The test of a true leader can come in times of crisis. For corporations, lawyers are an essential part of the crisis management team. The ability to provide sound advice to navigate through the crisis is of the utmost importance. Selecting the right outside counsel and creating an effective partnership is critical. It is important that the legal team resist making short sighted decisions and make decisions that ultimately allow the company to appropriately manage the legal issues.
This discussion will focus on some key decisions that lawyers face when partnering with outside counsel. Specifically, the discussion will focus on the appropriate selection of outside counsel or counsels with whom to partner to address both the immediate issue and the long-term resolution; understanding the legal elements of the crisis; key decisions regarding staffing for document review and data management; preparation and approval of presentations to management; and who should participate in discussions with outside parties.
In 1995, Angelique Strong Marks began her career practicing employment law at Hardy Lewis & Page PC representing General Motors Corporation and Delphi Automotive. She moved on to serve as the chief legal counsel for Frank's Nursery & Crafts, Inc, which was then the nation’s largest dedicated lawn and garden retail chain. She then gained Corporate Securities and Finance experience while serving as senior counsel at CMS Energy Corporation and DTE Energy Company, both Fortune 500 Companies.
In 2004, she began working for Handleman Company, $1.2 billion (revenue) music distribution company with operations throughout the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. In this role Ms. Strong Marks became the first African-American female General Counsel of a publicly traded company in the state of Michigan.
In October 2009, she began serving as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at Behr America, Inc., a Tier One Automotive Supplier with international headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. In October 2013, upon completion of MAHLE GmbH’s acquisition of Behr America’s Inc.’s parent company, Ms. Strong Marks became the General Counsel, Corporate Secretary and Regional Compliance Officer for MAHLE Industries, Inc., the North American division of one of the largest (top 20) global and North American automotive suppliers.
In 2015, Savoy magazine honored Ms. Strong Marks as one of the country’s most influential 100 Black lawyers. Also in 2015, the American Corporate Counsel Association honored her as an Influential Female General Counsel and featured her in its Docket magazine. She also completed the Mt. Kilimanjaro Triathlon, climbing to the highest peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro (Uhuru Peak), completing a 25 km bike ride and running a marathon.
In February 2016, she became a member of the Executive Leadership Council. In November 2016, Western Michigan University College of Law honored Ms. Strong Marks with its prestigious Integrity Award. In November 2017, Crain’s Business selected Ms. Strong Marks for its inaugural feature of Notable Women in the Law.
Ms. Strong Marks has also been honored as a D. Augustus Straker Bar Association Trailblazer Recipient, a Wolverine Bar Association President’s “Speak the Truth to Power” Award Recipient, a Michigan Chronicle's Women of Excellence Honoree, a Driven-Blacks in Automotive Honoree, a Michigan Lawyers Weekly In-House Leaders in the Law Honoree , a Crain’s Business 40 under 40 Honoree, a State Bar of Michigan Citizen Lawyer, a Who’s Who in Black Detroit Honoree and a Michigan Lawyers Weekly Up and Coming Lawyer Honoree.
Ms. Strong Marks also serves as a State Bar of Michigan Bar Examination Grader. She has served as a Director for the Michigan Chapter of the American Corporate Counsel Association, a Cabinet Member for the Metro Detroit United Way, a Commissioner for the State Bar of Michigan, an American Bar Association Business Law Section Ambassador, Chairperson of the Save Kids of Incarcerated Parents Advisory Board, a member of Michigan Lawyers Weekly Board of Editors, Chairperson of the State Bar of Michigan Young Lawyers Section, a Michigan delegate to the American Bar Association House of Delegates, and President of the D. Augustus Straker Bar Association (an affiliate of the National Bar Association).
She is the dedicated and loving mother to her daughters, Amari Ajene and Jalia Iman.