Profile in Brief-- David Draper The Legal Insider

By John Minnis

Legal News

Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor and attorney David Draper have a lot in common -- both are family men, both have engaging personalities and both have cable shows. But the comparison stops there. Draper hasn't blown anything up -- yet.

For 14 years, Draper, 43, has hosted his own show, "The Legal Insider," on local access cable in his hometown of Grosse Pointe.

"It's been fun," Draper says of his cable career. "I've had the opportunity to interview a lot of lawyers in all areas of practice."

The "Legal Insider" is taped in a studio at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial. Taping runs for 28 minutes straight -- nonstop. That is where interviewing attorneys is a plus.

"The good thing is that lawyers talk," Draper says, "and that makes my life easier."

Draper said he got the idea of doing a legal talk show on local cable television after he moved into Grosse Pointe in 1991.

"I was watching a cable show," he recalls, "and I thought, 'Hey, I can do that.'"

More than 200 shows later, Draper is still enjoying it and is under less pressure. "I typically tape two shows per month," he says. "I used to do four per month, but have slowed, and now have a ton of shows to rerun."

Draper and wife Nancy have been married 16 years. They have a 12-year-old daughter, Sophie, and a 10-year-old son, Zane.

A graduate of Lakeshore High School in St. Clair Shores, Draper earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan. "On a lark," he applied for law school at Indiana University and, to his surprise, he was accepted. While his buddies back home were struggling through night school, he was enjoying the life of a full-time law student away from home.

"For three years it was beautiful," he recalls. "It was a good experience."

He also took advantage of an opportunity to spend a semester abroad at the Faculty of Law of the University College London. While living in a flat in West London's trendy Notting Hill district, studying international law four days a week and interning for a member of Parliament, Draper spent long weekends traveling throughout Europe.

"We traveled like crazy," he says.

Draper began his law career with Kitch, Drutchas, Wagner, Valitutti, & Sherbrook, doing insurance defense work for hospitals and doctors. He then became an in-house attorney for North Pointe Insurance in Southfield, Michigan's No. 1 liquor liability coverage provider.

Though doing well as an in-house counsel, Draper yearned to hang his own shingle.

"I always wanted my own firm, do my own thing," he says. "I left on good terms from the insurance company, so I had a good book of business."

Besides dram shop work, Draper and his new, "really, really sharp" young associate, Jonathan Colman, have a sizeable criminal defense practice.

"It's a nice chunk of our cases, but I can spend time on felony cases," Draper says. "If you take your time, you can be really successful in criminal cases."

For all his success, though, Draper is always surprised by his following on cable TV.

"People watch it. I'm always amazed," he says. "I'm more apt to watch that cooking show. I can't stand to watch myself."

Published: Thu, Nov 19, 2009