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Faculty Biographies


Christian S. Allen, Senior Attorney 
Chris is a Senior Attorney with more than 20 years of experience exclusively practicing immigration law. Prior to joining the prestigious Fragomen law firm in 2010, Chris managed a successful immigration practice specializing in corporate immigration law, and also directed the immigration department for one of the largest law firms in Michigan. He is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association ("AILA") and has served on the Michigan Chapter Executive Committee, as well as the Department of Labor Chapter Liaison. He is a member of the State Bar of Michigan International Law Committee and has been named to The Best Lawyers in America continuously since 2005. He received his undergraduate education at the University of Detroit Mercy, and earned his law degree at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana.



Deborah M. Barno, Administrative Judge, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Judge Barno has been with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission since 1994. Prior to her appointment as judge, Barno was senior trial attorney for the commission. She is currently responsible for adjudication of federal sector complaints of discrimination. Judge Barno is a graduate of Oakland University and Detroit College of Law. She teaches Employment Law for the Legal Assistant Program and is a frequent lecturer on the law as it relates to the employment relationship.

Walter Bieber, Attorney, Bieber & Czechowski, P.C. 
Walter Bieber graduated With Distinction from the University of Michigan in 1973 and Cum Laude from the Detroit College of Law in 1976. With over 23 years of experience in private practice, his specialties are personal injury and litigation in all areas. He has 10 years of teaching experience where his goal is to provide a lively setting to learn exactly what to do in the real world of law.

Eric T. Carver, Attorney, Dykema Gossett, P.L.L.C.
Eric is a resident of the Tax and Estates Group at Dykema Gossett, where he specializes in estate and tax planning, including corporate and partnership tax transactions. He has an undergraduate degree in finance and accounting from Wayne State University, a Masters in Business Administration and Juris Doctorate from University of Detroit and his LL.M. in Taxation from Wayne State University. He teaches Estate Planning and Documents and Taxation of Estates and Trusts for the Legal Assistant Program and has published articles for Michigan Tax Lawyer and Michigan Bar Journal.

Mark L. Gantz, Attorney, Hurwitz & Gantz, P.C.
Mark received his B.A. from Wayne State University in 1968, and his J.D., also from Wayne State in 1971. He has over 36 years of experience in private practice, concentrating his efforts primarily in Probate and Family Law. He is rated "A.V." by the Martindale Hubbell Law Directory. Mark has taught Legal Research and Writing in the Oakland University Legal Assistant Program for more than 32 years. He has also taught courses in Real Estate, Business Associations and Litigation, and has been a presenter at various seminars. Mark invites you visit his website at: http://www.hurwitzgantz.comcastbiz.net/

Scot J. Garrison, J.D. 
Scot is currently the Judicial Staff Attorney for Judge Rae Lee Chabot at the Sixth Circuit Court in Oakland County.  He serves the State Bar of Michigan as an elected member of the Representative Assembly and as an appointed member of the Character and Fitness Committee for Oakland County.   Scot has previously served the Michigan Board of Law Examiners as a proctor and essay grader for the Michigan Bar Examination. He also wrote the essay questions and model answers for criminal law, criminal procedure, personal property, real property, and decedents’ estates and trusts for the bar examination.  Scot is a frequent presenter at seminars on topics including the practice of law, childcare issues, criminal law, and employment issues.  He has experience practicing law in a variety of areas, including criminal law, traffic law, domestic relations, civil litigation, mass tort liability, and general civil defense.  His undergraduate degree is from Central Michigan University, and his juris doctor degree is from the Detroit College of Law, which is now Michigan State University College of Law, where he earned a concentration in international law. 

Ernest I. Gifford, Attorney, Gifford, Krass, Groh, Sprinkle, Patmore, Anderson & Citkowski, P.C.
As senior partner in the law firm Gifford, Krass, Groh, Sprinkle, Patmore, Anderson & Citkowski, Ernie Gifford has had a long and distinguished career as an intellectual property law practitioner. Author and lecturer, he has been active in the Michigan Patent Law Association, the American Intellectual Property Law Association and is a past Chair man of the Patent Section of the State Bar of Michigan. He earned an undergraduate degree from Michigan State University and a Juris Doctor degree (with high honors) from Wayne State University. Ernie teaches Intellectual Property and Business Organizations for the Legal Assistant Program.

    Allan Gordon, Attorney-at-Law
Professional experience as trial attorney in Michigan and Federal Courts 1973-2010; Past Administrator of mid-size and own law firm; Past UOP Graduate Law & Ethics Faculty Curriculum Chair; Current Oakland University Paralegal Faculty CurriculumChair and Instructor; Current and Past University Instructor of business and legal education courses in Litigation, Auto Law, Contracts, Business Law, American Government, Intellectual Property Management, Employment Law, Political Science and Critical Thinking; Organized and administered free community Legal Aid Program; participated in Detroit Charter Revision Commission; Author of No-Fault Auto Accident Law (19th ed, 2013). W. Bloomfield, MI: NLI Publishing; Contributing writer- Philo, H.M. (1973). Trial Handbook for Michigan Lawyers. Rochester, NY: Lawyers Co-Op Publishing Co; Freelance writer with articles for Detroit Free Press, newsletters, seminars and legal publications.

