Monday Profile: Stacey M. Washington

Stacey Washington grew up in Detroit and attended Wayne State University for undergraduate and law school. An attorney since 1987, she quit her job in 2005 to become a solo practitioner so she could lower her stress and be more available to her daughter, who'll go to college in the fall. She's lived in the Ann Arbor area since 1992, and her practice is devoted to drunk driving and criminal defense.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? A walk in the park near water or on a beach on a warm, sunny day with no worries or responsibilities--or complaining people.

What is your greatest fear? That I'll care too much about whether I'll be able to afford to retire as opposed to more important things like physical and emotional health and relationships with people I care about.

Which living person do you most admire? Nelson Mandela for his dignity and grace under great challenge. And my daughter for her joy of life.

What is the trait you hate most in yourself? I don't really hate anything about myself. But I'm pretty nice and sometimes give people too many chances when they disappoint me and they then think I'm a pushover. I'm not.

What is the trait you hate most in others? Being self-centered, rude, dishonest and disrespectful. Dishonesty is the worst to me because it exhibits poor character.

Necessary extravagance? Shoes and dark chocolate.

What is your most treasured possession? My dog--she loves me even if I'm in a bad mood.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Righteousness. We all see things differently and have our own version of the truth/reality. Sometimes, compromise is a good thing. Life isn't always black or white.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I'd stop thinking so much.

Greatest achievement: Raising a daughter I hope will be a wonderful human being all of her life.

What advice would you give law students? Be prepared. Be ethical. Be civil and professional. Don't take cases personally. Remember clients are human beings and it's their problem, not yours. Enjoy life.

What would be your ideal job? I have it. I'm self-employed by choice. I help people and I get to do what I love on my own terms.

What is something most people don't know about you? I started taking piano lessons seven years ago.

If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would they be? Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. They all achieved inner peace and civility despite extreme external challenges.

Favorite words: "Peace begins with a smile." Mother Teresa. Those words once helped me repair a relationship with someone I care about very much.

Favorite drink: Lemon ginger tea.

Favorite place to spend money: A shoe store or movie theater.

What is your motto? Life is too short to be stressed out - it's all about emotional balance. When you're balanced, things seem to fall into place. I only allow healthy people into my life.

Where would you like to be when you're 90? On a cruise around the world.

Published: Mon, Feb 27, 2012