Bar association elects board members
The Grand Rapids Bar Association is welcoming a group of new leaders.
The association, or GRBA, has named several members and officers to its Board of Trustees: Randall Velzen, president; Kevin O’Dowd, president-elect; Tracey Brame, vice president; Andrea Bernard, elected after being appointed; Sangeeta Ghosh; and Kristin Britt.
They will begin their terms on July 1.
Velzen will serve a one-year term as president of the GRBA Board of Trustees. He will serve as a liaison to the executive director, appoint committee chairpersons, serve as an ad hoc member of all committees and represent the bar association in the community.
Velzen is an attorney at Mika Meyers. He has been a member of the GRBA since 1978.
Velzen practices family law, including estate planning. He specializes in custody battles, divorce, mediation, arbitration, litigation, property division and support.
He is a graduate of Calvin College and holds a J.D. from the University of Notre Dame Law School.
O’Dowd is vice president of the board. On July l, he will serve a one-year term as president. He will serve as the chair of the Membership and Long Range Planning Committee, a liaison to the board, attend Executive Committee meetings and assist the president in any capacity necessary.
O’Dowd is an attorney at Kotz Sangster.
He is a member of the firm’s litigation practice group. He has 30 years of experience specializing in commercial and business litigation, agribusiness disputes, construction purchasing/supply disputes, trademark infringement, shareholder disputes, insurance and general liability defense, and land/use, real estate and zoning matters.
O’Dowd is also a faculty member of the Hillman Advocate Program, a fellow of the Michigan State Bar Foundation and a member The Economic Club of Grand Rapids.
He holds a J.D. from the Indiana University School of Law and a B.S. from Purdue University.
Brame will serve for three years as vice president of the board. She will preside over board meetings in the absence of the president, serve as the chairperson of the Nominating and Program Committee and attend Executive Committee meetings.
Brame is the assistant dean and an associate professor at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School.
She is a graduate of the University of Michigan, where she received her B.S. and J.D.
Bernard was officially elected as a board trustee. She is already serving as a trustee, because another trustee vacated the position. She will serve until July 2021.
Bernard is an attorney at Warner Norcross + Judd.
She practices ligation matters and dispute resolution. She has represented manufacturers, contractors and financial institutions in employment, commercial and construction disputes.
She received her J.D. in 1993 from the University of Minnesota and her B.S. from the University of South Dakota.
Ghosh was elected as a board trustee. She will serve a three-year term. She is expected to serve as a chair or co-chair on one of the board’s committees, control and transfer board funds, review the association’s financial statements and plan and volunteer for GBRA fundraising events.
Ghosh is an assistant corporate counsel at Kent County.
She specializes in health care law, business law, contract negotiations and civil litigation.
Ghosh is also a civil mediator at the Dispute Resolution Center of West Michigan.
She is a graduate of Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, where she received her master of law.
Britt was elected as a trustee. She will serve a three-year term. She also serves as a member of the Family Law section of the GRBA.
Britt practices at her own firm, Britt Law Group.
She focuses her practice on family law, estate planning, real estate and probate. She serves as a business counselor and an advocate for small business owners and represents clients facing divorce, child custody and planning issues.
Britt is president of the North Kent Connect Board and a member of several organizations: Michigan Bar Association; Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce; Ottawa County Bar Association; and the Grand Haven, Spring Lake, Ferrysburg Chamber of Commerce.
She received her J.D. from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 2008.
The current GRBA board officers:
President: Elizabeth Joy Fossel
President-Elect: Randall Velzen
Vice President: Kevin O’Dowd
Secretary: Ingrid Jensen
Treasurer: Scott Melton
The GRBA serves newly admitted, practicing, non-practicing, senior attorneys, law students and legal assistants.
The association has about 1,400 members, and there are 14 members on its Board of Trustees.