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Four Varnum Attorneys Receive Top Honors from Best Lawyers®

October 5, 2011

Four Varnum attorneys have been named Lawyer of the Year in their respective areas of practice by Best Lawyers in America®. Included in this honor are:

  • John Patrick White, 2012 Grand Rapids Employment Law – Management Lawyer of the Year
  • Marilyn Lankfer, 2012 Grand Rapids Trusts and Estates Lawyer of the Year
  • Paul L. B. McKenney, 2012 Detroit Litigation & Controversy - Tax Lawyer of the Year
  • Thomas H. Bergh, 2012 Detroit Litigation - Trusts & Estates Lawyer of the Year

The Lawyer of the Year honor reflects the particularly high ratings these attorneys received in Best Lawyers surveys, demonstrating a high level of respect among their peers for their abilities, professionalism and integrity.

"We continue to believe – as we have believed for more than 25 years – that recognition by one's peers is the most meaningful form of praise in the legal profession," said Steven Naifeh, president of Best Lawyers.

White chairs Varnum's Labor and Employment Practice Team. He focuses on the full spectrum of civil rights issues, race and gender disability matters, free speech and electronic privacy issues in the workplace. In addition to litigation, he also does traditional labor work, including negotiation and arbitration, both for public and private sector clients. White has particular expertise in education law, representing school districts, community colleges and colleges and universities, both with respect to employment issues as well as student issues.

Lankfer is a partner on the Estate Planning Practice Team where she focuses on estate planning, estate and trust administration, estate taxation and charitable giving. She has been the recipient of many awards and honors for her work, including being elected by her peers to become a fellow in the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. She is currently a member of the Michigan Probate and Estate Planning Council.

McKenney is a partner on Varnum's Tax Practice Team. He represents businesses and individual taxpayers in federal tax planning as well as in controversies at administrative levels and the tax court and before federal courts. McKenney has served as an adjunct professor in the Graduate Tax Program at Walsh College and is also a committee chair and frequent speaker at the American Bar Association Taxation Committee meetings.

Bergh is the chairperson of Varnum’s Estate, Tax & Benefits Practice Team. His practice focuses on estate and business planning with an emphasis on qualified plan and IRA issues. Bergh has extensive experience in asset protection planning, ERISA and probate litigation and business formation, sale and acquisitions.

Best Lawyers is the oldest peer-review publication in the legal profession. Each year, Best Lawyers evaluates the attorneys in a large legal community and identifies the top lawyer in each practice area, then honors them as the Lawyer of the Year.

To determine which attorneys will receive the Lawyer of the Year, Best Lawyers compiles its lists of outstanding attorneys by conducting exhaustive peer-review surveys in which thousands of leading lawyers confidentially evaluate their professional peers. The current edition of The Best Lawyers in America (2012) is based on more than 3.9 million detailed evaluations of lawyers by other lawyers.

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