Richard D. Fries

Richard D. Fries

Varnum LLP

Recognized since 2013

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Practice Areas

Employment Law - Management

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Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2019 - Employment Law - Management
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Rick is a partner in the Kalamazoo office. Since 1981, he has represented employers exclusively in solving labor and employment law problems in the workplace. He devotes most of his time to advising employers about how to avoid workplace crises, comply with state and federal labor and employment laws and regulations, and prevent litigation. He has significant experience counseling employers on how to stay union-free, and routinely works with clients in the application and enforcement of collective bargaining agreements.

Rick has first-chaired over 100 labor arbitrations on behalf of management, and for 30 years has successfully bargained both initial and successor labor contracts on behalf of employers against unions in both the private and public sectors. He has successfully represented clients in formal administrative proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC). He also represents school districts in labor and education law matters.

Rick routinely speaks to industry groups and authors articles regarding labor and employment law. He is an active member of the ABA Section of Labor & Employment Law and the Labor Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan. He is also a member and past-president of the Michigan Counsel of School Attorneys. He has been recognized on multiple occasions in Michigan Super Lawyers & Rising Stars.

  • Bridgewater Place, Suite 1700
    333 Bridge Street, NW
    Grand Rapids, MI 49504
  • Western Michigan University, Thomas M. Cooley Law School, J.D., graduated 1981
  • University of Dayton, MBA, graduated 1977
  • Kalamazoo College, BA, graduated 1975
Bar Admissions
  • Michigan, State Bar of Michigan
  • Texas, State Bar of Texas
  • American Bar Association - Labor and Employment Section
  • Kalamazoo College - Business and Industry Annual Fund Campaign, 1986 - 1992, Chairperson 1991
  • Kalamazoo County Bar Association - Member
  • Kalamazoo-Cass County Chapter of the American Red Cross - Board of Directors, 1989 - Present, Board Secretary ,1994 - 1997
  • MASB Council of School Attorneys - Member
  • Michigan Negotiators Association - Member
  • NASB Council of School Attorneys - Member
  • Safety Council of West Michigan - Board of Directors, 1994 - 2000
  • State Bar of Michigan - Labor Relations Section and Public Corporations Section; Labor and Employment Section
  • State Bar of Texas - Labor and Employment Section; School Law Section
  • State Bar of Wisconsin - Labor and Employment Law Section

Varnum LLP
Headquarters: Grand Rapids, Michigan

94 The Best Lawyers in America® awards

18 Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch® in America awards

Best Law Firms Badge Visit Website View Firm Profile

Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2019 - Employment Law - Management
Named "Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers® for:
  • Employment Law - Management, Kalamazoo (2019)
Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® 2024 for work in:
  • Employment Law - Management
  • Martindale-Hubbell Rating, BV® Distinguished™
Additional Areas of Practice:
  • Labor Law - Management
  • Litigation - Labor and Employment


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