and Best Lawyers. Her most recent accolade is selection as one of the Top 30 “Women in the Law” in the Class of 2017 by Michigan Lawyers Weekly.
She is also a leader at Fraser Trebilcock, currently serving as co-Chair and co-Coordinator of the firm's Employee Benefits Department and practices. She also previously served as Secretary, Treasurer, and Vice President of the Board of Directors for Fraser Trebilcock.
Outside of work, Beth serves as being a role model for youth and assists her community through activities including participating in alumni career fairs, coaching and managing youth in various recreational sports leagues, assisting with creating a community dog park, organizing and collecting donations for local shelters, and serving in leadership capacities of local non-profit organizations, most recently the Board of Directors for the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. Beth lives in Davison, Michigan with her husband Mark and their three children, Eva, Abby and William.
1999-2000 Marcy R. Matson
1998-1999 Marcy R. Meyer
1997-1998 Yvette L. Wilson
1992-1993, 1996-1997 Suzanne Krumholz Clark View BioClose Bio
Suzanne K. Clark is a licensed attorney who was in private practice for over 21 years, primarily as a shareholder in the labor law firm of White, Schneider, and P.C. Her primary areas of practice were labor, employment, insurance and benefits law. For the last 10 years, she has been employed by the Michigan Education Association; as both a labor representative and staff attorney, handling labor arbitrations for public school and college employees.
1995-1996 Billie J. O'Berry
1994-1995 Hon. Beverley Nettles-Nickerson
1993-1994 Michele R. Eaddy
1991-1992 Hon. Janice K. Cunningham View BioClose Bio
Janice K. Cunningham was elected to the Eaton County Circuit Court beginning January 1, 2013 after over 25 years in private practice where she specialized in family law. She is one of two Circuit Court judges and they both hear civil, criminal and family law cases. In addition to her normal case load, Judge Cunningham presides over the Family Drug Court (SAFE-T), the Adult Circuit Drug Court and the Veterans Treatment Court. She is also the judicial volunteer for the SMILE program and chairs the Eaton County Community Corrections Board and serves on the Advisory Board of the Eaton County Families Against Narcotics (FAN) Judge Cunningham is an adjunct professor in Family Law at the Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School, serves on the Executive Board for the Michigan Judges Association and is a frequent lecturer for ICLE, the State Bar of Michigan/Family law section, the Michigan Judicial Institute and the Family Law Institute.
Prior to her election to Circuit Court in 2013, Hon. Janice K. Cunningham practiced in the area of family law. She served as a trained mediator for divorce and custody cases and previously served on the mediator list for Ingham and Eaton Counties. Judge Cunningham was appointed by the Michigan Supreme Court as a Hearing Panelist on the Attorney Discipline Board and appointed to serve on the Family Law Forms Committee for the State Court Administrative Office. A former Council member of the State Bar of Michigan's Family Law Section (FLS), she is a member of both the Eaton and Ingham County Bar Associations, a past co chairperson of the Ingham County Bar Association's Family Law Section, and a member of its Bench/Bar Family Law Committee. A former board member for the Sixty Plus Legal Clinic, Judge Cunningham is a member of the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan and a fellow of both the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) and the Michigan State Bar Foundation. An adjunct faculty member at the Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Judge Cunningham teaches family law and was the 2004 recipient of the Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award. In 1990 she received the Enhancement of Women Award from the National Women's Business Enterprise Association, and in 1992 she received the State Bar of Michigan's Outstanding Young Lawyer Award.
1990-1991 Nancy A. Wonch View BioClose Bio
Professor Wonch joined the Cooley faculty in 2002 and was a member of the law school's Professionalism Department before retiring in August of 2014. She now is the sole owner of Wonch Mediation, PLLC, working principally with divorcing couples to mediate property, support, and parenting issues.
Prior to joining the Cooley faculty, Professor Wonch was a trial lawyer for 24 years, certified as a specialist in civil litigation by the National Board of Trial Advocacy from 1992 through 2005.
Professor Wonch has served the legal community in many capacities. She is past president of the Women Lawyers Association of Mid-Michigan, the Ingham County Bar Association, and Legal Aid of Central Michigan. She served for six years as a member of the Attorney Discipline Board, and a member of the State Bar of Michigan Subcommittees on Professional and Judicial Ethics, for seven years, two years as chair. She also served for six years on the District E Character and Fitness Committee as a hearing panelist and currently is the chairperson of the Ingham County Hearing Panel #1 for the Attorney Discipline Board.
