Vanderbilt University Law School
Articles Editor, Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
B.A., Political Science and Psychology, with distinction, 2009
All Michigan state courts
Estate Planning Attorney
Janelle joined Varnum in 2017 and is an attorney with the estate planning group. Her approach to planning is informed by experience administering estates exceeding $10 million as well as smaller estates.
The most productive client meetings center around a person or couple in a moment of transition – whether that is a recently married couple, new parents, the transition to an empty nest, a person who is newly single, or someone thinking about retirement. That is the planning that excites Janelle and propels her to find creative solutions. Beyond basic estate planning, Janelle’s practice includes designing and implementing sophisticated estate plans, settlement of decedents’ estates, estate taxation, and charitable gift planning.
Janelle’s experience working in the nonprofit sector prior to law school strengthens her ability to facilitate sensitive conversations between family members. She is skilled in helping clients work through challenging circumstances to accomplish estate plan objectives. Her nonprofit sector expertise benefits clients for whom charitable giving is important.
For the past three years, Janelle has been named by Best Lawyers® as one of the “Ones to Watch,” a designation given to attorneys who are earlier in their careers in recognition of their outstanding professional excellence in private practice.
In the community, Janelle serves on the Senior Neighbors Board and the American Cancer Society’s West Michigan Volunteer Leadership Council. Within the firm, she serves on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, the Workforce Advancement Committee, and serves as a mentor attorney to several associates.
Honors and Recognitions
Best Lawyers in America®, Ones to Watch, Trusts and Estates, since 2021
State Bar of Michigan
Grand Rapids Bar Association
Women Lawyers Association of Michigan (WLAM)
American Cancer Society – West Michigan, Volunteer Leadership Council
Senior Neighbors, Board of Directors
Rockford 100 Women Who Care
American Heart Association, Go Red for Women Executive Leadership Team (past)
Rethinking Dementia: Accelerating Change, Board of Directors (past)
San Juan Diego Academy, Development Board (past)