When the entire country was seeking to understand and respond to the myriad of employee benefit changes, mandates and associated penalties accompanying the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Fraser Trebilcock attorney Elizabeth Latchana stepped up to the challenge and became a leading advisor to employers of all sizes across the state of Michigan – and beyond.
“Her dedication to providing clients and the community with the most current information and updates has inspired one of the most active blogs for this legal practice in the state of Michigan,” said Fraser Trebilcock President Brian Morley. “With the proposed changes under the new administration and, for that matter, all future administrations that may aim to continue tweaking or outright changing the laws, Beth’s legal guidance and leadership will be needed for many years to come. We are grateful to have her experience on our side at Fraser.”
Beth found her niche in the transactional health and welfare employee benefits practice just a few years into her legal career. “With the incredible training and assistance of my predecessor and others, I was able to learn, grow, and expand Fraser’s health and welfare employee benefits practice area, sevenfold, and am sincerely honored to have received some accolades along the way,” she says.
Selected in 2015 as “Lawyer of the Year” for Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law in Lansing by Best Lawyers, the Genesee County native has achieved an AV Preeminent peer review rating by Martindale-Hubbell, and continues to be selected by Leading Lawyers and Best Lawyers. Her most recent accolade is selection as one of the Top 30 “Women in the Law” by Michigan Lawyers Weekly, and she will be among those honored at a Sept. 7 luncheon in Troy.
When the graduate of Alma College and University of Notre Dame Law School first joined Fraser Trebilcock as an associate, she set a number of goals, from hitting certain billable hour thresholds, to attaining shareholder status, to growing a client base and expanding her practice, to serving on the Board of Directors, all while volunteering in the community and raising a family.
“Nearly 19 years later, I’m happily still a member of the Fraser Trebilcock family, and I’m pleased to say I’ve met each one of my goals,” she says. “I’m proud of my longevity at this great law firm and happy to be of service to it.”
A vice president on Fraser Trebilcock’s Board of Directors, co-chair of the Employee Benefits practice, and an employee benefits coordinator, Latchana became a leading advisor to employers following the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
She recalls a tip from a senior associate in the early years: make the boss’ job easier. “It led me to focus on working as a team, not just completing a legally correct and hopefully impressively shiny project, but going the extra mile to reach beyond the assignment to simplify the shareholder’s own work,” she says.
“I’ve taken that advice to heart to this day, now with my own clients, helping navigate them through legal hoops and finding creative solutions while ensuring this is done in a way to allow them to focus on what’s most important to them, their own business. I’m able to use creative thought to develop solutions for clients while ensuring they are complying with the plethora of legal mandates thrown at them in the ever-evolving world of employee benefits.”
The legal industry is one which focuses on serving others, which Beth feels drawn to. Giving of oneself to the assistance and hopefully betterment of others is, she says, what life is all about. “As lawyers, we are held to incredibly high ethical and professional standards, as well as displaying an excellent work ethic. We have been trained this way, and it is ingrained in our very being. Therefore, it’s almost impossible for these standards not to trickle over in one’s personal life and activities, and in all ways we serve.”
With her own legal practice in the health and welfare benefits arena, she is able to use creative thought to develop solutions for clients while ensuring they are complying with the plethora of legal mandates thrown at them in the ever-evolving world of employee benefits. “My goal is serve my clients in a way that allows them to have full confidence in their benefit structure so they can focus on their own business…”
Personally, her practice has enabled her to balance professional life with things she enjoys outside of work. A mother of three, Latchana serves as being a role model for youth and assists her community through activities including participating in alumni career fairs, coaching and managing youth in various recreational sports leagues, assisting with creating a community dog park, organizing and collecting donations for local shelters, or serving in leadership capacities of local non-profit organizations, most recently the Board of Directors for the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan.
And if Beth commits to something, she utilizes those high standards she was taught to ensure the task is completed to the best of her ability, no matter the subject.
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A critical overview of laws and regulations governing businesses of all sizes.