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DeWaard Named President of Federal Bar Association

October 28, 2013

Varnum trial attorney Ron DeWaard was named President of the West Michigan Chapter of the Federal Bar Association at their recent annual meeting.

The Federal Bar Association is a professional organization for private and government lawyers who practice in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan. The organization's goals are to improve the practice of law in federal courts and to foster a positive and collegial relationship among the attorneys and judges who practice law and dispense justice in this district.

DeWaard has been actively involved in the Bar for many years at the executive committee level, and has also served as the chair of the District's Hillman Advocacy Clinic for the past two years.

A signature event of the Bar, the clinic is a three-day seminar that gives lawyers an opportunity to develop courtroom skills under the guidance of some of West Michigan's top trial lawyers – including federal judges and magistrate judges - all of whom volunteer their time for the clinic. DeWaard has been active in the clinic for many years as an instructor.

"This learn-by-doing training program was developed in 1981 to improve the level of trial skills in the District," DeWaard explained. "The program was unique at the time and today, it is recognized as one of the best trial advocacy programs in the country."

More than 1,600 attorneys throughout West Michigan have participated in the program during its 32-year history.

Further demonstrating his commitment to trial advocacy and practice, DeWaard recently authored a skill development article for trial lawyers, which was published in the October 2013 edition of the Michigan Bar Journal.

In his current practice, DeWaard focuses on commercial litigation and white collar crime, representing clients in diverse types of disputes across the country. He has a passion for trial work and has obtained numerous defense jury verdicts as well as multi-million dollar jury verdicts and settlements for plaintiffs.

DeWaard originally joined Varnum in 1990 as an associate. He left to serve as assistant United States Attorney in Miami for seven years, where he tried several large criminal cases. In his final year as a federal prosecutor, he served as Deputy Chief of the Major Crimes Division of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida. He rejoined Varnum in 2001 as a partner.

A total of 33 Varnum attorneys are active in the Federal Bar Association, including John Allen, who served as president in 2005, and Bryan Walters, who was named Vice President of Operations at the October meeting. Walters previously served as Secretary.

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