* Note: Sarah Stempky is no longer employed with Michigan Auto Law.
Congratulations to Sarah Stempky. Sarah has been given the very special legal award of Up and Coming Lawyer from Michigan Lawyers Weekly newspaper.
Lawyers Weekly says the award is for attorneys who are “establishing a name for themselves, go above and beyond, and display the ambition, drive, determination and accomplishments that set them apart among their peers — in their first 10 years in practice.”
What sets Sarah apart?
I may be biased, of course, since I hired Sarah to work here as a law clerk when she was still a law student at Michigan State University, and afterward to continue with us as a litigation trial attorney. But to me, Sarah is an extremely effective advocate for auto accident victims in need. Effective is a great word because she’s fantastic at helping clients. She always returns phone calls, and her communication with the people she helps is fantastic.
This also means effective in the courtroom. Sarah has tried a number of plaintiff personal injury cases – far more than for an attorney of like experience – and she has already achieved substantial trial experience and success. In fact, she has already recovered more in trial verdicts and settlements than most Michigan personal injury attorneys will ever see in their entire careers.
Since the start of law school, Sarah has been primed to be a trial lawyer so she can protect people. At the Michigan State University College of Law, Sarah was a member of the Trial Practice Institute and the Commercial Arbitration Team. Sarah’s talent was soon apparent when she won a regional competition and placed second in the national competition. Sarah was a semi-finalist of the William D. Daniel Mock Trial Competition.
Sarah went on to begin her career as a student law clerk and then an associate at Michigan Auto Law, which modesty aside, has a reputation as the state’s elite trial law firm in the area of automobile accident law. We also receive the majority of our referrals from other attorneys.
She hit the fast track and began trying cases immediately with a Michigan Auto Law partner. Sarah is way ahead of the curve as few, if any, personal injury attorneys have participated in as many personal injury trials than she has already.
Sarah is averaging two to three auto accident civil jury trials a year, when most Michigan lawyers literally go years between trials. And Sarah handles everything in trial. In only her first three years of practice, Sarah already has a seven-figure trial verdict ($1.4 million) under her belt. This case, Hannay v. Department of Transportation, is now in the Michigan Supreme Court on appeal. This is a notable case because Hannay will be a landmark case that will define an entire field of governmental immunity law in personal injury auto lawsuits.
Hannay is also notable because it made the 2011 Michigan Lawyers Weekly list of top-reported verdicts. Sarah is by far the youngest attorney on the list to receive a record million-dollar trial verdict. In 2012, Sarah made the list again for one of the top-reported settlements, and she was also the youngest attorney on the list.
Why is Sarah so successful in the courtroom? I may be accused of bias again, but to me, it is because of her unusually high level of preparedness and her very affable manner. She has a charismatic presence and capability and poise.
Sarah has further developed her skills through attending cutting edge seminars in Michigan and throughout the country, and utilizing mock trials.
Sarah has actually conducted 12 mock trials, including every case she has taken to trial. This is important because very few personal injury attorneys conduct mock trials, as they take significant time and can be very expensive.
There are a lot of very smart attorneys out there, but very few have recovered similar results. And this is the type of detailed, thorough preparation that allows her to deliver these amazing results to her clients.
Michigan Lawyers Weekly is celebrating Sarah and her fellow Up & Coming Lawyers today with an awards luncheon at the Detroit Marriott, in Troy, Michigan.