Get to Know : Amy N. Morrissey

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By Teresa Killeen
Washtenaw County Bar Association

Attorney Amy N. Morrissey is a Michigan native, raised in the metro Detroit area. She did her undergraduate work at the University of Michigan and law school at the Detroit College of Law (on Elizabeth Street in what’s now the outfield of Comerica Park).

She has lived and practiced law in Ann Arbor for the past couple of decades.

Her husband, Jerry, is also a Michigan native whom Morrissey met while studying in Ann Arbor. The couple has two children: Matthew, entering his third year at U-M, and Maria, a junior at Skyline High School.
 
What jobs did you have before you became an attorney?
I worked some restaurant jobs to help pay for college. My last two years of college, I was a part-time office assistant (errand runner) for my current law partner, Susan Westerman, and her law firm — Stein, Moran & Westerman at that time. I met a lot of great people through that opportunity, and the experience inspired me to go to law school. During and after law school, I worked for Wayne County Neighborhood Legal Services, where I learned many helpful lawyering skills. A few years out of law school, I ran into Susan while attending an ICLE seminar at which she was presenting. I became her associate and am now her law partner.

What area of the law do you like the best and why?
Our firm focuses on trust and estate planning and administration. I enjoy this work because I have built many relationships with my clients and their families over the years. It is rewarding to guide clients through their life events.

What is the biggest challenge facing you as an attorney today?
Managing expectations surrounding e-mails is the biggest challenge from many perspectives – time, confidentiality, record retention, and delivery of meaningful advice through a medium intended for quick exchanges of low-importance information.

Any words of wisdom to pass on to new lawyers?
You need to have good communication skills, whether in working with clients, other attorneys, or managing people who work for you. It is also important to know that often there are many solutions to a legal problem and you are simply laying out the possibilities for your clients. The best course of action from your perspective may not be what the client wants. You need to really listen to what is important to them to provide the best advice.

What is your favorite movie or book?
I have really enjoyed reading a book called “The Living Great Lakes’ by Jerry Dennis. I found it several years ago while browsing in a bookstore on Mackinac Island. It is a fascinating exploration of the history and ecology of the Great Lakes while the author recounts his journey across the Great Lakes on a schooner. Anyone who likes spending time on our Great Lakes will appreciate this book.

What are some of your favorite places that you have visited?
My parents introduced me to sailing when I was 10. I love being on the water, and introduced my husband to this hobby. Among our favorite places to visit on our boat are the Canadian shore and the North Channel of Lake Huron, including Tobermory, Killarney, Manitoulin Island, and certain places that can only be reached by boat. The cedars grow right out of the rocks and the white quartzite of the La Cloche Mountains are beautiful to admire.

What are your favorite local hangouts?
I love the food and atmosphere of Sava’s on State Street. Wolverine Brewing Co. has great pork dishes and a good lager. I also enjoy picking up lunch at Asian Legend, which is a block from my office. In these unusual times, I have been doing a lot of hanging outside, socially distanced, on my neighbor’s patio, biking along the B2B trail, or walking in town.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
Spending time with family and friends is the most enjoyable thing I do. I truly enjoy sailing and being on the water. I enjoy projects in which I can help others; I love finding new recipes to make; and I enjoy a good book or occasional Sudoku keeps my brain in check.

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Reprinted with permission from the Washtenaw County Bar Association’s newsletter, Res Ipsa Loquitur.


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