She is also a former member of the Ingham County Friend of the Court Advisory Committee, and the State Court Administrator's Office Court Improvement Program. She has been a tort mediation panelist in Ingham and Eaton counties for 32 years and is an approved civil and domestic relations mediator for Ingham County. For nearly 20 years Professor Wonch volunteered in the Lansing schools to teach over 2,000 school students of all ages mediation and negotiation skills. She still regularly teaches negotiation skills to high school and college students.
For over 14 years Professor Wonch has been a member of the board of Advent House Ministries, serving the homeless community, two years as president of the Board, currently secretary. She is currently the president of the Beekman Therapeutic Riding Center Advisory Board, a herd care volunteer, a trustee on the Lansing Educational Advancement Foundation having served for ten years as president until 2012. Previously she was the chairperson of the Lansing School District Citizen Bond Forum, she co-chaired a successful school bond campaign resulting in the first new school building in Lansing in 40 years, and she served as a commissioner for the Lansing Board of Water and Light for five years.
She has received awards and honors including 1997 Lawyer of the Year by the Michigan Lawyers Weekly, the 1998 Champion of Justice Award by the State Bar of Michigan, the 1998 Resolution Tribute by the Ingham County Bar Association, a 1999 Hall of Fame designation from the Ingham County Bar Association, the East Lansing Rotary Vocational Service Award in 2001, the Friend of Education Award from the Delta Kappa Gamma Sorority in 2001, the 2002 Leo A. Farhat Outstanding Lawyer of the Year Award from the Ingham County Bar Association, the 2006 Nanci Klein Award, a three-month 2010 Rotary World Peace Fellowship studying peace and conflict resolution in Bangkok Thailand, and the 2010 Crystal Apple Award for excellence in education from the Michigan State University College of Education.
1989-1990 Hon. Carolyn Stell
1988-1989 Kathaleen Rae Price
1987-1988 Kathleen C. Boyle
1986-1987 Elaine H. Charney
1985-1986 Denise H. Chrysler
1984-1985 Virginia P. Allen
1983-1984 Marilyn B. Pearson
1982-1983 Susan L. Mallory View BioClose Bio
Susan L. Mallory's law career began when she was 40 after graduating from MSU in April 1976 and Cooley Law School Spring 1979. She first worked with Reid, Reid, Mackay, Emery & DeVine in Lansing, MI, and then became a partner in Lick, Emery, DeVine and Mallory in 1983, focusing her practice in Family Law. In 1995, her current firm was formed, Mallory, Cunningham & Lapka (which has survived as Mallory, Lapka, Scott & Seidlin after Judge Cunningham was elected).
WLAM was in its initial stages in the Mid Michigan area and Susan was elected President in 1982. The firms with which she worked were very supportive of her work with WLAM as well as with the local and the state bar associations. Ultimately, the '80s were an active time for WLAM of Mid Michigan and the members of Mid Michigan WLAM had a wonderful opportunity to support Judge Carolyn Stell, the first woman to run for the Circuit Court (30th) in Ingham County. It was a learning experience all of the way and Judge Stell was successful. The small group (of about 9 women at the time) were involved and proud. The thrust was to not only support Judge Stell, but also to improve the membership, which is an ongoing struggle. The active members in the '80s were: Virginia Allen, Elaine Charney, Janice Cunningham (now Judge in the 5th Circuit Court), Susan L. Mallory, Kathy Rae Price, Judge Carolyn Stell, Brenda Turner, Nancy Wonch, Paula Zera, and Paula Zimmer.
From Ms. Mallory's own law firm, Judge Lisa Sullivan, an associate at the time, was appointed to and has successfully survived several elections to the Gratiot/Clinton Counties Probate Court; Judge Janice K. Cunningham, Susan's partner, ran successfully for the 5th Circuit in Eaton County and Judge Stacia Buchanan was recently appointed District Judge of 54A - all very positive women who make Susan very proud.
Although retired for several years now, Susan remains a member of the State and Local Bars and tries to remain involved when she and her husband are not traveling, which is often (this is being e mailed from Ixtapa, Mexico) mostly during the winter which makes her unavailable for most WLAM meetings as well as other functions. Susan will be unable to be present for the Birthday Celebration on April 27, 2018, as she will be in Spain for a two week visit with one of her 13 grandchildren, who is studying at the University of Barcelona/University of Michigan International Studies program. Additionally, May 11, 2018 another grandchild will graduate from MSU's School of Law.