Human Resources and Law

Law firm appoints leadership

February 10, 2016
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Law firm sees 'uptick' across practices
Craig Mutch. Courtesy Miller Johnson

A local law firm has made changes to its management committee and several of its practice sections.

Miller Johnson said last month that Robert Wolford has joined the firm’s five-member management committee. He will serve a three-year term.

Management committee members are voted into the position.

Three of the firm’s practice sections — business and corporate law, employment and labor and litigation — also received new chair and vice chair appointments.

Each practice section leader typically serves a two to three-year term.

Appointments are made by the management committee.

Kenneth Hofman has been appointed chair of the firm’s business and corporate section, and Eric Starck will serve as vice chair of the section.

Nathan Plantinga will serve as chair of the firm’s employment and labor section, and Sarah Willey will serve as vice chair.

The firm’s litigation section will be chaired by D. Andrew Portinga, with David Gass in the vice chair role.

The firm also appointed Rebecca Strauss to serve as its diversity officer.

Shuffling leadership

Craig Mutch, managing member of Miller Johnson, said it’s rare for the firm’s leadership to change as much in a year as it has in 2016, but it just happened to work out that way this year.

He noted many of the leadership positions involved shifts from another leadership position.

For instance, he said Wolford moved from chair of the business section to the management committee, while Hoffman moved from the management committee to his position as chair of the business section.

Mutch also said its common for someone in a vice chair position to succeed to the chair position.

2016 plans

He added that this year, the management committee will be focused on the firm’s move to its new location in Arena Place in downtown Grand Rapids.

Miller Johnson will relocate from the Calder Plaza Building in downtown Grand Rapids, at 250 Monroe Ave. NW, to Arena Place, located at the corner of Ottawa Avenue SW and Weston Street SW, in the spring.

“We are also continuing to implement our strategic plan that we put in place in 2013,” Mutch said.

He noted that the management committee will be looking particularly at items in the strategic plan that may be falling by the wayside and concentrate on getting them back into the forefront.

Mutch said one of the firm’s key strategic goals is to become a “destination law firm.”

He said progress toward that end has been made, noting the firm hired 15 attorneys in 2015, with 13 being lateral hires and two recent law school graduates.

“We had significant growth last year,” he said. “That is a great thing. We feel we’ve brought in some great talent.”

Miller Johnson has a second office in Kalamazoo.

The firm employs more than 90 attorneys in West Michigan.

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