Hitting the High Notes


Southfield family law attorney’s first career was in the world of opera

by Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Southfield Attorney Andrea Badalucco’s first career was as an opera singer. After earning her undergrad degree in music performance from the University of Michigan, and her master’s degree in voice and opera from the University of Southern California, she sang as a soloist on stages around the world including New York’s Metropolitan Opera, and recently at the Vatican.

(Editor’s Note: Badalucco is not the only attorney with a gift for operatic singing. Madelaine C. Lane of Warner Norcross + Judd continues to perform even as her law career thrives. See Grand Rapids Legal News March 2, 2018.)

For Badalucco, the move from the opera stage to the legal stage wasn’t as far-fetched as it might appear at first blush.

“Family law drew my attention because I see it as speaking someone’s story,” says Badalucco, who joined Foster Swift’s Southfield office in June 2018 as a senior attorney. “My first career – in opera – was about speaking for someone else, either the character I was portraying in an opera, the intention of the poetry from the libretto, the music of the composer, the vision of the director, or the interpretation of the conductor.
“My second career – in law – is about speaking for a single person... a crime victim when in the Special Victims Section at the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office, and in family law now for a parent or spouse facing the end of a relationship.    

“This field of law allows the opportunity to help someone see a new future, not merely an end to a chapter,” she adds. “It’s a scary time for clients – change is hard for everyone. But change brings with it opportunity, and being a part of how someone can now recreate their move into the future is my privilege.”

Badalucco, who also handles criminal law, divorce, and general/commercial litigation, says that from an emotional standpoint, family law is not much different than working in the criminal and juvenile law.

“Juvenile offenders and criminal defendants don’t need to allow the crime committed to define who they are forever,” she says. “Trials in these cases are certainly an opportunity for your lawyer to speak your story, but even if you find yourself in the court system post-trial phase, the court system itself can be a means for you to create that new path.”

Noting that the area of family law requires the sometimes difficult balance of both a soft touch and a tough approach, Badalucco is teaming with colleagues Frederick Dilley, John Nicolucci and Brett Schlender on Foster Swift’s newly launched “Your Family Law Advocate Blog.”

Badalucco explains the blog is a frame of reference for people looking into taking their next legal steps in a divorce or custody situation, and is designed to offer quick explanations and basic information on such topics as divorce and the divorce process; grandparent’s rights and custody actions involving grandparents; custody; financial aspects; and legal updates.

“Recognizing a blog is only a snippet and not the entire answer to every complex family law issue people face, a blog does present clients and potential clients some goalposts that can at least help begin identifying key information,” she says.

“It also provides potential clients an idea of what it would be like to work toward their goals with Foster Swift as part of their team. For example, small business owners or their spouses may be drawn to us because our family law lawyers have instant access to colleagues in corporate, tax, estate planning and other business law related fields.”

A member of the State Bar of Michigan, Oakland County Bar Association, Detroit Bar Association, and Women Lawyers Association of Michigan (WLAM), Badalucco has fond memories of her experience as a mature student pursuing a second career.

 “As a student returning to school after a long absence, the University of Detroit Mercy law school was a wonderful place to become reacquainted with what it means to study – hard,” she says. “The school encouraged obtaining real-world legal experience while a student, which was important for me as I needed to support myself. I appreciated the school was structured in a way that provided excellent instruction, demanded preparation, and provided scheduling opportunity for both studying and working. This combination meant understanding what it means to ultimately be a lawyer.”

After starting school as a day student, she switched to evening classes when she landed a job clerking for Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Steven N. Andrews, and says the now-retired judge was a true role model and inspiration at a critical time for her in learning about law.

Badalucco makes her home in Rochester Hills — two miles down the road from where she grew up.

“After living in Los Angeles for four years, New York City for five years, and traveling all over the world, there’s truly no place like home,” she says. “I love the access to parks, bike trails, and the easy access to getting to the city. It’s always a pleasure to go downtown and see something newly renovated and the city making great strides.”

She enjoys spending time with her family, singing at St. Hugo Church, skiing, golfing—and cooking, confessing another career dream would have been to work for cooking diva Ina Garten, a.k.a. the “Barefoot Contessa.”