Monday Profile: Steve Hicks


Steven A. Hicks is an attorney with the Speaker Law Firm in Lansing, and specializes in representing injured persons before the state and federal appellate courts. He handles primarily appeals involving personal injury, insurance, premises liability, governmental immunity, employment discrimination, and wrongful discharge.  He has successfully represented injured persons on appeal in significant cases establishing new law in Michigan, including Robinson v City of Lansing (two inch rule applies only to sidewalks next to county roads, not city sidewalks) and Pierce v City of Lansing (open and obvious does not apply to defective public building claims).

He often serves as amicus counsel for the Michigan Association for Justice, and testifies  for MAJ before committees in the State Legislature on proposed changes to existing law which affect personal injury claims. He often speaks at MAJ seminars.

Hicks is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School. Before specializing in appeals, he was a trial lawyer representing personal injury, insurance, and employment claims.

By Jo Mathis
Legal News

Residence:  Lansing.  I can walk to court (or the office) .

What is a treasured material possession?  My turntable.

What advice do you have for someone considering law school? Reconsider! But, seriously, work for a few years after college. The debt burden from going to law school is so great you need to know more about the actual practice of law than I did when I went straight from undergrad to law school. It is not something you should do because you are unsure about what comes next after you graduate from college. You should have some idea of how you intend to do what you want to do while still earning enough money to pay off that debt without compromising the reasons you went to law school. I am not sure working after college would have stopped me from going to law school but I might have gone to a different school where I would have racked up less debt instead of enrolling in the highest ranked law school I could attend. It took 10 frugal years to pay off the debt. I still call it the “house I never lived in.”

Favorite local hangouts: The Record Lounge in East Lansing. The Northern Tail Dog Park (with Django, my flat-coated retriever from the Capital Area Human Society). And Fleetwood Diner when I have a craving for the hippie breakfast.

Favorite websites: Craigslist where I search for vintage stereo equipment and mid-century modern furniture. Accuweather, so I can decide whether or not to go running.  I can do cold but not wind. Also, IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes for movies, Allmusic for new album releases, and Amazon where I read samples of books on my Kindle, as if reading short stories, but rarely buy the book.

What would surprise people about your job? I work in a so-called “paperless” office, but my desk, floor, shelves, are still cluttered because I print everything out. Change is good, but not easy.

What do you wish someone would invent? Time travel (or flying cars).

What has been your favorite year? 1984. And not for Van Halen.

What is your most typical mood? Mostly positive, outwardly upbeat, fighting off negative, irritable side.

How do you define success?  Knowing what you want most and not letting what others view as success affect you or change you.
Who is on your guest list for an  ideal dinner party?  Talk show host John Oliver, writer Nick Hornby, actress Jessica Chastain.

Why did you become a lawyer? I was always interested in civil rights and practicing law seemed a logical way to help individuals seek justice. I also liked the intellectual challenge of finding ways to help individuals and try to right societal wrongs.

If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would that be?  Keith Richards, July 9, Stones concert at Comerica Park.

What’s the most awe-inspiring place you’ve been?  Moab, Utah.

What did you do last weekend?
Watched basketball and went to the movies.

If you could have one super power, what would it be? Omniscience, or super-speed.

What would you say to your 16-year-old self? Life will not always be so easy. Enjoy it while you can.

What is your proudest moment as a lawyer? Representing pro bono a woman injured in the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center with her Victims’ Compensation Fund claim.

How did you earn your first dollar? Bagging groceries.

What do you do to relax? Go running. Take a nap.  Or play vinyl.

Any regrets? Yes, I regret not seeing the forest for the trees.

What is one thing you would like to learn to do?  Rowing.

What is something most people don't know about you?  I love boogie-boarding - surfing for those who have no talent (or balance).

What is the best advice you ever received? In law school, my brother told me to focus on working hard each day, because if I did, the workload, the material, the tests, the grades would not be a problem. I still use that basic approach when work seems overwhelming.

What do you drive?  Cadillac CTS. 2004 model. The car that rejuvenated Cadillac/GM. Built right here in downtown Lansing.

What would you drive if money were no object?  Fisker Karma or Tesla S.  Electric, fast, and a 4 -door sedan.  Wow!

Favorite place to shop: The Record Lounge in E. Lansing.

What would you like carved onto your tombstone? He was a Good Lawyer, and an even Better Man.


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