In the Spotlight: Q&A With Partner Mikaela Whitman of Pasich LLP
Partner Mikaela Whitman, a complex commercial litigator, specializes in the representation of policyholders in a variety of insurance coverage matters. With a keen ability to anticipate potential obstacles to insurance recovery and devise risk mitigation strategies, Mikaela’s comprehensive analysis of issues, candid communication style, and warm demeanor have garnered her respect from clients and colleagues alike.
A prolific speaker and writer on all things insurance coverage law, Mikaela splits her time between Pasich LLP’s offices in New York City and Los Angeles. Learn more about Mikaela professionally and personally below.
What do you think it takes to be partner?
To be a partner, one must excel in legal knowledge, consistently deliver high-quality work, develop and maintain strong client relationships, contribute to the firm’s growth and reputation, and embody leadership qualities that inspire and foster collaboration within the team.
What is your proudest professional moment?
A few years ago, I represented a young woman pro bono in a coverage dispute with her health insurer.
She had an advance stage of breast cancer and required a specific treatment that her insurer would not cover. Without this treatment, she was not likely to survive. Unfortunately, the health insurer had a strong argument that the treatment was “experimental” and not covered. Three other law firms told my client there was nothing they could do—there simply was not coverage under the policy for her treatment.
But I was determined to find her coverage—and I did. In short, under the relevant law, the insurer had to provide a coverage position by a certain date or it waived its right to deny coverage. The insurer had missed the deadline by one day. The insurer reversed its coverage position and paid for the treatment, in effect, saving the woman’s life.
In my career, I have been involved in numerous high-profile cases and decisions, but this still remains my proudest moment.
If you could give a younger version of yourself advice, what would it be?
I would tell my younger self to develop a strong network early on and nurture those relationships throughout your career.
What are your principles when it comes to client service?
My principles for client service include active listening, maintaining open and transparent communication, providing tailored and strategic legal solutions, anticipating and addressing clients' needs proactively, and always striving to exceed client expectations.
If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you do and why?
If I wasn’t a lawyer, I would start my own company. I am entrepreneurial and constantly annoying my family and friends with my “idea of the day” that is going to revolutionize some industry. On the other hand, I might also start a gelato shop somewhere warm and write paperback novels—the jury is still out.