All-purpose: Former autoworker finds legal niche at law firm

By Sheila Pursglove

Legal News

Attorney Jeffrey T. Landon joined Curtis, Curtis, & Brelinski PC in Jackson, in February.

A native of Milan, south of Ann Arbor, Landon started his college studies at Michigan State University with an interest in forensic science and criminal justice. After two years at MSU, he followed in the footsteps of his parents and grandparents, going to work at the age of 20 for Ford Motor Co.'s Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti for the next 14-plus years. Starting on the line, he advanced to a quality operating systems coordinator position. The experience gave him time to figure out his career goals and realize factory work was not his chosen path.

While working for Ford, he started studying business, with an emphasis in computer information systems, at Eastern Michigan University. He earned a bachelor's degree and MBA from EMU and then decided to study law at MSU College of Law, drawn by his desire to learn and to help others.

During his studies at MSU Law, where he graduated magna cum laude in 2010, he interned/externed at the Washtenaw County Public Defender's office, the Branch County Prosecutor's Office, and the Michigan Tax Tribunal.

After graduation, he spent two years with the North Dakota law firm of Lange & Donovan PLLP followed by nine years with the Lansing law firm of Farhat & Story PC where he also did pro bono work for people who could not afford certain services, including bankruptcies, divorce, and custody.

"It was nice to help those in need," he says.

In 2020, he was recognized by his peers for his community and pro bono service when he received the Pro Bono Award from the Ingham County Bar Association.

In his current position at Curtis, Curtis, & Brelinski PC, Landon assists individuals and businesses with a variety of legal issues, including bankruptcy, business law, collections, criminal, divorce and custody, driver license restoration, estate planning, expungement, general civil, landlord-tenant law, liquor control, and real estate; and continues to take referrals for pro bono work through Legal Services of South Central Michigan.

Landon has been a member of the State Bar of Michigan Real Property Law Section and Family Law Section, Jackson County Bar Association, Ingham County Bar Association, State Bar Association of North Dakota, American Bar Association, and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. He has served since 2016 on the SBM Character & Fitness District Committee for several years, interviewing-in a panel setting-prospective attorneys applying for admission to practice law in Michigan.

"This role comes with great responsibility, which I've enjoyed," he says.

He also volunteered with the IRS VITA tax preparation program in the City of Jackson and Brooklyn, preparing and filing tax returns for low-income individuals.

"I primarily met with clients to complete their tax returns, at no cost, at the Brooklyn Library and in Jackson on the corner of High Street and South Cooper Street. I enjoyed helping people that needed it," he says.

Landon met his wife, a Jackson native, when both of them worked for Ford. After their marriage, the couple and their three children relocated to Jackson County to live on a Centennial farm that has been in his wife's family since 1844; and the two have now lived in Jackson for nearly two decades.

"I assist my father-in-law with bailing square bales of hay and we lease out a portion of the ground as well. I frequent local lakes and deer hunt to provide substance for our dinner table. My wife calls it my expensive hobbies, but I have to remind her I'm feeding her and our three children-it's been a number of years and I think I almost have her convinced," Landon says with a smile.

A member of Masonic Lodge 309 in Napoleon, and of the Jackson County Outdoor Club, in pre-pandemic times Landon has crossed the border to Ontario several times to fly fish for a week at a time.

"What an experience," he says. "You get dropped off in a float plane and don't see another person-just bears, moose, and wolves-for a week and the Walleye fishing is incredible if you can keep your lure out of a monster pike's mouth. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience you do every year."

Curtis, Curtis, & Brelinski PC, founded by current managing partner Phillip J. Curtis's grandfather in 1901, is celebrating its 120th anniversary; and this year, opened a Lansing office to serve clients in Ingham, Eaton, and Clinton Counties.

Published: Tue, Nov 23, 2021