William Blasses honored as Up & Coming Lawyer at Michigan Lawyers Weekly 2017 luncheon
From their website: "Michigan Lawyers Weekly is pleased to announce the 30 attorneys selected as the Up & Coming Lawyers Class of 2017. These legal practitioners are establishing a name for themselves early in their careers. They display the ambition, drive, determination and accomplishments that set them apart among their peers — in their first 10 years in practice."
Attending the luncheon in support of Bill were Kerr Russell members Jim Cambridge, Dan Schulte, Kate McCarroll, and Jason Bank as well as director of marketing Roy Sexton and Bill's wife Jessica, parents William and Cynthia, and mother-in-law Lynne Tillman.
Below are Bill's responses to the questionnaire which appears in the special commemorative edition of Michigan Lawyers Weekly celebrating this year's recipients.
My legal practice has always been focused on helping owners of small and midsized business achieve their goals by maximizing their businesses and resolving their disputes. The goal always is to prevent small problems from becoming large problems that may imperil or jeopardize the business. For many of these business owners, all of their hopes and dreams, their legacy, and their family’s livelihoods are interwoven in these enterprises, so I do not take my work lightly.
In many cases, my support may mean re-evaluating the way they approach their business, their cost structure or their actual operations. This may involve simply reviewing contracts, organizing new corporate forms, creating a plan to address cash flow issues, addressing employment problems, or providing some tax advice. However, it can also involve loan negotiation or re-negotiation, real estate or other major commercial transactions, and dispute resolution with clients and vendors.
While my preference is always to work with a client to improve their processes and address issues before they result in substantial cash flow disruptions, my main practice areas involve commercial litigation, bankruptcy, and restructuring. Therefore, I am always prepared to help the client even in their worst case scenario and am grateful when I can help a business to grow and thrive.
Law school and year of graduation:
Emory University School of Law, 2008
Where did you grow up? Please provide one memorable anecdote about your childhood.
I grew up in Sterling Height and Fraser, MI. When I was a young child, I was extremely curious as to how mechanical and electronic things worked. To that end, armed with a screw driver and sometimes a wrench, I would disassemble various items such as radios, walkie talkies, and other interesting items.
Most of the time, the items were my toys which had ceased to function properly. However, one day I disassembled the bathroom scale. At the time, I had every intent to reassemble the bathroom scale once I was finished. Unfortunately, as many young children do, I had greatly overestimated my abilities. My mother was less than thrilled. Thankfully, my interests have since shifted, and I now focus my curiosity on identifying nuances in cases and statutes rather than disassembling household items.
What was your first job? What did you learn from the experience?
My first job involved bagging groceries and pushing carts for a local grocery store. As a teenager, the job often times seemed tedious and menial. However, the experience taught me that while not every job is prestigious, glamourous, or easy, every job is important to someone and should be treated accordingly.
You travel back in time to law school, and your find your law school self sitting in the library. Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to yourself?
I would tell myself to stay the course. Although the journey has been daunting at times, it is exactly these challenges that have helped shape me as a person and helped me accomplish my goals.
Outside of family, who was an important mentor in your life, how did this person impact your career and what advice did they offer?
Early on in my career I clerked for the Honorable Robert N. Opel, II, Bankruptcy Judge for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. While I learned much about the practice of law during the clerkship, Judge Opel also taught me certain values that have helped shape my career.
His best piece of advice was to approach the practice of law as if people are always watching you and act accordingly. Integrity and excellence are not values that should only be demonstrated on select occasions but should permeate your practice, even when working late at night or behind closed doors. You always want to be able to proudly stand accountable for all that you do.
Judge Opel also emphasized hard work. I have been blessed to meet many very smart and intelligent attorneys both as colleagues and as adversaries. Often times, however, the difference between success and failure depends not just on the intelligence of the attorney but rather on the hard work and effort invested to achieve the result.
Name an ambitious goal that you would like to accomplish in your career.
I hope to someday argue before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Please share your best tip for balancing your professional life and your personal life.
The first step to balancing your professional life and your personal life is to determine your priorities. Finding a proper professional life and personal life balance is one of the most difficult issues an attorney will face. Success in the practice of law requires that attorneys commit to long and irregular hours. Invariably, your professional life will come into direct conflict with your personal life.
Once you know your priorities, plan your time accordingly. Manage your deadlines, communicate with those that you work with to help make your work load more manageable, and if you are self-employed be cautious about taking on too many cases. In many cases, your best option will be to temporarily reduce your personal time. However, make sure that those times are the exception not the rule.
If you could not be a lawyer, what occupation would you choose?
What is your favorite quote?
"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt
What are two things about you that not many people know?
In my spare time, I like to cook and to study the macroeconomic impact of international trade and finance.
How would you describe yourself in one word?
Bill focuses his practice in the areas of bankruptcy, restructuring and general litigation. He has substantial experience representing individual and business debtors, creditors and trustees in bankruptcy proceedings, contested matters, adversary proceedings and bankruptcy appeals. Bill also has experience representing business owners in commercial litigation and related issues in state and federal courts as well as before administrative law judges.
Bill approaches each case with the mentality that complex problems require comprehensive solutions. In connection with bankruptcy and restructuring cases, he has represented businesses in connection with union issues, NLRB proceedings, asset sales, debt negotiation, workouts, receiverships, alter ego and successor liability, zoning, insurance, asset sales, commercial lease and tax issues. He has represented high income individuals in connection with out of court negotiations and bankruptcy proceedings, including asset protection, risk analysis, eligibility litigation and defense against dischargeability actions. On behalf of trustees, he has identified concealed assets, litigated causes of action and conducted asset sales. On behalf of creditors and other parties, he has defended preference and fraudulent transfer actions, uncovered hidden assets and obtained agreements and judgments for the non-dischargeability of debt. His experience on all sides of the table allows him to prepare comprehensive strategies for any issues that may arise.
Bill also asserts the same comprehensive approach to civil litigation. Although the issues may be narrower, the combination of thorough preparation and attention to detail put a client in the position to obtain the best possible settlement or judgment. Bill has experience representing businesses and individuals in a variety of proceedings before state, federal and administrative law judges involving real estate, tax, insurance, zoning, contract, construction and collection issues.
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