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Attorney Profiles
Benjamin J. Symko 
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Partner/Shareholder
phone 616-328-5283
866-959-4378 (Toll Free)
fax 616-454-2427
email Email Me

Ben was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1978. He is married and has two children.

Ben has spent most of his adult life in public service. Before joining Jensen, DeHaan & Symko, P.C., Ben practiced law at the Kent County Office of the Defender where he handled hundreds of criminal, felony matters. However, long before he was a public defender, Ben served as a Catholic missionary in Italy for one year and then four years in the Dominican Republic, where he worked with wayward youth and their impoverished families. In 2000, Ben became a Certified Parent Teacher through BoysTown. Ben speaks both Italian and Spanish.

Ben is deeply committed to the community and has been recognized for his devotion and dedication to helping others. Ben was recognized as the Outstanding Young Michigander of 2009. Ben went on to receive the Ten Outstanding Young Americans Award of 2010 (an award won by individuals such as Presidents Kennedy, Ford and Clinton).

In addition to his legal practice, Ben has served as an adjunct professor at his alma mater - Grand Valley State University, where he teaches liberal studies. Ben has also been invited to present various topics to several organizations as a guest speaker. The topics include professionalism, ethics, reputation, and self-improvement.

At Grand Valley State University, Ben graduated with high honors, obtaining a B.A. in Spanish and a minor in philosophy. His deep commitment to the greater GVSU community was demonstrated through his achievements both in the classroom and extracurricular activities.

Ben attended the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, where he also graduated with high honors. He was noted for his scholarship by receiving certificates of merit in several courses: Trial Skills, Evidence, Criminal Practice in Michigan, and Civil Procedure. In addition, Ben participated in moot court and the mock trial board and was recognized as the "Student Trial Lawyer of the Month."

During law school Ben clerked at the Michigan Migrant Legal Assistance Project, the Kent County Office of the Defender (where he later practiced law as a public defender), and Epstein, Becker & Green, PC (Miami, FL). Since he began practicing law, Ben has continued to be involved with Cooley Law School. He has been a guest speaker for topics about professionalism, ethics, candor, and reputation.

Ben serves the State Bar of Michigan as a Standing Committee Member of the Lawyers and Judges Assistance Committee.

Ben exclusively practices in the area of social security disability. He represents clients at all levels of the social security process, including lawsuits against the Commissioner of Social Security and United States government in federal court. Ben handles all of his cases with expertise, understanding, and passion.

Ben has successfully represented clients in hundreds of social security disability claims.

Se Habla Espanol!

Areas of Practice:
Social Security Disability
Litigation Percentage:
100% of Practice Devoted to Litigation
Bar Admissions:
U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit
Education:
Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Grand Rapids, Michigan
J.D.
Honors: Cum Laude
Honors: Certificates of Merit: Trial Skills, Evidence, Criminal Practice in MI
Honors: Certificates of Merit: Civil Procedure
Honors: Recognized, Student Trial Lawyer of the Month (The Sidebar)
Honors: Mock Trial Board
Honors: Moot Court


Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan
B.A.
Honors: Magna Cum Laude
Honors: Member, Sigma Delta Pi - National Spanish Honors Society
Honors: Member, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Student Advisory Board
Honors: Served on the Assistant Dean of Students Search Committee
Honors: Served on the Pew Campus Teaching Award Committee
Honors: Recipient, English Department Writing Award
Major:  Spanish
Minor:  Philosophy


Classes/Seminars Taught:
Guest Speaker, National Association of Legal Secretaries (NALS) of West Michigan


Guest Speaker, Grand Rapids North Rotary Club


Guest Speaker, Youth Delinquent Intervention Program (DA Blodgett)


Guest Speaker, Thomas M. Cooley Law School


Honors and Awards:
Recipient, Outstanding Young Michigander Award, 2009


Recipient, Ten Outstanding Young American Award, 2010


Michigan Super Lawyer: Rising Star, 2012,2013 (www.superlawyers.com)


Professional Associations and Memberships:
State Bar of Michigan
Member


U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan
Member


Grand Rapids Bar Association
Member


State Bar of Michigan
Member, Standing Committee, Judges & Lawyers Assistance Committee


National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives (NOSSCR)
Member


Past Employment Positions:
Kent County Office of The Defender, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Attorney at Law


Epstein Becker & Green, P.C., Miami, Florida, Law Clerk


Michigan Migrant Legal Assistance Project, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Law Clerk


Steel Hector & Davis International, LLP, Program and Public Relations Director for Fundacion MIR, Dominican Republic


Fundacion MIR, Volunteer/Lay Missionary, Dominican Republic


Languages:
Spanish
Italian

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Office Location

800 Monroe Avenue, NW, Suite 314
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503
Toll Free: (866) 959-4378
Phone: (616) 328-5283
Fax: (616) 454-2427
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