DW Welcomes Judge Dennis C. Kolenda

Dickinson Wright PLLC Welcomes Judge Dennis C. Kolenda

3/5/2008
Dickinson Wright PLLC is pleased to welcome Judge Dennis C. Kolenda to the Firm, effective April 1, 2008. After nearly 20 years of service on the Kent County Circuit Court bench, Judge Kolenda will be the tenth attorney to join the Firm's Grand Rapids, Michigan Litigation Group. As an arbitrator, special master, mediator and facilitator, Judge Kolenda's practice will focus on alternate dispute resolution, and he also will participate in trial and appellate court matters. A Grand Rapids native, Judge Kolenda received his Bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan in 1969 and his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1972. He returned to Grand Rapids to serve as a law clerk to the Honorable Robert B. Bums of the Michigan Court of Appeals. From there he became the chief trial attorney for the Kent County Office of the Defender. Judge Kolenda entered private practice in 1975, and practiced in the field of commercial litigation for nearly 14 years with a well-known Grand Rapids law firm. Judge Kolenda was elected to the Kent County Circuit Court in November, 1988 and was re-elected in 1994, 2000 and 2006. His colleagues on the court elected him Chief Judge in November, 1993. The Supreme Court reappointed him to that position in 1995, and again in 1997. "Once I decided to leave the bench and return to private practice, the decision about which Firm to join was simple," Kolenda said. "The talented attorneys, the high quality work and the successful results for which Dickinson Wright is known - in West Michigan, and throughout the state and the country - attracted me immediately to Dickinson Wright," he added. "The Firm offers a unique opportunity for me to work with the law in new ways, as a human instrument designed to meet the community's needs and the demands of individual justice, to paraphrase one of my law school professors." "Dickinson Wright is proud to have Judge Kolenda join our Firm," said James A. Samborn, the Firm's CEO. "His experience on the bench, in private practice and in the community will add to the strength of our Grand Rapids litigation team. Judge Kolenda's choice to join Dickinson Wright over any other Michigan-based or national firm speaks to the expertise of our litigation attorneys and the reputation of our Firm." In addition to practicing law, Judge Kolenda taught political science at Aquinas College for 10 years. He has served by appointment of the Michigan Supreme Court on the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission and on numerous special committees charged with promulgating rules for the operation of the Michigan courts. He served on committees which drafted Rules of Evidence, rules regarding case management and alternative dispute resolution, and the Rules of Criminal Procedure, and he served on the Rules Committee of the Michigan Judges Association. Judge Kolenda is often on the faculty of programs sponsored by the Michigan Institute for Continuing Legal Education, the Michigan Judicial Institute, the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan and the Criminal Defense Attorneys Association of Michigan. Judge Kolenda's community service has included serving on the board of directors of the Villa Maria School for Girls, the Methodist Community House, the Kent County Chapter of the March of Dimes, the Polish Heritage Society, and the Kent County Humane Society. For more information about Dickinson Wright PLLC, please visit www.dickinsonwright.com.
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