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Varnum Practice Teams, Attorneys Listed in Best Lawyers 2021

September 22, 2020

The 2021 edition of The Best Lawyers in America® includes 86 Varnum attorneys in 50 practice areas, with nine additional named in the inaugural Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch ranking, and ten named “Lawyer of the Year” in their respective practice areas.

Best Lawyers® is one of the most respected peer-review publications in the legal profession. A listing in Best Lawyers® is widely regarded by both clients and legal professionals as a significant honor, conferred on a lawyer by his or her peers.

“Lawyer of the Year” is a recognition awarded to individual lawyers with the highest overall peer feedback for a specific practice area and geographic region. Only one lawyer is recognized as the “Lawyer of the Year” for each specialty and location. Varnum attorneys who received this additional recognition in the 2021 Best Lawyers guide are:

  • Mark S. Allard, Grand Rapids: Litigation – ERISA
  • John W. Allen, Kalamazoo: Litigation – Trusts and Estates
  • Christopher A. Ballard, Ann Arbor: Trusts and Estates
  • Jon M. Bylsma, Grand Rapids: Litigation – Banking and Finance
  • Richard A. Hooker, Ann Arbor: Employment Law – Management
  • Kaplin S. Jones, Grand Rapids: Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships)
  • Randall W. Kraker, Grand Rapids: Municipal Law
  • Timothy J. Lundgren, Grand Rapids: Water Law
  • Stephanie R. Setterington, Grand Rapids: Litigation – Labor and Employment
  • Eric J. Schneidewind, Lansing: Energy Law

Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch is a new recognition given to attorneys who are earlier in their careers in acknowledgment of their outstanding professional excellence in private practice. Recipients typically have been in practice for 5-9 years. Varnum attorneys who have earned this distinction are:

  • Paul Albarran: Communications Law
  • Jacob A. Droppers: Corporate Law
  • Charumati Ganesh: Commercial Litigation
  • Janelle G. Haggadone: Trusts and Estates
  • Erin M. Haney: Tax Law
  • Herman D. Hofman: Commercial Litigation
  • Lauren E. Potocsky: Construction Law
  • Sam J. Vitale: Family Law
  • Sarah L. Wixson: Construction Law and Real Estate Law

Varnum attorneys included in The Best Lawyers in America® 2021 edition are:

Ann Arbor

  • Christopher A. Ballard: Non-Profit/Charities Law, Trusts and Estates
  • Thomas W. Forster II: Real Estate Law


  • Casey Koppelman: Real Estate Law


  • Brendan G. Best: Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law
  • Barbara E. Buchanan: Employment Law – Management
  • Terrence Miglio: Litigation – Labor and Employment
  • Eric M. Nemeth: Litigation and Controversy – Tax
  • Maureen Rouse-Ayoub: Litigation – Labor and Employment

Grand Haven

  • Jeffrey Beswick: Corporate Law, Trusts & Estates
  • Mark Hills: Commercial Litigation

