Michael Abbott
Michael Abbott

Age 34 | attorney, Faegre Baker Daniels LLP

When Michael and Katie Abbott got married, they had a big decision to make. Should Michael accept offers to practice law in Chicago or stay in Greater Des Moines, where the couple knew they would eventually wind up to raise children?

“We thought, ‘Why go elsewhere and come back?’ It’s funny how your perception changes through every phase of your life, but we think it’s great,” Michael Abbott said of the decision to stay home, where the couple is raising Harry, 4, and Alex, 1.

That decision didn’t slow Abbott’s ascent in the legal profession. He went to work for Belin McCormick P.C., specializing in financial transactions. He was voted in as a partner after seven years, the earliest, under the firm’s policies, that the step could be taken.

With his work in corporate finances, Abbott saw the financial crisis hit with full force.

“Most of my job is unemotional; it’s a lot of companies, a lot of economics,” Abbott said. “But that hit home. It wasn’t a solution that you could just pull out of a bag of tricks.”

He watched companies fail. He also helped companies survive, often at the grace of a lender who saw the benefit of working through problem loans and finances.

Abbott left no hard feelings behind when he exited Belin to join a much larger national law firm, Faegre Baker Daniels LLP.

“Mike is a top-notch attorney and a leader among his peers and community,” Belin attorney Robert Mullen said in a nominating letter.

Five reasons he’s a 40:

• Greater Des Moines YMCA Camp, board and executive committee.

• Volunteer Lawyers Network.

• CFA Society of Iowa, pro bono counsel.

• United Way of Central Iowa, income cabinet.

• Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa Bowl for Kids Sake team coordinator.

Fun fact:

Abbott enjoys building things with son Harry, 4. Michael holds the nail. Harry swings the hammer.