Thursday Profile: Ken Tableman

Ken Tableman grew up in Lansing and attended Elmhurst, Dwight Rich and J.W. Sexton public schools. After graduating from the University of Michigan and the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C., he returned to Lansing. Tableman, who was admitted to the bar in 1977, worked as a prehearing research attorney for the Michigan Court of Appeals, and at a small firm for two years before he opened his own office in Lansing.

For 21 years, he conducted a general practice, handling a wide range of cases in state and federal courts. Tableman then took a job as an assistant federal public defender in Grand Rapids, and after leaving that job in 2005, resumed private practice. He now focuses on federal criminal appeals and trials, but also handles real estate, probate, and commercial matters, and serves on the commercial case evaluation panel for the Ingham County Circuit Court.

He and his wife, Jan, live in Grand Rapids and have four daughters and five grandchildren. He likes to travel, and tend a modest vegetable garden.

By Jo Mathis
Legal News

What’s your most treasured material possession?
A thank you note from my daughter Leslie, written when she was 7.

How would you advise someone considering law school?
Make sure you enjoy reading. Go watch a day or two at court.

Favorite local hangouts: Fenian’s Irish Pub; Schuler Books.

What is your happiest childhood memory?
Being outside in the summer as a free-range child.

Why did you become a lawyer? I greatly admired my neighbor, Fredric S. Abood, a trial lawyer who zealously represented people from all walks of life.

What would surprise people about your job?  The amount of time I spend at the office, not in court.

Favorite year: They’ve all been favorites.

Typical mood:

Favorite beverage: Beer.

What’s your guest list for an ideal dinner party?
  Mark Twain, Robin Williams, my wife, friends from school.

Who would you trade places with for a day? I would like to be President Obama for a day.

What is your proudest moment as a lawyer? Most any time I have appeared in court. Oral arguments in the Sixth and Seventh Circuit Courts of Appeals stand out, as do the cases I have tried to a successful jury verdict.

Do you have spiritual beliefs?
I am a Unitarian.

What do you do to relax? I garden, play tennis, listen to the Tigers on the radio, bicycle, read U.S. history and the New Yorker magazine.

How would you describe your home?  Currently a mess as we are adding a bathroom. But usually peaceful and a place of comfort.

What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
Before I went to law school, I was part of a group of guys that bought and fixed up a Chinese junk.

What do you drive? A Ford Focus.

What would you drive if money were no object: I would drive a Mercedes.

Where will you never return? The ER with a small child—if I can help it.

Favorite place to spend money: Bookstore.

Motto: “Be Prepared.”

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