Expansion of Sinas Dramis Law Firm continues, and Grand Rapids office thrives



by Cynthia Price
Legal News

It looks like the new year 2019 will smile on the Sinas Dramis Law Firm across the board.

Over the 2018 holidays, the Grand Rapids office of the nearly-70-year-old firm moved from a small one-person office with space for lawyers visiting from the home-base Lansing office, to a spacious suite within the building at 312 Fulton St. East. They will be sharing space with the Law Offices of Bill Failey, the current owner of the building which formerly housed Mike Kelly’s law practice.

Impetus for the move was the firm’s growth to three full-time attorneys and the need to accommodate them and a staff which has also expanded.

First to join Tom Sinas on the Grand Rapids team, in 2016, was Adrian Copeland, coming from the Dale Sprik Law Firm (which closed in Dec. 2018 after the founder’s passing in August of that year). Copeland, named a Super Lawyers Rising Star in 2018 and one of the Top 40 under 40 by the National Trial Lawyers, received her B.S. in political science and philosophy from the Honors College of Eastern Michigan University and her J.D. from Michigan State University College of Law, where she was multiply honored.

While in law school, Copeland was a law clerk for Sinas Dramis.

“One of the reasons I really like working here is we do have a team approach,” she says.

And Tom Sinas adds, “The hallmark of this firm has always been to bring together a group of really good lawyers who are all very skilled and in different ways. We pride ourselves on creating an environment where people are allowed to flourish based on the kind of lawyer they are, and the team includes all of the Lansing folks.”

The third member of the GR office is Brian Molde, a highly successful attorney focusing primarily on auto negligence, medical malpractice claims and auto accidents. With a law degree from Tennessee College of Law, Molde has moved from the Michigan Court of Appeals (research division) to Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge to the eastside offices of Brian McKeen. He joined Sinas Dramis directly from the Grand Rapids offices of Ven Johnson Law, and has in the last year obtained some very impressive results for his clients.

“I was just so excited that both of these fine lawyers wanted to join us,” says Tom Sinas, who started the Grand Rapids office in 2013. “I think it’s a sign that this office is really doing great work, and it will really help us achieve our goal, which is to become the best personal injury law firm in the state.”

Sinas, the grandson of the Sinas Dramis founder with the exact same name, son of the much-honored George Sinas, and brother of colleague Steve, earned a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts (he plays jazz guitar) from the University of Michigan, before obtaining his law degree magna cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School.

After branching out on his own in Minneapolis, during which he worked at a large law firm and then was a special-assignment state prosecutor assigned to complex financial crimes, Sinas moved back to his family law firm and opened up shop in Grand Rapids.

Sinas’s term as president of the Legal Assistance Corporation and service on the board of trustees of the Grand Rapids Bar Association have both been completed by the end of 2018, and although he continues with leadership positions in the Brain Injury Association of Michigan, he says, “It’s good timing that they both ended, because I want to continue to focus my efforts on the firm.”

The office’s move comes on the heels of some very good news: attorneys Tom and Steve Sinas have obtained a $7.75 million settlement for a group of their clients.

A horrendous collision between a single-driver vehicle and one carrying five members of a family occurred when the single-driver car failed to stop at a stop sign. The father of the family was killed, the mother and her own mother were severely injured, and two young children in the back seat not only sustained injuries but also had to witness the death of their dad and suffering of their mom and grandmother.

Sparing no effort, the firm created a video showing what a beloved man and father the deceased was and consulted experts to reconstruct the accident, which became a critical issue in the insurance company’s willingness to pay full damages. Though experts acknowledged that the father-driver was likely exceeding the speed limit, Sinas and Sinas eventually demonstrated that his speed was not causally significant in terms of the timing of the other driver failing to stop.

In addition, after the settlement was announced, the team arranged for continued mediation to determine how best to apportion the money within the family.

“Everyone’s concern in this family, their paramount concern, was to make sure that the two children won’t suffer any further. They’re going to have to grow up without a father, and their mother will likely not be able to work again, so even though the money is just a small contribution towards closure in the case, at least we were able to ensure  that financial concerns are things they will not have to be preoccupied with,” Sinas says.

The case is another good example of firm-wide teamwork, with the two brothers sharing the load.

The statewide firm, which has recently changed its full name to Sinas, Dramis, Larkin, Graves & Waldman to reflect the current partners, also has some fresh news of expansion.

Two highly-experienced attorneys will join Sinas Dramis, and two new offices will be opening: one in Kalamazoo to support seasoned personal injury lawyer Steve Weston, most recently of Varnum; and one in the Detroit area due to well-known attorney Brian McKenna joining from Waldman Sachs, which dissolved at the end of 2018. (Sinas Dramis partner Bryan Waldman is the son of Barry Waldman in that firm’s name, who has been Of Counsel.)

“We’re trying the best way we can to bring on attorneys who are really committed and who share the same values and ethics as our firm,”  Tom Sinas said.