Monday Profile: Gary Bauer

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Gary Bauer was born and raised with 11 siblings in Ft. Wayne. He graduated from Purdue University with a bachelor’s degree in general agriculture; from Central Michigan University with a master’s in business management, and from WMU Cooley Law School in 1988 with his JD.

Bauer, who is married with two daughters and a son, commutes downstate every weekend from the family’s cottage on Hubbard Lake to an apartment in East Lansing, where he lives during the week.

His primary areas of practice experience include criminal defense, estate planning, elder law and Medicaid planning.

He has been employed at WMU Cooley Law School as a full-time professor since 1997.

He also writes a blog, sololawyerbydesign.com, which has 69 posts since January, with titles such as “Avoid The Dog In A Basket”, “120 in a 65”, and “Is your Client a Twenty Footer?”


By Jo Mathis
Legal News

Residence:  Spruce, in northern lower Michigan.

What is your most treasured material possession?
Hand plane given to me from my father.

What advice do you have for someone considering law school?
If you have doubts, first, work in a law office to gain a better understanding of how the practice of law really works. If you decide you are well suited to that type of work, take the LSAT. But, always be aware that academic success is no predictor of success in practice – motivation and a strong work ethic are the best predictors in my opinion.

Favorite local hangouts:
WMU Cooley Law School.

Favorite websites: “Attorney At Work”, tip for solo practitioners, and  https://pixabay.com, attribution-free photos for use in my blog.

What is your happiest childhood memory?
Two week long vacations at a lake cottage in northern Indiana with all of my siblings.

Why did you become a lawyer? Helping others using legal process, flexibility in practice options, lifetime income potential.

What would surprise people about your job?
As a law school professor, how much enthusiasm, motivation and interest in helping the underserved that my students demonstrate on a daily basis.

What do you wish someone would invent?
Nutritional food without calories.

What has been your favorite year so far?
Each year beginning another year of being alive.

What is your most typical mood? Pensive.

Who is on your guest list for the ideal dinner party?
Charlie Rose and anybody he would recommend. Watch him conduct interviews on “The Charlie Rose Show” on PBS.

If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would that be?
Terry Cavanaugh, the most loved and respected individual I have ever known.

What’s the most awe-inspiring place you’ve ever been?
Battle Island, Labrador.

What is your proudest moment as a lawyer? Telling my mother and father that I had graduated.

What do you do to relax? 
Sail.

How would you describe your home? Craftsman style with elements of my craftsmanship throughout.

What word do you overuse?
Ask my colleagues. . . .

What is one thing you would like to learn to do?
Play the guitar better.

What is something most people don’t know about you?
The number of students and graduates I counsel on a daily basis to help them succeed in the business of law.

If you can help it, where will you never return? The village outside the village adjacent to the military base where I was stationed in Thailand during the war.

What do you drive? 
A Prius.

What would you drive if money were no object?
A Prius.

Favorite place to spend money:  
Johnson’s Workbench.

How do you find time to be so prolific on your blog?
Finding time to post is easy as most of them are stories from my life. They say write about what you know and it will come easy. It comes easy.

What is your motto?
Not mine, but a favorite - “Worry is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but doesn’t get you anywhere.” Anonymous

How did you enjoy growing up with 11 siblings?
Like many people, I won the lottery of life, born into circumstances that gave me opportunities to be able to obtain an undergraduate degree which opened doors for me that were not opened, and never would be open to others.  It is easy to be a success in life when you have two parents in a committed relationship. It is easy to succeed when you grow up in a neighborhood where the Catholic parochial grade school was across the street and you had two older siblings who both excelled. The nuns assumed I was intelligent and would do well academically and treated me accordingly. You look around in our society today in which there are many broken homes, single parents struggling to earn minimum wages with another child on the way in a neighborhood populated by gangs or drug dealers. Life wasn't perfect; my parents stressed every time my mother became pregnant. It wasn’t always harmonious and mom and dad worked full time—my mom as a registered nurse and my dad as a technical writer, a job he obtained with less than a high school education. My parents were never destined to be wealthy, but my dad was always an optimist and my mother, who dreamed of being a professional singer (and had the voice to do it) was stuck in her role as mother to all of us, never realizing her dreams. But they were the best models a child could have sharing love for one another and expressing it openly until the day they died. To this day, all of my brothers and sisters are alive, well, well-educated, successful and very close to one another. We were taught to treat others with respect regardless of their backgrounds and I naturally befriended those in my class who were the least popular.

What is the best advice you ever received?  My father always told us that we could do whatever we wanted. The key was to recognize opportunities but that is not enough, you need to act upon those opportunities to make your dreams come true.

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