Problem solver. . .


Business attorney enjoys putting business deals together

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

As a law student, Rick Miettinen was a bit unsure about his eventual legal specialty until a clerkship at Timmis & Inman in Detroit exposed him to business law.

"After closing my first few deals, I quickly knew that I really enjoyed putting business deals together, and solving the various problems you encounter along the way," he says. "Each new deal comes with its own set of unique problems that need solving, and that's what I enjoy doing most.

"When you're working on an acquisition or disposition of a company, you're negotiating against your opponent, but at the same time everyone is still working toward the same goal closing the deal and getting the best deal they can for their client," he adds. "Most deal closings are a win for the seller and a win for the buyer. Everyone leaves the closing table satisfied and happy. When your client is happy, then you're happy. That just doesn't happen with litigation."

As an attorney with Howard & Howard Attorneys in Royal Oak, Miettinen specializes in mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, corporate, partnership law, real estate, business law, commercial law, contracts and finance law. He has served as lead counsel in hundreds of business transactions in numerous industries throughout the world and has extensive experience in drafting and negotiating business contracts.

Back in the day, international deals required negotiating and closing deals face-to-face, requiring international travel. For one deal, Miettinen spent more than six weeks in the Netherlands first in acquiring a target company for a client and then several years later in selling that same company for the client, for a tremendous profit.

"With conference calls, video conferencing and e-mails, face-to-face negotiations don't happen much anymore most deals are now closed by exchanging documents via e-mail," he notes.

Some of Miettinen's clients have been with him throughout his career. Many years ago, he helped a business spin off a division to his client one of two sons of the original business owner and the other division to the client's brother, all in a tax-free split off. Early on, Miettinen's client set a goal to sell the business by 2015 for a certain price.

"Over the years, we helped him with overseas licenses, acquisitions, expansions, and various other legal matters, and his business grew substantially," Miettinen says. "Then, last year, we helped him sell his business to a private equity firm for the purchase price he dreamed of. It was very gratifying to see this client progress over the years and then realize his American dream."

Miettinen also specializes in health care law and notes this field is growing exponentially. He has represented numerous doctor groups, mostly with acquiring practices, employment issues, and shareholder issues, but sometimes with respect to legal compliance issues.

"I find this area of the law fascinating and know it is only going to grow," he says.

Named among Michigan Leading Lawyers, Michigan Super Lawyers, and dbusiness Top Lawyers, Miettinen is a member of the State Bar and its sections on Business Law, Real Property Law and Health Care Law, and of the American Bar Association and its sections on Business Law and Health Law.

He has always had an interest in business and finance, and received his B.A., in economics, with high distinction, from Wayne State University where he was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honors Society.

"In my opinion, law and economics are somewhat alike," he says. "They both operate based upon certain underlying basic truths and principles, and they both involve solving puzzles in one case, solving the workings of the economy and predicting the future, and, in the other, solving a client's particular problem."

He earned his J.D., magna cum laude, from Wayne State University Law School where he was a member of the Order of the Coif, and a senior associate editor for the Wayne Law Review.

"I enjoyed the excellent faculty and the competitiveness of the students," he says. "Being thrust into that type of atmosphere really challenges you to be the best you can be."

In his leisure time, he enjoys bowling on a men's league with friends, and on a mixed league with his wife, typically carrying more than a 200 average and has even rolled a sanctioned 300 game.

Always a lover of music, he played French horn in his high school marching band, and taught himself to play the piano.

"I have a wide variety of music I enjoy listening to I even enjoy singing karaoke," he says.

An avid skier, he learned to ski with colleagues at Timmis & Inman the tradition of an annual firm ski trip out west carried over when the firm combined its practice with Howard & Howard, which recently held its ninth annual ski trip in Deer Valley, Utah.

Camping with family and friends is another pleasure, usually in one of the m

"I enjoy being out of doors in the summer, especially by a beach," he says. "It's a great way to relax from the fast-paced life of being a lawyer."

A two-term president of the St. Louise de Marillac Parish Pastoral Council in Warren, Miettinen has also served on the Board of Directors for Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers in Center Line for almost two decades.

"We've grown tremendously over the years," he says. "We have hundreds of registered volunteers who help hundreds of older and disabled neighbors each year with various tasks, transportation and sometimes just friendly visits, so they can stay safely in their own homes rather than in a facility."

Miettinen and Jodi, his wife of 26 years, have three daughters: Jaime, 25, is a graduate of Tulane Law School and recently took the Michigan bar exam; Jaclyn, 23, is studying at the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine; and Jenna, 19, is studying kinesiology at MSU.

A native of Warren, Miettinen and his wife who hails from Madison Heights call Troy home, and enjoy living in the greater Detroit area, close to friends and family.

"People in Detroit are 'real' they are hard working, good and honest people," Miettinen says. "I've lived here all my life, and wouldn't think of moving elsewhere. This is one of the places where you can fully enjoy all of the seasons, which makes you appreciate when the seasons change.

"Now that Detroit is out of bankruptcy and has shed some of those legacy costs, the future here looks bright, but we all have to work together to make it so."

Published: Mon, Mar 30, 2015