Varnum is once again one of the few Michigan law firms to be ranked in the latest edition of Chambers USA, which ranks lawyers and law firms based on client and peer research.
Varnum was ranked in the areas of Banking and Finance, Corporate/M&A, Labor and Employment and Real Estate. The firm was also recognized for Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation.
Chambers guides are the culmination of thousands of in-depth interviews by the largest research team of its kind and are trusted globally to objectively rank the world’s best lawyers and law firms. Chambers published the following about Varnum in the 2017 edition:
- Banking and Finance (Varnum was one of seven firms ranked in Michigan): Continues to establish a solid reputation in the Michigan market for its handling of a range of commercial and bank loan origination work. Practitioners are particularly adept at advising on financing, corporate and regulatory matters for major domestic banks. Also well placed to represent clients in loan restructurings and workout proceedings. Strengths: Clients are particularly impressed with the firm’s “deep bench of expertise, reliability and high level of experience.” Other sources praise the good counsel provided by the firm on loan documentation, while one client simply calls it “a top-drawer firm.”
- Corporate/M&A (Varnum was one of 11 firms ranked in Michigan): Broad offering with experience advising on M&A transactions, securities, venture capital financing and a range of general corporate matters. Also possesses complementary experience in antitrust, tax and immigration. Strengths: Clients are struck by the firm’s strong position in the Grand Rapids market. A source says: “Varnum is very well connected in the community, and in terms of getting us connected with folks and sharing different perspectives, they’ve been great.” Others are quick to praise the firm’s response rate: “They’ve always been extremely responsive. I never feel like I have to wait around for them,” comments an interviewee.
- Labor and Employment (Varnum was one of 13 firms ranked in Michigan): Noted for its high-quality labor and employment offering and complementary expertise in immigration law. Routinely advises large human resources departments on workforce reduction strategies, contract issues, and labor relations. Especially well known for its active and successful arbitration practice. Strengths: The team is highlighted for its client service. Sources say “They’re very professional, always available and provide good guidance and educational seminars.” The team’s responsiveness is also praised with commentators noting “Whenever we have a question they get back to us immediately. They are dependable and always give good, clear advice.”
- Real Estate (Varnum was one of 11 firms ranked in Michigan.): Compact real estate group based in Grand Rapids, with a strong transactional focus and significant experience in finance-related matters. Highly adept at advising clients in high-value commercial, industrial and residential development work. Regularly acts alongside other departments in the firm on significant, multi-stranded real estate matters. Strengths: Sources report that the team’s best qualities are its “responsiveness and thoroughness.” The group is said to provide an “excellent service” which is also “very timely.” A client reports that they provide “excellent value and fair billing rates.”
Chambers also recognizes individual attorneys as notable practitioners, and recognized the following Varnum attorneys in 2017:
- Nyal Deems (Real Estate) is praised by one source as “very responsive, well versed in real estate legal matters, and thorough in his review of the scope of work.” He typically advises on land use approvals, construction matters and leasing transactions.
- Richard Hooker’s (Labor and Employment) practice has a broad remit, encompassing traditional labor matters and employment litigation. Clients enthuse that he is “very knowledgeable and prompt with his responses, and very good at explaining the pros and cons of our options.” He also regularly represents clients in arbitration.
- Firm Chair David E. Khorey (Labor and Employment) is highly experienced in employment matters and regularly represents clients in the automotive, health care and transportation industries.
- David McLeod (Banking and Finance) is recognized by commentators for his extensive experience advising banks on loan documentation. Clients are struck by the combination of his pleasant personality and impressive intellect, with one source observing “He is ten times smarter than most people, but he has a modesty about him I really like.” McLeod advises on a wide range of transactions, including real estate and finance.
- Lawrence J. Murphy is “a fine lawyer” who regularly acts for management on a range of employment litigation. He is also skilled at advising on employment contracts, as well as trade secret and personnel policy matters.