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Randall L. Velzen

Randall L. Velzen

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Biography

Randall L. Velzen exclusively practices in the area of family law (including estate planning). He helps his clients through the often complicated divorce process and is highly experienced with such sensitive matters as custody issues, property divisions and support.

Randy was one of the first attorneys in West Michigan to complete Collaborative law training through the Collaborative Practice Institute of Michigan ("CPIM"), which is the state board for Collaborative professionals. He was the Board of Director's Chair of CPIM. In addition, Randy is part of the training team PRISM, LLC which trains professionals for Collaborative divorce. Randy is a founding member of the Collaborative Divorce Professionals of West Michigan. In a Collaborative divorce, the parties and attorneys sign a contract committing to try to settle the case. All issues are settled without any court involvement. The primary benefit of Collaborative law is that from the onset of the divorce process all parties are committed to settling the case, rather than pursuing litigation. Only attorneys trained in the Collaborative process can handle a truly Collaborative case. Randy is of the strong conviction that this process of resolving marital disputes with dignity is usually a better and less damaging approach for the families involved.

Currently Randy’s divorce-related practice is about ⅓ Collaborative, ⅓ mediation/arbitration, and ⅓ litigation. There is no "one size fits all" when it comes to dissolving a marriage.
 
Randy's estate planning consists primarily of simple estates with or without children. If there are minor children then there is usually a trust involved. A complete estate plan almost always includes a Durable Power of Attorney and a Patient Advocate form, along with the wills.

Randy is married to Laurie Velzen and they have two sons, Andrew and Benjamin.  Also, they have their first grandchild, Theo.

Education

  • Notre Dame Law School, Notre Dame, Indiana
    • J.D. - 1978
  • Calvin College
    • B.A. - 1975
    • Honors: With honors

Classes & Seminars

  • Trained in Collaborative Law by the Collaborative Practice Institute of Michigan, 2006
  • Member of PRISM LLC, an organization which provides training for professionals who want to be qualified to practice Collaborative divorce. In November 2013, PRISM trained 80 professionals in Miami, Florida. In March 2014, PRISM is training another group of professionals in St. Petersburg, Florida.
  • Presented for the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, 2011 to 2012

Pro-Bono Activities

  • In February 2014, Randy participated as a judge for the Great Lakes Mediation Tournament.
  • Board of Directors, Camp Roger (Past President and Current Board Member)
  • Board of Directors, National Easter Seals (past)
  • Board of Directors and Past Chair - Twice, Easter Seals Michigan (past)

Past Positions

  • Murphy Burns & McInerney, Associate, 1978 to 1981
  • Napieralski Walsh & Velzen, Founding Member, 1981 to 1985
  • Sole Practitioner, 1985 to 1999
  • Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge, 1999 to 2010

Professional Associations

  • Michigan Supreme Court, Conciliation Workgroup on Friend of the Courts’ conciliation practice
  • Michigan Supreme Court, Task Force on Court Rules for Collaborative Practice and Title of Domestic Relations Litigation
  • International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, Standards and Ethics Committee
  • Collaborative Divorce Professionals of West Michigan, Founder and Member
  • State Bar of Michigan, Member, Family Law Section, Former Alternative Dispute Resolution committee Co-Chair, and current Co-Chair of the Legislation Committees
  • Kent County Courts, ADR Oversight Committee
  • Collaborative Practice Institute of Michigan, Former Board of Directors Chair
  • Grand Rapids Bar Association, Past President
  • Grand Rapids Bar Association, Former Member of Mentoring Program
  • Grand Rapids Bar Association, Family Law Section, Former Chair
  • Grand Rapids Bar Association, Former Pro Bono Committee Member
  • Michigan State Law School, Legal Counsel Competition Judge
  • Grand Rapids Bar Association, Former Membership Committee Member
  • Grand Rapids Bar Association, Former Library Committee Member
  • Grand Rapids Bar Association, Former Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee Member
  • Grand Rapids Bar Association, Young Lawyers Section, Former Chair
  • Camp Roger Board Director, Former Chair
  • National Easter Seals Board Member

Practice Areas

  • Divorce/Family Law
  • Trusts and Estates

Bar Admissions

  • Michigan, 1978

Honors

  • AV Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell, 2005 - Present
  • Legal Aid of Western Michigan's Michael S. Barnes Award, Exemplary Contributions Toward the Provision of Free Legal Assistance to the Poor and Elderly in Western Michigan, 2005
  • Recipient, President's Award by the Grand Rapids Bar Association, 2011
  • Recipient, Volunteer of the Year Easter Seals Michigan, 1987
  • Recipient, Most Influential Attorney by Michican Lawyers Weekly, 2014 - Present
  • Easter Seals – Michigan, Twice Chair and Volunteer of the Year Award 1987
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America
  • Grand Rapids Business Journal Top Lawyers
  • Michigan Lawyers Weekly Hall of Fame
  • ICLE and West Publishing contributor
  • A member of Super Lawyers