A History of Influential Women Lawyers at Atkinson Petruska Kozma Hart & Couture, PC

Mar 10, 2021 | General, General Interest, Uncategorized

For forty years now, APKHC has been the law firm of choice in northern Michigan for talented and respected women trial lawyers.

Elaine M. Hart was born and raised in northern Michigan and joined the firm after obtaining her law degree in 1987. Before that, she worked for the Workers’ Compensation Agency assisting in the prosecution of employers who failed to obtain insurance as required by law. Her work there prompted her to become a lawyer and to work to protect the rights of injured employees in northern Michigan which she has done now for nearly 35 years with APKHC. The only woman in northern Michigan specializing in representing injured workers in the workers’ compensation system, Elaine is well-known to the defense bar as a relentlessly tough and hard-working lawyer. She has fought for hundreds of clients over the years recovering millions of dollars in compensation for injured workers. In 1995, Elaine was selected to serve as the Michigan Ambassador to Russia by the Friendship Force, a lawyer exchange program designed to foster international goodwill and legal education.  She was inducted into the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers in recognition of her work.

Linda Miller Atkinson joined the firm in 2006. Her exceptional career started in Detroit, Michigan in 1973 where she was in a select group: a woman lawyer in the personal injury field dominated by men. She initially mentored with famous Michigan lawyer Harry Philo and became a partner at Philo Atkinson in short order. As a lawyer on the side of people, Linda’s guiding light is that “the law is not settled until it is settled right, it is never right until it is just, and it is never just until it serves society to the fullest”. Following that mantra, Linda became a highly effective lawyer for her clients and a widely feared opponent to the defense bar. She was involved in ground-breaking cases as a young lawyer including one of the first birth control pill cases which established the rule requiring big pharmaceutical companies to issue proper warnings regarding the potential dangers of the pill. When she decided to relocate to northern Michigan, she looked for a firm which shared her values and joined what would become Atkinson Petruska Kozma Hart and Couture. She was bestowed with numerous honors and awards in her exceptional career including the “Mel award” in 2006 from the Melvin M. Belli International Law Society, the Champion of Justice award in 2007 from the American Association for Justice and the Trial Lawyer of the Year award from the Michigan Trial Lawyers Association.

Janet Allen, another prominent woman lawyer in northern Michigan was also a member of the firm. Before joining the firm in 1982, Janet clerked for a short time for Supreme Court Justice Blair Moody, Jr. Janet always had great compassion for the less fortunate and felt at home representing injured people during her time with the firm. She was active in various lawyer organizations (including the Women’s Caucus with the Michigan State Bar Association) and charitable groups (serving, for example, as the Board President for the Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan). In 2005, Janet became the first woman to serve as Judge on the 46th Circuit Court serving Otsego, Crawford and Kalkaska Counties. She was known as a judge who was thoroughly prepared in every case and who administered justice in a fair an unbiased manner. She ultimately rose to the post of Chief Judge where she contributed to numerous innovations in the administration of the court. She retired from the bench in 2016.

Atkinson Petruska Kozma Hart & Couture, PC is proud to be the firm where these outstanding northern Michigan women have flourished and contributed so greatly to the legal profession and our community.