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I understand and wish to proceed

Mary Jane Rhoades

"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view...until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."

Attorney Atticus Finch, To Kill A Mockingbird

Key Service Areas

  • Environmental and Natural Resources Law
  • Real Estate Law


legal assistant - Emma Poteracke

About Mary Jane

What types of legal issues do you help individuals and businesses resolve?

I represent clients in all types of real estate transactions and have a specialty practice in environmental law. My environmental expertise includes counseling clients regarding environmental liabilities and negotiating environmental risks in the context of development projects, sales, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory compliance, remediations, disputes, and permitting, and accessing brownfield and other financial incentives.

I serve a diverse client base, ranging from publicly-traded companies to sole proprietors and every size in between. I help developers, lenders, manufacturers, retailers, municipalities, sellers, purchasers, and tenants navigate the maze of environmental laws and regulations that affect their business matters. I also negotiate, document and close real estate transactions involving industrial, commercial and residential properties.

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

I have two particular skills that support optimal results. One is communication. Many aspects of environmental law are based on technical concepts and built on real estate law or other legal principles. I communicate these concepts to my clients in an understandable manner. The second skill I cultivate is listening to and understanding my clients’ perspectives, including goals and objectives, concerns, and sometimes frustrations. I listen carefully and view matters from their vantage points, which allows me to develop sustainable legal solutions that align with their objectives and risk tolerances. I focus on the practical, recognizing the need to minimize costs.


Valparaiso University School of Law, J.D., Honors, 1988

Hope College, magna cum laude, 1985

Q: What is the most important ingredient to making a positive legal experience?


Delivering on promises. Although lawyers cannot guarantee a particular outcome, I strive to manage expectations and deliver to my clients what we set out to accomplish. Whether the outcome is measured by closing a transaction, completing a cleanup, reaching a settlement or procuring a permit, fulfilling expectations is the foundation to a strong attorney-client relationship and positive experience.


State Bar of Michigan, Environmental Law and Real Property Sections

Grand Rapids Bar Association, Environmental Law Section

Commercial Alliance of Realtors, Affiliate Member

West Michigan Chapter of the Air and Waste Management Association, Member

Michigan State Bar Foundation, Fellow

Bar Admission


Awards and Recognition

Martindale Hubbell Highest AV® Preeminent Rating

Leading LawyersSM

Best Lawyers of America®, Environmental Law

Super Lawyers®, Environmental Law

Best Lawyers of America®, “Lawyer of the Year”- Environmental Law  

Grand Rapids Magazine, Top Lawyer in Environmental Law & Real Estate Law

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