Deanna's practice focuses on the areas of commercial and employment litigation and her service as general counsel to fashion designers. Deanna leads Fosterfashion
, the firm's fashion and design law team.
She also handles alternative dispute resolution, primarily through service as an arbitrator as well as representing clients in a variety of real estate, mortgage, collection and creditor rights matters. She is a member of the firm's Banking, Finance and Real Estate Practice Group, Employment Law, S.E.E.D. and Agricultural Law Group.
Deanna handles a broad range of commercial litigation matters including breach of contract litigation, defending contract and statutory claims arising from the mortgagee/mortgagor relationship, resolving real property easement, adverse possession, boundary and title disputes, enforcing the rights of parties to secured transactions, filing and defending actions for conversion, breach of fiduciary duty, tortious interference with contract as well as other business torts.
Her work as a commercial litigator has earned the respect of her peers, as is demonstrated by her AV Preeminent Martindale-Hubbell rating and Best Lawyers in America recognition in Commercial Litigation since 2009.
Deanna also drafts and negotiates licensing agreements, commission agreements, employment and independent contractor agreements and advises clients regarding the misclassification of employees. When out-of-court efforts and administrative proceedings fail to resolve disputes, she defends employers in state and federal courts in breach of contract discrimination and retaliation actions, and she files suits to enjoin violations of, covenants not-to-compete provisions and sales commission agreements.
Deanna serves on the AAA Commercial Panel of Neutrals and serves as a mediator.
Prior to joining Foster, Swift, Deanna clerked for Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Carolyn Stell and worked for Varnum, Riddering, Schmidt & Howlet.
Admitted to practice in Michigan, she is a member of the Federal Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Ingham County Bar Association. Deanna is a member of the Fellows of the Michigan State Bar Foundation, and she is a former member of the State Bar of Michigan's Client Protection Fund Committee and the Indiana University Law Alumni Board.
Locally, Deanna volunteers her time to a variety of Lansing and Detroit area endeavors that support start-up fashion and design businesses, artists and a wide variety of makers. She also volunteers her time to The Friends of Reutter Park and to Operation Santa, a program that provides Christmas gifts to children of low-income families. She has served as the President of the Board of Trustees of Michigan Montessori Internationale, Inc., and she is a founding member of the Lansing Chapter of Inforum and AthenaWIN.
Born in Crawfordsville, Indiana, Deanna was a summa cum laude graduate of Ball State University, obtaining degrees in Political Science and the Honors College. She received her legal education and juris doctorate from Indiana University in 1985. She continued her legal education at Fordham Law, in 2014, attending its fashion law intensive summer program.
Honors & Recognitions
AV Preeminent Martindale-Hubbell
Best Lawyers in America 2009-2017 (Commercial Litigation)
American Arbitration Association Roster of Neutrals, Commercial Panel
Recent Blog Posts
•The FTC Cranks Up the Heat on Wool
•Grow Your Business with Foster Swift's SEED Group
•Are You Personally Liable for Your Business's Debts?
•Who Will be Next?
•Does your Design House have a Firm Foundation?
•Getting Your Design House in Order
•Labels - A Necessary Pain in the Neck
•Lansing, are you ready to roll... into production?
•The Runway Celebrates Its First Anniversary!
Technology Law Blog
•What is a Covenant not to Compete?
•An Ideal Time to Take on Your Accounts Receivable, Foster Swift Finance, Real Estate & Bankruptcy News, August 18, 2016
•Employee or Independent Contractor?, Foster Swift Agricultural Law News, January 29, 2016
•Trade Dress - A Good Fit for Fashion?, Ipls Proceedings - State Bar of Michigan, January 2015
•Financing the Creative, Foster Swift Finance, Real Estate & Bankruptcy News, August 26, 2014
•Is Your Independent Contractor Really an Employee?, Foster Swift Agricultural Law Update, January 16, 2014
•Mediation: A Viable Alternative to Litigation, Michigan Chamber of Commerce, 2008
•Business Attorneys Release an Additional Three Legal Basics Videos, October 12, 2015
•44 Foster Swift Attorneys Named to 2016 Best Lawyers in America Roster, August 21, 2015
•Runway's first sponsor renews: Foster Swift Continues Support of Lansing's Fashion Incubator, April 24, 2015
•Fashion is alive in Michigan: Foster Swift Launches New Fosterfashion Blog, October 22, 2014
•Lights, Camera, Fashion: Foster Swift Partners with Runway Lansing, October 14, 2014
•45 Foster Swift attorneys named to 2015 Best Lawyers in America roster, August 19, 2014
•Forty-five Foster Swift Attorneys included in Best Lawyers in America, August 15, 2013
•Road to Retail Instructor, The Runway, Lansing's fashion incubator, June 17, 2016
•Panel Member M-Power Your Art, Detroit Startup Week, May 24, 2016
•A Pattern for Success, Industry Days: Design & Manufacturing, Detroit Design Festival, September 22, 2015
•Fashion Law, The Fashion Association of Merchandising and Design at Central Michigan University, November 4, 2014
•Proper Use of Email, Walsh College, March 10, 2011