Best Under 40: Thomas A. Vaclavek Jr.
Occupation: Attorney, Mohr & Vaclavek
Residence: Crystal Lake
Hometown: Downers Grove
Family: Two children, Brody, 8, and Cole, 5
Education: Juris doctor, Chicago-Kent College of Law; bachelor's degree, media arts, University of Arizona.
Favorite McHenry County restaurant? Georgio’s Pizza in Crystal Lake
Favorite movie? "Ferris Bueller’s Day Off"
One word that describes you? Focused
What is your job and what makes you so good at it?
I am a partner with the law firm of Mohr & Vaclavek. This is a hard question because I really don’t know makes me so good at being an attorney. I try really hard and I work on becoming better at my job every day, but I would be the first to admit that I have a lot of work to do to become the best I can be. I think there are a lot of things that go into being a good attorney. I believe you need to be a good listener first and foremost. I also think it is important to be willing to admit when you don’t know something and to be able to figure it out, but most of all I think being compassionate and understanding my clients’ needs and then advocating for them is what makes me good at being an attorney.
What accomplishments and innovations are you most proud of this year?
Becoming a partner in my law firm.
How do you give back to the community and what drives your service?
I give back in various ways. I serve in an advisory capacity by sitting on the board for Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Crystal Lake Chamber and the housing authority. I volunteer for various charities and I mentor young professionals who are looking to get ahead. I think what drives me the most is that I understand that sometimes all it takes is a little help and a little motivation to be able to get to where you want to be.
I know that I would never have succeeded without a few people who pushed me to be the best I could be and so I think it is important to do that for other people, too.
What is something you have never done but want to do some day?
There are so many things. I’ve always wanted to travel the world. I realize now I should have done more of that when I had the chance. But if I had to name just one thing it would be to compete in an Ironman triathlon. I’ve run a marathon and I’ve competed in two triathlons as a member of a team, but I’ve never done a full triathlon by myself and to complete an Ironman would be the end-all be-all of pushing myself.
What is the best career advice you have received?
Don’t be afraid to say yes.
“Professionally, Tom Vaclavek is known in McHenry County as the family law attorney who seeks to help families through the dramatic changes of adoption, divorce, paternity, custody and post-decree process. Personally, Tom Vaclavek is known as the attorney with the creative camera and a willingness to give back to the community,” said business associate Sue Dobbe.