Duly Noted


In Memoriam: Kent Vana

Longtime Varnum labor attorney Kent J. Vana, whose commitment to excellence and whose mentoring and leadership over 40 years helped shape the culture of the firm, died on Dec. 31, 2016, at the age of 79.

In his law practice, Vana represented management interests in labor matters, focusing on planning for and acting as principal spokesman in negotiations, work stoppages, and National Labor Relations Board proceedings. As a leader and mentor, he left a lasting mark on the firm and more than one generation of attorneys.

“Kent Vana was the consummate labor attorney and a tremendous mentor, generously sharing his legal and institutional knowledge,” said Varnum Chair Dave Khorey. “He was widely admired and deeply respected not only within the firm and by his clients, but also by those who sat across the bargaining table from him. He was a professional with the highest standards. He made us proud to be part of the legal profession.”

A graduate of University of Michigan Law School, Vana joined the law firm that later bore his name in 1962. Schmidt, Howlett, Van't Hoff, Snell & Vana merged with Varnum, Riddering, Wierengo & Christenson in 1983. Vana is credited with much of the success of both firms. He was managing partner at Varnum from 1997 to 2000.

Among many recognitions for legal accomplishment, Vana was listed in The Best Lawyers in America® for more than 20 years, AND was a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employ-ment Lawyers.

He served on the Attorney Grievance Commission 2006-2011, including as chair; was a charter member of the American Employment Law Council; was in the Labor Relations Law Section of the State Bar, the Committee on Law of Union Administration and Procedure of the American Bar Association, and on the International Industrial Relations Research Association. Vana was a board member of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan from 2002 until  his death, also serving as Chair.

In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to the University of Michigan Law School or the Citizens Research Council.