Monday Profile--Sandra Sorini Elser

By Jo Mathis

Legal News

Residence: Ann Arbor.

If you suddenly had an extra room in your house, what would you do with it? An art studio so I could try pottery or painting.

Currently reading... "Lean In" by Sheryl Sandberg. Should be required reading for all professionals--men and women.

My mother always told me... "Never underestimate the power of a woman."

My favorite item of clothing... My warm, fuzzy bathrobe.

What was your most memorable meal? An outdoor restaurant in a Spanish village overlooking the Pyrenees.

What is your most treasured material possession? The Ann Arbor home I've lived in for 33 years.

What is your greatest fear? Losing my husband or one of my children.

Which living person do you most admire? My husband.

What is the trait you hate most in yourself? Two things--being a perfectionist and lack of patience.

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

If you could do one thing professionally... Help to bring us closer to that elusive goal of gender equality, both among lawyers and among those we serve.

What is your favorite website? Nytimes.com.

If you could have any car in the world, what would you drive? A Mercedes convertible.

Where have you been that you will never return--if you can help it? Cedar Point.

Favorite Ann Arbor area hang-outs: Casey's, Sava's and Red Hawk.

What was your most embarrassing moment? Messing up one of my first oral presentations as a lawyer. That sent me to Dale Carnegie, which worked wonders.

Your proudest moment(s) as a lawyer? Graduating from Michigan Law School after having twins at the end of my second semester. It took five years to finally finish! I have to thank Dean of Students Sue Ecklund, whose support and encouragement saw me through the difficulties of being a part time law student at a full time law school.

What would surprise people about your job? The best time to work is after 5 pm when things are quiet and you can focus.

When and where were you happiest? (1) Nine years ago on my honeymoon in Hawaii with my husband Doug. (2) Last fall biking the Golden Gate Bridge with my son Adam. (3) Last summer at my son Jon's wedding reception at the Dearborn Inn.

What's your greatest achievement: Raising two wonderful children and practicing law at Bodman.

What would you say to your 16-year-old self? Aim high. With hard work and persistence you can do anything.

Do you have spiritual beliefs? I like to go to church on Sunday mornings where the goals are love and compassion. It's a nice balance to the adversarial nature of law.

What would be your ideal job? What I'm doing now but with no deadlines.

What one thing do you wish people knew about your work? You don't just push a button to spit out condominium documents, deeds, leases or purchase agreements.

What one habit do you wish you could break? Starbucks.

What is something most people don't know about you? My father was a plumber and I was the first person in my family to graduate from college.

What do you wish more people understood? You can accomplish so much more if you treat others with kindness and respect.

If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would they be? (1) My father, who died when I was 30. (2) Michelle Obama (3) Gloria Steinem.

Who is your favorite character of fiction? Atticus Finch in "To Kill a Mockingbird."

Favorite movie: Anything with Meryl Streep.

What's one thing you can do now that you couldn't do 20 years ago? Race walk around Mackinac Island in less than two hours.

Favorite place to spend money: Chicago.

Where would you like to be when you're 90? On a deck overlooking Lake Michigan at sunset with a glass of wine and people I love.

Published: Mon, Apr 29, 2013

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