Michael E. Menkes


Born November 15, 1953

B.A. Indiana University, 1976

J.D. Valparaiso University School of Law 1979


Joined the Firm in 1983 after being in private practice in Hillsdale, Michigan. Present emphasis on dram shop, automobile negligence, first party, third party, and premises liability defense.
Martindale Hubbell AV Rated
Listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers

Community Activities

Past President, Gaylord Sports Booster Club
Past President, Otsego County United Way
Former Board Member of Hillsdale County Substance Abuse Council
Former Business Law Instructor for Jackson Community College
Recreational interests include family activities, hunting, snow shoeing, skiing, golf, tennis and horseback riding.

Professional Memberships

Michigan Bar Association
Otsego County Bar Association
American Bar Association
Defense Research Institute of America

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Patrick J. Michaels


Born March 17, 1953

B. A. University of Michigan, 1975

J. D. University of Detroit Law School, 1981


Joined the Firm in April 1986, after being affiliated with a litigation defense firm in Petoskey, Michigan. Present emphasis on first and third party automobile litigation, premises liability, dram shop and workers' compensation defense.
Listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers

Community Activities

Past President of Big Brothers - Big Sisters of Otsego County.
Recreational interests include family-related activities, culinary arts, cross-country skiing, golf and camping.

Professional Memberships

Michigan Bar Association
Otsego County Bar Association
Defense Research Institute of America

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Bradley S. Bensinger


Born April 26, 1974

B.A. Albion College, 1996

J.D. Detroit College of Law at Michigan State University, Magna Cum Laude,1999


Joined the Firm in August 1999, with present emphasis on workers compensation, automobile negligence, first party and general civil defense.
Listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers.
Recreational interests include hunting, team roping, rodeo, golf, and skiing.

Community Activities

Michigan Bar Association
Otsego County Bar Association
Michigan Defense Trial Counsel

Professional Memberships

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William J. Maynard


Born September 20, 1961

B.S. Central Michigan University, Magna Cum Laude, 1983

J.D. University of Toledo College of Law, 1986


Joined the Firm in December 1991, after being affiliated with a defense firm in Marquette, Michigan. Present emphasis on property loss litigation (fire loss), insurance law, automobile negligence, no fault, dram shop and premises liability defense.
Has been a speaker/presenter at insurance-related and I.C.L.E. Seminars.
Listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers

Community Activities

Member, Marquette Elks Club (Presently serving as presiding justice of subordinate forum), Father Marquette Catholic School System Member and Volunteer.
Recreational interests include sports, music and family related activities.

Professional Memberships

Michigan Bar Association
Marquette County Bar Association
American Bar Association
Michigan Defense Trial Counsel
The Defense Research Institute
International Association of Arson Investigators (Michigan Chapter)
U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan, Northern Division
Member, Blue Goose Insurance Organization (U.P. Puddle)

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Glenn W. Smith


Born August 6, 1956

B.S. Michigan Technological University, 1978

M.B.A. Pepperdine University, 1982

J.D. Loyola Law School - Los Angeles, 1989

Registered Professional Engineer since 1982


Joined the Firm in December 1992, formerly associated with another litigation defense firm in Marquette, Michigan. Emphasis in products liability, patent law, no-fault litigation, environmental law and general business matters.
Registered Patent Attorney
Martindale Hubbell AV Rated
Listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers
Recreational interests include sports, outdoor activities and family.

Professional Memberships

Michigan Bar Association
Marquette County Bar Association
American Bar Association
American Society of Mechanical Engineers
Professional Engineer

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Roger W. Zappa


Born May 21, 1959

B.S. Michigan Technological University, 1981

J.D. University of Michigan, 1984


Joined the Firm in May 1996, after twelve years of litigation practice in diverse fields in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Present emphasis on auto negligence defense, premises and products liability, first party no-fault, insurance law, subrogation, general litigation, estate planning and workers compensation.
Listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers

Community Activities

Chairman: Marquette First United Methodist Church Administrative Board.
Has provided support and given presentations to Marquette Alzheimer's Support Association.
Recreational interests include antique and special interest automobiles, woodworking, bicycling, cross country skiing and family related activities.

