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Approach the Bench: Michael S. Krzak

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Michael-S-Krzak.jpgMichael S. Krzak, associate at Clifford Law Offices, married Nicole Sobotka at a northwest suburban church Thanksgiving weekend. Their wedding party included two matrons of honor and two best men, 10 bridesmaids and 10 groomsmen as well as two ushers, a junior bridesmaid, a flower girl and a ring bearer. It took a wide angle lens to capture a picture of all 31 of them at this Big Fat Polish Wedding.

Having known each other for 10 years, the bride and groom share a lot of mutual friends and cutting down the list became an impossibility. "We're just a tight-knit group from college and even before then. We all do so much together, there's no way we could leave anyone out," Mike said with a laugh. 

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A 1997 graduate of DePaul University College of Law, Mike clerked at Clifford Law Offices while a law student. As an undergraduate at Northeastern University in Illinois, he majored in Environmental Studies, graduating summa cum laude. But it wasn't until he was injured at a summer job that he realized he wanted to be a lawyer.

"I had an attorney file a lawsuit and when I saw what attorneys can do for people, I knew I wanted to be a lawyer," Mike said at his desk piled high with depositions and research books. "There is a real need for people who can tell others what the law is all about. And this is particularly true in personal injury cases. I feel for and truly understand what people are going through." 

And every day he deals with people who need his help. Mike's enormous case load includes aviation and helicopter crash cases. He is involved in the crash of the Alaska Air jet that crashed into the Pacific Ocean as well as the case involving popular WGN radio personality Bob Collins who was killed in a small plane crash. He is involved in cases where children are hurt at school due to a lack of supervision in gym class and a girl burned in a preschool class. He also deals with vehicular accident cases and is representing the family of a father who was killed when a truck driver ran a red light and rammed his car. 

Mike grew up in what he describes as a "full house" on Chicago's northwest side. With five children within a 10-year span, Mike was right in the middle of four brothers and a sister. Baseball was his life and he had hopes, as most boys do, of becoming a professional ball player. He was on the team at Holy Cross High School and played Division III ball at Upper Iowa University, but his injury prevented him from transferring to a Division I school and taking it any further.

"My grandfather was a good athlete and I remember him taking me to baseball games during the summer as a kid," Mike said. "We played ball with all the guys in the neighborhood all day long, and when I was playing, my family was always there to support me." 

Another of Mike's passions is the environment, as is apparent from his college major. He was a member of the Lake Michigan Federation which is a citizens' group that works to protect the lake and its resources. He is an avid fisherman and wants to see that these natural resources are there for generations to come.

"As a kid, I used to go fishing on Lawrence Lake in Wisconsin with my uncle and father. They taught me how to fish. Now Nicole and I go fishing," Mike said as he looked wistfully out his office window overlooking Lake Michigan. "I often fish with my brothers and cousin as well. We have learned that fishing isn't about catching fish. It's about the memories."

Mike and Nicole got engaged 30 minutes before her surprise birthday party which he threw for her with 110 of their closest friends and family at a neighborhood restaurant. Of course, she cried.

The two of them are honeymooning-alone -in the Caribbean. 

To view his attorney profile, click here

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