Dickinson Wright names managing partner of Grand Rapids office


Leslee Lewis. Courtesy Dickinson Wright

Dickinson Wright’s governing board recently elected a new managing partner of its Grand Rapids office.

Attorney Leslee Lewis was elected to succeed Frank Dunten, who has served as the office’s managing partner for multiple terms.

“It’s an outstanding honor to me to be elected to an office like this, because of the caliber of the people that I work with, and that trust and respect means a lot to me,” Lewis said.

Former summer associate

She has spent her entire career working out of the Dickinson Wright Grand Rapids office, beginning as a summer associate with the firm in 1994 and joining it as an attorney in 1995.

“This office is my very heart,” Lewis said. “I’ve been here for so long, and I’ve been privileged to work with some amazing and talented individuals. The firm’s basic tenets are similar to mine. We are always looking to do the right thing, always looking for excellence in the office.”

Lewis received her B.A. from Alma College and her J.D. from Notre Dame Law School.

Focus on diversity

Lewis said that in addition to being in charge of the office’s daily operations, she also hopes to help the firm grow in areas where there are still needs, such as corporate law, and she plans to focus on diversity efforts.

“Diversity is really important to the firm and to me individually as well,” Lewis said. “One of the reasons I chose Dickinson Wright — I had lots of different opportunities at the time — but when I came out of law school, Dickinson Wright had just been rated No. 1 in the nation for promotion and hiring of women and minorities. I felt like it did not matter whether I wore a pair of pants or a skirt. I had equal opportunities coming in here.

“That same sort of thing is important to me going forward: that we create and further opportunities for women and minorities, as well as just being the best we can be for our clients,” she added.

Practice areas

Professionally, Lewis works on a broad set of practices: real estate, banking and financial services, energy and sustainability, construction, corporate, emerging business, estate planning and administration and mergers and acquisitions.

She serves as the practice department manager for the firm’s real estate, environmental and energy and sustainability practices.

Lewis received her B.A. from Alma College and her J.D. from the Notre Dame Law School.

Lewis in the community

Lewis plans to lead by example, both in her work as an attorney, as well as with community involvement.

“Leadership is the most important thing that any managing partner can do,” Lewis said. “Create the environment where people can succeed, lead and show people by your actions what it is to be a good lawyer and a good person in the community.”

Lewis has been active in the West Michigan community.

She recently wrapped up a term as the board president of Lake Michigan Academy, where she has served on the board for 10 years, with total involvement with the organization reaching 17 years.

She also serves on the board of directors of the Transitional Housing Council (Liz’s House/My Sister’s House) and as general counsel of Haven Builders.

Lewis is the co-chairperson of the State Bar of Michigan Real Property Law Section Summer Conference for 2013 and 2014. She also serves on the national editorial board of the ALI-ABA's “The Practical Real Estate Lawyer” and is a consulting member of the Principles of the Law of Nonprofit Organizations.

Additionally, Chambers USA, Michigan Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers in America have recognized Lewis as a leader in her field.

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