Monday Profile- Nuala Holowicki

By Jo Mathis

Legal News

Nuala (pronounced "Nula") Holowicki is an attorney at Magill and Rumsey, P.C, in Ann Arbor. Her practice focuses on representing nonprofit and tax exempt organizations.

Holowicki grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland during the 'Troubles.' She went to Queens University and practiced as an attorney in Belfast for several years before moving to the US in 1992. Holowicki met her husband, Gerry, a Michigander, in a castle in Ireland while on vacation and emigrated here after they got married. They live in Ypsilanti Township and have two children, both high schoolers.

Since moving to Michigan, Holowicki earned an LL.M law degree from Wayne State University. She has practiced law in Ann Arbor since 1995.

Residence: Ypsilanti Township

What is your idea of perfect happiness? Hearty discussion over a good dinner with close friends and family.

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

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

If you suddenly had an extra room in your house, what would you do with it? Make an art studio

Currently reading... Just finished Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel, just started Big Brother by Lionel Shriver

How do you feel at 8 a.m. on Mondays? I don't, I'm on automatic pilot

What words or phrases do you overuse? "No", according to my kids. Also, "Stop!"

What was your most memorable meal? On our honeymoon in Switzerland, my husband and I sat on our hotel terrace overlooking a lake with mountains rising steeply on either side, eating a dessert of vanilla ice cream and fresh black cherries. It was just perfect.

What is your most treasured material possession? My passport--I am the only member of my family on this side of the Atlantic.

Why did you go into law? I have always liked solving complicated problems and found that I could use that skill to make a difference for people.

What advice do you have for someone considering law school? At this point, I would say, weigh up the cost and know what your goals are.

If you weren't a lawyer, what would you be? Executive director of a nonprofit.

What are your favorite websites? bbc.co.uk/news.

Where have you been that you will never return--if you can help it? Maze Prison (a maximum security prison for paramilitaries outside Belfast-I was just visiting!) and the Bucharest Train Station.

Favorite local hangouts: Moonwinks, Amadeus Restaurant.

Your proudest moment(s) as a lawyer? Years ago, I was able to help get a passport for an elderly African American gentleman who had been born on a plantation in a Southern State and did not have any record of his birth.

What would surprise people about your job? How interesting it is, and yet so unlike TV or movie depictions of law practice!

What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Busy-ness, as opposed to productiveness.

When and where were you happiest? Any time I am back in Ireland with my husband and children and my sisters and their families.

What's your greatest achievement? Some years ago, my daughter had a progressive medical condition that doctors were unable to diagnose, and the various treatments they tried were unsuccessful. I did my own research; I discovered the unusual diagnosis and a research study of the best treatment. The trickiest part was persuading the surgeon to look at my findings, given that I have no medical qualifications. When she did, she agreed that I had found the answer and performed the recommended surgery. It was a complete cure--and made a huge difference in my daughter's life.

What would be your ideal job? I would quite like to be U.S. Secretary of State!

What one thing do you wish people knew about your work? That in my field of nonprofit law, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Usually, the earlier a client consults me about a problem the easier and quicker it can be resolved.

What is something most people don't know about you? How to pronounce (or spell) my full name, Fionnuala (fin-oo-la).

What do you wish more people understood? Other people.

If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would they be? Ron Hansen, Alexander Solzhenitzin, Muriel Spark.

Who is your favorite character of fiction?

Atticus Finch. (He is such a perfect man, only a woman could have created him.)

What's one thing you can do now that you couldn't do 20 years ago? Vote! I just became a US citizen three years ago.

Where would you like to be when you're 90? Anywhere, so long as I am near my husband, kids and, hopefully, grandkids.

Published: Thu, Jul 4, 2013

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