Faculty Focus – Michael Nerheim, Criminal Justice Instructor

A new instructor will be teaching at Columbia College–Lake County this October.

If you are thinking about taking CJAD 352 Victims in the Justice System, take a few minutes to learn more about Michael Nerheim:

1) Where are you from (original hometown)?
I am originally from Waukegan, IL.

2) Tell us about your family.
I am married with three children. Our oldest son, Mason, is six years old, our daughter, Grace, is three years old, and our youngest son, Matthew, is seven months old.

3) What degrees do you hold, and where did you earn them?
I have a bachelor of science in criminal justice and psychology from Winona State University, and a juris doctor from the John Marshall Law School.

4) Tell us about your teaching experience and work history.
I have no formal teaching experience, but I have lectured on trial advocacy, and judged university level mock trial competitions. Throughout college and law school, I interned at the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office Special Investigation Division, and began my legal career with the State’s Attorney’s Office as an Assistant State’s Attorney in April of 2000. During my time there I served in every division, prosecuting everything from traffic offenses to murder cases. I have also conducted several bench and jury trials. In April of 2007 I went into private practice, and currently work for the law firm of Fox, Lunardi, and Zeidt in Waukegan. My focus is on criminal defense, everything from traffic violations to felonies, but I also do some civil work, including representing victims of crimes on civil cases. I also serve as a judge for the Gurnee Teen Court program.

5) What do you most enjoy about your field?
I enjoy every day being different. One minute I may be defending a client on a speeding ticket only to head to a felony courtroom where I am working on a murder case.

6) Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
I never wanted to be a lawyer! I went to law school because I wanted to be an FBI agent. At the time, you either needed to be a lawyer, or an accountant. Since I was never very good at accounting, I went to law school. While interning at the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office I found that I really enjoyed my time there, and after graduating from law school accepted a position with them as a prosecutor. My plan was simply to gain a few years of professional experience and move on, but I fell in love with trial work and decided to make a career out of being a trial attorney.

7) What advice do you have for students taking your class this August?
Be prepared for class. And don’t be afraid to participate in class discussions. There is a great deal you can learn from your classmates that complements what you can learn from my lectures.