Member news & notes

June 2014

Chambers USA Ranks Varnum in Several Practice Areas

Grand Rapids, Michigan,  June 11, 2014 – Varnum LLP has once again been ranked in several practice areas in Chambers USA, a national directory that ranks leading law firms and lawyers. Varnum achieved rankings in four of the six practice areas for which Chambers ranks Michigan firms.


Chambers published the following about Varnum:


Banking and Finance: Focused on complex federal and state regulatory issues on behalf of a series of financial institutions. Also advises both lenders and borrowers in loan transactions and workouts. Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients): "They've been on corporate banking issues and each time the service is exemplary – quick turnaround and they help us accomplish our goals very quickly."


Labor and Employment: Offers expertise in traditional labor law, employment litigation, immigration and workers' compensation. Represents the management of a range of organizations of all sizes." Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients): "They're very thorough and definitely look at all sides of the situation. They're very accommodating and you really feel that you're in partnership." "They have an understanding of my workplace and the practical necessities of dealing with strategy and problem-solving as well as the legal side."


Litigation – General Commercial: Represents clients in all manner of disputes, including securities litigation, product liability and environmental claims. Involved in state and federal courts on behalf of organizations from both the private and public sectors. Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients): "They're so accessible to us. A very strong firm with a lot of resources [at] hand." "Practical, cost-conscious and good communication. They understand our goals and can move forward."


Real Estate: Full service practice that works with investors, businesses, developers and institutions on a wide range of matters pertaining to commercial, residential and industrial real estate. Also handles sophisticated regulatory issues. Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients): "They're qualified and motivated attorneys who do a good job for us in areas where we can't afford to have mediocre representation." " Great advisers on deal structures and bringing new ideas to the table." Full Story

Chambers Again Ranks Miller Johnson Among Michigan's Best in Four Practice Areas

Grand Rapids, Michigan, June 10, 2014 — America's Leading Lawyers for Business—again ranked Miller Johnson among Michigan’s best in corporate/M&A, employee benefits & executive compensation, labor & employment, and general commercial litigation.
Chambers USA 2014 published this about Miller Johnson’s practice areas:

Corporate/M&A. Acts for a diverse client base, from large corporations to small partnerships. Expertise in areas such as transaction financing, commercial agreements, joint ventures and stock option plans. Clients say “They operate efficiently, effectively, promptly and politely.”

Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation. Covers the span of employee benefits and executive compensation, including retirement and welfare benefit plans, cafeteria plans and nonqualified deferred compensation. Active with clients from a varied selection of areas including manufacturers, financial institutions and retailers. Clients say “They're always on top of new legislation and thinking about how it affects the client.”

Labor & Employment. Provides training, representation and counsel across a broad spectrum of labor and employment issues. Active in a variety of areas such as collective bargaining, employment discrimination, labor arbitrations and workplace harassment. Clients say “They have a keen sense of how to work with corporate clients and have routinely achieved stellar results.”

Litigation: General Commercial. Varied trial and appellate practice with experience on both a state and federal level. Offers litigation expertise across the full range of areas, including antitrust employment and product liability. Clients say “A combination of intelligence and efficiency. These issues can be very technical and they come up to speed quickly without having to repeat information.” Full Story

May 2014



Ciarra Adkins Joins Rhoades McKee PC

Grand Rapids, Michigan, May 19, 2014 - Rhoades McKee is pleased to announce Ciarra Adkins has joined the firm as a summer associate through the firm’s participation in a clerkship program of the Grand Rapids Bar Association and the Floyd Skinner Bar Association. Full Story


Warner Norcross Opens Office in Kalamazoo

Grand Rapids, Michigan, May 20, 2014 - The law firm Warner Norcross & Judd LLP continues to grow its presence in Michigan with the opening of a new office in Kalamazoo. One of the largest law firms in the state, Warner Norcross has opened its new office in the heart of Kalamazoo’s business district at 259 E. Michigan Ave., Suite 208 while it looks for larger space to accommodate anticipated growth.

Four experienced litigators and business attorneys have joined the firm and will practice in the Kalamazoo office.  They are:

  • John N. Cooper II, a civil litigator with more than 30 years of experience who also serves as executive partner

  • Pamela Enslen, a litigator and mediator with extensive experience in employment law

  • Ian R. Kennedy, a corporate attorney with significant experience in business and real estate law

  • Jay Yelton, a litigator who is nationally recognized for his work on litigation readiness and e-discovery Full Story



Clark Hill Attorney Kurt M. Graham Contributes to Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s Featured Article, “Accommodating Diversity”

May 7, 2014, Grand Rapids, Michigan - Clark Hill attorney Kurt M. Graham contributed to Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s featured article, “Accommodating Diversity,” published May 5, 2014. Graham, a Senior Attorney in Clark Hill’s Education & Municipal Group, highlighted pitfalls for employers and provided advice on the EEOC’s recently issued guidance on religious garb and grooming.

