Longtime SJ Attorney Scott Dienes Joins Barnes & Thornburg


Longtime St. Joseph Attorney Scott Dienes is one of four new attorneys that have joined the Grand Rapids office of Barnes & Thornburg, LLP, and while that will ultimately mean his relocation to the Furniture City, Dienes tells me, “My family’s roots are here, and I’ll always consider this area as my home.”

Dienes has departed his former firm of Foster Swift in St. Joe, but says that firm will maintain a presence in the local community going forward. Additionally, the veteran litigator says he will continue his municipal land use and zoning practice in Southwest Michigan which includes acting as general and special counsel to a number of local governmental units and school districts. He adds, “I’ll also expand my municipal bond practice.”

In the meantime, however, Dienes and a trio of fellow new hires at Barnes & Thornburg will operate from the Grand Rapids office, necessitating his upcoming move closer to that office. The new firm is a boon to Scott’s wife, Amy Dienes, who already has a tough commute to Amway Headquarters daily for her own job.

Barnes & Thornburg LLP started the new year by adding the four attorneys with diverse practices, including a former assistant U.S. Attorney. Joining the firm in addition to Scott Dienes are former assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Davis, who works with clients in Native American tribal territories in Michigan as a member of the Litigation Department;  Charles Becker, a member of the Corporate Department focusing on complex business transactions; and Erika Weiss, a litigator who focuses on commercial litigation and American Indian tribal law. Dienes will operate in the Government Services and Finance Department and Barnes & Thornburg, where he will work on municipal finance matters.

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Robert W. Sikkel is Managing Partner in the Grand Rapids office of Barnes & Thornburg. He voiced great pleasure at adding the four new talented attorneys and adds, “The skills they bring will be a great benefit to our clients and also align well with the services that we have been providing to our clients in Grand Rapids and beyond.”

Here is more about the  four new Attorneys:

  • Scott Dienes focuses his practice on local government matters, finance and land use, having previously served as general counsel to municipal clients throughout Michigan for more than 20 years. Active in the regional legal and business community, Dienes is a member of the board of directors of Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School, where he chairs its Audit Committee and is a member of its Executive and Investment committees. He is also a former member of the board of trustees of Siena Heights University. Dienes earned his B.A. from Siena Heights University in 1990 and his J.D. from Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 1995.

  • Charles Becker, a member of the Corporate Department, has more than 30 years of experience and focuses his practice on issues relating to business and corporate taxation, partnerships, limited liability companies, trusts and estates, real estate and contracts. A significant portion of his practice is concentrated on assisting clients resolve complex federal and state audit and other tax controversy issues. He is a former in-house counsel for a privately held telecommunications company. Becker earned his LL.M. from New York University in 1987, his J.D. from Wayne State University in 1986 and his B.B.A. from Western Michigan University in 1983.

  • Jeff Davis previously spent more than 20 years as an assistant U.S. Attorney in the Western District of Michigan, where he served as a tribal liaison to 11 federally recognized tribes in the Western District of Michigan. As a member of the Litigation Department, he focuses his practice on a variety of matters affecting tribes in Michigan and nationwide, including treaty rights, taxation, gaming, and economic development. Davis earned his B.A. from the University of North Dakota and his J.D. from the University of New Mexico School of Law.

  • Erika Weiss is a member of the Litigation Department and has experience in commercial litigation, business law, securities litigation and American Indian tribal law. She earned her J.D., magna cum laude, from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School at Western Michigan University in 2014. Ms. Weiss earned her B.A. from Grand Valley State University in 2011.

With more than 600 attorneys and other legal professionals, Barnes & Thornburg is one of the largest law firms in the country. The firm serves clients worldwide from 13 offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Delaware, Indiana, Los Angeles, Michigan, Minneapolis, Ohio, and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit online at or on Twitter @BTLawNews.