Monday Profile

Kevin V.B. Schumacher

Kevin Schumacher says his first legal job was as a gopher and reader for a blind attorney in the U.P., an experience that led to a stint as a deputy sheriff process server for Marquette County. In fact, he did his first eviction and execution before graduating from high school.

After graduating from Cooley Law School in 1986, Schumacher cut his teeth in a two-attorney environmental firm. Then he became in-house counsel for Dart Energy Corporation of Mason, where he learned the ins and outs of oil and gas law and the thrill of representing a client that had need for a legal team that could fully use the arsenal of tools available to the legal profession.

In 1994, he left Dart for private practice, starting in his basement doing international oil and gas acquisition due diligence. After outgrowing that space, he became associated with Glassen Rhead and bought in shortly after that.

In 1997, he then moved the firm from its prior digs to an 1878 Italianate Victorian home in Lansing that he's been restoring for the last 17 years. His work station is a pool table with cast iron legs featuring elephant heads.

Schumacher's current practice is about 50 percent oil and gas related litigation and counseling, and 50 percent debtor creditor work in bankruptcy, collections and commercial litigation.

Residence:

East Lansing, with Myrtelisa, my wife of 34 years. We have three adult children who are good enough, smart enough and gosh darn it, people like them!

Currently reading ?

"Funhouse" by Stephen King and "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee (again).

What is your most treasured material possession?

If my house were on fire, other than people and a pesky Yorkie, the only thing I'd run back in for is the 1936 Old Town sailing canoe hanging in the garage that my family has had since the 1940's.

What advice do you have for someone considering law school?

Don't be afraid to fail. And see how far you can push the envelope. If you don't know where the edge is, you'll never know what you could have achieved. Oh, and then learn from the failures and get back up.

Favorite local hangouts:

Darkhorse Brewery in Marshall.

Favorite websites:

Best of Craigslist. Where else can you buy a redneck deathtrap, a Goldie Honda or a pirate ship?

What is your happiest childhood memory?

A 30-day camping road trip to Alaska in a Ford van, sitting on two halves of an extra long bath tub cut lengthwise down the middle so that a dozen cousins could fit along with all our camping gear. My dad and uncle wanted to see the newest state.

What do your two middle initials stand for?

V is for Vincent, which was my dad's name, and the B was added when I got married as a tribute to my wife's last name.

Which things do you not like to do?

Shopping.

What would surprise people about your job?

How long it actually takes to craft a perfect letter.

What do you wish someone would invent?

Software that is write protected so that programmers can't add improvements to a program that works fine already.

What has been your favorite year so far?

1978- 1979, when I met Myrtelisa as a freshman at MSU and we started on the most incredible journey you can imagine.

Does your job ever make you pessimistic?

I just looked for that word in my desktop dictionary and that page was mysteriously missing.

If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would that be?

The captain/tour guide of a 50-foot wood-hulled 1940's Chris Craft who gives tours up and down the Detroit River. I don't think he exists yet, but if you have such a boat and want it to be put to good use, let me know.

What's the most awe-inspiring place you have visited?

The most awe inspiring site I've seen is my family listening to music while sailing on a 50-foot Catamaran just off the coast of Jost Van Dyke and the Soggy Dollar Bar. I don't think there's anything that will top that.

If you could have one super power, what would it be?

Already have it: a P number. Combined with a Brooks Brothers suit, I am able to do most anything.

What one thing do you wish people knew about your work?

How much work goes into making it all work in court.

What's your proudest moment as a lawyer?

I was walking through Old Town in Lansing with my wife and a client and his wife from a few years prior crossed the street to say hi and they told my wife that the advice and counseling I gave changed and saved their lives, that they had gotten back on their feet, that the way I advised them had allowed them to save their home and dignity despite the loss of the business and that they were ever thankful. I've won millions of dollars for clients and argued successfully before the Michigan Supreme Court and it all pales in comparison to the simple fact that what we do as a profession can so profoundly change the lives of our clients.

Favorite joke:

There's an old joke about a young bull and an old bull on the top of the hill looking at a herd of cows in the valley below. The rest of it is too crude to repeat here, but it has to do with patience. Call me and I'll tell you the punch line.

Must-see TV:

I don't watch network TV anymore but Netflix and HBOGo are fun. Best movies of late to put in your cue: "The Way" starring Martin Sheen, "It's a Disaster" with David Cross, "Safety Not Guaranteed" with a bunch of unknowns and a host of indie films.

What's your biggest regret?

That I wasn't able to make it as a televangelist.

What word do you overuse?

"Okay."

What's one thing you would like to learn to do?

Curling. Took one lesson last winter after the Olympics and think there's room for improvement.

What is something most people don't know about you?

I'm from the U.P., even though I'm pretty good at hiding the accent, eh.

If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would they be?

Harry Truman, Jackie Robinson and W. C. Fields

Can't-live-without technology:

I truly believe the Blackberry I keep in my pocket would take a bullet for me.

What's the best advice you ever received?

If it won't matter in six months, it's not worth fighting over now. Advice from the leader of a polar cross country ski expedition to keep her team in line while trekking to the North Pole (which took six months to do; in other words, if it doesn't affect our ability to complete the trek to the North Pole without freezing to death, it is not worth fighting over).

If you can help it, where will you never return?

Las Vegas.

What do you drive?

Audi A8L, black with a caramel colored interior, usually traveling at ridiculous speeds.

What would you drive if money were no object?

If you know of a superior vehicle, let me know.

Favorite place to spend money:

Detroit. Seriously. It is a tremendously underrated city for nightlife, culture, and music. Not to mention one of the greatest sports towns in the world.

Where would you like to be when you're 90?

Wake boarding behind a hundred year old Chris Craft piloted by Myrtelisa on Lake Leelanau while our kids and grandkids are staring in disbelief from the shore.

What would you like carved onto your tombstone?

I intend to have my ashes scattered in Lake Superior so the following should be written in the sand on the beach: Better than average husband, decent father, lover of fine donuts.

Published: Mon, Jul 21, 2014

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