Monday Profile: Lisa Ruby

Lisa Ruby graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 1991 after earning her bachelor’s degree in psychology at U-M and her master’s in educational psychology at Eastern Michigan University. 

She began working at Legal Services of South Central Michigan, Inc., in 1992 and worked there for eight years, focusing mainly on housing law and public benefits. Ruby started at the Michigan Poverty Law Program in 2000 and specializes in the areas of Social Security, Medicaid and other welfare benefits.  As the public benefits attorney, she assists Legal Aid attorneys and other advocates with research, writing, and impact litigation, as well as legislative and administrative advocacy.  She also organizes trainings on current welfare issues around the state, as well as skill building trainings for attorneys and paralegals.  
By Jo Mathis
Legal News
Residence:  Ann Arbor.
What one thing do you wish people knew about your work?  We are only able to help about 20 percent of the people who need our services, so please be generous with your time and money when assisting those less fortunate in our community.
What’s your proudest moment as a lawyer?  Listening to a former law student state that I was an inspiration and role model.
Currently reading …“The Interestings” by Meg Wolitzer. 
What is your most treasured material possession?  My great-grandfather’s pocket watch.
What advice do you have for someone considering law school?  Go find out what it means to practice law and be sure that it is something you are passionate about.  The cost of a legal education is too high to attend law school without direction.
Favorite local hangouts:  The Last Word, Café Zola, my sun porch.
Favorite websites:  mlive, Huffington Post,
What is your happiest childhood memory?  Traveling with my family, usually up north.
Which things do you not like to do?  Time-keeping and making dental appointments.
What would surprise people about your job?  I work with brilliant attorneys. 
What do you wish someone would invent?  Electric dental floss.
What has been your favorite year so far?  As an adult:  2014, because I was able to legally marry my wife, at least in the eyes of the federal government.  Michigan will come around, I am confident.
Does your job ever make you pessimistic?  No, I am forever an optimist, though perhaps naïve.
If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would that be?  My wife, to see what it’s like to work in the corporate world. 
What’s the most awe-inspiring place you have visited?  Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  The raw beauty is stunning.
If you could have one super power, what would it be?  Flying so I wouldn’t have to drive and find a parking place.
What would you say to your 16-year-old self?  “None of this will matter when you are an adult, so try not to sweat it.  It really does get better.”
Favorite joke:  My niece told me this: Why was the skeleton afraid to cross the road?  Because he had no guts!
What is guaranteed to make you laugh?  “Modern Family,” hanging out with my friends and family.
Must-see TV:  “Major Crimes,” “Rizzoli and Isles,” “The Fosters.”
What’s your biggest regret?  None
What word do you overuse?  “Like.”
What’s one thing you would like to learn to do?  Sing. I have a terrible voice but love to sing.  It’s painful, even to my own ears.
What is something most people don't know about you?  I practice yoga three days a week at Ita Yoga Studio.
If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would they be?  My grandparents.
Can’t-live-without technology:  Pandora.
Does anything worry you?  Having enough money saved for retirement.
What was the greatest compliment someone ever paid you?  During a discussion about race relations, an African American friend told me that I wasn’t any color;  I was the color of water.  I loved that.
Are you concerned about diet and exercise?  Extremely.  I exercise six days a week but my eating habits are not great.  Can you say peanut butter?
What’s the best advice you ever received?  From my father:  All it takes is one small, bad decision to change the course of your life.  That choice that you make, thinking, “Oh, just this one time,” can be the thing that ruins your life or someone else’s.  Forever.
If you can help it, where will you never return?  A Linda Ronstadt concert.  I have been to many, many concerts and this was the only one I have walked out of during the show.  She seemed out of it, maybe under the influence? And she forgot the words to songs, did not engage the audience. It was painful to watch.
What do you drive?  A 2012 Ford Escape that I just purchased.  I had my last car for 12 years and I miss it.
What would you drive if money were no object?  A 2014 Ford Escape.
Favorite place to spend money:  Nowhere. I don’t like buying things.
What is your motto?  Reflect back only what is in front of you.  The rest is illusion.
Where would you like to be when you're 90?  Retired and happily living somewhere where the weather is like Michigan’s, minus the winter.


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