Michael S. Hale

Principal, 360 Risk Management, Inc. & Hale & Hirn, PLC
Michigan State University School of Law

Hale focuses on insurance coverage matters and agency errors and omissions cases. Hale is routinely consulted by other attorneys nationwide. He has served as an expert witness in over 200 cases since 1999 and is the author of the “Insurance Agents” chapter in the Michigan Insurance Practice ICLE book. He also volunteers as a lector
at his church and serves meals at St. Leo’s Soup Kitchen.

What does practicing law mean to you personally and professionally?
I am a prolific reader and writer because I enjoy sharing with others. I have always loved words. To me, the law is largely about communication of ideas.
This can be, where used effectively, a way to resolve problems, and may be coming across in the right way with the opposing side to effectuate a resolution of a problem. An effective lawyer, to me, is not a gladiator but a problem solver. I try to convey that in my approach to practicing law. As one attorney told me when I started out and we tried a case, it is often about what the right result is, even if it means you lose.

To this day, I keep a list of new and interesting words or phrases in Evernote when I come across them. I use them in my writing because I think that making your briefs and memos and letters more interesting helps in the communication process.

Where did you grow up? Please provide one memorable anecdote about your childhood.
I grew up in Livonia, the oldest of six children. Insurance and risk management are in my veins. I started working for my father, an attorney, at 13 years old as a maintenan-ce worker in his law firm and insurance agency. After a five year experience as an associate in a large law firm’s insurance section, I returned to my father’s firms to ultimately become president of the insurance agency and law firm.

Today, I marshal my years of experience in the insurance business to help other attorneys with insurance-related issues as an expert witness and for businesses as a consultant. Insurance, in various forms, has been my career!

What is the best advice you’ve ever received that you’ve actually used?
“Enter through the narrow gate.” Matthew 7:13. Doing the hard thing always seems to result in the best outcome.

What are your favorite books or movies and why?
For movie, “Dead Poets Society,” because of the power of education and teaching. I have done a lot of that in my career and this movie is inspiration. For book: “Be Obsessed or Be Average,” by Grant Cardone. A huge inspiration for hard work and 10-times effort.

What are two things about you that not many people know?
had to redo my first year of law school because my heart was not in it on the first go-around and I was working full time. My partner and quasi-wife Melissa  Hirn and me have the Brady Bunch-plus one (three girls, four boys).

How would you describe yourself in oneword?