Holland attorney honored as one of top young leaders



by Cynthia Price
Legal News


When Jennifer L. Remondino of Warner Norcross and Judd is being honest about it, she admits that one of the reasons she wanted to be chosen for the Grand Rapids Business Journal’s 40 Under Forty was a bit of genial competitiveness with friends who have been named to the list.

And her brother being honored with a similar designation in Jackson, Jackson Magazine’s 30 and Under, clinched it. “I guess there’s some family rivalry going on,” Remondino comments.

But that is no indication that this dynamic, do-it-all young woman is not eminently qualified for the honor.

The Grand Rapids Business Journal 40 Under Forty are influential, up-and-coming leaders, chosen as the result of a nomination process. Winning a place on the list is an indication that an individual has served the community and volunteered time and talent, is accomplished in his or her field, and has received awards and honors recognizing those accomplishments. 

Remondino became a partner with Warner Norcross at the ripe old age of 31, one of the youngest attorneys ever accorded that honor. Shortly after that, she was named Partner in Charge of Warner’s Holland office.

Remondino made choices early on that destined her to join the legal profession. “I’ve always wanted to be an attorney, even though I really didn’t have any attorneys in my family. I think it stemmed from movies and TV shows with all those interesting trial lawyers, but that seems kind of funny now because I couldn’t be farther from a trial lawyer.”

Remondino’s practice  in trusts and estates and business law, including minority business law, with an emphasis on estate, tax and family business succession planning stems from the only part of her life when she thought she might not pursue  becoming a lawyer.

“I went to Michigan State and got my undergraduate degree in business. I started out in psychology and criminal law, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea,” she says. “I ended up getting into the business school and really liked that, and when I got an internship at Consumers Energy, I debated not going to law school after all.” She realized she could combine the two as a business attorney and returned to Michigan State to receive her Juris Doctor magna cum laude.

“And I still do really like the business end of my practice. Unlike a lot of lawyers, I like numbers. I?think the business background helps me understand what our clients are doing and make more practical suggestions,” Remondino says.

Though originally from Jackson, her husband’s family is from Grand Haven, so she was glad to get a position working in Warner Norcross’s Holland office, where she has been since 2005.

With a two-and-a-half-year-old son, Luke, and another child on the way, Remondino still finds time to be active in the legal community at a number of levels, and on several boards in West Michigan.

She is currently on the board of the Ottawa County Bar Association, a member of the American Bar Association Real Property, Probate and Trust Law; Business Law; and Taxation Sections; and in the same sections except Taxation for the State Bar of Michigan. She also is part of the Phi Alpha Delta Law Service Fraternity, Attorneys for Family Held Businesses, and the National Association of Professional Women.

“With my limited time, I’m going to concentrate on the Ottawa County Bar, but I also just got on the Holland Zeeland Chamber of Commerce board, and find it really interesting — back to my business roots.”

Previously “heavily involved” with Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity, Remondino participates in Holland Young Professionals and was part of the 2008-2009 class of Leadership Holland.

Other honors include being named  a Michigan Super Lawyer Rising Star in 2012 and 2013, and one of the Best Lawyers in America, Trusts/Estates for 2013 and 2014.  

As if all that were not enough, she is a frequent speaker for the Institute of Continuing Legal Education on trusts and estates.  “I think that’s important to continue doing,” she comments. “The law changes a lot.”

In addition to Holland and its Grand Rapids headquarters, Warner Norcross has six offices around the state — in Lansing, Southfield, Midland, Muskegon, Macomb County, and Kalamazoo. The firm designates a Partner in Charge for each, as well as the overall Managing Partner in Grand Rapids, currently Doug Wagner. Remondino is the first woman named Partner in Charge at any of the offices.

“I was kind of surprised at that. You know, I’m one who will always say that I’ve never, that I was aware of, thought that it hurt me in my professional life to be a female,” Remondino says. “I know from talking to some of my female mentors that it’s been different for other women, but if I’m honest I just haven’t seen much of that.”

However, like many attorneys of both genders, Remondino insists on family time. “We spend a lot of time at the lake. I told my husband last night that I wouldn’t trade them for the world,” she says, adding with a laugh, “Sometimes, though, it’s nice to come in to the office on Monday morning and be able to just sit down.”

Considering all the rich aspects of her life, Remondino is very happy to have been chosen as one of this year’s forty influential young West Michiganians. “I’m excited about getting it, I’m honored,” she says.

The 40 Under Forty soiree took place Wednesday night at the Goei Center in Grand Rapids, and featured Governor Rick Snyder as the main speaker.

The 2013 class was very kind to the legal profession. In addition to Remondino, Brent Geers of Geers Law, John Inhulsen of Foster Swift, Joseph Voss of Clark Hill and Robert Wolford of Miller Johnson were included. Watch for additional profiles in the weeks to come.