Monday Profile: Michael Gatti

Mike Gatti is an attorney practicing in Ann Arbor.  A graduate of Michigan State University and Wayne State Law School, he spent 11 years at Legal Services of Southeastern Michigan, Inc. (now Legal Services of South Central Michigan, Inc.) and then worked as a magistrate at the 15th District Court in Ann Arbor.
He is now in private practice at the firm of Dawid & Gatti, PLLC, where he handles criminal, employment and real estate matters while he says his partner “does the real hard work.”
Gatti and his wife, Lisa Murray, have a daughter, Roberta, 10. He loves baseball, movies and music. 
By Jo Mathis
Legal News
 
Residence: Ann Arbor.
 
Currently reading … “Bleeding Kansas,” a novel by Sara Paretsky. “The Moth Book: 50 True Stories from The Moth Radio Hour.”
 
What is your most treasured material possession?  My dad’s wristwatch.
 
What advice do you have for someone considering law school?  Think long and hard about why you are considering it (it is not a fallback career) and know going in that it is a damn hard job.
 
If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you be?  If I am deciding at 22 again, then being a school teacher was on my mind when I started law school.  In retrospect I think I would have made a good counselor.
 
Favorite local hangouts:  Bella Italia Pizzeria, Old Town and Argiero’s. 
 
Favorite websites:  The Onion, MLB.com, Freep.com.
 
Your proudest moment as a lawyer?  I drafted docs for TRO on my first day of practice, in my first case at Legal Services of Southeastern Michigan, Inc. An order was granted on my second day and helped a paralyzed man preserve his life savings.  
 
Your worst moment as a lawyer?  Every day since then. Just kidding! It is the occasions where—rather than moving forward with our plan—I let doubt creep in for no reason and shake my confidence.
 
What is your happiest childhood memory? I feel fortunate to have had many.  I’d say the first time we went to the airport to pick up my dad after he’d been away on a long business trip.  Back then you could wait at the gate, so it was seeing him come out of that tunnel safe and sound and having all of us back together again.
 
Which things do you not like to do?  Break bad news/disappoint people.  
 
What would surprise people about your job? That there are very few yes or no questions and that most answers start with “It depends…”
 
What do you wish someone would invent?  There are so many things we need, diseases that need cured, etc. But if we are being frivolous, I think those jet packs from the sci fi shows when we were kids would be very cool.  
 
If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would that be?  Wynton Marsalis. Can you imagine being able to play like that? And the man can dress.
 
You play the guitar in Soultivity. How fun is that?
It is a blast.  It is so much fun to get the chance to go out and make noise with your friends and do a little good for charity at the same time.  It is such a kick to see people dance to music that we make.  I’ll be in the group until they kick me out.
 
What’s the most awe-inspiring place you have visited?  Paris.
 
What’s your greatest achievement?  Convincing Lisa Murray to marry me. Or, as a good friend once commented, “How did you end up with such a quality individual?”
 
If you could have one super power, what would it be?  To hit a baseball like Miguel Cabrera. 
 
What would you say to your 16-year-old self?  This is not your last and only chance to see the Rolling Stones.  It may still be worth it to cut school—and take the heat associated—to go to the show. But please know that you will have many, many more opportunities to see them.  
 
What one thing do you wish people knew about your work? That it is a skill and if you need legal advice see a lawyer and don’t take it from “a guy you know” or “your friend” unless they are lawyers.
 
Favorite joke:  Eddie Murphy’s bit about his mom making him a hamburger as a child.
 
Must-see TV: Right now it is the HBO show “True Detective.”  Also love a sitcom called “The Middle.”
 
What word do you overuse?  Of those that are OK to print, I’d say, “man.”   Example: Hey man, what’s up? Man, that’s cool man.  I know it is dumb sounding, but still a hard habit to break, man. 
 
What’s one thing you would like to learn to do?  Surf.
 
What is something most people don’t know about you?  I make the best eggplant parmesan around.
 
If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would they be?  My dad, my wife, and my wife’s dad, because both of our fathers died before my wife and I met.
 
Can’t-live-without technology: This winter the seat warmers in the car. But in a few months, air conditioning.
 
Favorite CD:  “The Stranger” by Billy Joel.
 
Favorite law-related movie:  “And Justice for All.”
 
What’s the best advice you ever received?  When my dad dropped me off at college, as he turned to leave, he said, “Don’t be an idiot.”  Don’t know if I have always followed it, but I’ve always remembered it. 
 
If you can help it, to which place will you never return?  Arby’s.
 
What do you drive? Usually a Toyota Corolla.
 
What would you drive if money were no object?  I’d like to have one of those long  convertibles Mr. Drysdale used to drive on the Beverly Hillbillies from the 1960s.  I think they were Chryslers.  
 
Favorite place to spend money:   Any place I am hanging out with my family and friends.
 
What is your motto?  “I tease because I love.”
 
Where would you like to be when you’re 90?  Wherever my wife and daughter are.
 

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