John focuses his practice on personal legal services and public sector matters. Much of John’s day-to-day practice involves representing individuals with a high net worth and complex estates. Referred by other attorneys and professionals both within and outside the firm, John seeks solutions for client and family interests with regard to various business and personal assets, business succession planning, second marriage issues and blended families. He has experience in prenuptial agreements and trusts such as credit trusts, marital trusts, qualified personal residence trusts, irrevocable trusts, charitable trusts and other wealth transfer vehicles. John also helps clients navigate estate tax law changes, gift taxation, trust administration and probate issues. He has experience in follow-up administration for tax appeals, audits, estate negotiations among siblings involved in a family business and those not involved, and provisions for disabled children.
Serving both as city attorney for East Grand Rapids and township attorney for Cascade Charter Township for more than 25 years, John also has extensive experience navigating the public/private interests that play out in municipal decision-making and initiatives to improve resident quality of life.
Some of John’s interests include election law issues, contracts, zoning, and claims against government entities, to name a few. John is also called upon as special counsel in various municipalities to collaborate on negotiations and resolve conflicts — often acting as a neutral sounding board to hear the concerns of elected officials as well as citizens in order to support an effective and fair resolution.
Negotiated the purchase of a dormant dam on behalf of municipal client for refurbishing as electricity supplier to township residents. Dam was acquired for $1 as part of a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) initiative. The dam has continued to supply electricity to the township since the 1980s, saving the taxpayers thousands of dollars annually.
Honors & Recognitions
Best Lawyers in America® since 2007
Leading Lawyers: Closely & Privately Held Business Law; Governmental, Municipal, Lobbying & Administrative Law; Trust, Will & Estate Planning Law
Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated
Michigan Super Lawyers® since 2006
Albion College, Planned Giving Advisory Council
American Bar Association: State and Local Government Law; Real Property Section; Probate Section; Trust Law Section
Grand Rapids Bar Association
National Association of Estate Planners and Councils (NAEPC), accredited estate planner
State Bar of Michigan: Probate and Estate Planning Section; Real Property Section
West Michigan Estate Planning Council
East Grand Rapids Community Action Council
News & Publications
- September 10, 2018
- August 27, 2018
- September 6, 2017
- August 16, 2017
- September 12, 2016
- August 26, 2016
- December 3, 2015
Northwestern University School of Law
B.A., summa cum laude, 1975
- All Michigan state courts
- United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan