You get more from life by giving.
Linda Orlans, ’87
Running a fast-paced law title company with 300 employees would appear to keep one busy 24/7. But Linda Orlans, a 1987 Detroit College of Law graduate, carves out a significant amount of time for charities and serves as a trustee at MSU College of Law.
These pursuits all tie into her philosophy: “You get more from life by giving.”
Industrious and intensely focused, Orlans worked full-time at an insurance company while raising a three-year-old daughter. She was the first in her family to graduate from college, with a B.S. degree from Wayne State University. Her love of learning and desire to excel motivated her to enroll at the Detroit College of Law (now MSU College of Law) for evening classes. She was encouraged by her co-workers, and helped by her friends and family as she stepped onto this strenuous track.
She started her law firm with a home equity loan. She borrowed frequent flyer miles to travel on her first business trip and used multiple credit cards to buy lunch for her first client. Today she is the founding shareholder of Orlans Associates, P.C.; Orlans Moran, PLLC; and eTitle Agency, Inc., based in Troy, Michigan, with a branch in Boston, Massachusetts.
While many people dread going to work, Orlans is inspired by it. “I get to do something that I love every single day,” she says. “I am continuously inspired and motivated by our employees, who do the impossible.”
She has put together a solid management team. She empowers her employees to be efficient, tech-savvy and to seek to do their best. Her daughter, Alison Orlans, is now a lawyer and works at the firm.
As a visionary and agent of change, Orlans owns one of the greenest offices in town. For more than a decade, it has been paperless with everything stored electronically. The office was updated with energy-saving features and a garden oasis for outdoor meetings and meals.
Her niche market is real estate law. The firm strives for a balance of professionalism and compassion in handling defaulted loans for major lenders and investors.
Orlans was also instrumental in bringing HOPE (Home Ownership Preservation Enterprise) to Detroit, Michigan. This organization helps homeowners who are unable to pay their mortgage to work out new terms so they can stay in their homes.
In her community involvement, Orlans seeks solutions to problems and commits financial resources to them, while encouraging others to do the same. One example is a project that Orlans is working on with Dean Howarth. With funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, MSU scientists are leading efforts for sustainable food policy in Africa. “Sustainable, safe food systems do not exist without sound legal frameworks. Linda has the vision to see the Law College front and center in this fight against hunger," Dean Howarth explains. "Linda understands that we’re not building the Law College for the sake of building the Law College. We’re building an educational and intellectual powerhouse to show our students the full power of the law, and to transform lives.” Orlans said that her alma mater’s affiliation with MSU “was the best thing that ever happened to the law school. It has taken the original law school well beyond its own potential with a top-quality physical plant and more world-class professors.”
Her charity involvement focuses on children and education. She serves as legal counsel to Beyond Basics, a nonprofit organization that offers tutoring in math and reading to help kids graduate from Detroit Public Schools. She is also very involved with Junior Achievement of Southeast Michigan, and is on the Executive Board. For the past seven years, Orlans has participated as a Distinguished Clown in the Detroit Thanksgiving Day Parade. It’s a euphoric experience for her to take in all the sights and sounds and smiling kids.
Orlans recently received The Hon. George N. Bashara, Jr., ’61, Distinguished Alumni Award at the 2009 Commencement—a true testament to the dedication she has to her alma mater as well as her business. She also recently pledged a significant gift to her alma mater.
Her positive attitude, spirit of fun and strong values enhance the lives of those around Linda Orlans. That rocks her world.
A version of this profile originally appeared in the spring 2009 issue of Amicus, published by the MSU College of Law.