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Smith Haughey Announces New Promotions & 2023 Board of Directors

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Smith Haughey is pleased to announce recent promotions and the firm’s 2023 board of directors.

Three associate attorneys – Patricia Jander, Laura Johnson, and Jonathan Koch – have been promoted to shareholder, effective Jan. 1, 2023. Kenneth Seale has been named chair of the firm’s medical malpractice defense group.

The firm has re-elected Nicholas Reister and elected Mark Gilchrist to its 2023 board of directors. Both will serve a three-year term and join current board members: Jason Sebolt, Adam Tountas, Thomas McCarthy, Kristen Guinn, and Matthew Wikander.

“The future is bright for Smith Haughey.” said CEO, Matt Wikander. “I’m proud to see our associates advance their careers and the expansion of our leadership team. They are each proven, talented lawyers. I’m confident they will bring the same commitment and passion to their new roles.”

Patricia Jander

Patricia H. Jander | Shareholder

Patricia (Patty) Jander practices out of the Holland office, focusing on transactional and intellectual property law. She assists businesses with trademark applications, monitoring, and enforcement, as well as general inquiries concerning licensing, copyrights, and contractual agreements.

Patty has been with Smith Haughey since 2015 and has been practicing law for more than seven years. One of her notable accolades includes being named to Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s 2022 Go To Lawyers list for intellectual property law.

Laura Johnson

Laura A. Johnson | Shareholder 

Laura Johnson is a medical malpractice defense attorney who represents hospitals, physicians, nurses, and other providers throughout Michigan. She works on complex, high-value claims and has obtained several dismissals for her clients. Before joining Smith Haughey, Laura gained valuable experience on the plaintiff’s side of malpractice cases. She’s well-versed in all aspects of litigation and has participated in multiple malpractice trials.  

Laura has been practicing law for 10 years. She’s received numerous accolades; she was named a 2019 Up & Coming Lawyer by Michigan Lawyers Weekly and is a 2021 and 2022 Michigan Rising Stars honoree. 

Jonathan Koch

Jonathan B. Koch | Shareholder

Jonathan Koch focuses his practice on civil appeals in Michigan’s state and federal courts in a wide variety of areas, including professional liability defense, commercial litigation, and governmental liability. As appellate counsel, Jonathan works closely with trial counsel to brief critical dispositive motions, develop trial strategy, and preserve issues for appeal. He also maintains an active political and election law practice in which he represents candidates, committees, and political parties.

Jonathan has been practicing law for seven years. He was named a 2022 Up & Coming Lawyer by Michigan Lawyers Weekly and serves as the Chair-Elect of the State Bar of Michigan Appellate Practice Section.

Kenneth Seale

Kenneth D. Seale | Shareholder, Medical Malpractice Defense Chair

Kenneth (Ken) Seale has devoted his entire legal career to defending medical providers and healthcare systems. He has more than 20 years of experience successfully litigating medical negligence cases from inception through trial.

In addition, Ken has researched, drafted, and argued numerous motions at the federal, state, and appellate levels, and provided counseling and litigation services to his clients related to state licensing issues.

Mark Gilchrist

Mark A. Gilchrist | Shareholder, Board of Directors

Mark Gilchrist has successfully tried cases and resolved issues for clients throughout Michigan. He defends professional service firms and their personnel against allegations of malpractice, negligence, ethical violations, conflicts of interest, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, and more. He also serves individuals who face criminal investigations and federal charges.

Mark has been practicing law for more than 20 years and is actively involved with the State Bar of Michigan, Michigan Defense Trial Counsel, and the Defense Research Institute.

Nicholas Reister

Nicholas A. Reister | Shareholder, Board of Directors 

Nicholas (Nick) Reister serves individuals, families, and businesses in the areas of business, tax, and estate planning. He helps clients protect, grow, and smoothly transition their wealth and businesses to future generations. His work includes drafting comprehensive estate plans, offering counsel on succession planning, and guiding clients through probate court.

Nick has been practicing law for more than 15 years and serves as chair of the firm’s private client services group.