Experienced IP attorney Kelley Goldberg is newest in Bodman GR office expansion


Bodman’s newest attorney and member Kelley N. Goldberg flanks the Bodman sign along with Bodman’s Grand Rapids office managing member Floyd E. Gates, Jr.


by Cynthia Price
Legal News

The Grand Rapids office of Bodman, a 90-year-old law firm with five locations across the state of Michigan, has done some major expansion since the May 2017 Grand Rapids Legal News feature on Floyd Gates opening  it as a new Bodman presence.

Bodman grew up with the automotive industry, starting out in 1929 when two attorneys who worked with?Henry Ford started a private firm. It gained its current name from Henry Bodman, the general counsel to the Packard Motor Car Company who joined later. Over the years growth, including acquisition of other law firms. enabled it to expand from its Detroit roots to Troy, Ann Arbor, Cheboygan, and Grand Rapids.

With the acquisition of Kelley Goldberg, a nationally-experienced Intellectual Property attorney who came in at the member level, Bodman GR now has seven attorneys – four members and three associates.

Goldberg’s impressive experience – her resume includes such phrases as “Supported non-profit technology collaboration with GRAMMY-winning artist Lady Gaga”?and “Youngest attorney in the firm's 40-year history to be named a shareholder” – will help her create an IP?practice for the Grand Rapids office.

This will augment Bodman’s statewide IP group, which includes attorneys Justin Bagdady, Susan Kornfield, Dennis  Levasseur, and Kathryn Razdolsky Rothstein, among many others, currently being conducted mostly out of Bodman’s Ann Arbor office, where University of Michigan is a “feeder.”

“The ability to build it like you want to build it,” Goldberg comments, “that’s a big draw, but Bodman is just a cool place, and I feel like this is really a good opportunity.”

With the acquisition of Goldberg, a Michigan native who has spent much of her career working out of Las Vegas, Bodman has maxed out its temporary space on the fifth floor of the 99 Monroe building, and is anxious to move to permanent offices which will take up the entire third floor.

“Kelley has been a phenomenal addition to our talent,” says Gates. “She’s exactly the kind of attorney we need to add. But my only stress right now is that we’ve expanded to our maximum capacity, and we really need that third floor space.

“This is a nice office, but you still don’t feel like you’re where you’re going to be. We have one of our colleagues from Detroit here today, and he’s literally in a space set up in a closet. I’m just circulating an initial floor plan, and we’re really excited because it’s just going to be so current and so modern,” he adds.

Early on in the two years of its existence, the Bodman Grand Rapids office added member Darren J. Burmania, who “represents financial institutions and corporate clients in a variety of transactional and business law matters.” Burmania was named a Michigan Rising Star in 2011.

Next to be added was member John  David Gardiner, a litigator whose main practice emphasis is on representing employers in employment law matters and on general business and civil litigation, and who was also named a Michigan Rising Star, in 2018.

Stephen J. Staple joined next at the associate level. Staple is a litigator at the trial and appellate levels as well as serving his clients in alternative dispute resolution; he was a research extern with the Michigan Court of Appeals while at Michigan State University College of Law, from which he graduated summa cum laude.

Lindsey M. Cummings, a senior associate, will help the office grow its  estate planning and estate administration practice. She works with High Net Worth individuals and families on sound planning to “protect their loved ones from generation to generation.”

And shortly thereafter, Brent Scott joined the firm to advise and represent clients from various industries in employment, labor, and general business law matters. He formerly clerked for the Michigan Attorney General’s Office in the Corrections Division.

Now, Goldberg will add her expertise in  both IP and entertainment law to the Grand Rapids office.

Born in the Lansing area, Goldberg attended Kalamazoo College, graduating first-ranked of her class at the college well-known for its high academic standards.

After graduation, she received her J.D. from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law, where she was a legal extern for both Nevada Supreme Court Justice Nancy M. Saitta and the Clark County Public Defender.

She stayed in Las Vegas to work for Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck,  which had the highest-ranked corporate practice in Nevada (Chambers and Partners), serving such hospitality clients as Wynn Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, and MGM Resorts. It was there that she achieved the milestone of making partner before her 40th birthday, while being, as her resume puts it, “responsible for registering, licensing, merchandising, protecting, and enforcing the famous Las Vegas ‘What Happens Here, Stays Here’ brand worldwide.”

“But then I decided that I wanted some in-house experience,” Goldberg says. “It makes a big difference to understand how a business runs versus having a legal perspective only.”

In keeping with her record of doing things in a big way, Goldberg joined Intel. She acknowledges that the audio trademark of four notes is one of the most widely-recognized in the world and adds, “It’s one of the top ten brands, so it was great to be an IP attorney there. I was able to get involved with their sports and technology space, doing really cool sophisticated technology in Virtual Reality and augmented reality, working with the NFL and the NBA.” She also worked on new brands for Intel’s artificial intelligence team.

But then, as she started to raise a family, Goldberg missed Michigan. “I thought about maybe moving on to Silicon Valley, but then I realized, in West Michigan you have great companies, big-time international companies. So I didn’t need to go to California, I needed to get back to home, to the place I love. I mean, here it’s 15 minutes to work when it used to be two hours, so I can spend more time with my family,” she says.

Goldberg has a very clear-headed approach to trademark and branding issues. “The thing I think that people don’t realize when they’re talking about trademarks is that most of their valuation is based on their brand strength. It’s really important to chose a good brand on the front end,” she says.

“I don’t purport to be a marketing person, but I can help companies identify what would be considered to work, and be protectable. I can help them kind of issue-spot in this area.”

As far as giving back to the community, which is very important to Bodman, Goldberg was very involved in the arts community in Las Vegas and will be here as well. She also plans to help out start-ups and adds, “One thing I love about Bodman is that every week they send something out saying this is a pro bono case, does anybody want to take it? I?mean, that just fills my soul.”

“Kelley fits in so well with the IP practice that we were conducting out of Ann Arbor but wanted to add to our full service here. The market here is so vibrant, so to find Kelley early in our process was perfect,” says Gates, who notes that Bodman won Grand Rapids Business Journal’s 2018 Legal Newsmaker of the Year with less than two years in the market.

“It’s talent like Kelley’s that’s going to help us expand and grow. I couldn’t be more pleased,” he concludes.