The Good Fight

Lisa Gleicher's victory for cancer patients

Published in 2007 Michigan Super Lawyers — September 2007

Medical malpractice attorney Elizabeth “Lisa” Gleicher is not the type to seek out the limelight, but it found her in 2001 when the State Bar of Michigan honored her as a Champion of Justice.

Gleicher had achieved a major victory for cancer patients, specifically Michigan women suffering from breast cancer: the right to have their insurance carriers pay for stem cell transplants. 

The pro bono case began with one woman in the early 1990s. “Word got out,” says Gleicher, who found herself defending 12 women in a class-action suit against Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan. When she had to fight the insurance company again about a year later, after it changed the language of its coverage, Gleicher says she successfully represented about 200 women in a case that settled in 1997, with Blue Cross agreeing to pay for the treatments.

It was a fitting case to put Gleicher in the spotlight. The 53-year-old attorney considered studying medicine before settling on law. She also lost a good friend and trusted mentor to breast cancer. When the case came to her desk, she couldn’t say no. “It was kind of a collision between medicine and science and civil rights,” says Gleicher, whose father taught her to be a champion of the underdog.

But Gleicher has her own priorities. 

“I consider myself a mother first; a lawyer second,” says Gleicher. She and her husband, appellate attorney Mark Granzotto, have three sons ages 14 to 19. They share office space in a renovated three-story house in Royal Oak, “1.1 miles from my home,” Gleicher says. “That’s the way the world should work.”

Just then, Gleicher gets interrupted by a phone call from one of her sons. Her husband takes the call and tells her the news: “The crockpot is overflowing.” 

Gleicher laughs. Life is good.

But juggling a successful practice with motherhood is not always easy. “When I think of how many [of my kids’ events] I’ve missed…” she laments. “It’s a tradeoff.
But I’m a mother who likes her life.”

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