From India to Ann Arbor, new metropolis legal professional’s highway to metropolis corridor lengthy and winding

From India to Ann Arbor, new metropolis legal professional’s highway to metropolis corridor lengthy and winding

ANN ARBOR, MI — Rising up in New Delhi, Atleen Kaur had public service instilled in her at a younger age.

“My mother was a public servant, she labored for the federal government of India, so I watched that every one by means of my childhood,” stated Kaur, who took over as Ann Arbor’s new metropolis legal professional this 12 months, changing longtime Metropolis Legal professional Stephen Postema.

The youngest of three siblings, Kaur stated she loved a snug childhood.

“I feel my mother and father gave me the utmost alternatives that they might,” she stated. “I went to boarding faculty in India, which I’m certain was actually costly for them, and it was not unusual in India for a few of the higher faculties to be boarding faculties, leftover from the British.”

Kaur stated she was simply shy of 18 and already accomplished one 12 months of school when her life shifted course and he or she got here to america. Her older sister was recognized with lymphoma and present process most cancers therapy at Stanford.

After months of caring for her sister, who survived and is now a health care provider in Maryland, Kaur stated she was left attempting to resolve what to do subsequent along with her life. Her mother and father needed her to grow to be a health care provider, however she wasn’t , and at one level she deliberate to be a geneticist.

For monetary causes, Kaur enrolled at a group school in California earlier than finally transferring to Harvard College, the place she earned a bachelor’s diploma in economics then took a job at a agency doing economics consulting for regulation companies.

She went on to earn a regulation diploma from Columbia College in New York Metropolis in 2002. Whereas there, she met her husband, a local of India who had simply completed his medical residency on the College of Michigan.

“We talked about the place have been we going to dwell as a result of each of us have been immigrants, however he’d already purchased a home in Ann Arbor,” Kaur stated of how she ended up shifting right here 20 years in the past.

Atleen Kaur, Ann Arbor's new city attorney

Ann Arbor Metropolis Legal professional Atleen Kaur poses at Larcom Metropolis Corridor in downtown Ann Arbor, with the town’s Justice Heart within the background, on Sept. 1, 2022.

Kaur stated she has loved residing and elevating her two younger youngsters, now ages 8 and 13, in Ann Arbor, however it was a giant adjustment.

“I’ll be sincere, after I first moved right here from New York, I couldn’t sleep at evening — it was far too quiet,” she stated. “I used to be like, the place are all of the sirens?”

Having grown up in New Delhi, Kaur stated she thought she would find yourself in a much bigger metropolis.

“It took me a 12 months to actually get adjusted to Ann Arbor, however then I actually began liking it, as a result of I noticed that the alternatives I might have listed below are possibly greater than what I’d get in a much bigger metropolis,” she stated, mentioning quick access to arts and parks and a visit to Lake Michigan that additionally offered her on residing right here.

Kaur acquired her begin working on the Miller Canfield regulation agency in Ann Arbor and stated she was given plenty of duty she wouldn’t have gotten as a brand new affiliate at a big-city regulation agency.

“I began out being a litigator,” she stated, noting her work centered on antitrust regulation. “Largely I used to be defending purchasers, however that actually teaches you to identify issues as a result of then you already know what persons are being sued for.”

One in all her massive purchasers was the Nationwide Collegiate Athletic Affiliation, so she labored on and gained a number of NCAA circumstances and acquired to go to the Last 4. She was named among the many “Up and Coming Legal professionals” by Michigan Legal professionals Weekly in 2006 and a “Rising Star” by Michigan Tremendous Legal professionals in 2008.

Making company regulation her focus, she then spent 9 years in varied roles at Yazaki North America earlier than working for international expertise firm ZF Group as lead counsel for a division that labored on autonomous car expertise.

When phrase acquired out that the Ann Arbor metropolis legal professional place was opening, then-Metropolis Administrator Tom Crawford, whom Kaur knew socially and from serving on the town’s pension board, really helpful she apply.

“I didn’t suppose I had shot at getting it as a result of I used to be not a municipal lawyer, however I utilized and right here I’m,” Kaur stated.

The town performed a nationwide search that netted 20 candidates final 12 months, however Kaur was the one to advance to an interview with Metropolis Council. She began on the job in April and now oversees a staff of attorneys who deal with prosecutions and authorized protection for the town and advise employees and council on a variety of issues, together with zoning and labor regulation.

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Kaur stated she’s on the helm of a gentle ship and he or she’s amazed by her employees. It may be intense juggling so many points, she stated.

“Like each half an hour, you must have a psychological swap of the following situation you’re engaged on, which is each actually intellectually stimulating but in addition difficult,” she stated.

There’s been no turnover within the workplace since she began, although she’s bracing for having to interchange Deputy Metropolis Legal professional Arianne Slay if Slay wins her decide race in November.

Postema has agreed to offer transitional authorized marketing consultant providers into the autumn. The transition has gone easily and is more likely to wrap up in September, Postema and Kaur stated.

“It has been a pleasure working with Metropolis Legal professional Kaur,” Postema stated. “She has eager authorized instincts, a gracious {and professional} demeanor and a gentle deal with the necessary and continually growing points within the metropolis.”

Kaur stated she’s taking severely all litigation involving the town. Massive circumstances embrace a lawsuit claiming the town owes property house owners tens of millions of {dollars} in stormwater price refunds and the town’s authorized combat towards polluter Gelman Sciences, for which Kaur not too long ago joined the town’s authorized staff in Lansing for a Michigan Courtroom of Appeals listening to.

After Council Member Kathy Griswold recommended at a June 6 council assembly that the town’s legal professionals have been “on autopilot” and weren’t searching for the pursuits of residents within the Gelman case, Kaur spoke up and defended herself and her staff.

“That’s completely not true,” Kaur stated. “We’re residents of the town. Points which are necessary to the town are necessary to us. We advocate diligently on behalf of the town. However we’re legal professionals and we should achieve this throughout the confines of the regulation.”

Atleen Kaur

Metropolis Legal professional Atleen Kaur speaks on the Ann Arbor Metropolis Council assembly on June 6, 2022.CTN

Kaur famous the town had not too long ago filed a movement in courtroom searching for to implement a decide’s cleanup orders and ask Gelman to indicate why it wasn’t implementing beforehand ordered measures. Griswold later clarified her feedback weren’t personally directed at Kaur and he or she’s thrilled Kaur brings precious abilities to the town.

Kaur and her staff are also engaged on responding to council’s latest decision to take authorized motion to guard abortion rights in Michigan.

Council units metropolis insurance policies and Kaur desires council to make the most-informed selections, she stated, including she feels a heavy duty to residents.

Whereas the job may be demanding, with council conferences lasting late into the evening typically, Kaur stated she’s discovering she has a ardour for public service and she will see herself sticking round metropolis corridor for a number of years.

“Completely,” she stated, once more crediting her employees. “I’m driving on their shoulders proper now they usually’re phenomenal.”


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