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Catherine Brainerd

"We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking as we used when we created them."

Albert Einstein

Key Service Areas

  • Real Estate Law
  • Human Resource and Employment Law
  • Dispute Resolution and Litigation Services

616.233.5199

legal assistant - Chris Verspoor

About Catherine

How do you help businesses and individuals?

I help my clients (individuals, business owners, insurance companies) navigate their disputes both in court and out. I have represented my clients through all manner of conflict, but specialize in those involving real estate, employment, and probate. Unlike many litigators, I also prepare and review many types of real estate transactional documents, such as purchase agreements and leases, in both a residential and commercial context. At the end of the day, I am a problem-solver, working with my clients to find the most efficient, cost-effective resolution that will meet their needs.

What sets you apart from other lawyers in your practice field?

My career has taken twists and turns along the way, all of which have contributed to making me a stronger advisor and advocate for my clients. Out of law school, I worked for a national law firm building a transactional business and real estate practice. I gained significant experience drafting a variety of documents, learning the ins and outs of negotiation and formation. Thereafter, I spent several years as the right-hand to the local Chief Judge. My time behind the bench gave me a unique perspective into how judges operate and how best to present a case to the Court. That transaction and court work experience has enabled me to efficiently and effectively serve my clients and target the best possible solutions.

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

In my first year of practicing law, I quickly learned there is a significant difference between being "busy" and being "productive." Busy may result in a short-term increase to my bottom line through higher legal fees, but productivity provides true value for my clients and promotes long-term success for us both. I use efficiency, coupled with effectiveness, in order to gain my clients' trust.

Education

Wayne State University Law School, J.D., magna cum laude, 2006

Central Michigan University, B.S.B.A., summa cum laude, 2003

Insights

(January 3, 2017) Rhoades McKee is pleased to announce that Catherine Brainerd has been elected to...

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Q: Is it true that the client is always right?

A:

Though it may not be a very popular answer, the truth is clients are not always right. Although I am a tireless advocate, I believe my more important role is advisor and counselor. As such, it is my job to be honest with my clients, show them the risks in their position, and advise them as to appropriate next steps. I would be doing my clients a disservice to agree with them at all costs. Being a true advocate is putting your client in the best position possible and that sometimes involves hard conversations.

Associations

Grand Rapids Bar Association, Chair of Labor and Employment Section

Grand Rapids Bar Association, Member of Real Estate and Litigation Sections

Grand Rapids Bar Association, Young Lawyers

State Bar of Michigan, Member of Real Estate and Litigation Sections

Junior Achievement of the Michigan Great Lakes, Fundraising Committee

Bar Admission

Michigan

U.S. Federal District Court, Western District of Michigan

Awards and Recognition

Wayne Law Review, Editor-in-Chief

Order of the Coif

Anthony Maiullo Scholar

Silver Key Certificate

Jason L. Honigman Scholarship Award