Past Presidents

A Century of Leadership



To all our Past Presidents, thank you for your service.

2016-2017            Suzanne Sukkar View Bio
Immediate Past President Suzanne Sukkar is an attorney with Dickinson Wright in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Ms. Sukkar specializes in business immigration law and compliance. She represents individuals and corporate clients in the sponsorship of nonimmigrant and immigrant employment-based visas. Ms. Sukkar has developed a niche expertise in the area of E-1/E-2 (treaty trader/investor) visas, EB-5 immigrant investor visas, consular processing, and start-up ventures. She is also an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Ms. Sukkar’s honors include being listed in Best Lawyers in America, Michigan Super Lawyers "Rising Star" for 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, and selected as an American Bar Foundation Fellow. In June 2015, she was appointed to the State of Michigan’s Commission on Middle Eastern American Affairs by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. Since 2005, Ms. Sukkar has served on the WLAM state and regional boards. She also serves on the Board of the American Arab Chamber of Commerce.
2015-2016            Kristen Pursley View Bio
Past President Kristen Pursley is the managing shareholder at The Dobrusin Law Firm, an Intellectual Property boutique firm located in Pontiac, Michigan. Ms. Pursley graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and received a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Law. She is currently a member of the Executive Committee for the Michigan Intellectual Property Inn of Court and a Business Advisory Board Member at the Macomb-OU INCubator. She is also a past president of the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan Oakland Region, a Trustee for the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan Foundation and a Board Member for Encore Performing Arts Center which oversees the Flagstar Strand Theater in Pontiac. Ms. Pursley represents clients who are tier-one suppliers for the automotive industry, medical diagnostic and device manufacturers, and consumer product and packaging producers.
2014-2015            Michele Rivas, first Latina President of WLAM
2013-2014            Marla Linderman
2012-2013            Hon. Angela Sherigan, first Native American President of WLAM
2012-2012            Julie Wagner View Bio
Julie has a Juris Doctorate from Valparaiso University, a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and Communication from Hope College, a Master's Certificate in International Consumer Product Regulations from Michigan State University and PhD coursework in Organizational Development and Leadership from Western Michigan University. Julie is an accomplished marketer, scientist and civil litigator with over 19 years of experience in both an in-house corporate legal department and law firm setting. She has exceptional international experience in managing civil litigation, commercial transactions, licensing, intellectual property protection, advertising compliance, claims substantiation, consumer privacy, consumer safety regulations, regulatory compliance, and healthcare. She has protected the reputation of almost two dozen of Fortune's Top 300 Companies concerning their consumer products and sales practices in the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia and the European Union. Julie was instrumental in fostering strong brand loyalty and favorable public opinion through crafting effective marketing messages, effective intellectual property protection and exceptional regulatory legal guidance during the development, manufacture and sale of safe and effective consumer products. Julie is a published author and an award winning writer and speaker on federal and international product laws and regulations. Currently, she serves as Managing Counsel and Director of Global Regulatory Affairs at Glanbia Performance Nutrition, Inc. which is a parent company of many well-respected sports nutrition brands such as Optimum Nutrition, thinkThin, Isopure and BSN. Julie lives in Ada, MI with her husband, John, and two children, Danny and Katie.
2011-2012            Hon. Angela Sherigan, first Native American President of WLAM
2010-2011            Lysa Postula-Stein
2009-2010            Kim Winokur
2008-2009            Ann Erickson-Gault
2007-2008            Kristin Arnett View Bio
Kris graduated from Michigan State University with an undergraduate bachelor's degree in General Business/Pre-Law. She obtained her Juris Doctorate from the West Virginia University College of Law in 2002, and then returned to Michigan where she was admitted to the Bar that same year and began her legal career.

Kris began working at the Gallagher Law Firm where she focused on estate planning, probate and trust administration, and probate and trust litigation. She then joined the firm of Foster Zack and Lowe; and later the Hubbard Law Firm where she added domestic relations and mediation to her practice. Kris is now working at Newburg Law in Grad Ledge, Michigan where she continues to practice in those fields, with an emphasis on mediation. Kris is a trained mediator in domestic relations,
general civil, special education, and child protection.
She counts herself fortunate to have worked with outstanding attorneys throughout her practice.

Kris is active on the Family Mediation Council, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Dispute Resolution Services Center of Central Michigan.

Kris is married with two growing daughters. She is a school representative to the Okemos School District Parent Teacher Council.

