Attorney Benjamin Symko, DeHaan Symko, PC, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Benjamin J. Symko, Attorney, Grand Rapids MI

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Michigan attorney, Benjamin J. Symko, has spent most of his adult life in public service.

Before going into private practice., 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). He has been rated by his peers as a “SuperLawyer” since 2012, and was recognized as an “Up & Coming Lawyer” by Michigan Lawyers Weekly in 2013.

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 practices in the areas of Social Security Disability, Personal Injury, and Divorce (including Family Law matters). Ben handles all of his cases with expertise, understanding, and passion.

Attorney Symko’s hobbies include:  Brazilian Jiujitsu; golf, stonework, and, most importantly, spending time with my family.

Areas of Practice: 

Social Security Disability, Personal Injury, Divorce (and other Family Law matters)

Litigation Percentage:

100% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

Bar Admissions:

Admitted, State Bar of Michigan
Admitted, United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
Admitted, United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan


Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Grand Rapids, Michigan
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
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

Keynote Speaker, Crossroads Middle School, Career Day


Honors and Awards:

Recipient, Outstanding Young Michigander Award, 2009

Recipient, Ten Outstanding Young American Award, 2010 (click here to view)

Recipient, Up & Coming Lawyer, Michigan Lawyers Weekly

Michigan Super Lawyer: Rising Star, 2012, 2013, & 2014 (

Top 100 Civil Trial Lawyers in Michigan

Professional Associations and Memberships:

Admitted, State Bar of Michigan
Admitted, United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
Admitted, United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan
Member, Grand Rapids Bar Association
Member, Standing Committee for the State Bar of Michigan Judges & Lawyers Assistance Committee, (2009 – 2012)
Member, National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR)


Past Employment Positions:

DeHaan & Symko, PC, Partner
Jensen, DeHaan & Symko, PC, Partner
Jensen & DeHaan, PC, Associate
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 Republi



Spanish, fluent; Italian, conversational