Monday Profile: Margo Nichols

By Jo Mathis
Legal News
 
Margo Nichols says that after 37 years of practice, she’s learned a few things about family law and human nature, much of it good. She graduated third in her high school class in Pennsylvania and came to Michigan on a full scholarship to Kalamazoo College — where she discovered everyone was from the top of the class. From there, Nichols went on to earn her master’s degree in library science from Western Michigan University and her law degree from Wayne State University Law School. 
Nichols is a family law attorney at Nichols, Sacks, Slank, Sendelbach & Buiteweg, PC in Ann Arbor and says that working with each new client has proved very satisfying over the years. 
“That people pay me for what I have learned continues to gratify me,” she says.
Residence: Dexter.
 
Currently reading … “Silence Once Begun” by Jesse Ball.
 
What is your most treasured material possession? My grandmother’s Hoosier cabinet.
 
What advice do you have for someone applying for a job as a new lawyer? Given the future of technology and the impact of online resources on the practice of law, a savvy law applicant will ask what the law firm’s strategy is in the evolving legal marketplace. 
 
Favorite local hangouts: Zola’s – it’s where the attorneys in my firm go for “recess” around the noon hour! 
 
Favorite websites: Lexulous, Facebook with my family and close friends, Words With Friends.
 
What is your happiest childhood memory? There are too many. I can’t pick one. But a flash of glee came to mind remembering how, in about 1957, my grandmother and I dressed in our Sunday best, complete with white gloves and hats and matching bags, to fly from Pittsburgh to Charleston, West Virginia. Everybody dressed up. It was a really special event to fly then. I briefly wanted to be a “stewardess” after that!
 
What would surprise people about your job? How rewarding it is to be able to guide people in the midst of one of the worst times of their lives toward a healthy outlook on the next phase of their life, whether or not they had wanted to go there in the first place.
 
What do you wish someone would invent? A self-cleaning bathroom.
 
What has been your favorite year so far? I would have to say the first year of my son’s life. Talk about wonder! Holding and caring for an infant and watching the incredible maturation that takes place in that one year is nothing short of miraculous. It doesn’t hurt that he turned out to be a great person!
 
Does your job ever make you pessimistic? No, but the log-jammed and ugly political atmosphere in our country does. 
 
If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would that be? President Obama, though I think the day would feel really long!
 
What’s your proudest moment as a lawyer? There have been so many but two come to mind: the day of being sworn in and the day my friends and colleagues at NSSSB met 20 years ago to form our firm.
 
Must-see TV: Meh.
What’s the most awe-inspiring place you have visited? The Grand Canyon. My husband and I and friends took a rafting trip for eight days down the Canyon. Seeing it from the rim is awe-inspiring (I recommend it to everyone) but then being in the Canyon and realizing the depth of time that all those layers represent, and the amazing beauty of the place, just puts the rest of life with all its hustle and bustle in perspective.
 
If you could have one super power, what would it be? In my practice, we all get asked to wave our magic wands to change the other party somehow. Would that we could!
 
What would you say to your 16-year-old self? What my father said to me: You are smart, but never forget to have common sense!
 
Favorite joke: I just laugh at other people’s jokes!
 
What is guaranteed to make you laugh? Cat videos – I’ve an ambition to retire to being a crazy cat lady!
 
What’s one thing you would like to learn to do? I would seriously like to learn Spanish. The young lawyers today are going to be living in a world where half the population speaks Spanish. 
 
What is something most people don’t know about you? I was a librarian at Washtenaw Community College in the early 1970s.
 
If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would they be? My mom, dad, and youngest sister, all of whom died over a decade ago. 
 
If you can help it, where will you never return? Law school – I’m not one of those who “loved” law school.
 
What do you drive? Ford Fusion Hybrid.
 
What would you drive if money were no object? A Bentley.
 
Favorite place to spend money: Amazon and Nicola’s Books.
 
What is your motto? The Golden Rule.
 
Where would you like to be when you’re 90? On this side of the grass!

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