Matt Bower, partner at Grand Rapids-based Varnum, has earned the 2020 Hensel Award, presented by the Arts, Communication, Entertainment, and Sports Section of the State Bar of Michigan.
The award is given to a member of the bar who has made a significant contribution to the arts community in Michigan. It is named for the late John Hensel, an artist and attorney who was a co-founder of the ACES section of the SBA.
Lawrence Jordan, section council member, says that the Hensel Committee voted unanimously to confer the award to Bower “in recognition of your many contributions to the arts community and ACES,” noting in particular Bower’s volunteer efforts on behalf of arts organizations.
Bower is an Ann Arbor-based business attorney whose practice focuses on clients in the startup community. He serves as outside general counsel to a wide range of emerging and middle market companies and works with investors and venture capital organizations.
Bower has a lifelong interest in the arts and was active for many years with Creative Many Michigan and its predecessor, ArtServe Michigan. He also served on the board and as a volunteer in the Lawyers for the Creative Economy program and previously served on the board of Michigan Youth Arts.
He has New York theater experience which included acting with a local company while working in the office of a Broadway producer, where he reviewed scripts and provided other office support. He then took a job at a law firm and found the work intellectually rewarding and decided to pursue a career in law.
His industry concentrations include software, software as a service, information technology, internet of things, data analytics, and other technology-based services. Bower says his job is “thrilling.”
“It’s being able to work with companies and entrepreneurs who don’t have a lot of fear, that are willing to go out there and really push the envelope on their technology and disrupt markets,” says Bower.
Bower earned a law degree from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York. Before joining Varnum in 2013, he practiced law in New York and now serves as lead attorney in the firm’s Ann Arbor office.
The Hensel Award ceremony is scheduled to take place virtually in April 2021. The award has been given annually since the early 1980s.