Rest assured: Attorney relishes the fast pace of insurance defense litigation


By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

In one of the very first cases that attorney Zach Zurek handled, he defended homeowners whose pet cow escaped its enclosure, walked into the road, and was hit by a motorist.

“I thought to myself—seven years of school and I’m practicing ‘cow law,’” Zurek says. “It turned out to be a really interesting case.”

Bovine misadventures notwithstanding, Zurek—now an attorney with Willingham & Coté PC in East Lansing, enjoys the fast pace and challenges of trial work. He focuses his practice on all areas of insurance defense litigation with a particular focus on representing insurance carriers and their insureds in Michigan first and third-party no-fault litigation, delivering successful outcomes through dispositive motion practice, settlement negotiations, and trial.

“I also enjoy getting to work with so many different attorneys and all the interesting people you meet,” he says.

Zurek recently won summary disposition in a PIP case where the insured was committing fraud.

“What really raised suspicion during discovery was when we found out the claimant, a chiropractor, had been receiving Medicaid for over a decade but was claiming over $70,000 year in lost wages from the car accident,” he says.

Zurek started his career path with an undergrad degree in humanities/humanistic studies, with high honor, from Michigan State University, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

“I enjoyed the opportunity to read books in college while all of my friends had to do math,” he says.

After graduating in 2009, he ventured from Spartan to Wolverine territory to earn his J.D. in 2012 from the University of Michigan Law School.

“I enjoyed the MLaw professors, especially J.J. White who was my contracts and commercial transactions professor,” he says. “Rubbing it in when the Spartans beat the Wolverines was fun, too.”

A native of Howell in Livingston County, Zurek makes his home there now with his wife, Crystal, a middle school teacher in the Dexter Community Schools. The two, who were teen-age sweethearts in their junior year of high school, are now the proud parents of 18-month-old Hunter.

Zurek, who also has worked in Southfield and Kalamazoo, is happy to be back working in Spartan territory.

“I love being near the MSU campus and the opportunity to work in some of the smaller surrounding counties,” he says.  “Also, the commute is a lot nicer than it is in Detroit!”

Leisure pursuits include hunting, fishing, snowboarding and backpacking, and Zurek and his wife recently completed a five-day hike through Michigan’s Picture Rocks National Lakeshore and a seven-day hike through Isle Royale National Park. 

“There’s something I love about vacationing where there is no cell phone signal,” he says.