Monday Profile: Joseph X. Michaels

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Joe Michaels is a 2014 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School. He was born and raised on the southside of Lansing and attended Lansing Community College before transferring to Wayne State in Detroit, where he received a degree in labor studies and economics.  Between college and law school, he worked as a statewide organizer for the Civil Service Employees Association, AFSCME Local 1000 in New York State.

Michaels now works as an associate attorney at Nacht, Roumel & Salvatore, PC in Ann Arbor, where he concentrates on employment and civil rights litigation as well traditional labor law.

Michaels recently moved to Ann Arbor from his native Lansing. His fiancée, Lauren Reid, also a 2014 Michigan law graduate, is an attorney at the Environmental Protection Agency's National Fuel and Vehicle
Emissions Laboratory in Ann Arbor. The two plan to make their home in Ann Arbor with their rescue dog Maizey.

By Jo Mathis

Legal News

What is your most treasured material possession? The letter my grandma wrote me to be opened at her funeral.

What advice do you have for someone considering law school?
Don't do it just because you don't know what you want to do. Have at least some idea of what your future life will be like as a lawyer.

Favorite local hangouts:
Cloverleaf Diner, Wolverine Brewing, Jolly Pumpkin, Taco Bell.

Favorite websites: The Onion, Clickhole, Bless You Boys (Tigers blog), Detroit Bad Boys (Pistons blog), NYTimes, RealClearPolitics, FiveThirtyEight.

Favorite app: Spotify.

Favorite music: Rap.

What is your happiest childhood memory?
Too many to count. Probably going to Tigers’ games with my dad and brother.

What would surprise people about your job? How specialized most areas of the law can be.

What do you wish someone would invent? A turn-based app where I could play Risk with my law school friends online throughout the day. It surprisingly does not exist.

What has been your favorite year so far? 2015. I moved to Ann Arbor, got settled into my job, and asked the love of my life to marry me.

How do you define success?
Being secure enough to do things because you want to do them rather than because it’s what other people think you should do.

Who is on your guest list for the ideal dinner party?
Kendrick Lamar, Pope Francis, Sparky Anderson, Jack London, Samuel Gompers, Abraham Lincoln, my fiancée, my parents, and my grandma.

Why did you become a lawyer? To help working people.

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

What’s the most awe-inspiring place you’ve ever been?
Isle Royale.

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

What would you say to your 16-year-old self?
Nothing. He had it figured out.

What is your proudest moment as a lawyer? Swearing in one of my best friends from law school.

What do you do to relax? Read, golf, work out, spend time with my fiancée, go backpacking.

What word(s) do you overuse? “Sort of.”

What is one thing you would like to learn to do? Play a musical instrument.

What is something most people don't know about you? I follow NASCAR.

What is the best advice you ever received?
Don't tear down a fence unless you know why it was put up.

If you can help it, where will you never return?
Washington D.C.

What do you drive? 2014 Dodge Charger.

What would you drive if money were no object?
Cadillac CTS-V, made in Lansing.

Favorite place to spend money: REI, Gander Mountain.

What is your motto?
Same as (rapper) Drake’s: YOLO.

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