Mike McNeil will tell you he’s not a natural born hard worker. It was something he learned to be. He says the lesson that came from it may be the single most significant takeaway in his experience, at least up to this point.
“High school was easy. I always did well, especially on the verbal side. But I barely survived my first two years at Wake Forest because high school had been so easy and I never had to apply myself. It took time to figure out. I put myself on probation, took off a semester and drove a limousine at the Rochester Airport.
“When I returned to Wake Forest, I was far more motivated. I’d learned to treat school like a job. The difference in how I applied myself was like night and day. I found the more I put in, the more I got out.”
Mike grew up in upstate New York. His father was in sales, his mother stayed home. It was understood he and his two younger sisters wouldn’t go to college anywhere it was possible to drive home for the weekend. His parents believed one of the benefits of going away to college was finding out what it’s like to be on one’s own.
On graduating, like the majority of new grads, he hadn’t mapped out a career path. He thought he might get into sales or whatever it was other liberal arts majors did. He found work selling insurance that first year, realizing quickly it wasn’t what he wanted to do with the rest of his life.
By that time, his parents had moved to Cincinnati. Applying to law school at UC was pretty much something he tried on for size. Part of his thinking at the time was that law school would give him another three years to figure it out. That he took to his classes as well as he did seems serendipitous now.
He came to focus his practice on domestic relations. “It gives you perspective into your own life. You also realize you’re responsible in ways that extend way beyond simply resolving the case. You have to think forward. It’s important to anticipate issues that might arise 10 years down the line and evaluate the impact on both sides, especially when children are involved. If it’s all about grinding someone down, cornering them, you can expect the same in return.”
Mike and his wife, Gina, have sons Nicholas and Owen. She likes to bake, he likes to grill. He says she likes the structure of a recipe, whereas recipes are points of departure for him. He is mighty fond of his Weber and cooks with charcoal, even in winter weather. It takes a bit longer, but he has learned through his experience that the results are worth it.
His compass is set in the context of family law matters: “While the concerns tend to be the same, each client is unique. Finding the right solution for a family requires patience and persistence -- and a lot of listening. Listening to clients and identifying their needs and priorities takes time, but I enjoy the process. It’s the most important part of my job. The more you listen, the more you learn.”
Mike is a member of the Firm's Litigation Group. His practice focuses primarily on domestic relations and family law, which includes divorce, dissolution, custody, child support and spousal support (alimony). He has extensive experience in complex property division matters, including professional practices and closely held business valuations. His family law practice encompasses the collaborative process, negotiated settlements, alternative dispute resolution, traditional litigation and post-decree matters, and appeals. He is also an active member of the Cincinnati Academy of Collaborative Professionals and will serve as Co-Chair of the organization for the 2020-2022 term. He has more than 20 years of family law experience and was named an Ohio Super Lawyer in 2009 and 2010. He also participates as a volunteer lawyer in the Hamilton County and Clermont County Family Law clinics, and the collaborative process pro bono program.
Mike is licensed to practice in the State of Ohio and in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. He is a graduate of Wake Forest University, where he earned a B.A. in History. Mike earned his J.D. at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. Prior to joining the Firm, he spent 23 years with another downtown Cincinnati law firm.
Mike was born in California, but raised in Northern New York. Although he is not a native of Cincinnati, he has lived here longer than he has lived anywhere else. He currently resides in Milford with his wife, Gina, and sons, Nicholas and Owen.