40 Under 40 The Class of 2014

Michael Simolo

Attorney, Robinson Donovan, P.C., age 37

Michael-Simolo-01Mike Simolo admits he’s not the handiest person in the world, and has developed a decent sense of humor about that subject, especially regarding his work with Habitat for Humanity.

“You don’t want me on the build site,” he said. “If I do show up there, they say, ‘go paint in the corner over there, and we’ll paint over it after you leave.’”

Such remarks, real or imagined, don’t bother him, because there are many ways to contribute to Habitat without wielding a paintbrush, and he’s found them — everything from fund-raising to serving on the committee that hired the current director; from strategic planning to rewriting policies and procedures.

“It’s a great board and incredibly rewarding work,” he said of Habitat. “It’s an incredible difference you’re making in someone’s life; you’re taking some of these families from very poor living conditions and providing them with a home that they can afford. It’s a step up, not a handout, and that’s very appealing to me.”

Comments like those make it clear that Simolo, an attorney with Springfield-based law firm Robinson Donovan, chooses his work within the community carefully. “It has to be something I’m passionate about,” he said, adding that this description certainly applies to his latest assignment serving on the board of Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society; he has two miniature schnauzers, Obi and Hobbes, and is a serious dog lover.

Finding time for community work is somewhat challenging, but Simolo makes the time, while spending the most of what’s left building a law practice that specializes in estate planning, administration, and business. A graduate of Hobart College and Cornell Law School, he started with a small firm in Amherst called Brown, Hart & Kaplan, and eventually became a partner there. His move to Robinson Donovan has him doing more complex work and positions him to grow his client list. Overall, he believes he’s in the right place at the right time, and in the right specialty — estate planning.

“It’s an interesting time to be in estate planning,” he said. “If you look at the statistics about how much money is going to be passed from one generation to the next, it’s a staggering number, and it all has to be done right.”

— George O’Brien

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