Monday Profile: Eric Schneidewind

Eric Schneidewind was born and raised in Dearborn, and earned his bachelor degree in social sciences at the University of California-Berkeley in the 1960s. He returned to Michigan to earn his law degree at the University of Michigan Law School in 1970.

Schneidewind's first job was as a hearing examiner with the state of Michigan, but after a few years and after working in several agencies, he discovered that public utility regulation was his calling. He joined the Michigan Public Service Commission as a civil servant, and was appointed commissioner and finally chairman of the commission. After his six-year term ended in 1985, he joined the Lansing office of the Varnum Firm, which represents large, nonutility purchasers of electricity and natural gas, developers of utility scale wind, natural gas and alternate fueled electric generation plants, and buyers and sellers of electric utilities and electric generation facilities.

Schneidewind has practiced energy law there ever since.

His wife of 38 years, Ann, died of cancer in 2012. They have two sons, a daughter-in-law and a granddaughter due next month.

By Jo Mathis
Legal News

What do you remember most about being at Berkeley in the turbulent 60s? I was just expecting to be in one of the most intellectually stimulating environments available at the time and I was not disappointed. I spent my time listening and learning.

What is your most treasured material possession? My collection of books covering history, economics and biography.

What advice do you have for someone considering law school? Find some area of the law that you can be passionate about and then make that your life's work.

Favorite websites: Wall Street Journal.

Favorite app? New York Times for iPad.

Favorite CD: Vladimir Ashkenazy playing the Rachmaninoff 3d Piano Concerto.

What is your happiest childhood memory? Family vacations to the Smoky Mountains National Park.

What would surprise people about your job? Energy Law involves a lot of math, politics and economics.

What is your most typical mood? Upbeat.

Why did you become a lawyer? I felt that the practice of law could utilize my abilities in the area of writing, public speaking and analysis.

If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would that be? Jim Harbaugh.

What's the most awe-inspiring place you've ever been? The Grand Canyon.

What did you do last weekend? Visited my wife's large extended family in Chicago.

What would you say to your 16-year-old self? Find your passion and don't ever stop learning more about it and striving to improve.

What is your proudest moment as a lawyer? The first time the Michigan Legislature enacted legislation that I drafted.

What do you do to relax? Exercise in the gym or long walks, preferably through wooded areas.

How would you describe your home? Very comfortable with lots of bookshelves, wood interior and backing up on a forest.

Any regrets? The loss of my wife to cancer in 2012.

What word do you overuse? "Simplify."

What is one thing you would like to learn to do? Play the banjo.

What is something most people don't know about you? I worked for three years on a cattle ranch.

If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would they be? George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.

What is the best advice you ever received? Never Give Up.

If you can help it, where will you never return? Fort Benning, Ga., where I went through basic training in July and August.

What do you drive? A BMW sedan.

What would you drive if money were no object? A Ferrari.

Favorite place to spend money: Meijer.

What is your motto? Never Give Up.

What would you like carved onto your tombstone? He Was A Good Family Man, Public Servant and Lawyer.

Published: Mon, Mar 02, 2015