Member Highlight: Brian Mikulencak

Sue Bennett's picture

1. Tell us a little about yourself and the educational or career path you took to get to where you are now?

I decided in law school to focus on tax classes because several professors and practicing lawyers told me that tax lawyers had a more "academic" practice. Working in a couple large firms, I found this was true and I think having a tax speciality provided opportunities to work on more transactions representing a wider variety of deal structures. After about 6 years with large firms, I made the tough decision to start my own practice, largely because I'd felt my learning curve was starting to level off. As a solo attorney, I had the freedom to pursue social impact work, which helped in establishing the relationships that I rely on now.

2. What specifically drew you to working with social enterprises and democratically-led organizations, such as cooperatives?

My law school focussed heavily on the intersection of the market and the law, so I was very strongly drawn to the notion that market-based solutions could achieve social goals more effectively than approaches that ignored (or worked against) individuals' economic incentives.

3. What do you find to be the most challenging about being a lawyer [or law student, legal apprentice, or other legal professional]?

For me, time management and deadlines are the most challenging aspects of practicing law.

4. What do love most about being a lawyer [or law student, legal apprentice, or other legal professional]?

It's sounds cheesy, but the "counselor" part of practicing law is the most meaningful part of my practice. I'd like to think that if a business entity or non-profit organization could visit a shrink and talk about its problems and challenges, then maybe that's me.

5. What are some of the needs you see in your community that you are hoping to address through your work?

I hope that my work addresses individuals' needs to feel that their work and entrepreneurial efforts provide the proper level of financial return, stability, and overall satisfaction.

6. What, if anything, would you change about the legal profession or legal community if you were in charge?

I'd make law school less expensive or otherwise try to reduce the debt of law graduates. I think that the profession would improve if young lawyers weren't bound to working in non-optimal environments for financial reasons.

7. Who is your ideal client or what is your ideal project?

My ideal clients are investors in social impact companies that appreciate the risks entrepreneurs are taking, and are creative about defining their target financial return (rather than targeting a "market" return).

8. What do you like to do when you are not practicing law [studying, or working]?

With 2 young kids, I spend most of my spare time at playgrounds and on nature trails.

9. What are your “go to” resources and current sources of inspiration you can share with the Next Legal community?

Recently, I was fortunate to tap into the "Zebra" community, which is an amazing group of mostly entrepreneurs that are passionate about redefining the start-up and small business environment to be more inclusive and create long-term value (among other things).