Cooking up a career

Attorney previously worked as a sous chef at restaurant

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Passionate about cooking, Mark Krysinski cooked his way through undergrad and law school at a series of modest to good restaurants, with his last job being a sous chef at Little Harry's in Detroit.

"Being a chef was great training for being a husband and the best thing I ever had on my resume," he says with a smile. "When I was interviewing for law firm jobs all anybody wanted to talk about was cooking not the practice of law."

Krysinski certainly had the right ingredients for a great career, culminating in his current position as a partner at Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss in Southfield, where he is a member of the Board of Directors and past chairman of the Real Estate Practice Group, specializing in commercial development and leasing of real estate; financing and leasing of office, industrial, apartment and retail projects nationwide; complex mixed-use condominium developments, manufactured housing communities and multi-family housing communities.

He started on his career path with a bachelor's degree in economics, with distinction, from the University of Michigan, before earning his law degree cum laude, from Wayne State University Law School, where he served as editor of the Wayne Law Review, and was an order of the coif graduate.

"I enjoyed the high level of the intellectual discourse and quality of the students at Wayne Law, and the opportunity to have more one-on-one interactions with the professors," he says.

After graduation, Krysinski started out in litigation at Jaffe.

"I loved going to court and arguing and the process of writing a brief telling a story," he says. "However, I soon discovered I didn't have the attention span to be a litigator. Most commercial cases go on for years and I found that after 9 to 12 months I was starting to lose interest in the case and that's not a good thing."

Krysinski then spent three years handling corporate securities work and acquisitions.

"I loved the complexity of it and the Marine-like work ethic, but became somewhat tired of the amount of time having to spend on mere organization and managing the flow of information when it is you and 20 or 30 of your closest friends trying to move a mountain," he says.

He found his niche in real estate, where a typical deal lasts less than a year and the team size tends to be small.

"I spent a fair amount of time teaching real estate law and becoming an expert in the area, and that keeps me on my toes," he says. "In short real estate law suits me."

His projects included "condominiumizing" the Fisher Building in Detroit and the 555 Building in Birmingham.

"These and similar complex projects were interesting," he says. "Working one-on-one with really smart clients that see risks that most people don't realize are there and being part of a problem solving team is satisfying. It's my job to find a way to meet the challenge of each transaction and get the deal done."

Former chair of the Real Property Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan, Krysinski was honored this summer with the C. Robert Wartell Distinguished Service Award at the section's annual conference.

"Receiving the Wartell Award was completely unexpected and very humbling," he says. "Although it's nice to be recognized for doing good work it's even better to be able to actually do the work with a committed group of people for the benefit of all in the profession. Service is its own reward."

A member of the Jaffe team since 1983, Krysinski is a former head of the Attorney Development Committee, and a current member of the Finance Committee and the Opinion Letter Committee.

"Serving on the opinion letter committee is a bit scary," he says. "You need to be technically proficient and take care to protect the firm and find a way to get the opinion issued and the transaction completed. It's an exercise in very specialized problem solving."

He is a member of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, the American Bar Association sections of Real Property and Business Law, and sits on the Real Property Advisory Board for the Institute for Continuing Legal Education.

A frequent speaker at development, leasing and financing seminars for The State Bar of Michigan, International Counsel for Shopping Centers, Building Owners and Managers Association and more, Krysinski also is an adjunct professor at the University of Michigan Law School.

"Michigan law students tend to be very well focused, hardworking and engaging they are a really smart bunch of growing professionals," he says. "Teaching at the university is a privilege and I enjoy it, but I'm always surprised at the amount of work it takes to be an effective professor it's much more time consuming and a harder job than most of us in practice realize."

A native of Grosse Pointe Woods, Krysinski now resides in Birmingham, and enjoys living and working in the greater Detroit area.

"It's home," he says. "It's where my heart is and where my family is and where my clients are."

He and his wife will celebrate their 32nd anniversary in December. The two met in law school.

"I didn't ask her out until the last party after the last exam in the last year of law school and then I accidentally stood her up on the first date," Krysinski says. "After much apologizing and begging, we had our first date and managed to get and stay married."

The couple has two children, both of whom will soon graduate and enter the work force, one following dad into law and the other in religious studies. Both children attended The Roeper School in greater Detroit.

"My wife worked there for a long time and I was heavily involved at the board level for many years. It's a great organization and I will always have a place in my heart for it," he says.

Away from work, Krysinski has several hobbies and is always looking for new challenges. He has been road cycling with the Wolverine Sports Club for more than 20 years, finding it a terrific way to get exercise, and even greater at providing stress relief. Upland bird hunting is another passion.

"It's a good way to keep in shape, challenge yourself, and spend time with your dog outdoors," he says. "It's a lot of fun and a lot of responsibility."

After picking up golf in his early 40s, he got a hole-in-one early on.

"I'm still looking for the second one," he says. "As long as you don't take it too seriously, it can be very peaceful and an awful lot of fun."

Published: Fri, Sep 30, 2016

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