40 Under 40 The Class of 2014

Michael Schneider

Associate Attorney, Doherty, Wallace, Pillsbury & Murphy, P.C., age 39

Michael-Schneider-01bMichael Schneider studied theology and political philosophy as an undergraduate, and considered heading to divinity school for his master’s studies.

Eventually, though, “I didn’t think some of the work was for me,” he said. “I was happy with the education, and I really enjoyed learning about that field, but I didn’t enjoy the prospect of writing those books. I decided I wanted to work with people a little more.”

So he switched gears in favor of law school, and is now an associate attorney with Doherty, Wallace, Pillsbury & Murphy, with a general business practice that encompasses everything from zoning and permitting in commercial real estate to mergers and acquisitions, especially in the precision-manufacturing field.

“We did two fairly large deals in 2012 that involved European buyers,” he recalled. “That was a lot of fun; it gives you an opportunity to punch above your weight class. In a Chicago or D.C. law firm, there might be 10 or 12 people on a team for that project; here, there’s one or two of us.”

In addition, Schneider was the lead attorney for the permitting and financial work for the Sisters of St. Joseph senior residences at Mont Marie in Holyoke.

“I enjoy getting people over the goal line on things that are difficult or complex, but ultimately very rewarding for them,” he said. “It’s a pretty intimate relationship, and we help them do some major things in their life. And it’s satisfying to help facilitate that with someone.”

Schneider enjoys helping people outside of work as well, including serving on the Longmeadow Conservation Commission and as vice president of the Children’s Chorus of Springfield. “This great group is in its seventh year,” he said, noting that it fills — or at least begins to fill — a serious need in Springfield, where fewer than half of grade-school students have access to music education in their curriculum.

“The kids in this chorus come from about 25 different schools,” he continued. “Countless studies show that kids with access to music education do better in school. My mother is a teacher, and my brother is an opera singer, so I have a lot of respect for it. Music education was something I took for granted, and to help fill that gap now is important.”

— Joseph Bednar

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