Bar association producing Q&A with business judges


Joseph Rossi. Courtesy 17th Circuit Court

The local bar association plans to host a forum on labor and employment law issues next month.

The Grand Rapids Bar Association’s Labor and Employment, Litigation and Corporate Counsel sections will host a Q&A on restrictive covenants in employment agreements and other business issues with Kent County business judges Christopher Yates and Joseph Rossi.

The event is set for noon to 1:30, Sept. 13, at the University Club of Grand Rapids, 111 Lyon St. NW, Suite 1025, in downtown Grand Rapids.


Those interested in attending may register online or contact Claudette Henry at (616) 454-5550, ext. 101, or claudette at grbar dot org.


Yates is assigned to the 17th Circuit Court’s Specialized Business Docket of Kent County. He took the bench in 2008. Prior to his judgeship, he worked in private practice as a partner in two Grand Rapids law firms: Willey, Chamberlain & Yates and Yates, LaGrand & Denenfeld.

He earned his J.D. and MBA from the University of Illinois and a bachelor’s degree from Kalamazoo College.


In addition to serving on the 17th Circuit Court’s Specialized Business Docket with Yates, Rossi presides in the court’s Civil-Criminal Division.

Rossi was elected to the court in November 2016 and began serving in January. Prior to that, he served as an assistant U.S. attorney for eight years in Grand Rapids and worked at the law firms Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge and Drew Cooper & Anding.

He earned his J.D. and a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Notre Dame.


Incorporated in 1902, the Grand Rapids Bar Association provides continuing education and other services and programs to member attorneys and works to improve the practice of law in West Michigan.

The association also provides a Lawyer Referral Service and an Ask-the-Lawyer program for the community and gives out a number of member and community awards each year.

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