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Alumni Spotlight: Michael Hayes, Jr. '89


Michael Hayes, Jr. ’89

Originally from Oak Park, Mike Hayes is the first of five siblings to graduate from Fenwick. Professionally, Hayes is an attorney and partner at Odelson & Sterk, Ltd. (Evergreen Park, IL), where he has worked for 10 years. The firm primarily represents municipalities, school districts, and other local governments and officials. “We cover a range of practice areas, for public and private clients, from litigation and appeals to contract and ordinance drafting,” he notes.

In addition to being a member of the Chicago Bar Association, Hayes recently was named president of the Fenwick Bar Association (FBA). In this new role he has connected with Fenwick’s mock trial team, helping them to prepare for the recent Howlett Cup, a mock trial competition for Catholic schools in the Chicago area. Next, Hayes and the FBA will host the 21st Annual Accipiter Award Luncheon on Friday, May 12.

After Fenwick, Hayes went to the University of Illinois and then to law school at and DePaul. “My father is an attorney, and he worked for the State of Illinois until I was in college,” Mike says. “I became interested in law and government in large part because of that. I also worked for the state in a few different positions after becoming a lawyer, including positions in the General Assembly, Illinois Appellate Court, and Illinois Attorney General’s Office. I am in private practice now, but most of our work is government-related and for government clients and officials -- and those prior experiences have helped me.”

Personally, Hayes and his family have resided in Riverside, IL, for the past nine years. Nicole, his wife, works in the marketing/advertising field in Chicago. The couple has a son, Jack (age 7), and two daughters, Caitlin (3) and Nora (2), all of whom attend St. Mary School in Riverside.

How did Fenwick help you prepare for life after high school?
​“In addition to just being better educated after four years with great teachers and coaches, at Fenwick I learned more about how to study, communication skills (especially in writing), and respect for discipline and authority, among many other benefits,” Hayes explains. “All of these things helped me in college, in law school, and especially as a lawyer where they are necessary parts of the profession. Fenwick has also helped me make many professional connections. I think Fenwick has come up at nearly every interview I have given.

“In addition to the personal and spiritual growth from an in-depth Catholic education, I was fortunate to meet and make some great friends among my many classmates and teammates,” he continues. “I was especially proud to be a part of great soccer teams during my four years. A little success in school work and playing a couple of sports gave me confidence as I graduated to college and law school. 

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