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Michigan Lawyers Weekly Names Hewlett a Leader in the Law

February 9, 2017

Varnum attorney Richard T. Hewlett has been named a 2017 Leader in the Law by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. A luncheon ceremony recognizing Hewlett and other honorees will be held Thursday, March 23, at the Detroit Marriott in Troy.

Honorees were selected by an editorial panel who considered each nominee’s commitment to excellence and significant accomplishments in the practice of law, leadership, and contributions as a community volunteer and/or pro bono service.

Hewlett, a seasoned litigator, focuses his practice in business and construction law. His professional excellence is recognized by several national and international organizations that rate attorneys and law firms. He has achieved an AV® Preeminent™ rating – the highest possible – by Martindale-Hubbell. He is consistently listed in The Best Lawyers in America® for Commercial Litigation and Construction Law, and he is recognized as a Top Rated Construction Litigation Attorney in Super Lawyers. In 2016, Best Lawyers® named him Ann Arbor Lawyer of the Year for Construction Litigation.

Within the firm, Hewlett’s commitment to service is evidenced through his participation on various committees and initiatives related to firm development and growth. He joined Varnum as a lateral in late 2010 and immediately became active in firm activities, serving on the Retention Committee for two years (2011 – 2012) and the Diversity and Inclusion Committee for six years (2011 – 2015). His esteem within the firm is such that he was elected by his partners to the Policy Committee, the primary governing body of the firm, for a three-year term that began in 2016. He was also selected to serve on the inaugural Marketing Advisory Committee in 2016.

Hewlett also plays a significant role on the firm’s Regional Expansion Committee. As co-chair of that committee, he has been a strong proponent of expanding the firm’s presence in southeast Michigan and he helped lead the move to open a downtown Detroit office in 2015 and an Ann Arbor office in 2016. As part of the Expansion Committee, he also helps identify and recruit new attorneys to the firm.

Community Involvement

With a background in sports, a deep appreciation for fitness and two active sons, Hewlett has dedicated many years to youth sports, coaching Little League and youth football, basketball, soccer and baseball from 1998 to 2009 in the Novi/Northville area. (His affiliation with schools in the area did not stop even after his sons graduated from high school: While serving on Varnum’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee in 2013, he reached out to several area high schools to donate the documentary video “Black and Blue: The Story of Gerald Ford, Willis Ward and the 1934 Michigan-Georgia Tech Football Game,” and to offer his services as a speaker.) He also helped coach the Northville High School football team during his younger son’s senior year.

Hewlett’s involvement with various community organizations over the years includes:

  • Ann Arbor YMCA Board of Directors (2006 – 2007)
  • Ann Arbor Chamber of Commerce – Leadership Ann Arbor (2003 – 2004)
  • Northville High School Football Parent Association (2010 to 2014)
  • JDRF of Southeast Michigan, Board of Directors (2010 – present)
    • Corporate Development Subcommittee (2009 – present)
    • Jackson Walk to Cure Juvenile Diabetes, Recruitment Committee, celebrity chairperson (1999 – 2006)
    • Serving as president-elect of JDRF
  • University of Michigan Club of Greater Detroit (long time past board member and past president)
  • University of Michigan Letterwinner’s Club, past Board member

Nowhere is Hewlett’s dedication to community more impressive than in his efforts to raise money for Type I diabetes research. In 1998, his oldest son, Jeffrey, was diagnosed with Type I diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes. Hewlett and his late wife, Chris, immediately dedicated themselves to raising awareness and money for research to help cure this disease. With Rich’s strong ties to the University of Michigan, it was natural that he would call on his football family to join the cause.

Beginning in 2008, the Hewletts organized and hosted a golf outing fundraiser at the UM Golf Course, featuring current and past Wolverine football coaches and players. The event is a huge undertaking and the Hewlett family runs the entire program. Sadly, Chris Hewlett passed away on the day of the outing in 2012, but Rich and his sons have carried on with the event. To date, the Hewlett family has raised more than $600,000 for research, contributing to JDRF and the University of Michigan Comprehensive Diabetes Center.

A short video about the “Swing to Cure” fundraiser is available on YouTube.

For more information about Leaders in the Law, please visit

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