Fred L. Schubkegel

Fred L. Schubkegel

Practice Areas

Industries

Education

University of Chicago Law School
Chicago, Illinois
J.D., with honors, 1985

Augustana College
Rock Island, Illinois
B.A., magna cum laude, 1982

Bar Admissions

Illinois

Michigan

Pennsylvania

Court Admissions

All Michigan state courts

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

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Corporate Attorney

Fred provides general legal counsel to private business interests and nonprofit organizations. He has over 30 years of experience assisting for-profit and nonprofit companies with advice, strategies and services related to startup, growth, development and exit, including entity formation and governance, financing, contracts, mergers and acquisitions, executive compensation, asset protection and business succession planning.

Fred has extensive knowledge in real estate and economic development with a particular knack for packaging incentives and credits to make the impossible deal possible, as well as businesses or properties impacted by environmental regulations or concerns. He is a frequent speaker on utilizing new markets tax credits (NMTCs), qualified opportunity zones, low-income housing tax credits, historic tax credits, and other tax-advantaged programs to enhance development and infrastructure projects.

Fred is also one of Varnum’s “go to” attorneys for legal matters involving business ventures of Native American tribes and minority business enterprises.

Honors and Recognitions

Best Lawyers in America®, Corporate Law, 2021 and 2022

Martindale-Hubbell® Distinguished™ Peer Review Rated

Michigan Super Lawyers®, since 2007

Professional Affiliations

Federal Bar Association: Indian Law Section; Real Estate Law Section

Illinois State Bar

Kalamazoo County Bar Association

Pennsylvania State Bar

State Bar of Michigan: American Indian Law Section; Real Property Law Section; Environmental Law Section; Business Law Section

Community Involvement

Southwest Michigan First, Board of Directors and Council of 100, member

Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership, Coalition for Growth, Board member

Presentations

Panelist, Strategic Discussion on Tribal Business Development Opportunities, MiBiz, July 2021

Panelist, Strategic Discussion on Tribal Business Development Opportunities, MiBiz, March 4, 2019

“Real Estate Development Prospects Under the Trump Administration: The Developer in Chief,” January 2018

“Infrastructure Investment Using New Markets Tax Credits: A Step-by-Step Approach,” June 2017

“Using New Markets Tax Credits to Enhance Your Brownfield Redevelopment Project,” January 2017

“Maximizing the Business Advantage of Tribal Sovereignty,” June 2016

Erika Salerno Shadowens

Practice Areas

Industries

Education

Loyola University Chicago School of Law
Chicago, Illinois
LL.M., Health Care, cum laude, 2014

Drake University Law School
Des Moines, Illinois
Drake Law Review, Editor
J.D., cum laude, 1996

Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan
B.A., cum laude,1993

Bar Admissions

Michigan

Wisconsin

Court Admissions

All Michigan state courts

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

Family Law Attorney

Erika Salerno Shadowens is a partner at Varnum LLP. Erika’s practice is entirely devoted to family law matters specializing in divorce, child custody and family law litigation including change of domicile, interstate and international child custody matters. Erika is also a trained mediator and collaborative lawyer. She adamantly advocates for her clients in Kalamazoo, Kent, Allegan, Berrien, Van Buren, St. Joseph, Barry, Calhoun, Eaton, Ionia, and surrounding counties. Her 26 years of experience lends itself well to complex high asset cases involving closely held family businesses, and challenging child custody matters. Her knowledge of the law, diligence and tenacity help her accomplish her client’s goals in their family law matters.

Erika has litigated cases in all levels of the court system, including the Michigan Supreme Court. Media outlets call on her to share her expertise. Erika is a former Council Member of the State Bar of Michigan Family Law Section and currently serves as a Board Member for the Girls on the Run of Greater Kalamazoo. 

Honors and Recognitions

Best Lawyers in America®, Family Law, 2021 and 2022

National Law Review, Thought Leader Award (Family Law Practice Team), 2020

Michigan Lawyers Weekly, Women in the Law, 2014

Kalamazoo County Bar Association, Vlachos Award, 2013

Professional Affiliations

Kalamazoo County Bar Association

Kalamazoo County Family Law Bar Association

State Bar of Michigan, Family Law Section

Community Involvement

Girls on the Run of Greater Kalamazoo, Board Member

East Kentwood High School Marching Band, Volunteer

Red Storm Robotics Team, Volunteer

Western Michigan University, Adjunct Professor

Leadership Kalamazoo, 2014

Client Testimonials

Erika is a no nonsense attorney that tells you straight forward what your options are from a legal standpoint and advise you how best to proceed. Meanwhile, always leaving the final decision with you. She always made me feel as if my case was the most important because though I am merely one of many clients, Erika communicated with me like I was the only one.

