Legal genes: Area attorney has long law enforcement legacy

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By Sheila Pursglove

Legal News

Eric White, an attorney with White & Hotchkiss, PLLC in Jackson, grew up in law enforcement. So it's not surprising that he followed a career in the legal field, after first serving as a Sheriff Deputy in Sarasota, Fla., then as a Public Safety Officer for Blackman Township in Jackson County.

"My dad, uncle and brother were all police officers," he says. "Unlike many officers, I actually enjoyed being in court."

White, a native of Michigan Center south of Jackson, earned his bachelor's degree in economics, cum laude, from Eastern Michigan University.

He then earned his law degree, cum laude, from Cooley Law School in Lansing, attending full time while working full time as a public safety officer.

"The curriculum was very practical and taught you how to be a lawyer, not just some abstract theory," he says.

He learned his skill as a trial attorney during a 14-month stint at the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office,

"Judge McBain was the prosecutor and really helped new attorneys hone their trial skills," he says.

White began his own firm, Eric White and Associates, in 1998. He rented a room from local attorney Charles Perlos, and the pair shared a copy machine and secretarial services. Criminal defense attorney Ken Hotchkiss teamed up with White in 2001; and Mick Falahee, an assistant prosecutor with Jackson County, completed the group in 2006.

"Working with Ken and Mick has been great," he says. "Ken and I are about the same ages and background, and both are former police officers."

White, whose main areas are municipal, financial, and family law, enjoys being co-owner of the firm, "and being able to take the cases I want to, in the areas that I want," he says.

White and his family -- his wife Shawn, and children Olivia, 14, Alaina, 12, Evan, 10, and Adam, 8 -- enjoy living in Jackson, where White previously served on the Jackson County Friend of the Court Advisory Committee.

"It's a nice, small town atmosphere and it's inexpensive to live here," he says.

White, who has three cats and a labradoodle named Fred Bacon, also served as a board member of the Cascades Humane Society.

"The Humane Society Board was very hands-on and a great group of people," he says. "I was amazed at how generous the community is when it comes to animals."

A keen golfer and runner, he has run in seven marathons in the past two years in Myrtle Beach, Detroit, Chicago, Bayshore (twice), Grandma's (a noted race in Duluth, Minn.), and Air Force. He has also run many local 5-km races, usually as a "pacer" for his children.

Running is "slow speed meditation" after a tough day at the office, he says. He started running in 2008 after being a smoker for 27 years.

"My older brother, Rich, and a local attorney, Bruce Inosencio, both distinguished runners, got me started," he says. "After I had quit smoking, I had gained 50 pounds and my brother got me off the couch and into running. I was so proud to be there in Chicago when my brother qualified for the Boston Marathon and my whole family went to watch him there in April.

"I don't belong to any running groups but I'm part of the unofficial 'Rich White Racing Team,' a group of local guys that are runners and travel together to races."

Although a career in law enforcement was in White's genes, it was not his original dream.

"I really thought I would be a police officer my entire career like my dad but when I was younger, I really wanted to be pilot," he says. "I've flown some and will get a pilot's license when the kids are a little older."

Published: Thu, May 26, 2011

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