Attorney receives back-to-back honors

East Lansing attorney Kristina Lyke, a graduate of Cooley Law School, specializes in family and criminal law.

By Kurt Anthony Krug
Legal News

Ever since she was 8 years old, Kristina Lyke knew she wanted to be an attorney.

“I didn't know how to become one, but I knew I wanted to become a lawyer. I remember being upset about someone belittling another child because he (didn’t celebrate) Halloween and I think that was one of my turning points in my life. I stuck up for this individual. I am the only one in my immediate family who graduated with a bachelor’s and a doctorate,” recalled Lyke, 39, who lives in Livingston County.

A 1994 graduate of Pinckney High School, Lyke graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2000 with a degree in political science. She went on to earn her juris doctor in law from what is now Western Michigan University Cooley Law School (formerly known as the Thomas M. Cooley Law School) in Lansing in 2004. For more than 10 years, she has been a practicing attorney, specializing in family and criminal law, at the Law Offices of Kristina Lyke, PLLC in East Lansing. Lyke is the only attorney in her law practice, although she is assisted by a legal assistant, law clerk, and intern.

In her decade-long law career, she has won several awards and accolades. Several years ago, Ingham County Circuit Judge Paula J. Manderfield nominated her for the Top 5 Attorneys Under 35 Award. In the last year, she won the award for National Trial Attorneys Top 100 in 2015 and then received a listing in the Who’s Who of Attorneys not long thereafter. In early March, Lyke received the award for Michigan Top Lawyers 2015 for Family Law. In late March, she was nominated by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys for the 10 Best Criminal Law Attorneys in Michigan.

“It’s such an honor that individuals think that highly of my practice and my skills as an attorney,” said Lyke.

Douglas Meeks, partner in the Lansing-based law firm Cataldo & Meeks, PLLC, has known Lyke since 2002; they met while attending Cooley. Meeks believes that Lyke is very deserving of all of her awards and success.

“Congratulation to Kristina on the wonderful honors – it is great to see that all the years of hard work and determination are finally paying off,” said Meeks.

The youngest of four and the only female, Lyke was elected a trustee for the Village of Pinckney in March of 1999. She was the only woman on the board at that time and the youngest person to ever be elected as a trustee. Lyke was in office from 1999-2001.

Lyke campaigned from house-to-house and some of the constituents called her “the babe” because she was so young.  She went along on night rides with the police when the village council debated about giving raises to the Pinckney Police Department. She also reviewed many objectives on the various subject matters that needed a vote, trying to research each item for each council meeting in order to make a well-informed decision as an elected official.
During her EMU days, she interned for former State Representative Dan Gustafson. This led to a position as legislative assistant with former State Rep. Paul DeWeese and later then-Lt. Gov. Dick Posthumus.

“I enjoyed working for (DeWeese and later Posthumus) because I knew I was helping the constituents every day. It was rewarding to be able to find and discover ways of assisting individuals who needed help. I worked long hours and enjoyed it very much. During law school, I was fortunate enough to work for a law firm in Lansing – Anderson, Stull & Associates. I later interned for the prosecutor’s office in Livingston County, which helped me learn how to develop the skills that I needed for becoming a successful lawyer,” explained Lyke.

She has fond memories of her time interning for Livingston County Prosecutor William J. Vailliencourt Jr. According to Lyke, Vailliencourt taught her the value of being an attorney and how to write more effectively for her clients.

After passing the Michigan bar exam in 2006, Lyke decided to go into private practice. Her first office was in Lansing.

“I was very appreciative to the (landlady) because she charged me $200/month for rent,” she recalled. “It was a small office, but having that small office began my career.”

At first, her parents Roger and Nancy Lyke didn’t want her to start her own law firm so soon after passing the bar exam. They wanted her to work at a large law firm and get some experience there before branching out on her own. However, Lyke didn’t want to go down that path.

“My parents were very supportive of my independence and always encouraged me to pursue my dreams,” said Lyke. “I had a dream to be a successful, independent law office that would work diligently and zealously for their clients. I have to say I prayed that my dreams would come true and each day my prayers have been answered.”

She credits her parents with instilling in her strong morals, values, and faith.

“When I received the Under 35 award, I was asked to make a speech and I stated to the people that I was thankful for the nomination, but thankful for my mother for all her prayers – especially for the tough cases and tough days as an attorney – and thankful for my father who helped with all my office duties. I wouldn't be able to have these awards if it were not for my two loving parents who supported throughout the years,” said Lyke.

Asked what her greatest skill-set is, Lyke responded that it was persistence.

“I believe persistence is a tool that is essential to have in my law career,” she said.  “I’ve learned to be persistent. If something may not work for you, then you try Plan B and then Plan C thereafter.  I do not like to give up on anything.”
Lyke knew that being a lawyer would require her to work long hours – even more so since she owns her own practice. However, it’s all worth it in the end.

“The best part of practicing law is finding ways to help individuals who are in need.  I enjoy being able to make individuals lives better and learning each day to become a better attorney,” said Lyke.

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