Our People

Senior Counsel

Jeffrey S. Dornbos

Holland & Grand Rapids

Heather Bruce


Jeff Dornbos is a trial attorney who practices in the areas of appellate litigation, employment litigation and professional liability defense. He has extensive courtroom experience, ranging from arguing motions and representing clients at hearings to conducting state and federal jury trials. He also has experience representing clients in state and federal appeals, including arguing before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Jeff is a seasoned litigator who excels at maintaining excellent client relationships.

As a native of the lakeshore and a former teacher and sailing captain in Holland, Jeff practices throughout West Michigan, working in both the Holland and Grand Rapids offices. Jeff enjoys serving the lakeshore community, and has been a member of local non-profit boards and of his church leadership counsel.

Before joining Smith Haughey, Jeff worked as a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., where he gained experience with complex federal litigation. He started his career as a high school teacher, before going back to law school to earn his J.D. from Case Western Reserve University Law School. After which, Jeff worked as a civil litigation attorney for the law firm Warner, Norcoss & Judd.  

In his free time, Jeff enjoys all things water. He is a licensed sailboat captain and certified SCUBA diver. He also enjoys hiking, kayaking, and his annual backcountry backpacking trip to Isle Royale.  Jeff has traveled extensively throughout the U.S., Latin America, and Europe, including leading student trips to Spain and Honduras, and spending close to one year living in Guatemala. He enjoys getting to know new places and cultures, and is comfortable adjusting and adapting to new or unknown circumstances. Throughout his travels, Jeff has also picked up excellent Spanish language conversation skills.

Previous Experience


  • Case Western Reserve University, Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, Law Review Senior Editor, 2010
  • Western Michigan University, Masters of International Development Administration, 2004
  • Calvin College, Bachelor of Science, 2000


  • Federal Court of Claims, 2017
  • United States Supreme Court, 2016
  • Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, 2015
  • Western District of Michigan, 2010
  • Michigan, 2010


  • Invited to join Lawyers of Distinction (2017)

  • Selected as “Rising Star” attorney by Super Lawyers (2014-2016)

  • Clinton & Margaret DeWitt Scholarship (2009-2010)

  • War Crimes Prosecution Watch, Associate Editor (2008-2010)

  • Distinguished Scholar Award (2007-2010)

  • First Place Winner of the 2010 Law Student Legal Writing Contest, State Bar of Texas

  • CALI Award (Highest Grade) in Conflict of Laws (2009)

  • Academic Enrichment Program Fellowship (2008-2009)

  • CALI Award (Top Grade) in “Core II” (Research and Writing) (2008)

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