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Varnum Attorney Marilyn Lankfer Honored by Michigan Lawyers Weekly

July 30, 2012

Varnum attorney Marilyn Lankfer has been recognized by Michigan Lawyers Weekly as one of the 2012 Women in the Law. The honor is awarded to those who exhibit excellence in the practice of law, are inspiring and accomplished leaders in the profession, serve as a mentor to other women, and contribute significant time and effort to volunteerism or pro bono work.

Lankfer is an estate planning partner with more than 30 years of experience. Her practice includes estate planning, estate and trust administration, estate taxation and charitable giving. She was elected by her peers to be a Fellow in the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and has been listed in Best Lawyers in America since 1993 and in Michigan Super Lawyers since 2006. 

A consistent advocate for women in the legal field, Lankfer was the first woman partner at Varnum, the first woman to serve on the firm's Policy Committee and the first woman to chair its Estate Planning, Employee Benefits and Tax Group.  Marilyn joined the firm in 1978 when there was little flexibility for women to have a family and stay on partner track. After her second child was born she negotiated a reduced work schedule which allowed to her to work four days a week.  Over time, Marilyn worked with firm leadership to establish the alternative work schedule policy, which allows attorneys a flexible schedule to balance the demands of a practice and family needs.

Outside the firm Lankfer is active in the community.  She is the former chairperson and board member of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, vice chair of the Spectrum Health Care Foundation, past chair of West Michigan Planned Parenthood.  She has served on many other boards and committees of not-for-profits, including the Van Andel Institute Resource Development Council, St. Cecilia Music Society Board, and the Huntington Women's Advisory Council. Marilyn is a recipient of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation Philanthropic Leadership Award and the YWCA Tribute Award.

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