Stephan chose not to pursue any particular career after graduating from college. Instead, he decided to “test the waters” and try a variety of jobs including lifeguarding and bartending. He even had a business making and selling his own hot sauce named Big Juan’s Hot Sauce in a commercial kitchen in Ionia. “My little brother used to call me Big Juan,” said Stephan explaining how he named the sauce. “It sold really well.” Now he makes the sauce primarily for Christmas presents and the like, adding he’s still experimenting with the recipe.
Attorney John Stephan had many reasons for choosing law as his life’s work. “Law is the one thing you can do that will change every single day,” said Stephan, who practices criminal defense, family law, and estate planning. “I love the work I do because I get to talk to people all the time…I knew I’d never get bored.”
Besides the perfect career, Stephan said he found the perfect location for his law practice. For instance, what’s not to like about having free parking right in front of your office for your clients? “It’s a huge help,” said Stephan whose law firm is located in the Comstock Park Professional Building at 3875 West River Drive in downtown Comstock Park. He added there are other advantages to downtown Comstock Park as a location for his legal business. “It has a small town feel…I know and recognize every store and restaurant owner,” said Stephan who lives in Grand Rapids, “but it’s just two minutes from the city.” He also likes being able to walk across the street with his clients for lunch at the affordable restaurants on West River Drive.
When he decided on law as a career, Stephan attended Cooley Law School in Grand Rapids graduating in 2007. He interned at the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office and then briefly had his own private practice. A short time later he happened to run into Attorney Craig Avery who he met during his internship. Avery co-owned and had his law practice in the Comstock Park Professional Building. Avery was getting ready to retire, and Stephan purchased his law firm. Stephan and the CPA’s next door in the building purchased the building from Avery. Stephan said he still uses the round cannonball safe and night deposit drop chute left over from the bank that once occupied the building. Besides Stephan and Avery, who continues to help out occasionally, there is an office manager at the firm.
Stephan is originally from Louisville, Kentucky and grew up in the Lansing area. He graduated from high school at Great Lakes Adventist Academy in Cedar Lakes, Michigan and attended Andrews University in Berrien Springs majoring in International Community Development. When he has a chance to relax, Stephan said he definitely does not watch television shows about lawyers. He does enjoy water sports, and fishing from his classic 1958 Blue Star Flightliner boat.