Discovery with Michelle D. Connell

Michelle D. Connell would rather be laughing or organizing trial notebooks instead of whining about how hard things are

Published in 2019 North Carolina Super Lawyers — February 2019

My nickname is … It depends. I understand some opposing parties have different nicknames for me—none fit for print. 

If I weren’t a lawyer, I’d be … a sports reporter. Getting paid to watch and write about sports—are you kidding?

When I started, I wish I knew … 95 percent of litigation is not personal.

When I win a case, I celebrate by … organizing my trial notebooks and exhibits in the event of an appeal, then move on to the next case. My client going to trial next week doesn’t care that I won today.

The SCOTUS decision I’d overturn is … McCleskey v. Kemp, which upheld a death penalty verdict because there was no evidence showing that Georgia death penalty law demonstrated a “racially discriminatory purpose.” 

The most fascinating person I ever met is … my Yai Yai (grandmother). She emmigrated from Greece, married, opened a restaurant, had 13 children, buried seven of them, never complained and kept her sense of humor.

I get angry when … people of means or power treat vulnerable people without dignity or compassion. 

On my best day I … appreciate what I have.

On my worst day I … whine about how hard things are.

My motto is … I’d rather laugh. 

The movie line I quote most often is … “You’ll get nothing, and like it!” – Judge Smails, Caddyshack 

The most misunderstood part of my practice area is … that it involves so many other areas of law—tax, trusts, business, real estate, contracts—then filters those practices through the sieve of raw emotion. 

The greatest song lyric ever written … “Time flies when you’re making babies / Do you miss your little black Mercedes / Do you miss the girl you once had time to be?” –Jason Isbell

The best advice I ever got … life isn’t a dress rehearsal.

I wish I had invented … Post-it notes.

The last TV show I binge-watched was … Game of Thrones. (But I binge-watch everything.)

My career high point (so far) has been … This is it. I’m retiring tomorrow.

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