Thursday Profile: Jim White

Jim White has practiced law for fifty years in the Lansing area with two law firms: White, Schneider, Young & Chiodini (26 years) and Foster, Swift, Collins & Smith (24 years). He was born in Bay City in 1939 and graduated from Bay City’s T.L. Handy High (1957), Alma College (1961) and the University of Michigan Law School (1964). While in high school, he served as a page in the Michigan Senate.

White’s practice has concentrated on the representation of public school employees and in marketing and bargaining for asparagus, apple and cherry growers in Michigan. For the past 10 years he has acted as an arbitrator and mediator, both for Circuit Courts and the Lansing Dispute Resolution Center. White was an early participant in mediation, having served for several years as the chairperson of the State Bar’s Arbitration and Alternative Methods of Dispute Resolution Committee, which became the State Bar’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Section. He also served as a council member on the State Bar’s Labor & Employment Law Section.

White has traveled extensively, both domestically and internationally. He and his wife, Martha, have participated in several international builds with Habitat for Humanity.


By Jo Mathis

Legal News
Residence: Okemos.
Currently reading …“The Guns at Last Light” by Rick Atkinson and “Forty Chances” by Howard G. Buffett.    
What advice do you have for someone considering law school?  There is not as much opportunity in the private practice of law as there was when I finished law school. But, if you have your heart set on a law practice, go for it. There is always room in the law for one who is highly motivated. Also, keep in mind that law school training is excellent for one contemplating work in government, politics, business and teaching.
If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you be?  In business or teaching.
Your proudest moment as a lawyer?  Arguing a case before the United States Supreme Court.
Your worst moment as a lawyer?  The day I have to stop practicing law.  Thankfully, that hasn’t happened yet.
If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would that be? A United States Supreme Court Justice.
What’s the most awe-inspiring place you have visited?  Antarctica, the Grand Canyon and the Canadian Rockies.
What’s your greatest achievement?  Having argued several landmark cases before appellate courts.
If you could have one super power, what would it be?  
I would help achieve world peace.
What would you say to your 16-year-old self?  Relax and enjoy life; the best is yet to come.
What one thing do you wish people knew about your work?
How much fun the practice of law is. It’s hard, demanding work, but very rewarding. I know of no work that gives one greater opportunity, on a daily basis, to help others than the practice of law.
Must-see TV:  College basketball.
What’s your biggest regret? I don’t have any regrets. If I were to live life over, I’d become a lawyer again and probably make the same mistakes I made the first time. But I wouldn’t have any regrets. 
What word do you overuse?  Several, but I can’t repeat them in polite company.
What’s one thing you would like to learn to do? To speak a foreign language fluently.
What is guaranteed to make you laugh? Any thing by Dave Barry
If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would they be?
Jesus Christ
Abraham Lincoln
Thomas Jefferson
Can’t-live-without technology:  Cell phone.
Favorite law-related movie: “Philadelphia.”
What’s the best advice you ever received?  I have received a lot of good advice. I don’t know where to start.  Most of it I learned from my mother. Probably the best was, “Go to law school.”
If you can help it, where will you never return?  I have traveled all over the world. I can’t think of any place to which I would not return.
What do you drive?  Ford Edge.
What would you drive if money were no object?  Ford Edge.
Favorite place to spend money:  On travel.
What is your motto? Do the best you can. If you have done that, then there is nothing to worry about.
Where would you like to be when you’re 90? Above ground, breathing, and practicing law. In about that order.
What would you like carved onto your tombstone?
He fought the good fight!
He finished the race!
He kept the Faith!

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