Kris joined the WLAM soon after being admitted to practice law, and held the position of Regional Representative for the Mid-Michigan Region for a number of years. During her time on the Board and her Presidency of WLAM in 2007, Kris worked with amazing and dedicated women who were devoted to the advancement of women in the practice of law. Being a part of WLAM is uplifting and empowering, and Kris looks forward to continuing to support the mission of WLAM.
2006-2007            Kathleen M. Allen
2005-2006            Ann L. Routt
2004-2005            Lee A. Somerville
2003-2004            Hon. Lisa Sullivan
2002-2003            Hon. Cylenthia LaToye Miller
2001-2002            Laura M. Canfield
2000-2001            Lauren M. Tomayko
1999-2000            Margaret A. Costello
1998-1999            Barbara S. Weintraub Kimmel
1997-1998            Laura M. Slenzak
1996-1997            Kimberly M. Cahill*
1995-1996            Leslie Myles-Sanders
1994-1995            Elizabeth K. Brandsdorfer View Bio
Elizabeth K. Bransdorfer served as President of Women Lawyers Association of Michigan from 1994 to 1995, completing a term of service on the State Board that began in 1989 when she was elected Regional Representative from the Western Region. Liz graduated from WLAM and joined the Board of the National Association of Women Lawyers, which she served as President from 2001 to 2002. Liz is a member of Mika Meyers in Grand Rapids, and specializes in litigation, with a practice emphasis on domestic relations. She completed collaborative law training and is able to assist clients who, from the beginning of the divorce process, are committed to settling their cases in ways that work for their particular families, rather than having the court process impose decisions on them. She has served on the Board of the Collaborative Practice Institute of Michigan. Liz is actively engaged in family law litigation, advocating for her clients to help achieve their goals through the courts. In addition to representing clients as an advocate, Liz is a trained neutral arbitrator and mediator. She is admitted to practice in all Michigan state courts, the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, the United States District Court for both the Western and Eastern Districts of Michigan, and the United States Tax Court. She serves on the Council of the Family Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan, and is the Corresponding Secretary for the Section. Liz represented the 17th Circuit (Kent County) on the State Bar of Michigan Representative Assembly from 2014-2016. She has served as Treasurer of the Grand Rapids Bar Association and Chair of the Gerald R. Ford Chapter of the American Inns of Court.

In addition to Liz’s busy practice, she is very active in the community and has been recognized for her great efforts. She was named the 2009 recipient of the Michael S. Barnes Award in recognition of her exemplary contributions toward the provision of free legal assistance to the poor and the elderly in Western Michigan. In 2011, Liz was honored by Michigan Lawyers Weekly as one of its 20 Women in the Law 2011 for her meaningful and inspiring contributions to the legal community. In 2015, Liz was selected for the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan (WLAM) Western Region Outstanding Member Award. She is also listed in Best Lawyers of America for collaborative law: family law.

Liz grew up in Minnesota and not only received her undergraduate degree from the College of Liberal Arts University of Minnesota, but also her law degree cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School.

