West Michigan well represented on Up and Coming Lawyer list

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By Cynthia Price
Legal News

It is perhaps not surprising to see so many West Michigan attorneys honored as Up and Coming Lawyers —  “legal practitioners who are establishing a name for themselves, go above and beyond, and display the ambition, drive, determination and accomplishments that set them apart among their peers — in their first 10 years in practice.”

Eight of this year’s cohort of 30 hail from Kent County. While there were none from Muskegon or Ottawa counties, there was at least one who practiced outside of Grand Rapids, in Rockford.

They join numerous others over the years the award has been given in what seems to be an increasing presence from this side of the state.

The designations are made by Michigan Lawyers Weekly and the magazine celebrated the awardees with a luncheon in Troy on Dec. 11.

Two of the eight were subjects of feature stories in the Grand Rapids Legal News. One of them, Jason C. Miller (see http://www.legalnews.com/grandrapids/1394250/), was a member of Miller Johnson at the time of his designation, but has now moved on to an in-house counsel position with Dow Chemical Corporation.

The other, John Inhulsen of Foster Swift (see online story at http://legalnews.com/grandrapids/1397864/), comments about the award, “I was honored to be recognized... alongside such an outstanding group of West Michigan attorneys."

That sentiment, in fact, was unanimous among the remaining up-and-comers who could be reached for comment.

For example, Daniel J. Broxup of Mika Meyers Beckett and Jones said, “It is an honor to be recognized as an Up and Coming Lawyer alongside a group of really impressive attorneys from across the State. It was nice to see how well represented Grand Rapids was this year. We are fortunate to have some really talented attorneys in this area.”

Broxup practices in the area of commercial litigation with substantial experience in immigration law. He represents securities brokerage firms, brokers, and investors in FINRA arbitration proceedings, and he has brought and defended claims under the Uniform Commercial Code, the Bankruptcy Code, the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act, among others.

He graduated magna cum laude from Thomas M. Cooley Law School after attending the University of Evansville in Indiana for his undergraduate degree.
Broxup’s community activities  include chairing the Governance Committee for the board of Special Olympics of Michigan, serving on the Emerging Leaders Advisory Council, and being a member of the Grand Rapids Crew Juniors soccer organization.

Nicholas F.X. Gumina is the geographic outlier, practicing with Eardley Law in Rockford. He says, “Well, I was very honored to receive the award. I know Genie Eardley [the other attorney in the office and co-founder of the firm] nominated me, but I’m really pleased I received it.”

The Grand Rapids native is also a magna cum laude graduate of Thomas M. Cooley Law School, as well as a summa cum laude graduate from Aquinas College, with a history degree.

Prior to joining the firm one and a half years ago, Gumina served as an intern to Michigan Supreme Court (MSC) Justice Elizabeth Weaver, a law clerk at MSC, and a clerk at the Michigan Court of Appeals. His practice is exclusively in litigation, mostly on the plaintiff side in medical malpractice and employment law.

“Some of the initial projects I was involved here were appeals, because my experience at the COA helped with them. I handled a COA case where my request for leave to appeal was granted, which resulted in a very favorable settlement for our client. I think I had, and have, a good idea what they would be looking for and how best to present the arguments,” he explains, “but I’ve also focused on a number of motions for summary disposition in trial work and been successful.”

The education background of David C. Hill from Kreis Enderle Hudgins and Borsos includes study at John Cabot University in Rome, as well as a B.A. in Finance from Michigan State and his J.D., magna cum laude, from Wayne State University Law School. He is also a LEED Accredited Professional.
He practices in the areas of real estate, banking, and business law including mergers and acquisitions. Hill is part of the Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc., Investment Alliance, the MSU?Club of West Michigan, and the Boys and Girls Club of Grand Rapids.

Hill could not be reached for comment in time for the deadline because he was in court.

Stephen J. Hulst credits his firm for helping him receive the designation. “It was certainly a very nice recognition and honor to be included with so many great young attorneys,” he says. “For me, the award is a product of having the opportunity to work with numerous great and talented lawyers at Rhoades McKee. “
Chair of Rhoades McKee’s Commercial Litigation Practice Group, Hulst practices commercial litigation with emphasis on business/shareholder disputes, particularly those involving business valuation issues.

Nicholas Reister of Smith Haughey Rice and Roegge, a graduate of Hope College, Grand Valley State University (with an M.B.A.), and Michigan State University College of Law, is a shareholder in the firm and co-chair of its Trusts and Estates Group as well as Chair of the Agriculture and Agribusiness Industry Team. He says, “My practice consists of business and farm succession planning, preparing families for wealth transition, and traditional estate planning for families and individuals. Having grown up in a family of business owners, I’m well acquainted with their challenges and concerns. I’ve dedicated my life to helping families, businesses, and individuals flourish... I really love my job and I think it shows.”

Reister is very involved in his community, serving as Vice President for Outdoor Discovery Center – Macatawa Greenway; Deacon and Past Treasurer for Haven Reformed Church; and on the Professional Advisory Committee for Grand Rapids Community Foundation.

He comments, “I’m grateful for the honor. It’s a privilege to be included among peers who are so talented and accomplished.”

While Amber Sturrus is the only  West Michigan woman lawyer on the list, there are many other women from around the state included in the 30.

Sturrus shares the collegial feelings of the others in saying, “I am honored and humbled to be recognized... and join such a distinguished group of young lawyers.”

She practices in Miller Canfield’s Banking Group in the Grand Rapids office. “I represent lenders and borrowers in syndicated and bilateral commercial finance transactions, including asset-based lending, real estate and construction lending, tax/incentive-based lending and loan workouts,” she says.

From this area originally, Sturrus attended Calvin College for her B.A., but after receiving her J.D. from the University of Illinois Law School, she worked at an AmLaw 100 firm in Chicago on multi-state real estate deals.

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