Monday Profile: Margaret Petersen

Margaret Petersen recently began solo practice as Petersen Law PLLC, and focuses on retail and commercial real property matters, with emphasis on leasing.

Before that, she spent 18 years as director-real estate counsel for Borders Group. She was an in-house real estate counsel with Hechinger/Home Quarters Warehouse in Landover, MD before and from 1987 to 1992 she was assistant general counsel for Baltimore-based developer Continental Realty Corporation. She is a 1983 graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law and a 1980 graduate of Loyola College (now University) at Baltimore. She and her husband and two children live in Ann Arbor.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? Twelve solid hours of sleep. (A girl can dream...)

What is your greatest fear? Harm coming to my family.

What do you wish more people understood? That humans are not much more evolved from when we lived in caves. We still have the same vicious, tribal impulses, only now we have scarier and far more dangerous weapons. It is all of our lives' work to fight these impulses to hurt other people.

What is the trait you hate most in others? Rudeness.

It's 7 a.m. Monday. How are you feeling? Groggy! (I'm not a morning person.) By 9 a.m. I'm ready to tackle the "To Do" list.

What would surprise people about your job? That being a "transactional attorney" is (a) interesting and a great way to hone writing skills, and (b) a terrific way to meet people, like all those lawyers "on the other side," the vast majority of whom are interesting and collegial people.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue? The ability to restrain from using profanity when provoked.

When and where are you happiest? Any time I get to hug one of my kids (the younger one is still snuggly!) or on a date with my husband, on a perfect summer evening, sitting on the patio of Paesano's with a glass of wine, waiting for the movie to start.

What's your greatest achievement: Finding the right guy the second time around, having children (against the odds), and being very close to paying off our house (whew!).

What would you say to your 16-year-old self? "Don't worry so much about what other people think of you!"

What one thing do you wish people knew about your work? Not every lawyer goes to court.

Favorite joke: Whatever joke I've heard most recently. I laugh hysterically at all jokes and then promptly forget them.

What one habit do you wish you could break? A strong fondness for dark chocolate, and in particular a near obsession with Caribou Coffee's "dark" hot chocolate "with whip." My mouth loves it, my waistline does not.

What is something most people don't know about you? I really like to knit socks. In truth, my church congregation probably knows this since at least half a dozen of us are usually knitting during the service, me included.

Favorite words: "May I rub your feet?"

Where would you like to be when you're 90? Here in Ann Arbor, hopefully with my brain in reasonably decent working order plus enough money in the bank to afford a ticket to every single UMS, Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, and Summer Festival concert in my waning years.

Published: Mon, May 7, 2012


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