– Kandy

Erika did a fantastic job with our case even when it got very heated between the other side & their lawyer towards the end. She got us sole legal and physical custody of our daughter which we thought was near impossible. She really cares about her clients and always has their best interests in mind.

– Luke

I have hired Erika twice for two separate occasions. The most recent case she helped me with was a custody issue. She was able to help me keep custody of my son, and to be able to move out of state. With both occasions Erika showed compassion and genuine concern. She goes in to battle and stands strong on the battle for you! I highly recommend Erika and will use her again!

– Lisa

Additional client testimonials are available on Erika’s AVVO profile.

*Statements concerning past results do not assure similar outcomes in any other matter.

David M. Thoms

David M. Thoms

Practice Areas

Industries

Education

Wayne State University
Detroit, Michigan
LL.M.

University of Detroit Mercy School of Law
Detroit, Michigan
J.D.

Wayne State University
Detroit, Michigan
M.U.P.

Kalamazoo College
Kalamazoo, Michigan
B.A.

Bar Admissions

Michigan

New York

U.S. Federal in Michigan

Court Admissions

All Michigan state courts

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan

Languages

French

Estate Planning Attorney

David provides sophisticated counsel to individuals, families and businesses on gift and estate planning needs, wealth transfer issues and business succession planning. Further, he works closely with non-profit organizations in regard to function, compliance and governance tax, as well as gift and grant programs. In addition to his law degree, he holds a degree in taxation and he frequently advises on economic development incentives, commercial real estate finance and tax planning. He is a sought-after presenter on issues related to estate planning, charitable giving and governance of nonprofit organizations, including family foundations.

David is the recipient of numerous recognitions and awards, including the Vanguard Award from the Nonprofit Organizations Committee of the American Bar Association. He is an accredited estate planner by the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils.

Honors and Recognitions

American Bar Association, Vanguard Award for distinguished lifetime achievement in the nonprofit sector, 2019

Best Lawyers in America® since 2005

Best Lawyers in America® Lawyer of the Year, Nonprofit/Charities Law, Detroit, 2015

DBusiness® Top Lawyer, Nonprofit/Charities, Trusts and Estates and Tax Law, since 2010

HOUR Detroit and DBusiness®, Five Star Professional Wealth Manager since 2010

Leading Lawyers: Closely & Privately Held Business Law; Trust, Will & Estate Planning Law

Martindale-Hubbell, AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated

Michigan Super Lawyers®, 2006 – 2008

National Association of Estate Planners and Councils, accredited estate planner since 2018

Who’s Who in America and American Law, Lifetime Achievement Award

Professional Affiliations

American Bar Association: Charitable Trust Committee, Tax and Corporate Sections, past chairman; Nonprofit Organization Committee

American Planning Association

Detroit Bar Association, Probate Committee

Estate Planning Council of New York City, Inc.

Estate Planning Council of Western Michigan

Greenleaf Trust, Board of Trustees

Kalamazoo County Bar Association, Probate Section

Michigan Association of Planners

New York State Bar: Tax Section; Trusts and Estates Section

Oakland County Bar Association, Probate Section

Oakland County Bar Association Foundation, fellow

Planned Giving Roundtable of Detroit

State Bar of Michigan: Corporate Section; Environmental Law Section; Probate and Estate Planning Section; Real Property Section; Tax Section

The Financial and Estate Planning Council of Metropolitan Detroit, Inc.: president, 2016; vice president, 2015 – 2016; director, 2011 – 2018; secretary/treasurer, 2014 – 2016

Community Involvement

Alliance Française de Grosse Pointe: past director; past president; past treasurer

Alliance Française USA, Inc.: past president, past treasurer

American Society of the French Academics Palms: Board member, 2008 – 2013; past treasurer

American Red Cross

Children’s Hospital Foundation of Michigan, Planned Giving Advisory Committee

Detroit Chamber Music Society, Advisory Council

Detroit Institute of the Arts: Tannahill Planned Giving Advisory Committee, 2008 – present; Visiting Committee for European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, 2014 – present; past treasurer

Detroit Regional Chamber, Leadership Detroit, Class XI

Detroit Symphony Orchestra: past board member; Annual Fund, chairman; Planned Giving Advisory Committee, founder; governing member, 2015 – 2020