Thomas J. Lynch
, Attorney, General Motors.
Prior to his joining Electronic Data Systems Corporation (EDS) in 1998, Tom Lynch was a sole practitioner specializing in criminal proceedings and contract negotiation. He is a graduate of John Carroll University and Detroit College of Law at Michigan State University. In 1994 he was a participant in the National Criminal Defense College, an intensive small group workshop covering all aspects of the preparation and trial of a criminal defense case, taught by the leading practitioners of Criminal Defense in the United States. For our OU Paralegal Program Tom teaches Criminal Law and Procedure, Issues in Domestic Violence, and Constitutional Law.

Fred M. Mester, Judge, 6th Circuit Court
The honorable Judge Fred Mester has many awards and accolades to his name, including:
Recipient: Earl W. Kintner Award, Federal Bar Association; Michigan Corrections Association Judicial Award; John N. O'Brien Memorial Award for Distinguished Community Activities; Centennial Award; Honorary doctor of Laws Degree, Central Michigan University; NAACP 1997 Humanitarian Award.

He is President of the Central Michigan University Alumni Association; President of Board of Directors of William Booth Legal Aid Clinic (Salvation Army); Chairman, Oakland County Community Corrections Board; National Council on Alcoholism, Detroit Board; Multiple Sclerosis Board; Founder, Reading to Reduce Recidivism. Fred teaches Substantive Law: Torts as well as several other courses and we are honored to have him teaching in our program.

David P. Palmiere, Attorney, Law Office of P. David Palmiere.
Dave Palmiere is an attorney in private practice. He has been engaged in general litigation for over 30 years. He currently teaches Introduction to the Law and Litigation III: Anatomy of a Lawsuit. An instructor in the Paralegal Program for more than twenty years, Dave earned his undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Michigan, and his Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan Law School.

  Suzanne K. Schultz, Director of Firm Operations, Zinda & Davis, P.L.L.C.
Suzanne is a graduate of the Paralegal Program at Oakland University and a paralegal educator and legal administrator. She has almost 30 years in the legal profession, mostly working as a paralegal in litigation at Miller Canfield, including 20 years of teaching continuing education courses for legal assistants. She teaches Computer Assisted Legal Research (CALR) for our OU Paralegal Program. Her goal is to introduce students to the wealth of legal and law related information available on the internet and to help them evaluate its usefulness in specialized research on Westlaw. Suzanne's class is taught 100% online- she conducts the course from Austin where she relocated last year. Check out her firm's website at http://zdfirm.com/

John Norris Stone, Miller Canfield, Paddock and Stone PLC.
In 2007 we welcomed John N. Stone to the paralegal program faculty. John is currently a Manager of Trust and Estate Services at Miller Canfield, Paddock and Stone PLC (on the web at: www.millercanfield.com) He is a graduate of Wayne State School of Business Administration, and has also taught classes at Davenport University. John is a founding Member and Past Chair of the Legal Assistant Section of the Grand Rapids Bar Association, Past Chair of the State Bar of Michigan Legal Assistants Section, a Former Member of Paralegal Advisory Board, Davenport University, and we are delighted to have him teaching here at Oakland University.

  Linda D. Wallace, Paralegal, Program Coordinator
Linda is a graduate of the Paralegal Program and previously taught the Ethics and Roles of a Legal Assistant. She has an undergraduate degree in Communications/English and a secondary teaching certificate from Western Michigan University. Her career has taken her from teaching English in public and private schools to working as a real estate legal assistant for Miro, Miro and Weiner and a litigation paralegal for Dickinson, Wright, Moon, Van Dusen and Freeman. Currently she is the Oakland University Paralegal Program Coordinator and manages the Internship portion of the program.

Cynthia Whitcomb, Legal Office Administrator, Einhorn, Farrell & Ulanoff PLC.
Cynthia Whitcomb is currently Legal Office Administrator for Einhorn, Farrell & Ulanoff PLC., a former Staffing Manager for Plunkett & Cooney, P.C. and former Assistant Vice-President/Paralegal Analyst for Michigan National Corporation Legal Department. Cynthia received her Bachelor of Science degree at Rochester College, she is an OU Paralegal Program Graduate, she has her certificate in Human Resources from University of Phoenix and she received a graduate degree in Human Resources from Eastern Michigan University. We are pleased to welcome Ms. Whitcomb to the Paralegal Program Faculty and are pleased that she is teaching our Law Practice Management Course.

Paula M. Zimmer, J.D. Attorney, Lakeshore Legal Aid
Paula is currently a managing attorney whose practice is divided between work for Oakland County seniors and the Family Law Assistance Project, a collaboration with Thomas M. Cooley Law School. She was a legal aid executive director in Lansing and Pontiac before returning to an active practice. She has also taught family law at the community college, university and law school levels. Paula graduated from Siena Heights University and the Detroit College of Law. She is a current member of the Oakland County Bar Association public education and outreach committee, working to ensure public access to the courts and legal procedure.