Professional Memberships

Michigan Bar Association
Marquette County Bar Association
Member of the Bar of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals

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Will Sullivan


Born January 7, 1983

B.A. Northern Michigan University, 2005

J.D. University of Michigan Law School, 2008


Joined the Firm in October of 2014.
We are very pleased to announce that Will Sullivan has joined our firm as an associate attorney in our Marquette office! Will is a native of Marquette and brings with him several years of litigation experience. He holds a Bachelor of Science from Northern Michigan University and graduated with a Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan Law School. His practice areas include real estate litigation, insurance defense, estate planning, and other civil/criminal litigation, just to name a few. Will is active in the Marquette community and will be an asset to our firm and our clients.

Professional Memberships

American Bar Association
Illinois State Bar Association
State Bar of Michigan
Series 7 and 66 Securities License

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Michael T. Klagstad


Born June 29, 1989

B. S. Central Michigan University, Summa cum Laude, 2011

J. D. Michigan State University College of Law, Summa cum Laude, 2014


Joined the Firm in June of 2015.

We are very pleased to announce that Michael Klagstad has joined our firm as an associate attorney in our Gaylord office!  He holds a Bachelor of Science from Central Michigan University and recently graduated with a Juris Doctor from the Michigan State University College of Law.  His present emphasis is on first and third party automobile negligence and other areas of civil defense. 

Recreational interests include hunting, kayaking, sports, and playing guitar.

Professional Memberships

Michigan Bar Association

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Richard G. Bensinger

Richard G. Bensinger


May 30, 1948 - March 3, 2012

B.A. Albion College, 1970

J.D. University of Detroit Law School, 1973


Rick formed Bensinger, Cotant & Menkes, P.C. in 1978, and the firm has been a fixture on Main Street in Gaylord ever since. He took great pride in the practice of law and had a deep love and respect for all of those that he had the pleasure of working with. Over the years, Rick took an active role serving numerous organizations and boards in the community as well as coaching his share of youth teams. He was incredibly generous, and practiced life and law with honesty, professionalism and integrity. Rick loved the outdoors and spent his most cherished times in the Pigeon River Country at deer camp with sons, grandchildren and his "camp family." He is dearly missed but his legacy lives on.

Community Activities

Past member of the Board of Trustees of Otsego Memorial Hospital, Gaylord Education Foundation, First United Methodist Church, Alpenfest, and Gaylord Opportunity Center Sheltered Workshop. Former Big Brother-Big Sister, and Former Campaign Co-Chairman of Otsego County United Way.

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James C. Cotant


January 2, 1943 - October 17, 2011

B.S. Xavier University, Ohio, 1966

J.D. Detroit College of Law, 1971


Jim moved to Gaylord in 1974 and served as the Otsego County Prosecutor before joining the Firm in 1985. He practiced law actively for 37 years until four days before his death. Jim was a skilled lawyer and mentor, and was highly respected by everyone who knew him. Jim was a gifted mediator, helping those involved in conflicts resolve their disputes and start the process of healing. His reputation for fairness, honesty and diplomacy followed him wherever he traveled. He was extremely giving and unselfish, and volunteered extensively to the community. In 2010, Jim was the recipient of the Roberts P. Hudson Award, the highest award conferred by the State Bar of Michigan, on an attorney who exemplifies unselfishness and generosity, given in a spirit of self-sacrifice and with honor, esteem and respect.

Community Activities

Former Vice President Otsego Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees; Former Chairman, Board of Directors for Alpine Regional Education Center; Former Board of Directors, Otsego Memorial Hospital Foundation; Former President, Gaylord Rotary Club; Former Prosecuting Attorney; Former Board of Directors, United Way, Big Brother-Big Sister and Gaylord St. Mary Cathedral Parish Council; Former State Bar of Michigan Representative Assembly; Past President of 46th Judicial Circuit Bar Association.

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Gaylord Team+
  • Michael E. Menkes

  • Kathy Pascoe

    Michael's Assistant

  • Patrick J. Michaels

  • Pattie Millikin

    Patrick's Assistant

  • Bradley S. Bensinger

  • Holly Blunt

    Bradley's Assistant

  • Michael T. Klagstad

  • Laurie Ames

    Paralegal

  • Peg Perlinski

    Administrator

  • Laura Slivinski

    Receptionist

  • Theresa Plachta

    Billing/Paralegal

Marquette Team+
  • William J. Maynard

  • Pat Nolan

    William's Assistant

  • Glenn W. Smith

  • Wendy McLaughlin

    Glenn's Assistant

  • Roger W. Zappa

  • Dianne Gaboury

    Roger's Assistant

  • Will Sullivan

  • Lori Evans

    Will's Assistant

  • Kay Benson

    Receptionist / Backup Support

  • Craig Nelson

    Paralegal