Liz comes from a family of lawyers, including her father, mother and younger brother. Her mother was initially an English teacher, but decided to go back to school to become an attorney. Learning and the legal field have been a large part of Liz’s life. Of course, the best parts of her life are her two children: Charlotte (who was born while Liz was a WLAM Board member, and who accompanied her to many meetings) and Henry (who traveled with his mom to NAWL meetings five years later).
img src="" alt="" width="100" height="131" class="size-full wp-image-15560" />1993-1994            Suellyn Scarnecchia View Bio
Suellyn Scarnecchia is a Clinical Law Professor at the University of Michigan Law School. She has taught in the Human Trafficking Clinic since January 2013. Before that, she taught for 15 years in the UM Child Advocacy Law Clinic, served as the Dean of the University of New Mexico School of Law, and was Vice President and General Counsel of the University of Michigan. She is a graduate of Northwestern University and the University of Michigan Law School.
1992-1993            Paula M. Talarico View Bio
Paula Talarico grew up in Michigan, and attended Wayne State University for both undergraduate and law school. She graduated in 1983 and was licensed to practice law in November of that year.
She began her legal career in a small Detroit firm, a true general practice. She learned trial skills through criminal law, automobile negligence and other personal injury work. Over the years her practice evolved to family law, estate planning and probate/trust litigation. She was managing attorney, then managing partner at Mooney & Talarico, P.C. In 1995 after her daughter’s birth, she set up her own practice, first in Detroit, and then in Troy, where she still maintains an office and busy practice today.
Ms. Talarico served as President of the WLAM Wayne Region from 1989-90. She was President of WLAM from 1992-93. She served on various committees, including Candidate Endorsement and Children and the Law. With Dawn Van Hoek (and others), she served on the Presidential committee to screen and choose candidates for the federal bench. She has been a mentor to many young women attorneys as a return of the gift given her by many women who mentored her. She has served on the Attorney Discipline Board since the early nineties, and now chairs a panel.
In 1997 Ms. Talarico joined the WLAM Foundation, first as director at large, and then upon the death of Kimberly Cahill, as Treasurer. She continues on the Foundation, and enjoys the work of raising money for scholarships to benefit young women who demonstrate their commitment to women in the profession.
Ms. Talarico is married to Mike, has three children and two precious granddaughters. She enjoys singing in choirs, gardening, her dog, and travelling. And she loves being affiliated with the vibrant WLAM.
1991-1992            Janet E. Lanyon
1990-1991            Lisa A. Godfrey
1989-1990            Dawn Van Hoek
1988-1989            Kathleen Leavey
1987-1988            Hon. Marilyn Kelly
1986-1987            Charlene M. Snow
1985-1986            Deborah L. Miela View Bio
Deborah graduated from Detroit College of Law in 1976, beginning employment with the Legal Department of Kmart Corporation in Troy, MI. She rose to Divisional Vice-president, Antitrust and Trade Regulation, leaving Kmart in 2003. in 2006, she went to General Dynamics Land Systems in Sterling Heights, MI, as Contracts Negotiator & Administrator. She retired from GDLS in 2016. Deborah has been partnered with Gloria Gold since 1985; they legally married in 2013.
1984-1985            Linda L. Bruin
1983-1984            Mary M. Fowlie
1982-1983            Chrysanthe A. Kotsis
1981-1982            Karen Colby Weiner, PhD
1980-1981            Rosemary K. Wolock
1979-1980            Elaine Grand Stulberg
1978-1979            Beverly J. Clark
1977-1978            Julia Donovan Darlow
1976-1977            Hon. Marianne O. Battani View Bio
Judge Marianne O. Battani graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Detroit in 1966. After college she worked for IBM as a systems engineer and attended night school at the Detroit College of Law. She received her law degree with honors in 1972.

Judge Battani entered the general practice of law after graduation as an associate in the Law Offices of Donald Gratrix. In 1974 she started her own firm specializing in the area of domestic relations. Her judicial career began in 1981 when she was appointed by Governor William Milliken to the Common Pleas Court for the City of Detroit (now the 36th District Court). In 1982 Governor Milliken again honored Judge Battani by appointing her to the Wayne County Circuit Court.

Judge Battani served on the Wayne County Circuit Court for eighteen years. She was Chief Judge Pro Tem for six years and served on numerous local and state bar committees and task forces. She also taught at the Michigan Judicial Institute. Judge Battani was instrumental in developing and implementing the Wayne County individual docket system, which received national recognition. The National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada subsequently asked her to joint a team to develop and teach a course in Case Flow Management. Judge Battani accepted the invitation and taught the course for many years.

Judge Battani’s peers elected her to be a member on the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission, which investigates complaints of misconduct against state judicial officers. She served in this capacity for nine years and chaired the Commission from 1999-2000. She also served as a Commissioner of the State Bar of Michigan for six years. She is a member and past president of the Women Lawyers’ Association of Michigan and a member of the Federal Bar Association and the Italian American Bar Association. Judge Battani is a past secretary of the Detroit College of Law and currently is trustee emeritus of Michigan State University College of Law.

The highlight of Judge Battani’s career is her lifetime appointment by President William Jefferson Clinton to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Her appointment was confirmed by the United States Senate in May, 2000. Although she took senior status in June 2012, Judge Battani continues to sit on the federal bench and presides over a criminal and civil docket which includes a multidistict litigation case, In re Automotive Parts Antitrust Litigation. Notably, the Department of Justice described its investigation into the automotive products industry as “the largest criminal investigation the Antitrust Division ever pursued, both in terms of its scope and the potential volume of commerce affected by the illegal conduct.”
1975-1976            Judith D. Doran*
1974-1975            Hon. Clarice Jobes
1973-1974            Hon. Theresa Doss, First Black President of WLAM View Bio
Theresa Doss, retired Judge of the 36th District Court for the City of Detroit, is an honor graduate of Ohio University. She graduated from The Ohio State University College of Law in 1964. Her class at The Ohio State University College of Law consisted of only three women, with her being the only black graduate. She was admitted to practice in the courts of Ohio in 1964 and since 1966, has been admitted to practice in Michigan. In 1975, Judge Doss was admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. She received a Masters of Arts in history from Wayne State University in 2000.

