Oakland | Women’s Bar Association

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Upcoming Events



Upcoming Board Meetings

WBA members are welcome to attend the board meetings.  Meetings begin at 6:00 p.m. with brief networking at 5:30 p.m.  If you plan to attend, please e-mail Kristen Pursley.


Past Presidents

2017-2018 Erin Klug
2016-2017 Kristen Pursley
2015-2016 Channelle Kizy-White View Bio
Channelle Kizy-White is the owner and managing partner of Kizy Law, a small Family Law Firm that is located in Farmington Hills, Michigan. She graduated from the University of Michigan with honors earning a Bachelors of Science degree in Economics and then went on to graduate from law school at Loyola University of Chicago School of Law.

Channelle’s dedication and hard work have helped her to achieve several awards and honors over the years. In 2011, she was recognized as an Up and Coming Lawyer by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. She has been recognized as a Super Lawyers Rising Star each year from 2010-2017 as well as a dbusiness Top Family Law Lawyer in 2012 and 2013. Channelle was also recognized as one of Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson’s Elite 40 Under 40 Class of 2015. Most recently, Channelle was honored by Crain’s magazine as a Most Notable Woman Attorney.

She is currently the Treasurer for Patriot Week, Inc., a nonprofit organization that focuses on reinvigorating the Spirit of America. She is also a past president of the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan Oakland Region.
2014-2015 Ryan Kelly
2013-2014 Melissa Graves
2012-2013 Kristin Murphy
2011-2012 Stacey King
2010-2011 Elizabeth Smith
2009-2010 Nicole Wilinski
2008-2009 Lucy Snyder View Bio
Ms. Lucy Snyder is currently working, since 2014, at the City of Detroit and part of the team that worked on restructuring efforts once bankruptcy documents were filed with the court. Ms. Snyder was also the financial lead on the Mayor's Capital Agenda for the City of Detroit for FY17-22 with the primary goal of developing a plan with the Mayor and City Council that focused on developing City infrastructure and putting resources towards improving the quality of life of the citizens of Detroit. This includes development of the neighborhoods, community services delivery and development using best practices to meet national standards of services to best serve the citizens. This includes police, fire, and community health to name a few. Additionally, she works with internal stakeholders and external parties to discuss options to secure the necessary funding for capital projects.
Ms. Snyder has worked in the past in the private sector, in publically traded companies, and in the public sector including her current position at the City of Detroit as the Director of Financial Planning & Analysis – Evaluation and Review in the Office of the CFO, and for the State of Massachusetts in the Governor’s Budget Office (Executive Offices of A&F). She is a graduate of Boston College School of Management (B.S. Economics), University of Massachusetts Amherst (M.B.A.), and Suffolk University Law School (J.D). Ms. Snyder has been a member of the State Bar of Michigan since 2004, and the U.S. Supreme Court since 2009.
2007-2008 Jill Krolikowski
2006-2007 Rebecca Turner View Bio
WBA (Oakland County Region of WLAM) Past President Rebecca M. Turner is General Counsel at TSG-Staffing, LLC and its affiliated companies, a franchisee in the quick serve restaurant sector. Mrs. Turner received her Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from Western Michigan University Haworth College of Business in 1998 and her Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Syracuse University College of Law in 2001. Mrs. Turner is a member of the International Franchise Association (earning the Certified Franchise Executive designation), American Bar Association, State Bar of Michigan, Oakland County Bar Association, Oakland County Bar Foundation (Fellow), and Western Michigan University Alumni Association. Mrs. Turner served on the Holy Family Regional School Board of Directors in Rochester, Michigan, serving two years as President. Mrs. Turner has been named a DBusiness Top Lawyer (Franchise Law) and a Michigan Rising Star, as published by Michigan Super Lawyers. She has also been showcased as 1 of 10 women in an article entitled ‘Raising the Bar’ published by Crain's Detroit and recognized by Michigan Lawyers Weekly as one of Michigan’s “Up and Coming Lawyers”.
2005-2006 Lisa Rycus Mikalonis
2004-2005 Kirsten E. Lirell (Gramzow) View Bio
Kirsten E. Lirell (formerly Kirsten E. Gramzow) served as President of the Women’s Bar Association – Oakland County Region of the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan from 2004 to 2005.
Following law school, Kirsten served the public for seven years as a Judicial Staff Attorney at the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court for the Hon. Jessica R. Cooper (1998–2001), the Hon. Patrick J. Brennan (2001–2004), and the Hon. Mark A. Goldsmith (2004–2005). At the Sixth Circuit, she became certified as a court-appointed mediator resolving civil and family law cases pending before the Court.
In 2005, Kirsten entered private practice as an insurance defense trial litigator and appellate attorney practicing in state and federal courts, specializing in the defense of claims related to labor and employment law, employment practices liability, legal professional liability, directors and officers liability, and fiduciary liability (ERISA). She counseled businesses with regard to workplace violence, sexual harassment investigations, hiring, firing and disciplining of employees, unemployment claims, EEOC/MDCR Charges, the FLSA and Title IX compliance, and provided assistance to employers in developing customized employee handbooks, employment applications and agreements, non-compete covenants, as well as anti-discrimination and sexual harassment, social networking and electronic privacy policies. The publication Law & Politics selected Kirsten, in 2012, as a Super Lawyer™ Rising Star, and in 2013, as a Super Lawyer™. DBusiness®, a bi-monthly Detroit area business publication, included Kirsten in their 2012 list of Top Lawyers in the State of Michigan.
In 2014, Kirsten returned to public service, accepting a position as the Judicial Staff Attorney to Circuit Court Chief Judge Pro Tempore Martha D. Anderson, where she currently utilizes her litigation skills and experience to provide advice and counsel to the court, draft opinions and orders, conduct settlement, status, and pre-trial conferences, and manage the court's civil and appellate dockets.
Kirsten earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Wayne State University in August 1994 and Juris Doctorate from Michigan State University – Detroit College of Law in January 1998, gaining admission to the Michigan State Bar in May 1998. She has served and continues to serve the state and local legal communities on various committees and boards. Some of her professional affiliations include: State Bar of Michigan (past elected-member of the Representative Assembly); Michigan State Bar Foundation (Fellow); Oakland County Bar Foundation (past Member of Board of Trustees, and Fellow); Women’s Bar Association (Past President and President-Elect); Oakland County Bar Association; American Bar Association and Professional Liability Underwriting Society. She currently sits as a Hearing Panelist and Chairperson for the Michigan Attorney Discipline Board and as an Appointed Member of the State Bar of Michigan District I Character & Fitness Committee.
Kirsten and her spouse, Magnus Lirell, live in Pleasant Ridge, Michigan. She is fluent in Swedish.
2003-2004 Jennifer M. Greico
2002-2003 Ann Erickson Gault
2001-2002 Shauna Rae Andrews (Long)
2000-2001 Leigh Dones Moss
1999-2000 Kelly G. Farrow
1998-1999 Sharon Noll Smith
1997-1998 Ruthmarie Shea View Bio
Ruthmarie Shea practices primarily in the area of corporate health care law. She is one of the original signatories to the State Bar of Michigan requesting the formation of the Health Care Law Section. Shea, a former Hospital Director of Nursing Services came to the practice of law as a Registered Nurse with an extensive background in clinical and administrative nursing. In fact, it was the necessity for increasing reliance upon legal advice in the practice of medicine in health care facilities that led her to the practice of law, after 20 years in nursing. As a Nurse-Attorney, she has been of counsel to individuals and physician groups on the myriad legal aspects of medical practice management for over 25 years.

