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Meet New Partner John Sturgis

March 10, 2021

Newly-elected Varnum partner John Sturgis is a real estate attorney based in the Grand Rapids office. He regularly assists clients with real estate sales and acquisitions, commercial leasing matters on behalf of both landlords and tenants, and real estate financing transactions.

What attracted you to become a lawyer?

From an early age, my parents emphasized the importance of reading and writing. My education led me in that direction, with law school as a natural conclusion. I was fortunate to do well enough to be given a chance as a summer associate at Varnum. Observing how my now-colleagues interacted with clients and solved their problems was when the law, and particularly private practice, became something I wanted to pursue in earnest.

How did you decide to focus on your practice?

I was drawn to the tangible aspects of real estate—the subject matter is something we can see and touch. This practice is also special in that I get to help clients accomplish their goals. Whether it’s acquiring a building to expand a business, or selling property to free up capital, both sides to a transaction benefit and walk away happy.


What does client service mean to you?

Being responsive and available, and ultimately treating my client’s problems as if they were my own. Clients come to Varnum to have their questions answered and problems solved, not to be bogged down with legalese or tangential issues. I pride myself on bringing a practical, business-oriented approach to my practice with problem-solving as the goal. 

What do you most enjoy about being a Varnum lawyer?

The people I work with every day. My colleagues are experts in their fields and it’s a treat that my practice allows me to interact with many other areas of the law. We have a special culture at Varnum, focused not only on excellent client service, but also a camaraderie and willingness to collaborate that allows the firm to excel.


What is your proudest career achievement?

Being where I am at today. It’s truly an honor to call Varnum my firm and my colleagues my partners.


How have you and your clients adapted together over the past year?

The pandemic has certainly been difficult for everyone. However, the resilience and adaptability—both within the firm and without—has been remarkable. While things might look or be accomplished differently, there are still deals to be done and opportunities to be seized.

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