Grand Rapids

  • Stephen P. Afendoulis: Commercial Litigation, Litigation – Real Estate
  • Scott Alfree: Corporate Law, Health Care Law
  • Mark S. Allard: Commercial Litigation, Litigation – ERISA
  • Jonathan W. Anderson: Real Estate Law
  • Luis E. Avila: Employment Law – Management, Labor Law – Management
  • Kimberly Baber: Banking and Finance Law, Corporate Law
  • Robert A. Buchanan: Municipal Law
  • Lawrence P. Burns: Health Care Law
  • Jon M. Bylsma: Commercial Litigation, Litigation – Banking & Finance, Litigation – Mergers & Acquisitions, Litigation – Securities
  • David T. Caldon: Real Estate Law
  • Christopher J. Caldwell: Trusts & Estates
  • Kimberly Clarke: Immigration Law
  • Timothy J. Curtin: Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law
  • Nyal D. Deems: Real Estate Law
  • Jeffrey A. DeVree: Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, Litigation & Controversy – Tax, Tax Law
  • Ronald G. DeWaard: Commercial Litigation, Litigation – Banking & Finance
  • Timothy E. Eagle: Trademark Law
  • Matthew B. Eugster: Environmental Law
  • Richard D. Fries: Employment Law – Management
  • Anthony P. Gauthier: Family Law
  • Linsey Gleason: Trusts & Estates
  • Bruce Goodman: Environmental Law
  • Charyn K. Hain: Commercial Litigation
  • William R. Hineline: Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law
  • Dirk C. Hoffius: Trusts & Estates
  • John M. Huff: Trusts & Estates
  • Scott A. Huizenga: Corporate Law
  • Kaplin S. Jones: Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships), Tax Law
  • David E. Khorey: Employment Law – Management, Labor Law – Management
  • Harvey Koning: Banking & Finance Law, Financial Services Regulation Law
  • Randall W. Kraker: Land Use & Zoning Law, Litigation – Land Use & Zoning, Litigation – Municipal, Litigation – Real Estate, Municipal Law, Real Estate Law
  • Thomas G. Kyros: Trusts & Estates, Litigation – Trusts & Estates
  • Marilyn A. Lankfer: Trusts & Estates
  • Joseph B. Levan: Corporate Law
  • Timothy J. Lundgren: Energy Law, Energy Regulatory Law, Water Law
  • Michael S. McElwee: Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law, Litigation – Bankruptcy
  • Nicholas B. Missad: Family Law
  • Daniel C. Molhoek: Corporate Law, International Trade and Finance Law
  • Robert D. Mollhagen: Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law
  • Steven J. Morren: Real Estate Law
  • Lawrence J. Murphy: Employment Law – Management, Labor Law – Management, Litigation – Labor & Employment, Commercial Litigation
  • Melissa Papke: Real Estate Law, Commercial Finance Law
  • Laura E. Radle: Trusts & Estates, Closely Held Companies and Family Businesses Law
  • William E. Rohn: Commercial Litigation, Litigation – Construction, Litigation – Labor & Employment
  • Michael J. Roth: Commercial Litigation
  • Peter G. Roth: Corporate Law, Mergers and Acquisitions Law
  • Perrin Rynders: Commercial Litigation, Litigation – Labor & Employment
  • Jeff Schad: Banking and Finance Law
  • Joan Schleef: Banking and Finance Law
  • Stephanie Setterington: Litigation – Labor & Employment
  • Mary Kay Shaver: Banking and Finance Law
  • Elizabeth Wells Skaggs: Employment Law – Management, Litigation – Labor & Employment
  • Peter A. Smit: Litigation – Banking & Finance, Litigation – Intellectual Property, Litigation – Labor & Employment
  • Richard R. Symons: Workers’ Compensation Law – Employers
  • Fredric A. Sytsma: Trusts & Estates
  • Larry J. Titley: Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law
  • Joseph J. Vogan: Employment Law – Management, Labor Law – Management
  • Bryan R. Walters: Commercial Litigation
  • John Patrick White: Employment Law – Management, Labor Law – Management
  • Michael G. Wooldridge: Corporate Law
  • Susan M. Wyngaarden: Banking and Finance Law, Public Finance Law
  • Kurt G. Yost: Closely Held Companies and Family Businesses Law, Corporate Law, Mergers and Acquisitions Law
  • Matthew D. Zimmerman: Energy Law, Environmental Law, Land Use & Zoning Law;, Municipal Law


  • John W. Allen: Family Law, Legal Malpractice Law – Defendants, Litigation – Antitrust, Litigation – Banking & Finance, Litigation – Trusts & Estates
  • William A. Dornbos: Banking and Finance Law, Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law, Native American Law, Real Estate Law
  • Erika Leuffen Salerno: Family Law
  • Bonnie Y. Sawusch: Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs
  • Fred Schubkegel: Corporate Law
  • David M. Thoms: Litigation – Trusts and Estates, Nonprofit/Charities Law, Tax Law, Trusts and Estates


  • Laura Chappelle: Energy Regulatory Law
  • Eric J. Schneidewind: Communications Law, Energy Law, Energy Regulatory Law


  • Thomas H. Bergh: Trusts and Estates, Litigation – Trusts & Estates
  • Richard T. Hewlett: Commercial Litigation, Construction Law, Litigation – Construction
  • Richard A. Hooker: Employment Law – Management, Labor Law – Management, Litigation – Labor and Employment
  • Paul L.B. McKenney: Litigation & Controversy – Tax, Tax Law
  • Julia A. Perkins: Family Law

Since its inception in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Because Best Lawyers® is based on a peer-review survey in which leading lawyers cast votes on the legal abilities of other lawyers in their practice areas, and because lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed, inclusion in Best Lawyers®is considered a singular honor.

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