Shea has a Bachelor of Science degree (B.S.), a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN), and a Master of Art degree in Nursing Education. Since graduating from the University of Detroit, with a Juris Doctor Degree with a concentration in Health Law, Shea went on to earn a graduate certificate in Health Care Ethics from the National Catholic Bioethics Center, and a graduate certificate in Bioethics and Health Care Policy from Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University, Chicago. In 2015 she completed a Master of Art degree in Moral Theology with a concentration in health care ethics, magna cum laude.

Shea has served on the American Nurses Association (ANA) Code of Ethics for Nurses Revision Panel, Advisory Committee for its most recent update. She is chair of the Ethics Committee at Rochester Medical Center, P.C. in Rochester, Michigan, and is chair of its Institutional Review Board.

Shea actively participates in medical research, and with others, has been published nationally and internationally. She has published articles related to law, health care, and ethics regionally and nationally. An article that combines all three disciplines is “A Defense of Defensive Medicine” published by Ethics & Medics (2014). Shea is a member of the American Nurses’ Association, the Michigan Nurses ‘Association, the Catholic Nurses’ Association, the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association, and the American College of Cardiology.

In addition to serving as a three term member of the Board of Directors of the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan (WLAM), Shea was president of the Women’s Bar Association of Oakland County, WLAM-Oakland Region. She was, among other things, liaison from WLAM to the State Bar of Michigan on Women and Underrepresented Groups in the Law and WLAM’s delegate to the Governor’s First Domestic Violence Summit. She was twice a selected artist in juried competitions held by WLAM with proceeds going to the WLAM Foundation scholarship for female law students.

As member of the Oakland County Bar Association, she served on the Diversity Committee, Solo Practitioners’ Committee, and the Medical-Legal Committee. Shea served on the State Bar of Michigan Character and Fitness Committee for 6 years, and on the Unlawful Practice of Law Committee.

