A Lawyer by Day...

By Rebekah Page-Gourley posted 03-16-2015 07:48


All of the lawyers I work with in my role at ICLE graciously put in the time and effort to educate other lawyers and elevate the legal profession. To do this, they juggle a lot: family obligations, community involvement, client and firm demands, and a lot of nagging from me. They seem to be bumping right up against that 24th hour in the day, every day. (They’ve either found a space-time wormhole making them privy to a 25th or 26th hour, or they just don’t sleep.)

Given the time crunch all busy lawyers face, it amazes me even more that some uber-talented ICLE contributors simultaneously pursue separate nonlegal activities and careers. I’m not just talking about run-of-the-mill hobbies like mine, which are of course great in their own way. (I’m an avid reader, Michigan microbrew connoisseur, and runner—currently training for my next marathon.) Right now, I’m talking about full-on Supermen and Superwomen who have entire nonlawyer alter egos.

Take ICLE contributor Jerome Crawford. Jerome is an associate at Dickinson Wright, PLLC, but also has a separate career as a stand-up comic and actor. You may have seen him in this Oakwood Hospital commercial, which aired during the Lions (short-lived) foray into the playoffs this year, or in this Quicken Loans gem. Jerome’s skills as an actor served him well recently, when he moderated ICLE’s Land Contract Defaults and Forfeitures On-Demand seminar.

You may be thinking that Jerome is an anomaly, but in fact there are tons of ICLE contributors doing wonderful and interesting things while also practicing law. I did some digging and talking with my colleagues here at ICLE and made some amazing discoveries:

  • Dirk Hoffius wrote a cookbook called Just Good Food for Good Friends. He’s currently working on cookbook #2 and is also producing seasonings (like “Rattlesnake Salt” and “Tuscan Rosemary Salt”) being sold in select Grand Rapids stores since February 2015.
  • Cary McGehee played varsity basketball at Bowling Green University and professionally for the Dallas Diamond National Championship Team. Cary only recently retired from her role as a Division I NCAA women’s basketball official, which she held for 20 years as a “fun diversion” from practicing law.
  • John Reiser and Stefani Carter are members of Ann Arbor’s all-lawyer band Soultivity.
  • Syeda Davidson is a singer and bass player who recently fronted the band Drawing Straws, which entertained the SBM Young Lawyers Section Summit attendees last year. Syeda also studies aerial acrobatics.
  • John Boufford has acted with Spotlight Players in Canton and the Farmington Players in Farmington Hills, and he will be in a production of Clybourne Park with Two Muses Theater in June.
  • Laura Sagolla is a singer and actress in The Penny Seats, who recently performed the musical revue Tomfoolery at Conor O’Neill’s in Ann Arbor.
  • John Allen is an avid golfer who started caddying at the age of 11. He has been a Rules Official for the Michigan PGA, the Golf Association of Michigan, and the United States Golf Association for over 30 years. He also wrote a book about golf called The Finding of Farnsworth (contact: farnsworthbook@gmail.com).

This list is just the tip of the iceberg. Do you or one of your legal colleagues (ICLE contributor or not) have similar talents or alter egos? Leave a comment and tell us all about it! And check out this cool semi-monthly podcast series called Hsu Untied, in which attorney Richard Hsu interviews lawyers with interesting side-pursuits including chess, winemaking, classical music, skydiving, and woodworking, just to name a few.




03-19-2015 11:40

Kristi, this is great! Thanks for sharing. And if you need more taste-testers for your cupcakes, I know a few people at ICLE who would be happy to oblige!

03-19-2015 11:34

The number of talented lawyer-musicians is OUTSTANDING:
Brian Westrin (Lansing) is one of the most amazing singer-songwriters alive. You cannot miss 'Westrin & Mowry' if you get a chance.
Jerrod Roberts (Lansing) is another talented musician.
Judge Tim Kelly (Bay City) is an amazing vocalist, singing the voice of Jesus (I'm not kidding) in our church's annual Good Friday Passion, and most recently "Danny Boy" on St. Patty's Day - watch it: http://www.mlive.com/news/bay-city/index.ssf/2015/03/watch_bay_county_judge_timothy.html
As for myself, I'm a great singer in the car with the radio but prefer to devote my 25th & 26th hours to adventure baking. I have a little side gig I call "Legally Baked," specializing in gourmet cupcakes for weddings and parties. My legal clients have unwittingly been subject to a great deal of flavor testing, but I haven't had any complaints so far.