Ford Health System, Planned Giving Advisory Committee, 2010 – 2016

French-American Foundation, board, 2013 – present

The Hillwood Museum, International Committee, 2009 – present

Kalamazoo College: past board member; Admissions Committee, chairman; Executive Committee, past member; Planned Giving Advisory Committee, founding chairman

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, board, 2017 – present

Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, board, 2021 – present 

Madonna University: past adjunct professor; board, 2013 – 2017

Salvation Army of Metropolitan Detroit: Advisory Board; Army of Stars Award, Shield of Service Award, 1988; board  member, past chair; Creating Impact Gold Ribbon Committee; Eastern Michigan Division, 2011 William Booth Award; Property Committee, chair

Wayne State University, Planned Giving Advisory Committee

Presentations

Michigan Council of Foundations, Family Foundation Retreat, “Refresh the Governance, Include the Next Gen,” June 2019

Western Michigan Stryker School of Medicine, Innovation Lunch-and-Learn Series, “The Important Role of Business Boards: Strategic Considerations Regarding Directors vs. Advisors and Oversight Opportunities,” May 2019

Henry Ford Health System, “Planned Giving Technique, Keep the Institution Healthy,” October 2015

Michigan Association of Certified Financial Planners, “Not for Profit Law in Michigan, Formation and Exemption Qualifications,” September 2015

Children’s Hospital Foundation of Michigan, “Planned Giving, a Primer,” October 2014

Federation of Alliances Francaises USA, “Yes, Planned Giving Can Work for Smaller Charities: Be Methodic and Be Patient,” October 2014

Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants, “Form 990: Making it Picture Perfect & Helping the Board of Directors and Other Users Understand the Story Behind the Numbers,” moderator, June 2012

New York University, Summer Tax Institute, 52nd Institute, past lecturer

Bruce R. Grubb

Bruce R. Grubb

Practice Areas

Education

Wayne State University Law School
Detroit, Michigan
J.D., 1978

Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo, Michigan
B.A., cum laude, 1974

Bar Admissions

Michigan

Court Admissions

All Michigan state courts

United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Michigan

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan

Banking Attorney

Bruce focuses on representation of national and state financial institutions in commercial and real estate finance, as well as workouts and business bankruptcies. He has extensive experience in restructuring and resolving complex commercial transactions, ranging from consensual collateral surrenders, forbearance agreements, foreclosures and receiverships.

Honors and Recognitions

Martindale-Hubbell® Distinguished™ Peer Review Rated

Professional Affiliations

American Bankruptcy Institute

Federal Bar Association, Western District of Michigan

Kalamazoo County Bar Association

Risk Management Association

State Bar of Michigan: Business Law Section; Real Property Section

Community Involvement

First United Methodist Church of Kalamazoo, Staff Parish Relations Committee

Irving S. Gilmore Foundation, Program Committee

Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy, Board

News and Insights

William A. Dornbos

William A. Dornbos

Practice Areas

Industries

Education

Wayne State University Law School
Detroit, Michigan
J.D., cum laude, 1969

University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
B.A., 1966

Bar Admissions

Michigan

Court Admissions

All Michigan state courts

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan

Banking and Finance Attorney

Bill has significant experience in public financing, commercial and investment real estate lending and bankruptcy law. He represents financial institutions in a variety of commercial lending matters including new markets tax credit transactions and Native American lending transactions. Bill has experience with related issues such as waivers of sovereign immunity, submission to jurisdiction, governing law and trust lands.

Honors and Recognitions

American Jurisprudence Book Award, Creditor’s Rights

Best Lawyers in America®, Lawyer of the Year, Real Estate Law (Kalamazoo), 2018 and 2023

Best Lawyers in America® since 2012

Leading Lawyers: Banking & Financial Institutions Law; Creditor’s Rights/Commercial Collections Law; Native American Law; Real Estate Law – Commercial; Real Estate Law – Finance

Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated

Professional Affiliations

Kalamazoo County Bar Association, director, 1988 – 1991

National Association of Bond Lawyers

State Bar of Michigan: Corporation Section; Finance Section; Business Law Section; Real Property Section

John W. Allen

John W. Allen

Practice Areas

Education

University of Michigan Law School
Ann Arbor, Michigan
J.D., 1972

University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
B.A., 1969

Bar Admissions

Florida

Illinois

Indiana

Michigan

Minnesota

Wisconsin

Court Admissions

All Michigan state courts

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

United States Court of Federal Claims

United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida

United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida

United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida

United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois

United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois

United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana

United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan

United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois

United States District Court for Minnesota

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin

United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin

United States Supreme Court

United States Tax Court

Business Litigation Attorney

John has over 40 years of experience, focuses his practice on business and commercial litigation, and is a certified civil trial advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He is admitted to the AAA International Centre for Dispute Resolution. In addition, John has written and co-written dozens of articles and books, and he is a frequent speaker to business and law groups. On a regular basis, he teaches courses in law and trial practice to other lawyers, often serving as an expert witness.

