Chapman and Cutler mourns loss of its healthcare financing leader

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Chicago-based Chapman and Cutler LLP remembered Michael J. Mitchell, a 40-year veteran public finance attorney, as a mentor who was well-respected for his expertise in healthcare financings.

Mitchell died Nov. 25. He was 63.

During his long career, Mitchell served in varied roles as bond counsel, underwriter's counsel, and borrower's counsel on financings that ranged from deals for large multi-state health system to smaller providers of community health care and other not-for-profits, including cultural institutions.

“Many of us were fortunate to have Mike as a mentor early in our careers,” said Tim Mohan, Chapman’s chief executive partner.

“He taught us many things, the most important of which is that you could be a great lawyer and a great person. He will be sorely missed,” Mohan said.

“Mike was generous in sharing his insights and expertise with all of us at Chapman and Cutler,” said Nancy Burke, a partner and co-practice group leader of the firm’s national public and health & education finance department. “We learned new ways to serve our clients and help each other, and we also learned from Mike’s personal health challenges, how to persevere and fight the good fight. We will miss him greatly.”

Mitchell's legal career began and ended at Chapman, where in 1979 he joined the firm as a summer associate. A year later he joined the municipal, health, and education finance department practice as an associate.

Mitchell moved on to Jones Day but after 18 years returned to Chapman in 2014 as a partner. He served as practice group leader of the firm’s national public and health & education finance department.

“Mikey, as I have called him for years, was kind, humble, honest, genuine, and reliable. Though he was a rock of a human, he was a big cuddly teddy bear, with great hugs, warm chuckles, and a big heart — always there for me both personally and professionally,” said Terri Wareham, a managing director at the financial advisory firm Kaufman Hall. “We shared our good times and our challenges, often over Mexican food and margaritas. He was an incredibly compassionate listener and supporter to all of us that were lucky enough to know him.”

Mitchell spent much of his life living in suburban Chicago. He received his undergraduate and law degree from the University of Illinois and he also became a certified public accountant.

Mitchell is survived by his wife, Denise and sons Matt, Andy, and Colin.

In lieu of a memorial service, the Mitchell family has asked that those wishing to honor his memory direct a contribution to the Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) Foundation and/or join the Organ Donation Registry.

Mitchell suffered with PKD and was a transplant survivor.

“Mike’s wish was for people to register to be organ donors — in his words, ‘to save a life,’” said a statement from the firm.

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