• Max Barnes Attorney Grand Rapids Michigan

ContactMaxwell N. Barnes

Max Barnes is a Member in the firm’s business section and has been practicing law since 1997.  He concentrates his practice on advising clients in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, and general business matters.

Merger, Acquisition and Sale Transactions

Mr. Barnes has represented both the “buy” side and “sell” side in a variety of complex transactions such as mergers, acquisitions of stock or assets, management-led buyouts, recapitalizations, reorganizations, and private equity investments.

Securities Law and Capital Raising

Mr. Barnes has significant experience in the corporate finance area representing clients in connection with public offerings, private placements, venture capital transactions and fund formation.  He works extensively with start ups and entrepreneurs in connection with raising equity and debt capital for their businesses. In connection with that work, Mr. Barnes regularly advises clients with compliance in all aspects of federal and state securities laws.

Mr. Barnes has been involved with Start Garden for several years. Start Garden is a venture capital fund with a twist – it’s created an ecosystem that helps ideas become businesses. He is also a part of the mentor network for the Seamless Coalition and Accelerator. This partnership with area companies creates collaborations and shared resources with startups that will focus on the “Internet of Things”.

General Business/Transactional Experience

Mr. Barnes assists businesses of all sizes and their owners in addressing their day-to-day legal needs.  This involves counseling clients on organizing and structuring new entities, employment issues, equity incentives and corporate governance.  It also includes reviewing and drafting various types of commercial business agreements, such as manufacturing and supply, distribution, outsourcing, joint venture, licensing, employment and consulting agreements.


Mr. Barnes is a trusted advisor on legal issues related to the rapidly emerging and evolving cannabis industry. He assists clients with issues related to being in the cannabis industry or wanting to do business with stakeholders in the industry.   Mr. Barnes has advised clients on issues related to entity formation, contract negotiations, raising capital and regulatory issues related to the cannabis industry.

Professional Affiliations, Activities and Honors

Mr. Barnes is a member of the American Bar Association, State Bar of Michigan, Grand Rapids Bar Association (GRBA), the Michigan Venture Capital Association and Association for Corporate growth, West Michigan Chapter.  He is a member of the State Bar of Michigan’s Regulation of Securities Committee of the Business Law Section and previously served as the chair of the Business and Taxation Section of the GRBA.

Mr. Barnes is listed in the “Best Lawyers in America®”  for Mergers & Acquisitions, Closely Held Companies and Family Business Law as well as Venture Capital Law.  He was named as Best Lawyers 2022 Grand Rapids Lawyer of the year for Closely Held Companies and Family Business Law. He was selected for inclusion in Michigan Super Lawyers–Rising Stars for Business/ Corporate in 2010.

Community Activities

Mr. Barnes serves on the board of directors of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Michigan and Northwestern Ohio Chapter.


Mr. Barnes received his law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School in 1997 and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan in 1994.