July 24, 2023 Press Release

Michael Best Elects Eight Attorneys to Partnership

Michael Best is pleased to announce eight attorneys have been promoted to the Firm’s partnership. The newly named partners are as follows: James W. DeCleene, Ashley L. Felton, Garrett M. Hausman, Justin G. May, Bethany C. McCurdy, Jason P. Muth, Sean A. Smestad and Brett R. Valentyn.

eight attorneys promoted to firm's partnership

James W. DeCleene, Corporate, Milwaukee
DeCleene assists clients with the federal and state income tax aspects of a variety of business transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, incorporation/organization events, and Code Section 1202 qualification issues. He also handles all aspects of tax transactions for public companies and closely held businesses, whether treated as a C corporation, S corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship for tax purposes, and he counsels businesses on new tax legislation and compliance and advises on corporate formation and governance matters.

Ashley L. Felton, Labor & Employment, Raleigh
Felton focuses on labor and employment law, representing clients across a broad range of industries. She provides management strategic client-focused guidance in a range of issues including navigating discrimination and harassment allegations, negotiating and drafting contracts and agreements, drafting employment handbooks, employment policies and procedures, and employment-related audits.

Garrett M. Hausman, Intellectual Property, Chicago
Hausman focuses his intellectual property law practice on patent protection for inventions within the mechanical engineering field. His broad experience encompasses the automotive, construction, farming, heavy equipment, and manufacturing industries. He is particularly knowledgeable in technical areas such as power generation, internal combustion engines, autonomous control of dynamic systems, heat transfer equipment, applied thermodynamics, power tools and battery packs.

Justin G. May, Litigation, Raleigh
May is a trusted advisor for clients with significant risk and regulatory exposure by leveraging his broad litigation experience to counsel and advocate for clients facing complex legal challenges, including government investigations and regulatory actions as well as state and federal civil litigation. He has substantial experience handling in government investigations into alleged fraud, waste, and abuse against participants in government programs, including civil investigative demands, recoupment actions, and administrative discipline, as well as appearing before Congress and federal and state agencies. May also has experience handling investigations into and legal actions against employees or arising from employee fraud and other misconduct.

Bethany C. McCurdy, Labor & Employment, Milwaukee
McCurdy advises and represents employers on the many facets of the employment relationship. Clients turn to her for counsel on the everyday dealings of employees, such as accommodating disabled employees, administering the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and reviewing handbooks and policies. She also provides support and counsel to clients in OSHA inspections and workplace safety related matters. McCurdy also defends employers against discrimination complaints alleging unfair treatment on the basis of age, disability, sex, race, and other protected classes, as well as matters involving wage and hour claims pertaining to overtime and misclassification.

Jason P. Muth, Intellectual Property, Milwaukee
Muth brings a technical background in mechanical engineering to the full spectrum of patent issues related to mechanical and electromechanical products and systems. Clients look to him for his expertise in preparing, prosecuting, and analyzing patents directed to power tools, hydraulic systems, electrical switchgear, food and beverage equipment, diesel exhaust aftertreatment systems, and automotive components, among others.

Sean A. Smestad, Corporate, Chicago
Smestad assists clients with a range of tax and transactional matters, including mergers and acquisitions, tax restructuring, tax-free reorganizations, debt and equity financing, repatriation planning, REIT formations and acquisitions, real estate transactions, and more. He has significant experience drafting and negotiating the tax aspects of contracts such as purchase agreements, including representations and warranties, forward-looking covenants, tax allocation provisions, and joint venture agreements between U.S. and foreign parties.

Brett R. Valentyn, Corporate, Madison
Valentyn has a breadth of experience in mergers and acquisitions and a variety of other transactional matters to help clients navigate complex transactions and corporate legal issues. His M&A experience includes advising small-cap to large-cap companies on the buy- and sell-side of transactions of all sizes, from private equity add-on acquisitions to multi-billion dollar public company mergers, across a diverse group of industries. Valentyn also uses his transactional skills and experience to support the firm’s Venture Best team, advising entrepreneurs, early-stage companies, and investors with their various legal needs.

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