Recently Shea concluded three terms on the Board of Directors of the Master Lawyers’ Council, serving on the Service to Masters Committee, Protection of the Public Committee, Seminar Planning Sub-Committee, and the Communications and Publications subcommittee. During this time she was a presenter for the Master Lawyers Section, on “Transitioning Toward a Graceful Retirement, Your Third Career: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Healthiness.” (2014) “Planning Health Care in Advance” (2015) and “Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care: Know Before You Go.” (2016)

In 2016 Shea was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation for Outstanding Service, from the State Bar of Michigan. That same year, the Master Lawyers Council awarded her a Commendation for Dedicated Service as a Member of the Master Lawyers Council. Shea has spent her entire legal career as a solo practitioner, engaging in litigation in courts and administrative agencies. In 2017 she was admitted to the Lawyers of Distinction in Litigation.

After a long and rewarding career as a solo practitioner, Shea is herself considering how to effectively transition to a less demanding, more rewarding career. She would welcome working with other attorneys in some capacity, preferably those engaged in litigation. She looks forward to someday being appointed to the State Bar’s Ethics Committee.
1996-1997 Leslie Anne Logan
1995-1996 Deborah Rubin View Bio
Debbi graduated from Michigan State University in 1978, and from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law in 1981. Her niche practice involved first party property insurance claims. For approximately 10 years Debbi represented homeowners and commercial business owners in claims against their insurance carriers, primarily in arson and theft loss matters. For approximately another 10 years Debbi defended insurance carriers in similar loss situations. In 2000 Debbi accepted an in house counsel position with State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company in its home office in Bloomington, IL. After supervising extra-contractual litigation matters primarily on the East Coast, Debbi began supervising the civil prosecution of RICO litigation throughout the country.

Debbi was actively involved in both the Women’s Bar Association and the WLAM through 2000, holding many positions on both Board over the years. She was President of the WBA from 1995-1996 and unfortunately had to resign her position as WLAM President-Elect for 2000-2001 when she relocated to Illinois.
1994-1995 R. Diana Bare
1993-1994 Hon. Colleen A. O'Brien View Bio
Judge Colleen O'Brien was appointed to the Court of Appeals October 2015, and was elected to a six year term in 2016. She graduated from the University of Michigan in 1978 with a Bachelor of Arts degree and from the Detroit College of Law with a Juris Doctor degree in 1981. Judge O’Brien practiced law for 17 years prior to being elected to the Oakland County Circuit Court in 1998. As a Circuit Judge, she served as the Presiding Judge of the Female Adult Treatment Court for twelve years and as the Presiding Judge of the Civil/Criminal Division for several years.

Judge O’Brien is a long time member of the Michigan Judges Association and served as President in 2015. She has also served as President of the Oakland County Women’s Bar Association and served on the Board of Directors of the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan. An active member of the Oakland County Bar Association, Judge O’Brien received the Distinguished Public Servant Award in 2011.

In addition, Judge O'Brien has served as an adjunct professor at Thomas Cooley Law School, currently Western Michigan University, where she received the Frederick J. Griffith III Faculty Award, which is awarded to the faculty members who display excellence in teaching, passion for advocacy and compassion for law students. She has also received the Oakland County Mediation Center Leadership Award, The Oakland County Women's Bar Association Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Legal Community and the Oakland County Coordinating Councils' Domestic Violence Recognition Award. In 2015 she was recognized by Michigan Lawyer's Weekly as a Leader in the Law.

Judge O’Brien’s civic activities have included serving on the Advisory Board to Crossroads for Youth, serving as a member of the Indigent Defense Advisory Commission, and serving as a member of the Interagency Council on Homelessness.
1992-1993 Shirley A. Saltzman View Bio


1991-1992 Leslie Myles Sanders
1990-1991 Mary J. Ironside
1989-1990 Barbara J. Hansen
1988-1989 Lyn A. Sippola*
1987-1988 Janet E. Lanyon
1986-1987 Theresa M. Carbott
1985-1986 Justice Marilyn J. Kelly
1984-1985 Helen Marie Weber
1983-1984 Anne H. Hiemstra View Bio
Anne H. Hiemstra graduated from the University of Michigan (BA ’67, JD ’76) and
practiced law in the Detroit area until retiring in 2006. She specialized in commercial
real estate law, first with Schlussel, Lifton in Southfield (where she was the firm’s first
woman attorney and first woman partner) and then with Miller Canfield in Detroit. After
leaving Miller Canfield in 1998, she joined the commercial title division of Lawyers Title
Insurance Company, and then became of the manager of the Detroit office of the
National Commercial Title division for Fidelity National Title Insurance Company.
She was for many years a member of the Land Title Standards Committee of the State
Bar of Michigan and was chair of the Committee in 1992-93.
Anne joined WLAM soon after graduating from law school and served as program chair
and newsletter editor as well as president. She was also a member of the National
Association of Women Lawyers, where she was treasurer for three years.
She currently lives in Farmington Hills, Michigan.
1982-1983 Nina Dodge Abrams
1981-1982 Deborah L. Miela
1980-1981 Chrysanthe A. Kotsis
1979-1980 Mag. Rosemary Kozielski Wolock
1977-1978 Beryl M. Wilson
1976-1977 Evelyn Forrest