Get to Know Matthew Klakulak

Personal injury attorney Matthew Klakulak leads the appellate practice of the Southfield law firm of Giroux Amburn, P.C. He joined the firm following five years handling appeals for the Fieger Law Firm.

Klakulak, who earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and his J.D., cum laude, from Wayne State University Law School, has handled more than 60 appeals to the Michigan Court of Appeals, Michigan Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and other appellate courts.

Klakulak has more than 17 years of litigation experience focusing on briefing and arguing dispositive motions in both state and federal trial courts. These cases provided the opportunity to represent individuals who have been wronged and have suffered serious personal injury. Many of his cases have involved extremely complex, research-intensive issues and multi-million dollar injuries and jury verdicts. Issues addressed involved personal injury, governmental immunity, medical malpractice, insurance coverage, vicarious liability, employment law, criminal defense, and many others.

In 2012, Klakulak—who clerked for Justice Marilyn Kelly of the Michigan Supreme Court—was named a fellow to the Michigan State Bar Foundation.

By Jo Mathis
Legal News

What is your proudest moment as a lawyer? Obtaining a reversal of a criminal conviction on appeal for an individual being railroaded by the prosecution. My client’s family was suing the police department for use of excessive force in killing a young family member and the prosecution—in retaliation—came up with jailhouse snitch testimony to charge (and convict, at least initially) my client with aiding and abetting an earlier crime. I was able to demonstrate the jury in its deliberations was confused and/or compromised to reach its verdict and on that basis obtained a new trial.

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?
That I’m compassionate and have a big heart. Sometimes in my day-to-day life I can be intense, serious and competitive. I think many people think attorneys—particularly trial attorneys—are tough fighters. We are. But it comes from a place of passion and caring for clients. I want to do the right thing for people that can’t fight for themselves and are struggling with an injustice or trying to live, or return to, a normal life.

When you were considering law school, what was Plan B? I would have gone to graduate school for English. I think many attorneys share my passion for the English language. We have to be detailed and articulate. Specializing in appeals requires a great deal of research, writing, analysis and organization and these are all skills I developed in obtaining my B.A. in English from the University of Michigan, and have continued to develop.
Favorite local hangouts: I’m a bit of a foodie. I like to try anything spicy, ethnic or unusual. I recently tried menudo—a traditional Mexican tripe soup. It was not for me, but I gave it go!

Favorite websites: (online music encyclopedia); (chess); (satire).

When you look back into the past, what do you miss most? Memory. (Just kidding.)

What is one thing you would like to learn to do?
  Surf. ("I'm going to learn to surf or break my neck."–Keanu Reeves, “Point Break.”)

What is the best advice you ever received?
Don’t sweat the small stuff (and it's all small stuff). This is hard advice to follow, however.

What’s the most awe-inspiring place you’ve ever been?
Smith River Canyon, Mont., renowned for trout fishing and limited access (only two public access points over a 59-mile stretch of river). I took a five-day float trip with my father and a guide.

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