Skip to content

Clark Hill Attorneys Nicole M. Paterson, Barbara A. Ruga and Joseph B. Urban to Present During MASPA’s 45th Annual Winter Conference

November 28, 2017

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Clark Hill attorneys Nicole M. Paterson, Barbara A. Ruga and Joseph B. Urban will present during the Michigan Association of School Personnel Administrators (MASPA) Winter Conference. Paterson and Ruga will discuss best practices for Human Resources under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), followed by Ruga and Urban’s session of What’s Left to Bargain?. The conference, in its 45th year, will be held November 29 – December 1, 2017 at the Lansing Crowne Plaza Hotel in Lansing, MI.

MASPA advocates on behalf of the personnel and/or human resource function, works to enhance member professional growth, actively supports the diversification of the workforce, serves as a resource agency, and promotes the highest standard of personal and professional conduct and ethics to ensure quality instruction and service to Michigan students. For more information, visit

Paterson is an Associate with the Labor & Employment and Education and Municipal Law Practice Groups in Clark Hill’s Grand Rapids office and an ATIXA-certified Title IX investigator. Paterson represents a diverse group of clients operating in both a union and non-union environment, including school districts, long-term care facilities, hospitals, non-profit organizations, municipalities and corporations. She has successfully defended employers before the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Michigan Employment Relations Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, the Department of Labor, and state and federal courts.

Ruga is a member in Clark Hill’s Grand Rapids office where she practices in the Education and Municipal Law Practice Group as well as the Labor & Employment Law Practice Group. Ruga advises and counsels public and private employers on a wide variety of labor law and employment issues. She has extensive experience negotiating public school contracts in a context of scarce resources. She has also handled numerous unfair labor practice charges, fact-findings, OCR and EEO claims, and related employment litigation. Ruga advocates for prevention through education and, to that end, specializes in employee training programs for clients and public school organizations.

A past president of the Michigan Council for School Attorneys, Ruga has been recognized by her peers as a leader in the school labor negotiations field through the prestigious Harlow Claggett Award, received for her contributions to public school labor negotiations, and is frequently asked to speak at industry conferences throughout the state. In addition, Ruga was recently designated Grand Rapids' 2016 "Lawyer of the Year" for Education Law in the 22nd Edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Only a single lawyer in each practice area in each community is honored as the "Lawyer of the Year."

Urban is a member in Clark Hill’s Birmingham office, where he concentrates his practice in the areas of municipal finance, education law, and real estate law. He routinely represents school employers in the areas of collective bargaining, grievances and arbitration, unfair labor practices, wrongful discharge and the day-to-day matters arising in personnel administration. With respect to education law, Urban regularly counsels school districts and public school academies in the operational issues involved in administering educational organizations, including compliance with the Revised School Code, the Open Meetings Act, the Freedom of Information Act, and other laws governing public bodies.

Firm Profile

Clark Hill is a multidisciplinary, national law firm that draws on our attorneys’ comprehensive industry and policy knowledge, our deeply held shared values, and a global network of premier firms and advisors to provide innovative legal solutions and client-service excellence worldwide. With more than 450 attorneys and professionals based in 16 offices across the United States and in Dublin, we are a committed partner to a diverse range of businesses, public entities, and individuals. Our investment in new service lines — including human resources outsourcing, information governance, process consulting, and public affairs — further reinforces our ability to provide coordinated legal, regulatory, and political strategies that achieve business success.

Subscribe For The Latest