Community involvement continues firm's tradition

By Cynthia Price
Legal News

Though Warner Norcross and Judd’s associate Deidre Buchanan has most recently joined the board of the Humane Society, she waxes enthusiastic about a number of community service slots she fills, as well as about WNJ for the support she gets in filling them.
With almost 250 attorneys and a large support staff, Warner Norcross’s culture of giving back to the community has meant substantial charitable contributions of both treasure and legal talent, and support for untold numbers of active board member communitywide.
WNJ has a staff-and-attorney-drive committee called Holiday Aid, which raises funds through internal events and then donates them across West Michigan. This has resulted in over $100,000 worth of contributions.
As for the Humane Society, Buchanan says she has always been an animal lover, and when she lived in Chicago while in school did a lot of volunteer work at an anti-cruelty society.
She is “a supporter of animal rights,” and looks forward to participating in animal rescue and welfare activities.
She graduated from DePaul University College of Law, after receiving her Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Kettering University.
She originally focused on being a patent attorney, and after “jumping at the chance” to return to Grand Rapids, spent two years at a boutique Intellectual Property firm before joining Warner Norcross approximately two years ago.
With the current upsurge of the life science industry in West Michigan, she has moved more towards health law, including contracts, regulatory compliance, and licensure.
She serves on the firm’s Health Care Reform Task Force as well as practicing in hospitals law, physicians law, and sustainable business operations. “Most of the health care work I do is for the providers themselves,” she says.
However, she maintains her interest in IP and corporate law, including patent prosecution and portfolios/brand management.
But her community involvements allow her to familiarize herself with many fields of endeavors, and she is delighted to be able to serve on the Humane Society board because of “shared values.”
She was appointed to the board only two months ago.
With her passion for ensuring the rights of the birds and beasts, has she thought about animal law? “I would definitely be interested, but I haven’t had the opportunity thus far in my career,” she says. Though she took an animal law class in college, she is not sure there would be enough business to justify focusing solely on that practice area.
And she is equally passionate about her involvement with Celebration on the Grand, the downtown Grand Rapids festival coming up in September. She serves as vice-chair and legal counsel for the group which steers the celebration.
She has also become increasingly involved in the women’s networking group Inforum, and has just begun serving on the planning committee for the local chapter.
She has been impressed with the breadth and depth of speakers Inforum has brought in, and the opportunity for in-depth conversation with women who can serve as role models for business success.
Buchanan is also a member of the Van Andel Research Institute J-Board and Grand Rapids Young Professionals.
Buchanan says she is proud of what Grand Rapids has become and is always anxious to show the city off. 
When her friends come to visit, they are surprised at all Grand Rapids has to offer. “They always think Grand Rapids is this tiny little city.”
Taken all together, she feels these activities allow her to “kind of get to play a part in making Grand Rapids a better place to live and work.”