Legal nonprofit names executive director


Pamela Hoekwater. Courtesy Legal Aid of Western Michigan

There will be a changing of the guard at a local legal nonprofit.

Pamela Hoekwater is replacing Juan Salazar, who is retiring after serving the last five years as executive director of Legal Aid of Western Michigan.

Hoekwater will assume the leadership role as of Jan. 1.

“Pam Hoekwater has been an integral part of our Legal Aid (family) for many years and has strong relationships with both our client community and our partner agencies,” said Salazar. “Legal Aid will be in good hands with Pam, who is a strong and competent leader.”

Hoekwater has been working at Legal Aid of Western Michigan for more than 17 years. During that time, she has taken on numerous roles.

After the Grand Rapid native graduated law school in 2001, she was hired by Legal Aid as a staff attorney. In 2015, she climbed the ranks and became the organization’s director of community collaboration. In that position, she started new programs, including Legal Aid’s collaboration with Cherry Health. The partnership allowed for a Legal Aid attorney at Cherry Health’s Durham Clinic to provide legal advice on issues affecting patients’ health and care.

Hoekwater is an active member in the community. She is a member of the Collaborative Divorce Professionals of West Michigan’s pro bono team, Kent County Alternative Dispute Resolution’s oversight committee, the Kent County Elder Abuse Coalition and a volunteer at Safe Haven Ministries.

She is a graduate of Calvin College, where is received a bachelor’s degree in social work, before attending Notre Dame Law School to earn her J.D.

“The staff at Legal Aid is a dedicated and brilliant team,” said Hoekwater. “I am so grateful for the opportunity to take on this new role to support their important work.”

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