40 Under 40 Class of 2007

Michael Gove

Age 28. Attorney, Lyon & Fitzpatrick LLP

With degrees in Political Science and Law — and experience campaigning for political candidates in Massachusetts — Michael Gove is enthusiastic, to say the least, about politics. Just don’t ask him to run for office.

“I’ve always been a big believer in the political process, and I’ve always had a blast campaigning,” he said. “There are so many issues out there that can only be resolved through the political process, so it’s important that people stand up and tell the people representing them what they believe.”

That said, “I could see myself on a board of selectmen, something small, but wouldn’t want to be governor. I don’t like the horse trading, or trading away my principles and making compromises. I’d rather focus on an issue I believe in and work for that.”

In many ways, Gove is working for the public right now, one person at a time, as an attorney with Lyon & Fitzpatrick LLP who specializes in business law, estate planning, and housing law.

“I originally wanted to be a prosecutor,” he said, “but I found I really enjoyed working with people planning ahead for things” — a job description that ranges from helping businesses plan 10 or 20 years down the road to making sure young couples with children plan a secure future for their family, or helping senior citizens protect assets when preparing for nursing-home care.

Gove is planning on a larger scale, too. A member of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, he was asked by PVPC Director Tim Brennan to co-chair the Valley Development Council, a board hard at work on Valley Vision II, a comprehensive land-use plan for the region.

“It’s a huge project, and it has taken two years to get to where we are now,” Gove said. “We’re going to urge the commission to support it and push principles of smart growth, energy conservation, mixed-use buildings, mixing residential and commercial building, and mass transit.”

The first Valley Vision endeavor, he said, was released several years ago and then “left to collect dust.” The current council intends to make the second effort a living document, to be updated as the years go by.

After all, to succeed in the future, you have to work at it now — whether you’re a politician, a city planner, or a retired grandmother who doesn’t want to lose her life savings.