A friend of Michael Perkinson’s once remarked that Michael is one of those rare birds who can walk into any establishment and, after a single visit, become a welcomed regular. Michael says it was the best compliment ever.
He guesses it’s due to his upbringing in Madisonville. Twin cousins grew up on the next street, and an aunt lived just up the street. Other family members were sprinkled here and there, mostly around the family matriarch, Michael’s paternal grandmother, Phyllis Perkinson, who lived another street over.
“No one locked their doors. People were always popping in and out, like a sitcom, especially at Grandma’s house. She ran the neighborhood, and she was always cooking. We used to argue, sort of laughingly, about whatever. She taught me that you learn more about what you think by understanding someone else’s opposing view.
“She had every ailment known to man; diabetes, osteoporosis, MS. But she was always smiling and laughing. She didn’t care. We thought she was Lebanese, but on her deathbed, she said, ‘I don’t know. We could be Greek. Or maybe Cuban.’”
Thinking about her gets him grinning. “At her funeral, there were cops from Cincinnati, Mariemont, and Fairfax directing traffic on her street. It was two days of non-stop visitors, people everywhere … ”
Michael says he draws pieces of his personality from all the key people from his childhood. Phyllis was married to a Marine -- Michael says he could have been Clint Eastwood’s double in “Gran Torino.” His other grandfather ran a casino. Michael describes his mother as book smart and his dad as street smart. She works in the audiology department at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. His dad and an uncle are co-owners of a construction company.
“Mom is highly organized, very conservative and risk-averse. Dad’s a gambler. He’s not afraid to take chances. I have a little from both and a little from my grandparents. I don’t mind taking a risk as long as it’s a smart risk.
“I was never told what I was supposed to be – I was just told to have goals. I like having a five-year plan. But I’ve learned circumstances always change plans. Still, you need to have a plan. You need to be heading in a direction or you won’t get anywhere.”
Early on, Michael formed enough of an impression of the world around him that he decided he’d rather be an attorney than need one. As if those were his only two choices.
He learned he had an ability to draw in law school at the University of Cincinnati. One stressful finals week, he took a walk and ended up at an art supply store, where he purchased a pad and some charcoal pencils. The best 90 minutes of his life were spent at a Stevie Wonder concert in Nashville when he was an undergrad at Vanderbilt. He inherited his grandmother’s cast iron cookware and uses it often.
“I cook many of the same things my grandma was always cooking. Stuff like grape leaves, hummus, kibbee. I make it with ground lamb and ground beef, pureed onions, green pepper and bulgur. I get most of my ingredients at Findlay Market, and I would never live without a gas stove.”
Michael joins the corporate counsel group at the Firm.
“I think that to be a great attorney, the first thing is to make sure people see you as someone they can confide in, someone who can keep a secret. Two, they have to know you’ll care as much as they do, that you’ll take their well-being personally.
“I want to be the person my clients call when they need help or have a problem, whether or not it has anything to do with the law.”
Michael practices business law, representing clients in contract negotiations, mergers and acquisitions, compensation and employment agreements, and commercial real estate transactions. He advises companies from their formation through their succession plan, and counsels them as they grow along the way.
His business background helps him serve as a partner to his clients. Michael focuses on his clients’ goals, and takes pride in learning his clients’ businesses to best anticipate their respective legal and non-legal issues. He takes a common sense approach and delivers promptness, reliability, and availability.
Michael was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, graduated from St. Xavier High School, and is a downtown resident.