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Elizabeth Joy Fossel Counsel

Elizabeth Joy Fossel Business and Commercial Litigation Law
Grand Rapids
V-Card, Resume
Deb Ryerson, 616/336-6747

Business and Commercial Litigation Experience

Joy’s practice focuses on complex business and commercial litigation, employment claims, health care litigation (including defense of providers and professionals in fraud and abuse claims, and malpractice actions), product liability and contested probate matters. She leads Varnum's Diversity and Inclusion Team, coordinating the firm's internal and external diversity and inclusion initiatives.


  • 2013 President's Award (Grand Rapids Bar Association)
  • Member, State Bar of Michigan Diversity and Inclusion Committee
  • Recipient of the John W. Cummiskey Award, in recognition of outstanding pro bono contributions of a Michigan attorney (2011)
  • Recipient of the Michael S. Barnes Award, in recognition of exemplary dedication to pro bono service (2010)
  • Honored as one of Grand Rapids Business Journal's 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan, 2012
  • Selected as one of the Top 20 Women Lawyers by Lawyers Weekly, 2011
  • Risk Reduction and AIDS Policy Commission for the State of Michigan (appointed by Governor John Engler, 1994); Grand Rapids Drug Task Force (1997)
  • HIV/AIDS Informed Consent Task Force (liaison from the RRAP Commission, 1994)
  • Fellow of the Michigan State Bar Foundation
  • Distinguished Student Award, Claudius B. Grant Class, Thomas M. Cooley Law School
  • Selected by Corp! Magazine as a Diversity Business Leader, 2013
  • Martindale-Hubbell Rating, AV® Preeminent™
  • Listed in Michigan Super Lawyers since 2013

Community Involvement

  • Grand Rapids Bar Association (President)
  • Meijer Garden and Sculpture Park (Board of Directors)
  • Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore (Board of Directors)
  • Gerontology Network (Board of Trustees)
  • KDL Fund Development Board
  • American Red Cross of West Michigan (Board of Trustees)
  • Grand Rapids Ballet (Board of Directors)
  • Ivy Foundation (Board of Directors)
  • AIDS Resource Center (past Chair, Board of Directors)
  • AIDS Foundation of Kent County (Board of Directors, Vice Chair)
  • Broadway Theater Guild (Steering Committee)
  • American Cancer Society (Volunteer)
  • Routinely devotes time and pro bono work through Legal Aid of Western Michigan

Bar Admissions

  • United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
  • United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Michigan Supreme Court


  • Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School
    Lansing, Michigan
    J.D., magna cum laude, 1987
    Co-editor, “Michigan Opinion Notes”, Michigan Bar Journal
  • Stanford University
    Palo Alto, California
    B.A., English, 1974

Professional Affiliations

Joy has presented on sophisticated medical-legal topics and was a member of the Michigan State Medical Society Speaker's Bureau. Joy's list of publications includes:

  • AIDS: Discrimination And Testing
  • AIDS: An Analysis Of The Risks; Confidentiality, Discrimination, and Testing
  • Michigan Civil Procedure During Trial, Jury Selection.

Joy is also member of the following Associations:

  • Federal Bar Association, Western District of Michigan
  • American Bar Association: Litigation and Health Law Sections
  • State Bar of Michigan
  • Grand Rapids Bar Association
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