Veteran labor and employment attorney Carl Ver Beek is the recipient of the Justice Foundation of West Michigan’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The award recognizes a member of the Grand Rapids Bar Association for special contributions in service and support to the mission of GRBA and JFWM, the community at large, and the practice of law in West Michigan.
Ver Beek will receive the award during a ceremony of the GRBA and JFWM on May 13. The virtual event, “The Bar’s Got Talent,” will incorporate elements of all the events the organizations were unable to have in 2020 due to the pandemic, with the addition of performances by talented GRBA members.
A labor and employment attorney at Varnum for more than 40 years, Ver Beek’s practice focused on representing employers for collective bargaining and arbitration in a wide variety of industries and professions. As an arbitrator, he served the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), American Arbitration Association, Michigan Employment Relations Commission, and others. He has mediated hundreds of disputes.
Ver Beek’s professional activity includes extensive service to both the American Bar Association and State Bar of Michigan. With the ABA, he served as a member of the governing councils for the Labor and Employment Section and Dispute Resolution Section. He chaired the Arbitration Committee of the Labor and Employment Section and formed the Professional Ethics Committee of the Labor and Employment Section.
At the State Bar, Ver Beek dedicated 22 years to professional ethics matters, including serving as chair of the State Bar Character and Fitness Committee, chair of the Attorney Grievance Commission, and member of the Attorney Discipline Board.
Ver Beek’s service to the local community is extensive, including serving as chair of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce Board and its Health Care Committee, as a member of the Board of Directors of Michigan Chamber of Commerce and its Health and Human Resources Committee, and as a member of The Right Place Board.
He served for 16 years on Hope College Board of Trustees and three years as adjunct professor in the School of Labor Relations at Michigan State University. He has chaired the boards of Holland Home, Jellema House, Faith Hospice, and Health Net of West Michigan. Ver Beek also continues to be active in the Reformed Church of America, serving both locally and at the national level.
Ver Beek is a Fellow in the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and is consistently recognized by legal ranking organizations such as Best Lawyers®, Super Lawyers and Top Lawyers. He has achieved an AV-Preeminent™ rating (the highest possible) by Martindale-Hubbell®.
Ver Beek has been lauded by numerous organizations over the years for his professional and community contributions. His recognitions include:
- Midwest Interprofessional Practice, Education and Research Center: Community Award, 2019
- Senior Neighbors: 16 Over 60 Award, 2019
- Dispute Resolution Center: Local Peacemaker of the Year, 2017
- Indiana University Maurer School of Law: Academy of Law Alumni Fellows, 2017
- State Bar of Michigan—Labor and Employment Section: Distinguished Service Award, Modernizing the Practice Committee, 2015
- State Bar of Michigan: Hudson Award, 2014
- Leading Age of Michigan: Trustee of the Year, 2013
- Hope College: Distinguished Alumni Award, 2009
- Michigan Health and Hospital Association: Special Recognition Award, 2007
- Hope College: Second Century Club Annual Outstanding Services Award, 2001