Firm Bios


Philip G. Tannian

Philip G. Tannian:  “Jerry” Tannian has been senior counsel at ELS since the firm’s inception.  Jerry graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1957 with a degree in accounting.  Following service as a Lieutenant JG in the United States Navy, Jerry obtained his JD from the Detroit College of Law in 1963.  During his legal career, Jerry has held positions as Special Agent in the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for Wayne County, Assistant Controller for the City of Detroit, Chief of Staff to the Mayor of Detroit, Detroit Police Commissioner, Chief of Police for the City of Detroit, and attorney in private practice.

During his career in private practice, Jerry has provided counsel to a wide variety of companies, business organizations, and municipalities in the fields of real estate, tax abatement, environmental due diligence and regulatory compliance, enforcement defense, and legislative development.  Before joining ELS, Jerry worked as an associate for Nederlander Dodge, P.C. and was the founder and managing principal of Tannian & Associates, P.C.

Jerry is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, has been admitted to practice before the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court.

Jerry currently lives in the Detroit area with his wife, children and grandchildren.     


Philip J. Tannian


Philip J. Tannian:  Phil joined ELS in 2008 after graduating, with honors, from Thomas M. Cooley Law School.  The focus of his practice is counseling the firm’s clients on issues of environmental compliance, regulatory reporting, environmental risk mitigation and the resolution of enforcement proceedings.  He has successfully counseled businesses large and small on issues regarding wastewater discharge permitting, pretreatment, hazardous and solid waste, environmental due diligence and occupational health and safety compliance.

Phil is a member of the Environmental Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan, a member of the Air and Waste Management Association of Eastern Michigan, and has been admitted to practice before the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Before joining the firm, Phil owned and operated his own contracting company, founded a new 501(c)(3) non-profit entity and ran nearly 3,000 miles across the United States to raise money for various cancer research facilities, including the Karmanos Cancer Institute located in Detroit, Michigan.  Prior to that, he attended Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Phil currently lives in the Detroit area with his wife and children.

Professional Staff

Julie B. Fentner

Julie B. Fentner:  Julie has been working as a legal assistant and permit coordinator in the environmental field for almost twenty years.  She has been with ELS since the firm was founded and works closely with all of the firm’s many longtime clients to help coordinate and organize the collection of the often times voluminous information required for the timely filing of regulatory reports.  Julie works primarily with the firm’s Clean Water Act Permitting Program to schedule, monitor, and compile client’s discharge monitoring data, as required by each permit, to allow the firm’s attorneys to provide timely counsel to each client as may be required to respond to noncompliance and avoid the possibility of escalating enforcement actions. 

Julie currently lives in the Detroit area with her husband.