Monday Profile: Veronique Liem

Véronique Liem is an attorney and shareholder in the Ann Arbor office of Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge. She represents individuals and small businesses in family law and divorce and in commercial, employment and business litigation. Liem is also a mediator and a certified collaborative divorce attorney, and arbitrates cases for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and for divorcing parties. She is civil and divorce case mediator and civil case evaluator for the Washtenaw County Circuit Courts.

Liem is past president of the Washtenaw County Bar Association (WCBA), past chair of the WCBA's Public Interest Committee, and former member of the State Bar of Michigan's Representative Assembly. She is on the Board of Trustees for Avalon Housing and on the Board of Directors for the Collaborative Practice Institute of Michigan. Liem is married with two adult children.

By Jo Mathis

Legal News

Residence: Scio Township.

What is something most people don't know about you? I grew up in a very small Flemish village of 700 inhabitants, in northern France. Dogs and chicken ran loose, at their own risk. Our milk came from the neighbor's cows, and my father and grandfather rebuilt most houses and the church after the village was flooded and destroyed during World War II.

When and why did you move to the U.S.? I moved to the United States in 1974 to study for an MBA and ended up staying in Ann Arbor.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? Breaking my daily routine by traveling to new and interesting places with those I love.

What is your favorite destination? One of my favorite places is the southwest part of France (Bordeaux, Sariat, Dordogne region, etc.), with its many interesting geographic formations, beautiful rivers, and prehistoric caves, along with great food and wines, including Bordeaux wines and the controversial foie gras! I have also enjoyed travelling in Argentina with its upbeat tango music and great landscapes.

What is your greatest fear? A severe accident or illness affecting my family.

Which living person do you most admire? President Barack Obama.

What is the trait you hate most in yourself? Worrying more than is warranted.

What is the trait you hate most in others? Refusing to take responsibility for their own actions and blaming others instead.

What was your most memorable meal? Many family dinners in France for communions, weddings, etc., where we talk, eat, sing, and dance late into the night. Also, eating termites off a tree in the peruvian rainforest.

If you could take back one thing you did...Not calling my father the day before he died unexpectedly, when I had considered making the call but postponed it to the next day.

What is your most treasured material possession? My home.

If you could do one thing professionally... Sit behind the bench, instead of standing before it.

If you could have any car in the world, what would you drive? Frankly, I don't really care so long as the car is reliable, has a sunroof, seat warmers, and decent gas mileage.

What was your most embarrassing moment: First motion I lost, as an associate at Honigman. I had worked really hard for it, felt that the senior partner expected success, but, to my dismay, the judge denied summary judgment.

Your proudest moment(s) as a lawyer? On the stage, getting my University of Michigan law school diploma! And, some years later, winning my first jury trial.

It's 7 a.m. Monday. How are you feeling? Fine, ready to take my dog for his morning walk after having listened to the news on NPR with my husband and a cup of coffee.

What would surprise people about your job? That there is actually such a thing as a collaborative divorce.

What's your greatest achievement: Immigrating, becoming a US citizen, and integrating without losing my French identity.

What would you say to your 16-year-old self? Oh, the places you'll go!

What's the oddest thing you ever bought? Hermit crabs for my children.

What would be your ideal job?Other than the one I have, school principal.

What one thing do you wish people knew about your work? How you represent them can make a significant difference in people's life, and their ability to co-parent.

What one habit do you wish you could break? Chocolate and sweets.

What do you wish more people understood? Themselves and how they can be the cause of their problems.

If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would they be? My parents (Liliane et Georges) and husband Doug, whom I met after my parents had died.

What is your motto? When there's a will, there's a way.

Where would you like to be when you're 90? Living in my home, with my husband and close to my children, Emilie and Mathieu.

Published: Mon, Mar 4, 2013