Detroit law firm enters Grand Rapids market
A Detroit-based law firm is opening an office in downtown Grand Rapids.
Longtime personal injury attorney Ven Johnson founded Johnson Law in 2011 after leaving Fieger, Fieger, Kenney, Giroux & Danzig, where he had been a partner.
Johnson said that he began the firm in Sterling Heights, before moving into a renovated space at the top of the Buhl Building in downtown Detroit, where the firm continues to reside.
Johnson has grown his one-man firm to 11 attorneys and 12 support staff.
He said that some people thought he was crazy when he took over the 6,000 square-foot space in the Buhl Building, but he was confident he would grow the firm into the space.
He said he also knew from day one that he wanted to open a West Michigan office by the end of year two.
“I’ve always had cases over here, throughout Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, Benton Harbor, Muskegon and Grand Rapids, and it was something that when I first left, I knew this was something that I was going to do,” Johnson said. “We have lots of cases from all over the state of Michigan, but especially over here.”
Johnson added, “A lot of times people that do what I do, they say that they have an office — and they just have a dark office that if they ever have a deposition or something, they go there and turn the lights on. This will be a full fledged, fully operating law firm.”
Johnson has signed a lease for 4,000 square feet in the Campau Square building, at 99 Monroe Ave. NW.
He noted that the office, which will be renovated in the coming months, will allow for 15 employees.
Johnson Law will open its Grand Rapids doors by the beginning of 2014.
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Johnson Law will continue to practice exclusively in the area of plaintiff personal injury, covering everything from automobile and trucking negligence, product liability, police misconduct, medical malpractice and more.
Johnson said the benefit of having offices on both the west and east sides of the state is being able to better serve clients.
“What it boils down to is, when you live on the west side of the state, and you have suffered some horrible tragedy, you don’t want to go trekking over to Detroit, and you don’t want some guy meeting you at a hotel room to handle your case,” Johnson said.
“You want somebody who is vested in your community: that’s grounded here, that knows the area, that knows the judges and the other lawyers,” added Johnson. “You want to have confidence that they are truly experts in what you need in your community. That is one of the major reasons why I want to open and establish an ongoing office here.”
West Michigan background
Johnson is a West Michigan native.
He was born in Three Rivers, grew up in Centerville and attended Kalamazoo College.
He said since he has been away, he still makes several visits to the South Haven area to enjoy Lake Michigan.
“I’m really familiar with this side of the state,” Johnson said. “I’ve always loved it.”
In addition to Johnson, attorney Victoria L. Marks will work out of the Grand Rapids office.
Marks is originally from Caledonia and has been eager to return to West Michigan.