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Varnum Announces New Management Structure

November 13, 2012

In keeping with the firm's focus on innovative client service and commitment to community, Varnum is pleased to announce a new management structure which will take effect in January. Under the new structure:

  • Larry Murphy, whose current term as Managing Partner expires at the end of the year, will continue to oversee the firm's business development, client service and community partnerships.
  • Scott Huizenga will become Chair of the Partnership and Policy Committee. Varnum's Policy Committee is the firm's internal management body and is primarily responsible for firm strategy and partner compensation.
  • Tom Kyros will serve as Executive Partner, responsible for policy implementation, lean processes, and firm administration.

The new structure allows each of the three to continue to focus on their legal practices while ensuring that client service, management functions and community partnership responsibilities are thoroughly fulfilled.

"As we consider evolving client expectations regarding legal service delivery, we recognize that our management structure should evolve as well," said Murphy. "We believe this team approach will increase our responsiveness and flexibility in critical areas."

The shared management structure is not entirely new to Varnum. At various times over the past 20 years, the firm has utilized a dual management model, including Managing and Administrative Partners. Having responsibilities further shared among three partners will allow deeper representation of firm internal and external constituents and a continuation of Varnum's commitment to the broader community.

"The new structure streamlines decision processes, which will allow us to respond to opportunities and challenges quickly and efficiently," said Kyros. Noting that the firm will celebrate its 125th anniversary in 2013, he added: "Thinking in new and non-traditional ways has been a significant factor in Varnum's success and longevity."

The new management structure received overwhelming support from the firm's partnership, which Huizenga said is indicative of the firm's culture of embracing innovation.

"For as long as I've been with the firm, there has been a willingness to think creatively and support new ideas and perspectives," Huizenga said. "We believe this new structure will have a significant positive effect on our internal culture as well as our service to clients."

Huizenga, 49, is former chair of Varnum's Corporate Services group. He provides business counsel to clients in a variety of industries, with a focus on transactional work. In addition to his practice, he serves as a member of the board of directors of St. Cecilia Music Center and is a past chairman of the Better Business Bureau of West Michigan. He has also served on the boards of Opera Grand Rapids, Michigan Campus Compact and the Grand Rapids Symphony.

Kyros, 45, has served as chair of the firm's Estate Planning, Tax and Benefits Group and as a member of the firm's Policy Committee. His practice focuses on advising families and small business owners on estate and wealth planning matters. In addition,  he is currently vice chair of the DeVos Children's Hospital Foundation, vice president of the Hope College Alumni Association, and a member of the East Grand Rapids Schools Foundation.

Murphy, 58, is an experienced trial attorney with a focus on employment litigation. In addition to serving as Varnum's Managing Partner for the past five years and a member of the firm's Policy Committee for seven years before that term, his extensive community involvement includes serving as Secretary of Grand Rapids Community College Foundation Board and on the Leadership Council for Talent 2025. He is a member of the boards of The Right Place, Grand Rapids Symphony, Degage Ministries, and Ehlers Transit Partnership – the Rapid. Murphy also serves on the West Michigan Policy Forum-Steering Committee.

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