March 5, 1961, the date he opened the door of his first office, is engraved on the black marble pen set that sat on his desk during all the years of his practice.
He operated as a sole-practitioner for a couple of years, then his brother, Camille Sam Abood (1931 – 2000) joined him, and the firm was renamed: Abood & Abood.
The Early Years
In those early years the two young attorneys took every type of case that came to them, and before long they found themselves involved with many residents from Lansing’s inner-city west side, who found themselves to be victims of the state highway system. The heart of Lansing’s African-American community stood in the path of the proposed new freeway which would cut a swath through the city, and therefore right through their neighborhood, and the state had begun taking their property by condemning it through the process of eminent domain.
Fred and Camille aided many clients in that respect, not by saving their properties, that was not possible, but by helping them to obtain a fair price, and assisting them in relocating to other parts of the city. Those clients became the nucleus that led the Abood brothers into prominence within the community. One couldn’t pay for the type of word-of-mouth advertising the former west-siders provided to the Abood brothers, who were treated like sons by many of them, because of their compassionate hearts and excellent legal services. Those clients and their progeny, relatives, friends, and neighbors, kept returning to them with their other lifetime problems and legal needs, and the law firm of Abood & Abood began to expand and to specialize.
Fredric Abood found his niche in criminal defense and domestic relations, and was a zealous advocate for his clients. One often heard a prosecutor or a judge refer to him as Fearless Freddie in deference both to his charismatic persona and his willingness to proceed to trial in just about any case.
Camille Sam Abood’s expertise was in civil practice, mainly in the areas of personal injury, negligence, and business related matters. In addition, for many years he served as counsel for the Catholic Diocese of Lansing.
Their youngest brother, Richard J. Abood, joined them at about the time the firm moved into a building at 117 East Allegan Street, in late 1965, and the firm name became Abood, Abood & Abood. Richard had a flair for advocating in both the civil and criminal arenas and he practiced with meticulous efficiency. It was he who coined the phrase often heard from the lips of all three of them: “In a war of words the inarticulate are unarmed.”
Fredric operated on the principle that “almost right is wrong as hell,” and Camille was often heard to say that “for every wrong there is a remedy.”
A Family Firm
The three brothers, sons of immigrant parents, became well-known throughout mid-Michigan, both for their legal expertise and their personal involvement in community programs and charitable works. Camille, almost single-handedly organized and managed one of the first local food pantries, the Greater Lansing Food Bank.
Strong and dedicated family men themselves, they developed their law practice as a business with strong familial values. Into this atmosphere they employed an exceptional support staff who became significant contributors to the attorneys’ success during the several decades of their employment. Among them were Gena Sandy, Sue Conway, and Margaret Boyett.
With Fred Abood as her mentor, Gena Sandy, who was originally hired as a part-time secretary, became one of the first, if not the first, paralegals in the city even before the word paralegal had gained usage. Fred would often tell the young lawyers in the firm, most of whom were his own sons and daughters, that Ms. Sandy had forgotten more about the law than most lawyers knew. Likewise, Sue Conway and Margaret Boyett, for many years, dedicated themselves, through their excellent skills and work product, to the success of the law firm
William E. Rheaume became associated with the Abood brothers early in his career, becoming a full-partner, and during those years, the firm’s name was Abood, Abood & Rheaume, P.C.
Many other attorneys worked with the firm throughout the years, and most have gone on to distinguished careers in the law, including several judgeships.
As the law firm grew, it became a strong voice for the individual against the government, insurance companies, banks, and other large concerns where unlimited resources were the battlements up against which individuals sought redress for wrongful injuries.
The years of development were fruitful on many levels as the second generation of the Abood family integrated into the law firm.
F. Joseph Abood, Jeffrey J. Abood, Teresa S. Abood, James C. Abood, Andrew P. Abood, Jerome F. Abood, and Ellen M. Abood, all had the opportunity to practice law with their father, Fredric, and all are dedicated to the same principals of life, liberty, and justice for all.
Through the years, some of them have taken advantage of opportunities outside of the family law firm; Jeffrey and Jerome are now involved in other business interests. Teresa married, and while raising her children, is enjoying a successful law practice in Florida.
Strengthening Family Ties
There came a time, in 1998, after the retirement of William E. Rheaume, when Fredric S. Abood, F. Joseph Abood, James C. Abood, and Ellen M. Abood-McCabe, joined with Andrew P. Abood, who had a few years earlier created a separate law firm, and they unified under one shingle: Abood Law Firm.
