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Wishing Patrick Berardo, Joe Mosier, and Donald Bonato a Happy Retirement!
It is difficult to say farewell to three senior partners who have significantly and positively contributed to public education law in Michigan over the past four decades and who will be warmly remembered for their contributions to public education, exceptional dedication to client service, and friendships with clients and colleagues.
Pat Berardo graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 1970 and has been at Thrun Law Firm for more than 40 years. He is appreciated for his extensive knowledge of municipal and education finance law and his friendships with hundreds of municipal and school clients, colleagues in the municipal finance and construction industries, and his co-workers. Along with his colleagues Joe Mosier and Don Bonato, Pat played an integral role in leading the firm as it grew and expanded its client services throughout the state of Michigan. He has enjoyed a distinguished career spanning a variety of practice areas, including effectively representing municipalities and school districts on matters as diverse as complex financing transactions and class action lawsuits involving asbestos removal and milk and bus price-fixing – recovering millions of dollars for Michigan school districts. Pat has played a significant role in the development of municipal and education facilities throughout Michigan and contributed to the well-being of many municipal and education clients. Pat is also among the select few lawyers in the nation who have successfully argued a court case on behalf of a Michigan school district before the U.S. Supreme Court and obtained a favorable and unanimous decision from the Court.
Joe Mosier and Don Bonato joined the firm within two years of each other in the early 1970s after they graduated from the University of Michigan and Wayne State University Law School. When Joe and Don began their careers at the Thrun Law Firm (then Thrun, Maatsch and Nordberg), the Public Employment Relations Act and public school collective bargaining were in their infancy. Joe and Don played an integral role in the development of language, strategy, and standards for public school districts to use in collective bargaining agreements over the past 40 years. They each spent countless hours at the bargaining table, in hearings, and on other related matters in school systems all over the state. This is not an easy job with days that begin in East Lansing and end 14 or more hours later after traveling a few hundred miles. Yet, Joe and Don have handled the challenges of public sector labor/employment law with humor, civility, patience, and a desire to provide excellent and comprehensive legal service to hundreds of superintendents, school board members, and personnel directors.
Joe and Don have handled hundreds of arbitration cases and numerous state and federal appellate court cases of major importance to public school districts, such as cases establishing that MESSA cannot unilaterally change insurance benefits because it is the agent of the MEA under the Public Employment Relations Act; that school districts have the authority to charge students for participation in extracurricular activities, such as sports; and the leading case addressing school districts’ rights to contract with a third party to provide non-instructional support services.
In their role as senior partners, Pat, Joe and Don each have been wise and effective mentors for many Thrun Law Firm attorneys and fair, even-tempered, and caring managers for our support staff.
Pat, Joe, and Don each have prided themselves on, and enjoyed providing sound legal, as well as practical, advice and counsel to you. Under their tutelage, Thrun Law Firm has developed a deep bench of well-trained and experienced attorneys to continue the tradition of exemplary legal counsel to public schools that characterized their years of service to the Firm. While we will deeply miss Pat, Joe and Don, we wish them well in their retirement effective December 31, 2013, and our Firm pledges to continue providing the same quality service to our clients in the same great tradition that they have over the last four decades. Congratulations!