On January 19, 1976, Governor William G. Milliken appointed her to the Common Pleas Court for the City of Detroit making her the first African- American woman appointed to a judgeship and the second African- American woman to sit on a trial bench in Michigan. She became a 36th District Court Judge upon its creation on September 1, 1981. Before her appointment, she was a teacher, law librarian, a community program developer for the Archdiocese of Detroit, and an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Michigan. Judge Doss was also a commissioner on the Detroit Public Lighting Commission.

She served as Chief Judge of her court and served on the State Judicial Council. In 1990, the Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court selected Judge Doss to serve on the Commission on the Courts in the Twenty First Century. She was elected three times by her peers in statewide elections to the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission. During her last year, she served as its vice-chairperson.

Some of her professional affiliations include the following: Michigan District Judges Association (Past Treasurer, Past Secretary, Past Vice-President, President, 1991); the State Bar of Michigan (past member of the Representative Assembly, the Council of the Judicial Conference, and the Michigan Standing Committee on Judicial Ethics, 2009-2014); Michigan State Bar Association (Fellow); the Wolverine Bar Association (Past Director and Secretary); Detroit Bar Association; American Bar Association; National Bar Association (Past Director of NBA and President and Founder of the Women’s Division); and the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan (Past President).

Judge Doss is active in community affairs. She is a life member of the NAACP and the National Council of Negro Women and former member of the boards of directors of the Michigan Metro Girl Scouts Council and the Neighborhood Service Organization. She is active in her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Alpha Rho Omega Chapter, and had volunteered many hours tutoring in its reading program. Judge Doss is a member of Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church where she has served as a Sunday school teacher, secondary church school superintendent, choir member, and trustee for many years. She received her diploma from the National Baptist Congress of Christian Education, auxiliary of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. In addition, Judge Doss and her family established the Doss Wahls Foundation, a private foundation that awards scholarships to diverse college seniors.

She has been honored frequently by religious organizations in Michigan and Ohio, as well as the National Council of Negro Women for outstanding community service. In 2001, the National Bar Association, Women Division, granted her the Scroll of Distinguished Woman Lawyers Award and the Black Women Lawyers Association honored her at their 2005 Harriet Tubman Breakfast. Most recently at the National Bar Association 81st Convention in 2006 the Judicial Council gave her their Humanitarian Award. She is also listed in Who’s Who of American Women, 9th and 10th Editions.

Judge Doss is a native of Alabama and reared in Lorain, Ohio by her parents, Ida Richards Doss and the late Eddie E. Doss. She is married to James T. Wahls, a retired businessman. They have one son, James Christopher Doss Wahls, a senior investment analyst at the Annie E. Casey Foundation and a daughter-in-law, Dr. Maria S. Johnson, an assistant professor at the University of Delaware.
1972-1973            Sharon C. Ranucci*
1971-1972            Hon. Gladys Y. Barsamian*
1969-1971            Virginia C. Dare*
1968-1969            Mary Ellen Fulton
1965-1966            Pearl D. Newcomb
1964-1965            Mary Jane Liddy
1963-1964            Claire E. Morrison
1962-1963            Virginia E. Hetmanski
1961-1962            Anne Alpern
1960-1961            Ardis A. Smith
1959-1960            Marjorie Jaros
1958-1959            Loretta J. Tata
1957-1958            Dorothy R. Comstock
1956-1957            Ruth Schugin
1955-1956            Esther A. Morden
1954-1955            Caryl Hathaway
1953-1954            Esther Pollick
1952-1953            Mary N. Kolis
1951-1952            Charlotte M. Sutton
1950-1951            Madeline C. Dinu
1949-1950            Gertrude E. Moder
1948-1949            Elizabeth L. Stack
1946-1947            Annette Thayer Means
1945-1946            E Katherine Kilpatrick
1944-1945            Zaio A. Woodford
1943-1944            Regene Freund Cohane
1942-1943            Dorothy Benz Stark
1941-1942            Lula Bachman
1940-1941            Dorothy Hugette
1939-1940            Lulu Seifert DeMay
1938-1939            Phoebe Munnecke
1937-1938            Mary H. Zimmerman
1935-1937            Evelyn A. Green
1933-1935            Hazel Moran*
1931-1933            Lila M. Neuenfelt*
1929-1931            Rachel Newcomb
1927-1929            Catherine Doran
1924-1927            Anne Davidow
1921-1923            Henrietta Rosenthal
1919-1921            Theresa Doland Cornelius