New WLAM chapter leader sets 'lofty' goals


By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Amanda Pileggi, a member of the Litigation Group at Willingham & Coté in East Lansing, is the new president of the Women Lawyers Association, Mid-Michigan Chapter, serving Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, and Shiawassee counties.

As president, she will assist in the growth of the mid-Michigan chapter, oversee annual social events and strive to secure the full and equal participation of women in the legal profession throughout mid-Michigan.

“My goals this year are simple, yet lofty,” she says. “I hope to increase membership and attendance at our WLAM events and to increase our presence in general throughout the community. This is a great organization, and people need to know that.”

Pileggi succeeds Torree Breen, the immediate past president and a partner at Willingham & Coté.

“Torree encouraged me to join, and I’m glad I did. She’s a great role model for young female attorneys,” Pileggi says. “Other than her encouragement, I was interested in joining WLAM because it stands for a principle that everyone should support – securing the full and equal participation of women in the legal profession in furtherance of a just society.”

Pileggi enjoys meeting other women in the legal profession through WLAM, and discussing everything from the law to life in general.

“It’s especially inspiring to speak with the female judges that attend our events,” she says. “I would encourage others to join because it’s an invaluable way to meet other attorneys and judges. You will learn about the law and meet friendly faces. You never know if you will have to work with each other down the line, but if that happens, working with someone you know and who you respect always makes things easier.”

Pileggi also values her membership in the Ingham County Bar Association and State Bar of Michigan, where she is a member of the Insurance Section, Litigation Section, and Young Lawyers Section.

“In law school, I never truly understood the importance of networking,” she says. “The ICBA and SBM do an excellent job of hosting great events that allow you to create relationships with other attorneys in your community and throughout the state.”

A native of Brampton in western Ontario, Pileggi earned her undergrad degree, summa cum laude, in criminal justice, from St. Francis College in Brooklyn, N.Y.

“Growing up, the values instilled in me, and my two brothers, by my parents gave me a strong need to effect change and seek justice and fair treatment of others,” she says. “That’s what drew me to criminal justice – knowing how the system works and why the way it works the way is does was always interesting to me.”

Excelling in sports, Pileggi was named Division I Athlete Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2007, and that same year earned an Academic All-American Honorable Mention.

“My athletics drove my innate competitive spirit, which I think is crucial in law – the desire to be the best possible advocate you can be for your client,” she says. “When I was a child, I made the mistake of telling my parents that I wanted to go to law school when I grew up. My parents never let me forget that – in a good way.”

Pileggi spent a year as a trial preparation assistant in the New York County District Attorney’s Office.

“My time in the Manhattan D.A.’s Office was invaluable,” she says. “As a recent college graduate, to be able to work there was eye-opening, to say the least. I was lucky to have such a great opportunity. What most people are probably interested in is whether or not it is anything like we see on TV – the short answer, not even close.

Although, I did have the opportunity to witness some pretty high-profile cases while I was there.”

She went on to earn her J.D., magna cum laude, from Michigan State University College of Law, where she was co-president of the Sports and Entertainment Law Society, 3L class representative for the Student Bar Association, and served as a symposium coordinator and team leader for the International Law Review.

“I made friendships in law school that I know will last a lifetime,” she says. “The professors were also great. It’s a lot easier to learn material when you have professors that truly care about whether or not you learn it.”

Pileggi clerked at the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office.

“It was great – definitely different than my time at the Manhattan D.A.’s Office,” she says. “It was nice to get some practical experience in a real-world setting.”

She also clerked in-house at Caraco Pharmaceuticals, an experience that afforded her many opportunities to work on different skills and in different areas of law.

“I think it helped make me a more well-rounded attorney,” she says.

At Willingham & Coté, she focuses her practice on no-fault litigation and insurance coverage.

“The Michigan No-Fault Act is very complex and ever-changing – it keeps you on your toes,” she says. “There is always an argument to be made—finding the winning one is an exciting challenge.”

In her leisure time, the Lansing resident enjoys playing softball and hockey, golfing, and relaxing with family, friends, and her dog, Yogi Bear.