Get to Know Andrew Babnik

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Andrew Babnik was born and raised in New York. He began his legal career in Miami, Florida where he was a member of the Law Firm of Otero and Associates. P.A., spearheading the firm’s Family Law and Condominium Law Departments. He and his wife relocated to Michigan in 2016, where he was a member of the Law Firm of Kelly & Kelly P.C., before founding Babnik Law, PLLC. Babnik Law has offices in Miami and Ann Arbor, allowing him to split his time between both states. He is an avid hockey fan and former Division I college lacrosse player. He can be contacted at andrew@babniklaw.com or 248-973-7240.

By Teresa Killeen
Washtenaw County Bar  Association

Did you always know you wanted to be an attorney? Where did you get your law degree?  Aside from a short period of time where I convinced my parents I wanted to be a weatherman, law was always my goal. From about middle school age on, my goal was law school and the law. I graduated magna cum laude from the University of Miami School of Law.

What jobs did you have before you became an attorney? I was a personal hockey coach in New York, running my own camps and private lessons since the age of 15. I always was someone who loved the business side of providing services to the public, and getting to do so while playing a sport was the best of both worlds!

What area of the law do you like the best and why? I really enjoy the variety. As any lawyer will tell you, law is not restricted to a single discipline. You cannot practice transactional real estate or contract formation without knowing how litigation may evolve in the future. You cannot practice family law without understanding real estate and tax/investment strategies. Our profession often requires multiple levels of understanding - not only the law, but the reality behind every day life. And that is what makes the job so interesting and sustainable on a day-in and day-out basis.

Tell us a little about your family. My better half is a very talented litigation attorney and partner at Bressler Amery and Ross based in Miami, Fla. Our daughter Elie is clearly the product of two attorneys, as not a single thing comes without oral argument, negations, and heated debate. My parents and family are mostly based in the New York area, which is why I carry licenses in New York, New Jersey, Michigan and Florida.

What is the biggest challenge facing you as an attorney? Balance. When I first started my own firm there was the constant fear that if I was not working around the clock, I was not putting enough effort forward for my business. Learning to balance the work and client needs with those of my own is always a challenge for any lawyer, especially in today’s digital world where we can be available 24/7 if we so choose. I pride myself on the fact that clients are always shocked that when they call, they reach me directly. But you have to draw the line when that call is coming it at 2 a.m. on a non-emergency issue.

How are you coping during COVID-19?  Given that I am a solo practitioner running two offices in two states, the shift to virtual hearings has actually been an advantage. Where I would normally be traveling between states, I now can attend a hearing in Miami-Dade at 8 a.m. and in Wayne County at 11 a.m. with ease.
For minor or routine hearings, I am hoping the virtual trend continues well beyond the end of this pandemic. It saves the clients as much time and money as it saves the attorneys.

What would your second career choice have been? I was a dual major in Business and Accounting and think I would have found a place in financing, as so many former lacrosse players seem to do. I also like to think I would have found a way to incorporate my love of sports into my career.

What is your favorite movie or book? I have always enjoyed the classic Godfather, Casino, Goodfellas type movies (stereotypical of a boy from New York with Italian background, I know). Most of my reading these days focuses on changes in the law in the states I am licensed in. It’s a lot to keep up with these days!

Describe a perfect day off. Early morning workout, breakfast and a walk with my wife and daughter, an afternoon round of golf and some form of sporting event on the TV at night. A mix of lazy and athletic.

What are some favorite places you have visited?
Colorado, specifically Denver and Vail in the summer months, is one of my all-time favorite trips. Between the restaurants in the city, the hiking, and the golf courses, it has always been a great place to unwind and appreciate your surroundings.

What are your favorite local hangouts? Brecon Bar and Grill in Saline. Every Friday that I’m in town, you can find my wife’s family and me there for dinner and drinks.
Wen you have a little extra money, where do you like to spend it? Is paying off those darn student loans that haunt me too serious of an answer? A more fun answer would be traveling with my wife. We have not had a trip alone since our honeymoon!

What do you like to do in your spare time? 
Home repairs, woodworking, golf, and hockey top the list, though I cannot recall the last time spare time existed, especially in the current work-from-home environment.

What’s the greatest gift we can give ourselves? Honesty. Be honest with yourself and you will see how quickly things can fall into place. Self-reflection lets you tackle your own weaknesses and makes you not just a better lawyer, but a better son.

If you were creating a time capsule to be opened in 100 years, what would you put inside?
A warning note that says if social media is still around, stop treating it like the Bible and assuming everything is true.

Any words of wisdom to pass on to new lawyers? Take everything you can from the lawyers you know and work with. The good, the bad, the brilliant, and the not so thought out. I was very fortunate to learn from some not just wonderful lawyers, but wonderful teachers. Find what works for you, but take the tricks and tools you see other lawyers use and incorporate them (or vow to never do what they just did). Regardless of whether you work for a huge firm, a boutique, or are a solo practitioner, always work to better yourself and your personal brand. It will pay off - not just for you, but for the people you work for and with.

Why do you choose to be a member of the WCBA? What is the greatest benefit?
Washtenaw County is where we call home, and being an active member of the community is key if you want to make an impact. The WCBA gives me an avenue to connect with other attorneys in the area and to continue my growth. As I said earlier, learning from the best in the area is key to your own success and the best in Washtenaw are all members of the WCBA.



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