Local attorneys honored with young leader designation



by Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

No fewer than five West Michigan attorneys were honored by inclusion in the 40 Under Forty class of up-and-coming leaders designated by Grand Rapids Business Journal this year.
In addition to Jennifer Remondino of Warner Norcross and Judd’s Holland office, profiled in the Grand Rapids Legal News for Oct. 18, four outstanding young attorneys from Grand Rapids made the list.
As might be expected, the four bring different perspectives to the legal profession and have different responses to receiving the honor.

Brent Geers of Geers Law, who was born and raised in Grand Rapids and decided to stay here to open his solo practice in the recent past, said, “I still haven't come to the full realization of what it means to be thought of in the company...of the other recipients. For me personally, receiving this recognition serves as a call-to-action to better serve my community.”
That modest statement is typical of the soft-spoken Geers, who graduated from University of Michigan in 2001 with a major in American Culture, and then spent five years in the 92nd Military Police Company, stationed in Germany. After his graduation from Thomas M.Cooley Law School’s Grand Rapids campus in 2012, he decided to stay and practice in the area, on behalf of all the people he has known who have difficulty knowing what to do when confronted with a legal challenge.

Geers’ work is in a variety of focus areas: landlord/tenant issues, estate planning, small-business-oriented consulting including lease agreements and contract drafting, and business startups. But his heart lies with helping his fellow military members, and he makes a special outreach effort toward that end.

The story of Geers and his decision to make Grand Rapids his professional home are featured prominently on the grabLAW site, intended to attract similar community-minded young leaders to Grand Rapids.
A shareholder with Foster, Swift, Collins and Smith, John Inhulsen focuses on litigation in the areas of  business, real estate and construction, as well as advising on corporate and personal matters.

He graduated from Michigan State University with his B.A., and from MSU College of Law for his J.D.

Inhulsen’s community involvements go on and on. Formerly on the boards of the East Grand Rapids Schools Foundation, the Van Andel Institute Junior Professionals, the United Way Campaign Cabinet, and the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Campaign Cabinet, among others; he is currently Chair of the March of Dimes Board of Directors, Vice-Chair of the Broadway Grand Rapids board, and serves on the MSU Alumni Club of West Michigan board,  the Kent County GOP Executive Committee, and the Grand Rapids Bar Association Finance Committee.

About being selected as one of the 40 Under Forty, Inhulsen comments, “It’s truly an honor to be part of this. There are so many deserving candidates in Grand Rapids. I think our community is very blessed with young talent both in the legal field and in business, and so I’m very honored that I received it.”

Joseph L. Voss of Clark Hill’s Grand Rapids office, echoes that. “It’s an honor to be named along with the esteemed group of folks that made the list this year.”

Pointing to the opportunity the designation affords to elevate awareness of Clark Hill’s E2 program — “E2 is an integrated, customizable program that helps early stage and mid-sized growth companies overcome today’s obstacles to meet tomorrow’s goals” — and its Entertainment Industry Team, which  he leads. Voss is also a member of the Michigan Film Office Advisory Council. “Highlighting [these programs] alongside my support of the mission of Hospitce of Michigan makes me proud to be involved in all these ventures.”

A History and Religion major at Brooklyn College who received his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law, Voss also focuses on mergers and acquisitions, financing, and contracts.

He says he found the Oct. 16 recognition reception and Gov. Rick Snyder’s congratulatory speech rewarding. “The event was great too,” he says. “I really enjoyed spending the evening with my fellow honorees, and I think some lasting connections will come of it.”

Robert Wolford, Chair of Miller?Johnson’s Business Section, offered an interesting explanation of why he suspects he was selected. “Early in my career,” he says, “the economy was good and there were lots of mergers and acquisitions and other types of business to keep me busy. In 2004 to 2005, when the economic was not very good, Miller Johnson made a decision to limits its representation of banks so there would
be fewer conflicts when clients faced financial challenges. Because I was able to assist so many people as a result, I could build my success.
“A small group of us also started the Turnaround Management Association chapter in West Michigan, which has been very successful, and I think that gave me a lot of name recognition along with recently being
appointed to the East Grand Rapids School Board and being a coach.I really like to give back to the community.”

Wolford received his bachelors degree from University of Michigan and Juris Doctor cum laude from Wayne State University Law School. He has also been an officer for Festival of the Arts, and on the board of the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, as well as a volunteer for Special Olympics.