Foster Swift - Grand Rapids Office Expansion

Grand Rapids, Michigan, May 7, 2014 - Foster Swift recently expanded its Grand Rapids office space by 50 percent. Prior to the new build out, Foster Swift occupied the second level of the building at 1700 E. Beltline.The newly renovated space on the first floor includes 10 offices, four support staff workstations, two conference rooms with video conferencing abilities, a kitchen and a copy room.The additional space was necessary to accommodate Foster Swift's growth. In the past five years, the office has grown to 22 attorneys.   

Together with the Holland office, a total of 26 attorneys practice in West Michigan. The firm's growth will continue this fall when five new associate lawyers start. Two of the five lawyers will be based in the Grand Rapids office.The firm plans to continue the growth trend in West Michigan by advancing its Grand Rapids and Holland offices and considering additional opportunities in West Michigan.


March 2014


Warner Norcross Offers Daylong HR Seminar

Grand Rapids, Michigan, March 19, 2014 – The law firm of Warner Norcross & Judd LLP will offer its popular human resources and benefits seminar on Monday, April 22 in Grand Rapids.

The daylong seminar will focus on “Strategy, Risk Management and Best Practices for Benefits and HR Professionals.”  More than a dozen Warner Norcross attorneys focused on employee benefits, labor, employment law and litigation will offer sessions on a wide range of topics during the seminar at the Amway Grand Plaza. Full Story

Warner Norcross Appellate Practice Group Contributes to New Michigan Appellate Handbook

Grand Rapids, Michigan, March 13, 2014 – Gaëtan Gerville-Réache, a partner with the law firm Warner Norcross & Judd LLP, is co-editor of the new Michigan Appellate Handbook.


Now in its third edition, the new volume provides a “guided tour inside the Michigan appellate courts” and offers insider practice tips and expert advice on strategy and procedure.  Published by the Institute of Continuing Legal Education, the handbook features chapters on appellate standards of review, motions, appellate and amicus curiae briefs, oral arguments and related issues. Full Story


February 2014


Smith Haughey Welcomes Attorneys Christopher Spain and Brian Pearson


Grand Rapids, Mich., February 17, 2014 — Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge is pleased to announce that attorneys Christopher M. Spain and Brian M. Pearson have joined the firm’s Grand Rapids office. Full Story


Plunkett Cooney names three attorneys as new shareholders

Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, February 4, 2014 – Plunkett Cooney, one of the Midwest’s oldest and largest law firms, recently named associate attorneys Paul J. Dwaihy, Matthew T. Tompkins and Patrick E. Winters as its newest shareholders. Full Story 


January 2014


Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge Welcomes New Attorney

Grand Rapids, Michigan, January 22, 2014 — Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge is pleased to announce that attorney Stacy M. Kramer has joined the firm’s Grand Rapids office.

Stacy practices in matters involving medical malpractice. She defends doctors, nurses, hospitals and other health care providers throughout the state of Michigan. Her work experience has provided her with a strong background in the area of litigation. Prior to Smith Haughey, Stacy defended clients in various civil litigation matters including premises liability claims and employment law disputes. Full Story


Rhoades McKee Expands the Insurance Defense Practice Group

Grand Rapids, Michigan January 14, 2014 – Rhoades McKee is pleased to announce that Steven C. Berry and Christopher S. Berry have joined the firm’s Insurance Defense Practice Group.

“We are excited to welcome both Steven and Christopher into our firm.  Their knowledge and experience further expands our services in Medical Malpractice, Insurance Defense, as well as Personal Injury Litigation.  They join our existing Insurance Defense team of nine other attorneys and two nursing paralegals,” stated Pamela J. Cross, Vice President of Practice Chair Development. Full Story


Warner Norcross Recognized as a Leader in Client Service in National Survey

Grand Rapids, Michigan, January 7, 2014 – A national survey has again recognized the law firm Warner Norcross & Judd LLP as a leader in client service among law firms.

