Since his admission to the bar in 2009, Attorney and firm partner Peter VanGelderen’s practice has been focused solely on criminal law—from simple misdemeanor cases to complex state and federal prosecutions.
His criminal defense experience includes drunk driving offenses, drug offenses, federal RICO cases, fraud, white-collar crime, and violent crimes. In addition, he handles license matters with the Michigan Secretary of State for those facing license consequences related to criminal activity.
Peter earned a B.A. from the University of Michigan in history, with a minor in moral and political philosophy, in 2005. He received his J.D., with distinction, from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 2009. While in law school, Peter served as an associate editor of Law Review and Chairman of the Mock Trial Board on the Grand Rapids campus. He also spent time working as an intern in the Ottawa County Prosecutor’s Office providing him with experience in trial work and criminal law.
Prior to joining Willey & Chamberlain in 2011, Peter opened a private practice devoted exclusively to criminal law, gaining valuable experience in misdemeanor and felony work in state courts throughout West Michigan.
He has further developed his expertise through his successful practice in criminal law at Willey & Chamberlain, his memberships in criminal defense organizations, and his participation in trial advocacy workshops such as the Hillman Advocacy Program.
Peter has a deep commitment to the accused and to fundamental fairness in the criminal justice system. He has a well-earned reputation for being caring, confident, and extremely capable. He takes his cases personally, is a great listener and hard worker, and has a deep, personal passion for ensuring the best outcome for his clients facing criminal prosecution
When he’s not working, Peter is happiest spending time with his family, doing just about anything on or near the water, or honing his hockey skills.
- State Bar of Michigan, 2009
- U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan, 2009
- U.S. Court of Appeals Sixth Circuit, 2014
- B.A., University of Michigan, 2005
- J.D., Thomas M. Cooley Law School, 2009 with distinction
- National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys
- Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys
- Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan
- State Bar of Michigan
- Grand Rapids Bar Association (Criminal Law Section)
- Federal Bar Association (Western District of Michigan)
Honors & Awards
- Grand Rapids Magazine Top Lawyers 2020-2021, Non White-Collar Criminal Defense, 2021-2022 White Collar and Non White-Collar Criminal Defense
- National Trial Lawyers, Top 40 Under 40, 2017-2020
- The National Trial Lawyers, Top 40 under 40, 2016
- Super Lawyers, Rising Star, 2015-present
- Reid VanGelderen Scholarship Fund, Administrator and Fundraiser
- Lighthouse Academy, Board of Directors, Vice President