Elisa Lintemuth, newly elected member at Dykema, helps fulfill GR office goals



by CynthiaPrice
Legal News

The election of labor and employment attorney Elisa J. Lintemuth as a new member in the Grand Rapids office of national law firm Dykema marks not only her success, but a forward move toward the office’s goals.

Lintemuth has been with the firm since her 2010 summa cum laude graduation from Michigan State University College of Law, and even before that as a summer associate.

Office Managing Member John A. Ferroli, also new to his management role as of earlier this year,  comments, “I am thrilled with Elisa’s elevation to member at Dykema. It was extremely well-deserved and well-earned. Even as an associate Elisa was a tremendous contributor to office and firm management objectives, and I expect her role in that regard to grow following her promotion to member.”

Lintemuth is a litigator, and while she focuses on employment litigation with a particular emphasis on  ERISA/employee benefits, she also does commercial litigation. Over time, her growing list of trial successes in the employment area have led to an increasing focus in that area.

“Even in college I was drawn to labor and employment law; I took classes in that where I didn’t need to, because I found those cases factually interesting. And as I started to develop in my practice, those were my favorite cases,” she says.

Raised in Grand Rapids, Lintemuth attended Denison University, a highly-regarded liberal arts college near Columbus, Ohio, also graduating summa cum laude.

At the time, she was interested in pursuing a career in publishing as a book editor, but when she realized that it would mean moving to New York City and likely working initially in positions that did not interest her, she changed her mind.

Both her father and her grandfather had careers in the law, so she reconsidered. “I like writing, I like researching, I like talking to people, and I decided being an attorney was a good idea,” Lintemuth says.

While at Michigan State College of Law, Lintemuth excelled. She was the  Senior Managing Editor of the Michigan State Law Review, a teaching assistant, the WestLaw representative, and a member of the Christian Legal Society.

She accomplished all that while commuting from Grand Rapids for her last two years, because in the meantime she and her husband had purchased a home in the area. She is delighted that she was able to find work in Grand Rapids, because she loves almost everything about it.

“I think if you look around Grand Rapids, it’s growing and it’s an exciting place to be,” she says. “Downtown has changed dramatically since I was a kid. It’s such a great place to live. We get a lot of great art exhibits, we have great food – and craft beer – but I can get to work in 15 minutes.”

The couple now has two boys aged 3 and 5, who Lintemuth says are “a lot of fun.”

Dykema has offices in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Minneapolis and Los Angeles, as well as several cities in both Michigan and Texas, which Lintemuth considers a great opportunity. “I work with attorneys from all over, Chicago, Texas, Southeast Michigan. I think that’s one of the benefits of a firm like Dykema,” she says.

Her practice is broader than litigation, encompassing counsel to employers on compliance with such statutes as the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the Michigan Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, among others.

“The law changes all the time,” she says. “But then there are also a lot of employers who operate in multiple states. On top of the federal, employment laws vary from state to state, and even localities may have laws.
“For example, some states now have passed laws saying that, in an interview, you can’t ask about a potential employee’s prior compensation, not even a salary range. Those states are saying that sort of question may end up resulting in pay bias, even if you’re not trying to discriminate. So my job is to make sure the company knows about such things in advance, so they have policies that help them avoid litigation.”

As a measure of her success, Lintemuth has been named a Rising Star, and a Top Woman Lawyer in Michigan by Hour Magazine, among other recognitions. She also blogs and makes presentations for Dykema.
In addition, Lintemuth serves on the board of Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, co-chairing the fund-raiser Great Gardens Party committee. While she is also active in the Federal and Grand Rapids Bar Associations, she comments, “Work-

ing full-time and raising two kids, I try to limit things so that I can really be committed to the organization.

“Dykema has really supported me. I think everyone in the Grand Rapids office is involved in the community; some people are on boards, some people volunteer directly,” Lintemuth says. “Dykema certainly recognizes the value of serving the community and has a large commitment to pro bono work.”

Lintemuth’s recent pro bono commitment helped a woman who had been the victim of human trafficking. “She was still a child when she was brought here. Now she’s a college student and she works full time, so we were able to get her her green card. Hopefully she’ll be able to become a citizen,” Lintemuth says.

Through such work, she furthers another goal of the Grand Rapids office management – as Ferroli puts it, to “facilitate increased participation by the Grand Rapids office attorneys in community and bar association leadership positions.” Ferroli adds to those goals: “to grow the breadth and depth of the Grand Rapids office by the significant addition of lawyers pursuant to a detailed growth plan, to promote the firm’s Grand Rapids attorneys within the firm and with existing and prospective clients [and] to reprioritize the office’s role in local charitable causes.”

As far as Lintemuth’s role in those plans, he concludes, “Elisa’s exceptional professional experience and abilities, entrepreneurial mindset, and leadership skills will lead to great success for Elisa and the firm.”