BTI Consulting Group recognized Warner Norcross, the third largest law firm in Michigan with seven offices across the state, as a member of the Client Service A-Team for 2014.  BTI polled corporate counsel at large and Fortune 1000 companies to discover how they define outstanding client service, which law firms deliver it and what specifically makes a law firm stand out from the pack.  This is the sixth time that Warner Norcross has been included on the list. Full Story


Smith Haughey Announces New Chief Executive Officer, Shareholders, Office Managing Shareholders, and Board Members 

Grand Rapids, Michigan, January 7, 2014 – Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge is pleased to announce its new chief executive officer (“CEO”), the addition of two new shareholders, office managing shareholders, and its 2014 board members.

Chief Executive Officer

Robert W. Parker has been elected CEO of the firm. An attorney in Smith Haughey’s Traverse City office, Robert practices in real estate, construction, and business law.  Robert will serve a two-year term effective January 1, 2014.


  • D. Adam Tountas has been named a new shareholder of the firm. Adam is an attorney in the firm’s Grand Rapids office, practicing in the areas of commercial and employment litigation. Adam's clients include retailers, manufacturers, entrepreneurs, small business owners, and financial institutions.
  • Kristen E. Guinn has been named a new shareholder of the firm. Kristen is a trial attorney in the firm’s Grand Rapids office who represents individuals and businesses in commercial, professional liability, employment, criminal, and probate litigation matters.

Managing Shareholders

  • Craig S. Neckers has been named managing shareholder of the Grand Rapids office. A Smith Haughey attorney for more than 30 years, Craig assists individuals and businesses in matters involving commercial litigation, professional liability, product liability, and legal malpractice defense.
  • Kevin B. Even has been named managing shareholder of the Muskegon office. Kevin is a commercial litigator, assisting businesses in matters involving contracts, construction claims, commercial leases, business torts, real estate, and employment related claims.

Board Members


Cheryl L. Chandler, Patrick F. Geary, Jack L. Oostema, Robert W. Parker, Mary R. Pigorsh, Ronald A. Schuknecht and Matthew L. Wikander will serve as board members in 2014.

Full Story  


Warner Norcross Names Nine Attorneys as Partners

Grand Rapids, Michigan, January 2, 2014 – The law firm of Warner Norcross & Judd LLP today announced that nine attorneys have been named partners.

The new partners practice in a variety of areas, from estate and tax planning to general litigation and corporate law.  They serve clients across the state and around the world from the law firm’s offices in Grand Rapids, Southfield, Lansing, Macomb County and Midland. Full Story


December 2013



Court of Appeals Chief Judge William B. Murphy Elected as Treasurer of the Council of Chief Judges of the State Courts of Appeal


Grand Rapids, Michigan, December 18, 2013 – Court of Appeals Chief Judge William B. Murphy was recently elected to serve as the treasurer of the Council of Chief Judges of the State Courts of Appeal throughout the United States. This leadership position is the first on Judge Murphy’s path to being elected as the Council’s president within the next few years.


Warner Norcross Chosen as Go-To Law Firm by a Fortune 500 Company

Grand Rapids, Michigan, December 12, 2013 – For the third consecutive year, the law firm of Warner Norcross & Judd LLP has been recognized as a “Go-To Law Firm” by ALM.

Warner Norcross was nominated by Whirlpool Corp. for its work in contracts litigation.  Warner serves as national business litigation counsel for Whirlpool, which is a leading manufacturer and marketer of major home appliances based in Benton Harbor, Mich. Recognition on the list was based on independent research of several factors.  Data was gathered from Fortune 500 Companies’ general counsel and through research in key databases to determine which law firms Fortune 500 companies rely upon for outside counsel in a number of key practice areas. 


David Skidmore Appointed to Broadway Grand Rapids Board

Grand Rapids, Michigan, December 10, 2013 – David L.J.M. Skidmore, a partner with the law firm Warner Norcross & Judd LLP, has been appointed to the board of directors of Broadway Grand Rapids.


November 2013


Rhoades McKee Achieves Top Metropolitan Rankings in US News– Best Lawyers “Best Firms”

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., November 18, 2013 – Rhoades McKee earned recognition in the top three ranking levels established by US News in 15 specialties for the Grand Rapids Metropolitan area. These include Commercial Litigation, Environmental Law Litigation – Real Estate, Mediation, Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants, Personal Injury Litigation, Real Estate Law, Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights and Insolvency and Reorganization Law, Legal Malpractice – Defendants, Litigation – Banking and Finance, Litigation – Construction, Professional Malpractice Law – Defendants,  Corporate Law Environmental Litigation, Tax Law.




Attorney Admitted to American College of Trial Lawyers


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., November 1, 2013 — Charles H. Worsfold has become a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, one of the premier legal associations in America. The induction ceremony at which Mr. Worsfold became a Fellow took place recently during the recent 2013 Annual Meeting of the College in San Francisco, California.


