Monday Profile: Edmund Sikorski

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Edmund Sikorski was born and raised in Detroit. Prior to entering law school at the University of Detroit School of Law, he was a surgical and emergency room technician working at hospitals located in Detroit and Ann Arbor.

For 40 years, Sikorski’s clientele included a medical malpractice insurance carrier, condominium and commercial real estate developers, marina operators, estate planners, athletic associations, small businesses, insurance and annuity marketing organizations, foundations, coal and ore mining companies, and trucking industry related services and leasing operations. He served as real estate and finance counsel to developers.

After he retired from the active practice of law in 2009, Sikorski moved to Florida and began a second career as a mediator. But he missed Ann Arbor and returned in May 2016, where he is now reentering mediation practice in southeastern Michigan.

By Jo Mathis
Legal News

Residence: Ann Arbor.

Why did you want to leave retirement behind? When you’re used to going 80 miles an hour, managing people’s lives and affairs as competently as you can and it suddenly stops, all the social interaction and sense of accomplishment that goes along with it stops as well. Now what are you going to do?

Favorite local hangouts: My home.

What is your most treasured material possession? Probably be my father’s pair of gold cufflinks with his initials, which are the same as mine.

What was always written on your grade school report card?  When I got out of the eighth grade, I was given a medal that said “Person Most Likely to Succeed.”

What is your happiest childhood memory? Going up to my father’s cabin up in the Antrim County area. The woods, the lake, and the wooden fishing boat - and just being outside of the eastside Detroit environment I grew up in.

When you were considering law school, what was Plan B? 
I would have clients who would say “I do not have plan B.” My response was “then we better make plan A work”

What would surprise people about the role of a mediator?
  What most surprises people is how mediators perceive their job.  Everyone does it a little bit differently. To me, the satisfaction of being a cognitive coach is helping people to think through things in a systematic manner, rather than in an emotional reaction to a situation.

What do you wish someone would invent? A happiness pill - along with a tolerance pill.

What has been your favorite year so far?
My favorite years were when my two daughters were born three years apart.

Do you prefer email, text, or a phone call?  I really prefer a phone call. When you send text messages, they tend to be misunderstood too easily. Email, I find defeats the purpose of reflective thought process. When an email comes in, very often the person has an immediate response and that prevents reflective thought.

When you look back into the past, what do you miss most?
  There are several levels to answer that. If I was 24 again, I’d answer much differently. What I miss most is the fire of youth. When I say fire, I mean unbounded enthusiasm, ambition, and energy. Sooner or later you have to come to grips with the fact of where you are in the calendar.
What is your most typical mood? At this point in time, my mood is upbeat and hopeful. However, the times we now live in certainly create anxiety and concern for all.
 
What question do you most often ask yourself?  You ask yourself lots of questions that don’t have answers. You ask yourself: How did you get here, and where are you going from here and what are you contributing that makes a difference in the community in which you live.

What are the most awe-inspiring places you’ve ever been? Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; and Omaha Beach, Normandy.

What was your proudest moment as a lawyer?  It was probably when I received an order from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals granting my motion for a rehearing en banc. That type of motion and order is really a long shot. Maybe a Federal Circuit Court of Appeals grants this type of petition a couple of times a year.  After a tough fight, I received a favorable opinion.

What word do you overuse?  I’m not one to repeat myself. I find use of repetition anything but productive.

What is one thing you would like to learn to do? Listen more and weigh my words more effectively.

What is something most people don’t know about you? I am a retired U.S. Coast Guard Licensed Captain (Inland)).

What is the best advice you ever received? “Open your eyes and close your mouth.”

What advice would you give to someone considering law school today? The first thing I’d tell them is: Do not do it unless you have another higher education degree such as an engineering or business – preferably a graduate degree. The job market is so saturated with lawyers, it’s unbelievable. The ratio of graduating lawyers in relation to the demand is currently unsustainable. And on top of that, the cost associated is astronomical. It is hard to believe that people are coming out of law school with $150,000 of debt and  can’t find jobs. The economics of the investment simply does not work at this time or apparently in at least the near future.

What if the person says, “But becoming a lawyer is the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do!”?  I would reply: Take a second look at where it’s going. You may want to shoe horses, but where are the horses to be shoed?’

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