Varnum has new associates, new leaders


Three new associates have joined Varnum LLP and will be practicing in the Grand Rapids office. They bring a variety of legal service backgrounds to the firm, including serving as judicial clerks, working at pro bono legal clinics and serving as summer associates at firms including Varnum.

As new associates, each attorney will be able to take advantage of Varnum’s “free agent” approach, practicing in a variety of legal areas for about two years before deciding on a specific area of legal focus.

Charumati Ganesh is a graduate of Vanderbilt Law School and Michigan State University. She has served as a legal intern for the U.S. Immigration Court Executive Office of Immigration Review, Department of Justice in Portland, Oregon. She also interned at a New Jersey law firm and served as a legislative assistant to Sen. Carl Levin (MI) in Washington, D.C. Ganesh served as a summer associate at Varnum in 2017.

Barbara Ann Moore is a graduate of University of Michigan Law School and Michigan State University. Her legal experience includes serving as a student attorney for the Community and Economic Development Clinic in Ann Arbor and as a legal intern for the National Housing Law Project in San Francisco. She also served as legislative intern for the Michigan House of Representatives and was a summer associate at Varnum in 2017.

Andrew J. Newton is a graduate of Michigan State University College of Law and also received his undergraduate degree from MSU. While in law school, he served as editor-in-chief of the Michigan State Law Review and held two judicial externships—first with the Hon. James S. Jamo of the Ingham County 30th Circuit Court and next with the Hon. David W. McKeague of the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. He was a summer associate at Varnum in 2017.

In addition, Varnum has announced the election of a new Chair and Executive Partner, the top leadership positions within the 175-attorney firm.

Ronald G. DeWaard will serve as Chair of the Partnership and the Policy Committee, responsible for firm strategy and partner compensation. Scott J. Hill will serve as Executive Partner, chairing the firm’s Executive Committee, responsible for policy implementation, lean processes and attorney development. DeWaard takes the reins from former Chair Dave Khorey, who served in that position from 2016-2018. Hill takes over from Tom Kyros, who has served as Executive Partner since 2012.

Varnum has utilized a dual management structure for the past six years, ensuring that client service and management functions are thoroughly fulfilled while allowing the leaders to continue focusing on their legal practices.

DeWaard said the firm plans to continue the growth strategy implemented in recent years by opening a fourth office in southeast Michigan, as noted in last week’s article about Varnum’s new executive director, William Scarbrough. The firm also anticipates moving its Ann Arbor office to larger quarters due to growth in that market.

“We have established the Varnum brand in markets well beyond our original West Michigan base, and our goal in the near term is to accelerate growth in those markets,” DeWaard said. “In addition, we will continue to focus on using technology and innovative practices to provide the best possible value to our clients.”

A trial lawyer and former federal prosecutor, DeWaard began his legal career with Varnum in 1990. He left in 1994 to serve as Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of Florida – Miami in the Economic Crimes Division and later as Deputy Chief of the Major Crimes Division. He rejoined Varnum in 2001 and focuses his practice on civil and white-collar litigation, as well as internal investigations. DeWaard is transitioning from chairing the firm’s Litigation Practice Team.

Hill said he expects both he and DeWaard will spend considerable time in southeast Michigan. Hill traces his roots to that region and has assisted the integration of lateral attorneys  and coached attorneys on their practice development.“We continue to have success through organic growth from our entry level hiring as well as our lateral attraction efforts. Integration of these two groups within our outstanding culture is essential to our long-term success,” Hill said. “The pace of change in our profession is accelerating and while we enjoy the strength of a firm founded 131 years ago we recognize that we need to proactively walk with our clients to best serve their needs.”

Hill, who joined the firm in 2003, is a corporate attorney with a focus on business representation including M&A, private equity, and joint ventures. He works extensively with closely-held businesses on supply chain, governance, succession planning and general  matters. His past leadership roles at the firm include service as Corporate Practice Team Leader and leading the Attorney Recruitment Committee.

In addition, Kim Clarke, Pete Roth and Perrin Rynders will make up  Varnum’s Policy Committee, the primary governing body of the firm.