Smith Haughey Announces New Chief Executive Officer, Board of Directors and Shareholder

Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge is pleased to announce the election of a new Chief Executive Officer, two new members of its board of directors, and the addition of a new shareholder. With these changes the firm continues to pass the mantle of leadership to the next generation. 

“Like many law firms, Smith Haughey is facing the approaching retirement of a large number of its senior shareholders in the next five to ten years” said Lori Gibson, Smith Haughey COO. “Fortunately, these shareholders have been very wise and intentional in mentoring and developing younger leaders.”

Attorney Matthew L. Wikander has been elected for a three-year term as the firm’s CEO, effective January 1, 2019. Wikander began his career with Smith Haughey as a summer associate in 2003 and joined the firm as a full-time associate in 2004. He was elected a shareholder in 2010 and appointed to the firm’s board in 2011, where he has continued to serve. Over the past 14 years, he has developed a successful litigation practice, representing plaintiffs and defendants in personal injury and wrongful death, employment, and commercial litigation matters.

Gibson shares that Wikander’s board and firm leadership experience will heavily aide in his success as CEO, noting that he understands the firm’s history and strengths, while recognizing where it needs to strategically grow.

“Our firm has historically been known as a litigation firm. Today we have some of the finest trial lawyers and litigators in the state, and our success rate throughout Michigan’s courtrooms speaks for itself,” said Wikander. “I am committed to doubling down on our litigation roots and strategically growing in our most important litigation sub-specialties. Doing so will buttress the foundation of this firm for generations to come,” he continued.

“At the same time, our firm is becoming increasingly more well-rounded with a business and transactional practice, focused primarily in our Holland and Muskegon offices. The continued growth of those practices remains a priority for this firm.”

In addition to Wikander’s election, Smith Haughey also welcomes two new shareholders to its board of directors – Kristen E. Guinn and D. Adam Tountas. They join returning board members Cheryl L. Chandler, Kevin B. Even, E. Thomas McCarthy and Jason R. Sebolt.  

Kristen E. Guinn is a trial attorney in Smith Haughey’s Grand Rapids office who represents individuals and organizations in numerous types of lawsuits, including the defense of professional malpractice claims, contract disputes, employment matters, general liability and no-fault claims, and criminal matters. She has successfully tried cases and settled disputes for clients in state and federal courts throughout Michigan. Her clients include municipalities, small business owners, corporations, health care providers, landlords, attorneys and professionals.

D. Adam Tountas is the chairman of Smith Haughey’s litigation department and specializes in the defense of complex, high-exposure civil lawsuits. He represents, among others, small and mid-market businesses, real estate developers, elected officials, and large municipal risk pools.

Smith Haughey has also named Jeffrey S. Dornbos as a shareholder. Dornbos is a trial attorney who practices in the areas of commercial, employment, and appellate litigation and professional liability defense and practices in Smith Haughey’s Grand Rapids and Holland offices. 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.

“Smith Haughey owes a debt of gratitude to William W. Jack, our outgoing Chief Executive Officer, for leading us through some challenging but important business decisions, and to our senior shareholders, who set the example of excellence,” said Gibson. “With their continued guidance, we are pleased to see our younger generation of attorneys move into leadership roles. They will guide the firm for the next twenty to thirty years, while in turn preparing yet another generation of attorneys to lead the firm after them.”