Litigation vocation: Attorney views his role as that of a problem-solver

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By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

When he was in undergrad at the University of Michigan, David Mollicone came close to pursuing a career in academia as a history professor. “Ironically, it was one of my history professors who encouraged me to enroll in law school,” he says.

His parents also encouraged their son to enter the law.  “I was a pragmatic child who was always debating or advocating every point of contention within my family,” he says.

Mollicone went on to earn his J.D. from Ohio State University College of Law— where he was named in Who’s Who Among American Law Students and received the Ohio State University Public Service Fellowship, serving as an unpaid intern to Federal Magistrate Judge Mark Abel, gaining valuable experience as a federal law clerk while still in law school.

“One thing they don’t tell you about law school is that—at the time at least—there is no specialization,” he says. “You’re just learning to be a lawyer, so the prospect of being a transactional attorney, a litigator, or an estate planner did not exist for me.

“Growing up, my concept of being a lawyer was formed from what I saw on TV and in movies—litigation. So, my ambition was always to become a litigator and advocate.”

Now an attorney at Dawda, Mann, Mulcahy, & Sadler PLC, in Bloomfield Hills, Mollicone practices in the area of general civil litigation involving commercial and corporate transactions, banking, creditors’ rights, automobile dealerships, real estate, employment, probate and environmental matters. He has litigated cases involving a broad range of general business issues including breach of contract, complex commercial issues, loan workouts, Consumer Protection Act violations, discrimination, non-competition agreements and real estate disputes. He also regularly represents creditors in all phases of bankruptcy proceedings, including the pursuit of proofs of claim and all post-petition claims.

“I enjoy civil litigation, and specifically commercial litigation because I view myself as a problem solver,” he says. “Clients will come to me with problems, be it a breach of a supplier contract or a non-compete agreement or something similar. In my mind, my job is to help the client resolve their problem as quickly and efficiently as possible, even if that means the case does not go to trial.”

Mollicone currently is representing a well-known local snack food manufacturer in a $6 million product recall case. He recently participated in a trial in the Michigan Court of Claims in Lansing, defending a major Michigan university in a negligence case; and in another case, obtained a Federal Temporary Restraining Order preventing a former executive from violating a non-compete agreement with an international accounting firm client.

He also serves as outside counsel for the North-Midwest Region of a national retailer client, supervising and managing all customer claim litigation in 12 states.

“I really enjoy working with various local counsel and obtaining positive results for the client,” he says. “Through the years, we’ve been able to come up with efficiencies and practices which have saved the client money in defending these lawsuits and avoiding additional claims from its customers.”

He previously represented the now-defunct International Hockey League in a dispute between it and some of its franchisees related to the dissolution of the league.

“As a lifelong sports fan I found the work to be extremely interesting from the perspective of being able to see how such a league actually functioned day to day,” he says.

A member of the American Bar Association and State Bar of Michigan, Mollicone also belongs to the Oakland County Bar Association, where he enjoys networking and getting to know the people he will encounter in court.

“This tends to shrink the legal community and make cases less adversarial since you are less likely to argue with someone you know outside of court, and this allows me to obtain a better result for my clients,” he says.

A Detroit native who grew up in West Bloomfield, Mollicone and his wife Cristina make their home in Rochester Hills, with their three daughters, ages 13, 10 and 6. He is an avid supporter of the Motor City and the Greater Detroit area.

“It’s significantly underrated throughout the world as a place to live,” he says. “Having travelled extensively when I was younger, I believe there’s no better area in the country to raise a family and establish a happy, fulfilling life. Especially now with the re-birth of downtown Detroit, which makes this an even more dynamic, exciting area to live.”

Still passionate about history, Mollicone avidly watches history documentaries and reads as many historical books and novels as possible.

“Watching PBS World War II documentaries with my father, who is also a history buff, are some of my earliest memories which led to my interest in history,” he explains. “I also had some great history teachers at Brother Rice High School, who instilled in me the importance of learning about our past. The more I learned, the more interested I became in history, and the more I was convinced that the old George Santayana quote about those ignorant of history being doomed to repeat it is true.”

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