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
Personal Legal Services Attorney
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 35 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 and Recognitions
Best Lawyers in America®, Trusts and Estates, since 2007
Grand Rapids Magazine’s Top Lawyers: Municipal Law; Trusts and Estates; 2019 – 2021
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® 2006 – 2020
Albion College, Planned Giving Advisory Council
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
Mayflower Congregational Church, Endowment Committee