Monday Profile: Janet Hamilton

Janet Hamilton has 30 years of experience pursuing and defending personal injury and wrongful death claims in the state and federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. She graduated with distinction from the University of Michigan and Thomas M. Cooley Law School, and is in private practice at Janet L. Hamilton, PLLC, 503 S. Jackson Street, Jackson. Residence: It seems like I live at the office.... What is your idea of perfect happiness? Heaven. What is your greatest fear? Not getting there! Which living person do you most admire? I have to pick two: John Drake, founder of Lingap Center Orphanage in the Philippines, and Tom Monaghan. Both are amazing examples of the impact one selfless human being can make. What is the trait you hate most in yourself? I have an extremely slight tendency to run the tiniest bit late. And I sometimes exaggerate. What is your most treasured possession? H-m-m-m-m, tough one: a) An heirloom Bible given to me by a cherished client, b) a quartz music box given to me by my mom before she died, c) my Great Pyrenees mix, "Ruckus," and d) my retired showhorse, "Ave." Greatest achievement: Through some absolutely indisputable miracle, I raised an awesome son, Jay, age 21, a current Dean's List junior in Psychology/Economics/Indecision at Ave Maria University in south Florida. What advice would you give law school students? The proliferation of law schools means that fewer and fewer people are going to need lawyers, because more and more people are lawyers--so don't for a second believe that it will be easy. The highest degree of excellence is required in your approach to your work, service to your clients, and service to your community for your degree to have any meaning whatever. And you must implement that as your personal philosophy today. What would be your ideal job? I'd like to be a judge on the Michigan Court of Appeals. I don't see that developing soon; my plan B is to retire and live in the desert. Favorite joke: There was a fellow whose parents had the unfortunate lack of foresight to name him "Odd." All of his life he dealt with the humiliation of people making fun of his name. He changed his name when he reached adulthood, but he still couldn't escape people's constant reference to the name by which they first knew him. His life wish was to become completely anonymous. So he left instructions in his Last Will and Testament to be buried with a plain headstone bearing no inscription whatever. And to this day, when people pass by, they invariably exclaim, "That's odd..." What one habit do you wish you could break? Having a slight tendency to occasionally run the ever- so-tiniest bit late. Or exaggerating. What is something most people don't know about you? I teach riding lessons. If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would they be? Definitely my deceased mother, who was the most impressive and fascinating woman I have ever encountered; after that I can't decide--there are so many! Mother Teresa of Calcutta, John Paul II, Steve Jobs, Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, Eduardo Verastigui, Carly Simon, e.e. cummings, Vachel Lindsay, Edgar Lee Masters, Indira Gandhi,....I can't stop. Who is your favorite character of fiction? Tom Hagen, general counsel to Don Corleone in "The Godfather." Favorite movie: "The Apostle" starring Robert Duvall. What's one thing you can do now that you couldn't do 20 years ago? Distance running. Okay, short distance running. Favorite place to spend money: Every single shop and restaurant on the California coastline. Sausalito, La Jolla. Rancho Santa Fe. What is your motto? Ad majorem gloriam Dei. Where would you like to be when you're 90? Heaven. In 20 words or less, how would you sum up Michigan's tort reform? Designed, packaged and delivered by insurance companies everywhere, for insurance companies everywhere, at the expense of human beings like you. Published: Mon, Apr 2, 2012

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