About Robert Bittner

Robert Bittner Articles written 6

Articles written by Robert Bittner

Full Speed Ahead

David Leitch led Ford’s legal team through the auto crisis, preserving an iconic American brand

David Leitch remembers exactly where he was on Sept. 11, 2001. As chief counsel of the Federal Aviation Administration, he was leading a training and networking session with his team in Palm Coast, Florida. During an early morning break, he learned that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. He immediately called his deputy chief counsel in Washington, D.C. “While I was on the phone, I had the TV on and saw the second plane hit,” he says. “At that point, I knew I had to get back to …

Wheels of Justice

Four lawyers tell why they defend—or do battle with—the troubled auto industry

The world-famous Motor City has captured more headlines over the past year for bankruptcies and billion-dollar bailouts than for improved fuel efficiency or high-tech upgrades. Despite the turmoil, the Detroit auto industry remains a major Michigan employer, and its products continue to stand as worldwide symbols of the American Dream. And there still is plenty of litigation to keep industry-focused attorneys on both sides of the aisle busy. We checked in with four Michigan lawyers who focus on …

Ties That Bind

Families who litigate together stay together  

"Family-friendly" has become a fashionable term at law firms, with a younger generation of attorneys demanding balance in their lives. But even at the most progressive firms, co-workers don't typically share holidays or child-care duties. For those who do—spouses, siblings, parents and children who practice law together—the lines between family and firm tend to blur. Two sets of local lawyers, who happen to be related, say they wouldn't have it any other way.   George and Kristen …

Beyond the Water Cooler

When tensions reach the breaking point between bosses and employees, it’s time for the lawyers to sort things out

No doubt, there are offices and factories where the atmosphere between managers and workers is collegial and cooperative. But the workplace can also be a tad less idyllic, marked by an Us vs. Them divide. It doesn’t take much to tip the balance from Dilbert-like bemusement to animosity.  When someone crosses a legal line, negotiating the fallout requires attorneys with a thorough knowledge of employment law, the patience to sift through conflicting stories and the tenacity to reach the best …

The Velvet Hammer

Vicki Abrahamson has a reputation for toughness, but wins clients with compassion

Although Vicki Abrahamson has practiced law in Chicago for 26 years, she’s a Detroit native and a University of Michigan graduate who continues to exemplify two of the traits of her alma mater’s mascot: She’s disarmingly smart and strategically cunning—a wolverine dressed in a Paris blouse. She began with no real legal role model. Her mother was a homemaker and her father owned a Detroit-area industrial supply service. She was, in fact, the first person in her family to go to …

Playing Atticus

Jon March is one of the best lawyers in the state, but last fall he got to play the greatest of them all

It is early afternoon, and 12 tall stacks of paper are spread across Jon March’s broad desk in his fifth-floor office at Miller Johnson, a highly respected downtown Grand Rapids law firm. Today the papers and the cases they represent must wait as March is repeatedly called out of the room to oversee an emergency mediation down the hall. During the last 10 years, facilitative mediation has become a significant part of March’s work, and he welcomes the opportunity to help opposing sides …

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