U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers Recognize Miller Johnson Practice Areas with Top Ranking for Fourth Year

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., November 1, 2013 — U.S. News Media Group and Best Lawyers released the 2014 “Best Law Firms” rankings today.  Miller Johnson received top rankings for 25 practice areas in the Grand Rapids Metro area and 8 in Kalamazoo.  


October 2013




Smith Haughey Listed as a 2014 Top-Tier Law Firm by U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms”


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., October 2013 - Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge is pleased to announce that the firm has been ranked among the top law firms in the United States in the publication “Best Law Firms” 2014, published by U.S. News Media Group and Best Lawyers.


Frederick Dilley elected Vice-Chair of MSU College of Law Board of Trustees

Lansing, Mich., October 31, 3013 – Fredrick D. Dilley, a shareholder in Foster Swift Collins & Smith PC's Grand Rapids office, was elected to serve as Vice-Chair on the Board of Trustees for the Michigan State University College of Law.  



Warner Norcross Welcomes Five New Attorneys to the Firm 


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., October 31, 2013  Warner Norcross & Judd LLP today welcomed five new attorneys to the law firm.



Court of Appeals Chief Judge William B. Murphy reappointed by Michigan Supreme Court


GRAND RAPIDS, MI, October 30, 2013 – Court of Appeals Judge William B. Murphy, who was appointed to the Court in 1988 and has served as chief judge since January 2009, will continue as chief judge through 2014.


As chief judge, Murphy administers internal operations including finances, case management, and work assignments. “Leadership, vision, and administrative skills are essential, and Chief Judge Murphy has all those qualities, plus innovative ideas about improving the courts,” said Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert P. Young, Jr.

September 2013 


28 Warner Norcross Attorneys Recognized as Rising Stars by Michigan Super Lawyers


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., September 6, 2013 Twenty-eight attorneys with the law firm of Warner Norcross & Judd LLP have been recognized as Rising Stars by Michigan Super Lawyers Magazine.



57 Warner Norcross Attorneys Recognized as Michigan Super Lawyers 


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., September 6, 2013 – Fifty-seven attorneys with the law firm of Warner Norcross & Judd LLP have been named Super Lawyers in the eighth annual publication of Michigan Super Lawyers Magazine. 


Two Cooley Faulty Members Selected as "Best Law Teachers" in the Nation 

LANSING, Mich., Sept. 11, 2013 –Thomas M. Cooley Law School has the distinction of being the only law school in the country with two members of its faculty featured in the recently published book What the Best Law Teachers Do (Harvard University Press, 2013). The book names Associate Dean Nelson Miller and Professor Phillip J. Prygoski as two of the 26 “best law teachers” in the United States.  


Rhoades McKee Attorneys selected by peers for Michigan Super Lawyers® and Rising Stars 2013 

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., September 12, 2013 — Rhoades McKee attorneys Bruce A. Courtade, Mark E. Fatum, John M. Lichtenberg, Paul A. McCarthy, Bruce W. Neckers, Harold E. Nelson and Mary Jane Rhoades were all named Michigan Super Lawyers® for 2013.  Thomas S. Flickinger, Emily A. Green and Stephen J. Hulst have also been selected as Michigan Rising Stars.  Published by Thomson Reuters, Michigan Super Lawyers® and Rising Stars are selected by their peers. 



Twenty-Seven MILLER JOHNSON ATTORNEYS Recognized as SUPER LAWYERS and Four as Rising Stars


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Sept. 16, 2013 – Twenty-seven attorneys from Miller Johnson have been selected for inclusion in Michigan Super Lawyers 2013 released this month.  Five attorneys are new to the list: Jeffrey J. Fraser, James R. Peterson, John T. Piggins, Connie R. Thacker, and Matthew L. Vicari.  Also, four attorneys are recognized as “Rising Stars:” Dustin J. Jackson, Raj A. Malviya, Neil J. Marchand, and Robert D. Wolford.

March 2013 


Law Weathers Named Among 101 of "West Michigan’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For™ "


Grand Rapids, MI, March 22, 2013 — In keeping with its culture of service-oriented and collaborative professionals, Law Weathers law firm was named among the 101 “Best and Brightest Companies to Work For” for 2013.


This is the ninth year the firm was named to the exclusive list of West Michigan employers chosen by the Michigan Business & Professional Association.  Law Weathers is one of three law firms that received this award. 


