Neuman Anderson Partner Leif Anderson Profiled in Michigan Lawyers Weekly

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This article originally appeared in the February 10, 2011 issue of Michigan Lawyers Weekly.

Photo Courtesy of Michigan Lawyers Weekly

Every so often, Leif K. Anderson brings his buddies Marshall and Les to work. And when that happens, things really rock.

That’s because his friends are his Gibson Les Paul guitar and Marshall amplifier.

Besides being a full-time complex commercial litigator, Anderson’s the guitarist in Anderson Valley, a band that plays a blend of rock, pop and country. The group, which recently completed its first CD, plays regularly at metro Detroit clubs and bars, and his wife, Cindy, sings and plays keyboards.

He said there are parallels in both his legal career and musical endeavors.

“Litigation is like theater,” explained Anderson, who has been a musician since his teen years growing up in Manistee. “It’s telling the story, being in front of everybody, and making them pay attention.

“And in both worlds, you have to think on your feet sometimes. Things come up in litigation that you hadn’t contemplated but then have to address, and there’s lots of improvisation in playing guitar.”

The difference, he added, is that it can be therapeutic to pick up a guitar. In fact, sometimes his firm’s co-founding partner, Kenneth F. Neuman, will grab his acoustic guitar and the two will have an impromptu office jam session.

What one guitar would you most want to play for 10 minutes?

David Gilmour of Pink Floyd has one of the earliest Fender Stratocasters ever made, so I’d want a try at that. Maybe one of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s. And even though I don’t play lefty, I’d give Jimi Hendrix’s lefty a shot.

Best concert you ever attended?

Pink Floyd at the Pontiac Silverdome in 1987. A total visual experience, with a couple million-dollar light show and three different stage setups. But for pure musicianship, I almost feel silly for saying this, I got forced to see Yanni with my wife at The Palace a couple of years ago. Talk about phenomenal musicians! They’ve got 30 people up on stage and every single one of them was an A-plus player.

You’re stuck on a desert island for a year. What five records are on the iPod you brought?

“Led Zeppelin IV,” Van Halen’s first record, Aerosmith’s “Greatest Hits,” AC/DC’s “Back in Black,” and maybe some classical music just to even me out.

What was the worst gift you ever received?

I can’t even name one. When I grew up, you were thankful for any gift that you got, and you thanked people profusely whether you liked it or not, because they thought enough to give you something.

What fad do you regret being a part of?

I had the mullet way back when. In fact, in my wedding photo, I’ve got the mullet and the ’stache going. And I wore parachute pants and acid-washed jeans. Let’s just say most of the ’80s fads.

If you could switch bodies with your spouse, what would you most want to do?

Make me rub my feet. I’d want to experience it from her perspective, because she sure does like it.