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Ariane Sawyer

"The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings capable of law, where there is no law, there is no freedom."

John Locke

Key Service Areas

  • Family Law and Divorce
  • Estate Planning and Administration


Legal Assistant - Liz Welch

About Ariane

What types of clients do you serve?

I help families in Barry County and the surrounding areas navigate their personal life events. In family law, this can include adoption, guardianship, custody, visitation and support for children, prenuptial agreements and divorce. It can also include estate planning, trust administration, cottage and property law, and real estate counsel. I have additionally incorporated numerous nonprofit and community organizations, and assisted in the preparation of their founding documents, procedures, contracts, and day to day business.

My practice is comprehensive and while frequently preventative, can also include litigation. I have previously worked as a litigator in commercial and consumer litigation, including in consumer rights’ cases and class actions.

What skills help you advise the client and achieve the best results or outcomes?

I keep in mind that my clients are coming to me with the most pivotal issues in their lives, and I approach each client with empathy, compassion, and a willingness to listen, ask questions and understand. I also do my best to, in return, communicate in ways that are clear and concise. I always act with integrity, treat everyone kindly, and focus on making everyone comfortable with both our interactions and the outcomes.

What did you learn in your first year of practice that you still utilize today?

In my first year of practice, I learned that your biggest asset as an attorney is your reputation with your clients, the judiciary and your opponents. If you always conduct yourself in a positive way, come prepared, and do impeccable work, you will get the best outcomes for your clients, a warm reception from the bench, and have good experiences working with colleagues – both in your firm and those opposed to you.


Harvard Law School, Juris Doctor, 2004

Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Master of Public Administration, 2004

Claremont McKenna College, B.A., Magna Cum Laude, 2000

Q: If you weren't a lawyer, what would you be?


I would work in the philanthropic sector: I enjoy volunteer work and strive to make a difference, so I’d take a paid position doing the same!


American Red Cross, Volunteer and Dispatcher (Michigan), and Former Board Member of ARC of Greater Los Angeles, Chair of Disaster Services

Pacific Palisades Women's Club, Former President and Parliamentarian, Board Member

Pacific Palisades YMCA, Past Board Member

Revive and Thrive Project (Grand Rapids), Past Board Member

State Bar of Michigan, Member

Grand Rapids Bar Association, Member

Bar Admission



Awards and Recognition

Berger Prize for Most Outstanding Student, Claremont McKenna College

Truman Scholarship Finalist, Claremont McKenna College

YWCA Woman of the Year, 1996

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