Subsequently, James Abood moved to Arizona, where he practices banking law; and Ellen, also married and also raising her family, now practices in New York.
With Andrew Abood and F. Joseph Abood as the senior partners, the Abood Law Firm headed in a vibrant and energetic direction in the face of significant tort reform favoring insurance companies over individuals. At the same time the government was given broader capacity to invasively intrude into individual lives. In the face of those legal challenges, the technology, not only of the law, but of the world, grew exponentially. From carbon copies in triplicate, to email and text messages; from multi-line land-line telephones to personal companions in your pocket. From bookshelves full of law books in the office library, to a multitude of on-line law libraries accessed from the computer sitting on your desk, or on your lap, and more recently from your pocket device. From rooms full of file cabinets stuffed with paperwork, to paperless offices with a single drawer, and possibly a cloud, holding your back-up media. Most of this transpired within a fifteen year time span, and the changes continue on a day to day basis.
F. Joseph Abood, the oldest of the second generation attorneys, has enjoyed a general law practice involving civil, criminal, domestic, administrative, business, and real estate litigation. Notably he has argued and prevailed on behalf of his clients in the Sixth Circuit Federal Court in Cincinnati, and has briefed winning arguments before the United States Supreme Court.
Andrew P. Abood has enjoyed a distinguished career in criminal law, and also in the areas of commercial litigation, which includes real estate, corporate and business planning. He has been involved in several significant cases, including admission pro hoc vice to the State of Illinois, in a high profile homicide case that garnered national attention. He has also served as an adjunct professor at the Thomas M. Cooley School of Law.
Collectively, the attorneys of the Abood Law Firm, past and present, have represented clients from all walks of life, in all sorts of cases:
- From the member of the Michigan House of Representatives charged with shoplifting, to a state senator charged with indecent exposure.
- From the county sheriff charged with obstruction of justice and perjury, to the rank and file deputy charged with sexual assault.
- From the entire neighborhood of near poverty level black families being ousted from their homes and originally being offered a pittance by the state; to the wife of a multi-millionaire— an estate in excess of one hundred and fifty million dollars— whose main issue in their divorce case was custody of the family dog.
- From a police officer charged with the murder of his wife four years after her death occurred, after her body was exhumed, to the woman charged with the stabbing death of her husband, a case where her taped statement to the police was edited (by someone responsible for its transcription) into a confession. It was discovered while the trial was in progress, that in the actual recording of her statement she said something different than what the jurors heard when a transcript of it was read to them by the investigating officer. The judge directed a verdict of not guilty.
Beginning, in 1961, in a two room office on the eleventh floor of a downtown Lansing office building, the law firm moved (in late 1965) into the first floor of a refurbished building at 117 East Allegan Street, a building that had previously served as the local Salvation Army citadel. When Fredric Abood purchased that building, he also purchased the two adjacent storefront buildings, and as the number of personnel working for the firm expanded, so did the office space. Through several permutations and redesigns the three buildings were distinctively remodeled into one, retaining the original brick for the perimeter walls, complemented with oak and glass for the individual offices, all unified behind a red brick façade.
In the early 1990s the Women’s Clubhouse, built and contributed by Ransom E. Olds in 1913, became available. Fredric Abood purchased it and it became the new location of the law firm offices. Situated in the 600 block of South Washington Avenue it served almost as a gateway to downtown Lansing; there the law firm became an institution recognized throughout the state of Michigan.
In the spring of 2002, the firm moved to its current location of 246 East Saginaw Street in East Lansing, Michigan. The move was significant as it allowed for an office designed to accommodate the new technologies as well as affording our clients convenient parking and handicap access.
In 2012 the Abood Law Firm opened an office in Birmingham, Michigan, spearheaded by cousin Jeffrey Lance Abood, who has been lauded in Hour Magazine, as the best divorce attorney.
The Abood Law Firm continues to stand ready to serve our clients with our knowledge, experience, technology, and dedication to our longstanding values established in a tradition of excellence.
Abood Law Firm has offices in Birmingham and East Lansing, Michigan. Since 1956, Abood Law Firm has represented clients throughout Southeast Michigan. Abood Law Firm provides legal services in Birmingham, West Bloomfield, Bloomfield Hills, Huntington Woods, Hickory Corners, Novi, Northville, Forest Hills, Farmington Hills, Royal Oak, Beverly Hills, Auburn Hills, Rochester Hills, Berkley, Ferndale, Ann Arbor, Lansing, and Madison Heights.