Get to Know Elizabeth Warren


By Jo Mathis
Legal News

After completing her J.D. at Case Western Reserve University School of Law in 1993, Elizabeth Warren served a two-year term as an attorney law clerk for an appellate judge. She then worked with several firms in Toledo, representing workers' compensation plaintiffs and finally focusing on Social Security claims. She opened her own solo practice in Ypsilanti in 2001, and moved her office to Ann Arbor in 2012.

Warren has 18 years of experience practicing Social Security Disability and SSI law. She is a member and former chair of the State Bar of Michigan Social Security Lawyers Section, and is a sustaining member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives. She is a trained family mediator and devotes part of her time to that practice.

Warren originally trained as a classical musician and has a bachelor's degree from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music; and after graduation, served as a campus minister. Her hobbies include music (viola da gamba, recorders, and cello), intensive urban gardening, and knitting. She has been active in local, state, and national political campaigns and enjoys voter identification, GOTV, and voter protection activities. She is married to Lorie Warren and has two adult children.

Residence: Ypsilanti.

Favorite local hangouts: Beezy's, Bona Sera, Frita Batidos.

Favorite websites:

What is your most treasured material possession? I tend to value things that have sentimental connection, but there are fewer and fewer of such things as I age. Time with family and friends is most important everything else can either be remembered or replaced.

What was always written on your grade school report card? "Doesn't work up to potential."

What is your happiest childhood memory? Playing on the rocky beach with my mom in Tiverton Four Corners, R.I., while my older siblings were at school. We enjoyed a picnic of tuna salad sandwiches, potato chips, and lemonade. These are still my comfort foods.

What's the best compliment you've received? When winning a disability claim makes it possible for the claimant to have stable housing, that person's thanks means the world to me.

When you were considering law school, what was Plan B? Law school was Plan B, or maybe Plan C or D.

What would surprise people about your job? I find most people are surprised to find that claimants have to prove they qualify for benefits and that the proofs are becoming more and more difficult.

What do you wish someone would invent? A transporter, like on "Star Trek." I guess I'm not completely reconciled to the time it takes to move through space. Seriously, I mainly wish we could simply implement more justly the inventions we have. I'd like to be able to take a train from here to Cleveland or Columbus, for example. More importantly, I'd like everyone who needs medical care or a home to have it.

What has been your favorite year so far? Each era has had its highlights. The births of my children are at the top. In 2001 and 2002, I opened my own practice and participated in the Ypsilanti Campaign for Equality, during which I met my wife, so that was a great period. 2016 has been a challenge.

Do you prefer e-mail, text, or a phone call? It depends on the content and purpose of the communication.

What is your most typical mood? Some might say caffeinated, but I tend to be pretty even-keeled, despite my underlying anxiety.

If you could have witnessed any event in history, what would it be? Sojourner Truth's speech, "Ain't I a Woman," delivered in Akron, Ohio, in 1827. Pentecost would have been pretty cool, too.

What were you doing in your last selfie? I rarely take selfies. I think Lorie and I took one on a trip to Toronto.

What question do you most often ask yourself? Where did I leave my ****'g keys?

If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would that be? Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

Were you relieved she didn't run for president, given your shared name? Yes. We need her in the Senate, IMHO. Plus, people already ignore my e-mails thinking they are solicitations from her!

What's the most awe-inspiring place you've ever been? The Burren.

What's something you changed your mind about recently? I am no longer going to represent clients in divorces. I will continue with mediation.

What is your proudest moment as a lawyer? Working with the late John Loring and the PORT team to assist homeless mentally ill individuals.

What word do you overuse? I don't think you can print that. Let's go with "awesome."

What is one thing you would like to learn to do? Dance.

What is something most people don't know about you? I've had a lot of different life paths. People who know me in one context are often surprised to find out about the others.

What is the best advice you ever received? Do not be afraid; trust in God.

Published: Fri, Apr 14, 2017