The Best Lawyers in America® has named John the Kalamazoo “Lawyer of the Year” for Trust and Estate Litigation in the 2021 guide. It has also recognized John as one of The Best Lawyers in America® in Family Law, Legal Malpractice Law – Defendants, Litigation – Antitrust and Litigation – Banking and Finance.

John is a rules official for the USGA and PGA, and an honorary member of the Michigan PGA.

Honors and Recognitions

Best Lawyers in America® since 2005

Best Lawyers in America®, Lawyer of the Year, Litigation – Trusts and Estates, Kalamazoo, 2021

Leading Lawyers: ADR Law – Commercial Litigation; Commercial Litigation

Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated

Michigan Lawyers Weekly, Leader in the Law, 2012

Michigan Super Lawyers® since 2011

Michigan Super Lawyers®, Top 50 Consumer Super Lawyers, 2017

Michigan Super Lawyers®, Top 100, 2011, 2016, 2018

Professional Affiliations

American Arbitration Association, certified arbitrator

American Bar Association – Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, Standing Committee on Ethics and Professionalism

American Bar Association: Ethics 2000 Advisory Committee; Commission on Lawyers Assistance Programs; Revenue Enhancement Committee; Ethics and Professionalism Committee

American Board of Trial Advocates

National Board of Trial Advocacy, certified civil trial advocate

State Bar of Michigan: Ethics Committee, past chair

Community Involvement

Golf Association of Michigan, Board

Michigan High School Athletic Association, golf rules official

Presentations

ICLE Ethics Update Seminar, chair and presenter, Evergreen Retainers; moderator, Professionalism, 2019

Elliott M. Berlin

Elliott M. Berlin

Practice Areas

Industries

Clerkships

Berrien County Trial Court

Education

Michigan State University College of Law
East Lansing, Michigan
J.D., magna cum laude, 2013

Western Michigan University:
Haworth College of Business
Kalamazoo, Michigan
B.A., 2010

Bar Admissions

Michigan

Court Admissions

All Michigan state courts

Corporate Attorney

Elliott’s corporate practice includes a heavy focus on mergers and acquisitions, lending transactions, commercial real estate transactions, and a wide variety of other commercial transactions. His clients include businesses of all sizes, private equity firms, financial institutions, and economic development organizations. Elliott has represented clients in negotiating, structuring, and documenting complex M&A, lending, and other commercial transactions, nationally and internationally, involving billions of dollars.

Experience

Represented global top-10 insurance brokerage in dozens of platform and add-on acquisitions.

Represented private equity fund in financing and acquisition of leader in aquatics consumer products industry. 

Represented SaaS developer in sale to strategic buyer.

Represented distributor of production management systems for the agritech market in sale to publicly-traded company. 

Represented product development and manufacturing company in sale to privately-held strategic buyer. 

Represented joint venture of agricultural co-ops in purchase of assets from publicly traded company.

Represented privately-owned Zeigler Automotive Group in acquisition of three Chicago-area luxury car dealerships, estimated to add 5,000 new units and $350 million in annual sales.

Represented privately-held elevator services provider based in West Michigan in sale to Connecticut-based private equity fund. Varnum provided M&A, corporate, tax, real estate and employee benefits services.

Represented pipeline construction and engineering firm in connection with private equity investment.

Represented regional wholesaler and distributor of convenience store products in sale to privately-held strategic buyer.

Represented leading carbon steel service center in sale to private equity fund.

Honors and Recognitions

Best Lawyers in America®, Ones to Watch, Corporate Law, Real Estate Law, 2024

Michigan Lawyers Weekly, Up & Coming Lawyer, 2022

Moody on the Market, 40 under 40, 2020

Professional Affiliations

Kalamazoo County Bar Association

State Bar of Michigan

Community Involvement

The Avenue Family Network, Board of Directors – Secretary, Governance Committee

Southwest Michigan Regional Chamber of Commerce, Young Professional Committee – past Chair

Michigan’s Great Southwest Strategic Leadership Council, Leadership Accelerator graduate