Thursday Profile: Nicholas Roumel

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Roumel came to University of Michigan and never left. "After a few years wavering between psychology and the restaurant industry, I eventually attended law school, the last refuge of the liberal arts major," he says. Roumel is a trial attorney with Nacht, Roumel, Salvatore, Blanchard & Walker, P.C. in Ann Arbor. He also writes a weekly food column for The Legal News. By Jo Mathis Legal News Residence: Ann Arbor. When did you know you were a foodie? When I had my first apartment in college and began cooking for myself, when I could afford something other than Ramen. I liked making omelettes, casseroles, and once impressed the heck out of a sophomore by making dinner for her. What are your favorite Ann Arbor area restaurants? Grange, West End Grill, Zingerman's Roadhouse, and of course--Selma Café! What is your idea of perfect happiness? Cooking an elaborate meal for friends and family, listening to music, making small talk as the guests filter in. What is your greatest fear? Not being good enough. Which living person do you most admire? My wife, Gail Altenburg, Washtenaw County juvenile court referee, mother to our three daughters. What is the trait you hate most in yourself? I tend to be inappropriately sarcastic, trying to be funny. What is the trait you hate most in others? Humorlessness. If you suddenly had an extra room in your house, what would you do with it? Make it my very own. I don't have my own room anywhere in the house. I even share my bathroom with the cat. What was your most memorable meal? There are many, but one that comes to mind: I took a trip to Greece with my father Bill. We went to a restaurant in Piraeus where you did not have a menu, did not order, and had no idea what they would bring you. They must have brought 15 courses. It was amazing. If you could take back one thing you did ... I would not have dropped and broken my lunchbox thermos on the first day of school. What is your most treasured material possession? My Kitchen Aid food processor. If you could do one thing professionally... Own a Greek-inspired restaurant! What are your favorite websites? Lexis, ESPN, DailyMile, Facebook, Google Maps, MGoBlog ... Your proudest moment(s) as a lawyer? There are two. When I accomplish a client's goal, no matter how big or small it is; and when I get a verdict that far exceeds the last settlement offer. It's 7 a.m. Monday. How are you feeling? Looking forward to a cup of Roos Roast. What would surprise people about your job? That I don't take cases that hold no interest for me, even if they are meritorious or might make money. And the sheer volume of paperwork and relentless, multiple deadlines. Introvert or extrovert? I used to be a bartender. I was open and friendly with people as long as that bar was between us. That kind of sums up my social philosophy. What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Moral certainty is not only not a virtue, but it is dangerous. When and where were you happiest? The first day of school, until I broke my lunchbox Thermos. What's your greatest achievement? Successfully helping to raise three amazing daughters. What would you say to your 16-year-old self? One day you will actually work up the courage, not only to say "hi" to a girl, but actually ask one out. What would be your ideal job? Owning a modern, Greek-inspired restaurant in downtown Ann Arbor or Traverse City. What one thing do you wish people knew about your work? Being a plaintiffs' lawyer is one of the hardest ways to earn a living. Someone is actively opposing you with every trick in the book. You have no control over the outcome. And cases may take years and years to resolve. Favorite joke: Lawyer, doctor, priest, and engineer go golfing. There is a foursome ahead of them that is just terrible. They hack at the ball and frequently miss. When they do hit it, it dribbles forward a few yards and it takes forever for them to find the ball. The lawyer's group complains to the ranger. The ranger explains, "They are firefighters. They saved the clubhouse from burning and rescued many people, but tragically lost their eyesight. In gratitude, we let them golf for free whenever they want." The lawyers feels bad, and tells the ranger, "Please have them call my office. I'll help them find benefits and resources they may be entitled to." The doctor adds, "Have them call me. I know the best eye doctors in the business. We may be able to save their sight." The priest vows, "They are welcome in our church. We will pray for them and help take care of their families." They all turn to the engineer, who simply asks, "Why can't they play at night?" What one habit do you wish you could break? Spider solitaire. What is something most people don't know about you? I have written Michigan football predictions as "Counterpunt" for the Michigan Football Guide, and now MGoBlog, for most of the last 20 years. What do you wish more people understood? My sense of humor. If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would they be? My mother, Julia Child, and M.F.K. Fisher. It's dinner - we're going to talk food. I'm not going to have any fun with Gandhi here. Published: Thu, Jan 17, 2013