Monday Profile: Liz Graziano

Liz Graziano grew up in Wisconsin and worked as a nurse in Milwaukee, Indianapolis and Buffalo before moving to Ann Arbor in 1989 with her husband, Greg, and daughter, Allison. She had a son and another daughter and decided to enroll in Cooley Law School in 2006. Juggling family and classes was tougher than she expected, but she graduated in December 2009.

During her last year at Cooley, she met medical malpractice attorney Andrew Muth, who allowed her to clerk in his Ypsilanti office her last term. She's worked there ever since, with the understanding that Muth's son, Benjamin, would join the office in the summer of 2012. Because there's room for just two attorneys, Graziano hopes to find a job in a hospital in quality or risk management.

Residence: Ann Arbor.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? This life I lead.

What is your greatest fear? Water.

Which living person do you most admire? My mother.

What is the trait you hate most in yourself? Perfectionist.

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

What is your most treasured possession? Though I don't own them, my children.

What would surprise people about your job? The high number of potential clients who call our office because they feel they have been wronged, and the few number of those calls that actually become a lawsuit. Lawsuits are very expensive and it is difficult for a potential client to understand that every wrong does not make a lawsuit. We have specific criteria that we look at to evaluate the success of a lawsuit. I tell clients that I may agree they were wronged, but it still may not amount to a lawsuit.

Which career have you enjoyed more: nursing or law? Boy, that is a tough question. The jobs are so different and the work environment so different, it is like comparing two different universes. In nursing, most patients got better relatively quickly compared to the length of time it takes to get a legal case to trial. Because of that shortened time, it was easier to see the fruits of my labors in nursing. I have to remind myself now to see small successes along the way in our cases and make our clients see them as well. The law is complex and dynamic with a long learning curve. I was competent in nursing practice in a shorter period of time than legal practice.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Pride.

When and where were you happiest? When my children were born.

What would you say to your 16-year-old self? Life is a process. Slow down and enjoy the journey.

Why do you love your job? The experience has been more enjoyable than I imagined and I feel privileged to work with such an accomplished practitioner and mentor. I particularly enjoy the opportunity to represent and advocate for patients. Andy reminds me they are termed clients in this venue, but the nurse in me will forever see a patient in our clients.

What is something most people don't know about you? My father was a truck driver and my mother was a first generation Italian-American who finished eighth grade.

What's one thing you can do now that you couldn't do 20 years ago? Wait.

Favorite place to spend money: TJMaxx--without a doubt.

What is your motto? Live and let live.

Where would you like to be when you're 90? At the lake with my grandchildren

Published: Mon, Jun 11, 2012

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