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Ian Northon

"A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week."

General George S. Patton

Key Service Areas

  • Dispute Resolution and Litigation Services
  • Human Resources and Employment Law

616.233.5125

Legal Assistant - Sherry Dykstra

About Ian

What legal issues do your clients typically face?

My clients typically face high stress, high-stakes claims and disputes often concentrating in areas of employment and civil litigation. The employment disputes that I resolve for businesses and non-profits include terminations in the c-suite, trade secret injunctions, and non-compete cases, defending pension and health care plans and protecting organizations from harassment and discrimination claims. I also have collective-bargaining experience for industrial, municipal, healthcare, and energy-sector employers.

I have more than a dozen civil trial wins and have represented victims of fraud, embezzlement, and sophisticated financial schemes, including defending trusts, the elderly, individuals, or charities and tax-exempt entities.

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

As a trial lawyer, I use a mix of intuitive skills and legal experience to solve problems. It's part science, part art. What sets me apart, however, is that I've developed my skills as both a trial and transactional lawyer. This means that I've often drafted complicated business agreements or employment handbooks and policies, and frequently resolved compliance issues on ERISA or DOL regulations on the transactional side. Once litigation becomes inevitable, that in-house and transactional experience helps me and my clients tackle litigation issues with a jaundiced eye and helps us achieve positive business results, not just a resolution.

What case did you find the most rewarding to work on?

I frequently deal with victims of fraud or embezzlement. Unfortunately, it's more common than most people think. My most rewarding case was helping one of these victims, an elderly woman, get back millions of dollars that had been stolen from her using a sophisticated factoring and structured settlement scheme. Stopping the bad actors was rewarding, but the hug I received from my client was priceless.

Education

Ave Maria School of Law, J.D., 2004

Hillsdale College, B.S., Biology and Chemistry, 2000

Insights

Northon concentrates on defending entrepreneurs and their companies in high-stakes employment...

Grand Rapids Business Journal
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Q: What is your client service philosophy?

A:

The three classic learned professions are lawyers, doctors, and clergy. I’ve heard it said that doctors heal bodies, clergy heal souls, and lawyers, supposedly, were to heal relationships. With our adversarial system, however, that process often becomes impossible–or at best, slow, blunt, and unpredictable distraction from their core business, like using a club instead of the precision of a doctor’s scalpel. I try to exceed my client’s expectations by helping them understand what a trial attorney can (but most importantly) cannot do and by crafting a plan that can achieve the best possible outcomes for their risk tolerance. Trial attorneys cannot make guarantees on legal outcomes, but I strive to give my clients the best assessment possible so that they can take calculated, informed risks. This lets them mend business relationships and get back to their core business of making money.

Associations

Catholic Lawyers Guild, Member

Digital Currency and Ledger Defense Coalition (DCLDC), Member

Federalist Society, Member

State Bar of Michigan, Member

The Florida Bar, Member

Pennsylvania Bar Association, Member

Bar Admission

Michigan

Florida

Pennsylvania

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan

U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida

U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida

U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania

U.S. District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri

U.S. Eight Circuit Court of Appeals

Awards and Recognition

American-Swiss Foundation, Young Leader 2016

Ave Maria School of Law: Moot Court Board President, Moot Court State Champion, Dean’s List, Academic Honors Scholarship

Hillsdale College: Varsity Baseball Team Captain, Tri-beta Honorary, Dean’s List, Academic Honors Scholarship