“This honor considers not only best employer practices but also community involvement,” says Bob Buchanan, president of Law Weathers. “Our firm has always emphasized public service as part of our culture, and we encourage our employees to be leaders in their communities.”


The 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For is an awards competition providing the business community with the opportunity to gain recognition, showcase their best practices and demonstrate why they are an ideal place for employees to work. Law Weathers will be honored at a gala for award winners in May 2013. 


Law Weathers has provided practical and effective legal counsel and representation to businesses, individuals, and local governments since 1868, with attorneys focusing on creditor’s rights, business, employee benefits, environmental, estate planning, family law, health care, labor, litigation, municipal law, real estate and water law. For more information visit or call 616.459.1171.






Grand Rapids, MI – March 27, 2013 – Rhoades McKee Labor and Employment Attorney, Mary Ann Cartwright was re-appointed to the Ottawa County Community Mental Health Board for a three year term.  Cartwright is a member of its Executive Committee and Chair of the Finance Committee.   Cartwright has served as a board member since 2007.  


According to their website, Community Mental Health of Ottawa County partners with the mentally ill and developmentally disabled as well as the broader community to improve lives and be a premier mental health agency in Michigan. 

Cartwright concentrates her practice in the areas of Labor and Employment, School and Public Sector, Health Care and Workers Compensation.   She represents public, private and non-profit organizations and handles litigation in administrative, state and federal courts.  She is a frequent speaker on all types of labor and employment topics including but not limited to: Sexual Harassment, Family Medical Leave, Union Campaigns, Fair Labor Standards Act, Americans with Disabilities Act and Workers Compensation.


Warner Norcross Named One of West Michigan’s 101 Best & Brightest Companies read more 

John Inhulsen appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Grand Rapids March of Dimes and member of the Michigan March of Dimes Board of Directors read more

Warner Norcross Elects Three Members to Management Committee read more

Richard A. Roane Joins the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers read more

Scott Keller to Chair Warner Norcross Technology and Intellectual Property Group read more


February 2013


Chambers USA 2013 Recognizes Warner Norcross as Leading Michigan Law Firm, read more 

Michigan Lawyers Weekly Names Bruce A. Courtade a Leader in the Law, read more

Christine P. Gilman has been named Executive Director of the Dispute Resolution Center of West Michigan. Chris has been with the Center for a number of years as both an active mediator, a board member, and most recently as interim ED.  Learn more about the DRCWM at their website

Eugene E. Smary Appointed to the governing council of the International Bar Association's Section of Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Infrastructure Law, read more

Rodney D. Martin Recognized as Leader in the Law, read more 

Chambers Announces Seven Miller Johnson Attorneys are "Leaders in Their Field," read more 

Brower Recognized as Leader in the Law by Michigan Lawyers Weekly, read more  

March Honored with 2013 Hillman Award, read more

Miller Johnson Announces Leadership Positions, read more

Rodney D. Martin Appointed Co-Chair of State Bar Diversity & Inclusion Committee, read more

Attorney Aileen Leipprandt Honored as Preeminent Woman Lawyer, read more

Michael B. Quinn and Christine A. Tracey named practice group chairs at Miller Johnson, read more


January 2013


Three Foster Swift Attorneys Elected as Shareholders, read more

Gov. Rick Snyder reappoints Christian E. Meyer to the Electronic Recording Commission, read more

Warner Norcross Opens New Office in Midland, MI to Serve Great Lakes Bay Region, read more

Smith Haughey Welcomes Kate Flewelling to Traverse City Office, read more

Smith Haughey Client Receives "One of the Largest Jury Awards in Leelanau County's History", read more

Martin Axelrod Joins Dykema in Grand Rapids, read more

Willis Law has been named to the State Bar of Michigan’s 2012 Pro Bono Circle of Excellence, read more

Michael J. Willis, J.D., C.P.A., and Attorney Benjamin J. Herbert, J.D., Present Asset Protection to Morgan Stanley and Prudential, read more

Attorney Don Smith joins Willis Law, read more

Price Heneveld adds two attorneys to its growing practice, read more

Kenneth P. Tableman has relocated his practice to the Waters Building in Grand Rapids. 

Warner Norcross Announces Winners of MLK Essay Contest, read more

Nicole L. Huston joins Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge as the firm's Marketing Specialist, read more

Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge Announces three new shareholders and the 2013 board members, read more

Stephen J. Hulst and James R. Poll Elected Shareholders at Rhoades McKee, read more

Varnum Names Four New Partners, read more


Warner Norcross & Judd Names Four Attorneys as Partners, read more


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