When it comes to lawyers these days, forget what Shakespeare
had to say about killing them all. Instead, think Disney.
You’re a tiny fish and you happen upon three of the biggest,
baddest sharks you ever saw. But before you bolt in the opposite direction,
these sharks tell you they aren’t out to eat you at all. They’ve
adopted a new motto: “Fish are friends, not food.” They’re
trying to change their image.
One attorney compares this scene from Disney’s latest animated
ocean adventure, Finding Nemo, to efforts by the State Bar ofWisconsin
to change the public’s perception of lawyers, part of a years-long campaign
to brand attorneys in Wisconsin with a positive image. The more than $30,000
campaign (modest compared to a $750,000 campaign by the Florida Bar) is built
on the slogan, “Wisconsin Lawyers: Expert Advisers. Serving You.”
“The State Bar is trying to be positive about what great
counselors we are,” says one Milwaukee-area attorney. “And when
I saw that scene, it struck me: Do we really believe the sharks are going to
rehabilitate their image? It can’t be done.”
Outgoing State Bar President Patricia Ballman disagrees: “We
needed to remind ourselves and non-lawyers how much lawyers do to help society.… We
really do solve problems and make society work better, with laws that bring
order and value to society and with expertise to do things that non-lawyers
aren’t trained to do.”Says another lawyer of the campaign: “It
And today, as consumers become more savvy and more cynical, lawyers
may need it now more than ever (see “Polishing the Bar” on page
48 to find out why).
For those consumers – and others interested in knowing who’s
on the up-and-up in the legal community – we’ve once again compiled
our list of top attorneys.
We sent out surveys to private attorneys, public attorneys and
judges. Overall, more than 200 were returned with enthusiastic and thought-provoking
comments in addition to referrals. We backed up the survey results with interviews,
from which we culled additional comments on individual lawyers as well as thoughts
on the legal profession in general.
We took all measures possible to assure fairness. Surveys were
color-coded according to the type of lawyer (public, private or judge). Respondents
were required to return the survey in our special return envelope. We didn’t
catch anyone cheating, though we have caught attempts at ballot stuffing in
Not that some didn’t try to sway us. A few attorneys called
asking for surveys so their entire firms could vote, which would clearly be
unfair. And one marketing executive, representing a highly regarded attorney
who has appeared on the list before and appears now, called asking what she
could do to get his younger and less recognized partner on the list. Our answer? “Nothing.”
And now, on to our list of Milwaukee’s Top Lawyers for 2003,
selected by their peers as the ones who put a good face on the legal profession,
the sort oflawyers many aspire to be.
He’s done it once, twice, three, four times before. Steve Glynn (Glynn,
Fitzgerald & Albee), now for the fifth time, tops the list as the criminal
defense lawyer Milwaukee attorneys would chose to represent a close friend
or relative. The soft-spoken Glynn was also picked as the best trial lawyer
in town and placed high on our list oflawyers with the greatest integrity.
Glynn modestly brushes off the praise. “People get bored,
and there aren’t many criminal lawyers in town,” he jests. “And
Seriously, though, why the 58-year-old Glynn?
“Has a brain and a heart. Compared to him, most lawyers
just have a mouth,” writes one attorney. “Professional, always
does what is right,” says another. “Smooth – his white hair
makes him like a believable grandfather.” “Well worth the money – if
you have it.”
Glynn’s recent clients include local politicians and bureaucrats
in trouble, including former Ald. Jeff Pawlinski (who settled with a guilty
plea and at press time faced a possible federal prison term) and Gary Dobbert,
former Milwaukee County head of the Department of Human Resources. Glynn says
it’s high-profile cases like this and his work teaching legal seminars
that keep him and his work in the spotlight.
Second to Glynn is Martin Kohler (Kohler & Hart), 52. “Very
detailed,” “knows how to analyze cases” and “can take
a lot of cases people think are a total lost cause and do something with them – that
doesn’t necessarily mean through jury verdicts,” say attorneys.
Dennis Coffey (Domnitz, Mawicke & Goisman) places next on
our list. The 56-year-old attorney is “tenacious, persistent,” a
lawyer in the District Attorney’s Office tells us. Current clients include
Ald. Paul Henningsen, who in June was convicted of federal mail fraud and will
be sentenced in September. “He has a swagger that works,” says
a public defender. He gets kudos from another because he’s “not
in it for the money.”
Michael Steinle (Steinle Law Offices) wins applause from defense
lawyers and prosecutors alike. “Respectful, never crosses the line,” says
an attorney in the DA’s Office. “His word is gold, and he wouldn’t
lose credibility over one client – that has been established over the
years,” says another. Steinle, 45, left the office of Jerry Boyle (who
this year dropped off our list of top criminal defense lawyers) in 1991 to
open his own firm. On his list of recent clients is former Ald. Rosa Cameron,
who pleaded guilty last year to federal charges of misusing block grant money.
Because, as one attorney puts it, he “knows his case front
to back, has a sincere approach with juries and makes guilty criminals look
halfway decent,” Steve Kohn (Kohn Arbuckle Smith), 50, also makes the
grade. Kohn has represented clients charged with everything from homicide to
sexual crimes to white-collar crime. One high-profile client was Christopher Scarver,
convicted of killing Jeffrey Dahmer and wife murderer Jesse Anderson in prison.
Kohn is “very prepared, timely, personable and sensible,” we’re
Michael Fitzgerald (Glynn, Fitzgerald & Albee), 44, was named
to our 1999 list as part of the “new guard” of criminal defense
lawyers, along with then-partner Dean Strang. Before that, Fitzgerald worked
with Coffey. An attorney in the DA’s Office says Fitzgerald “quietly
labors around the clock for his clients,” which include the construction
supervisor for the Mitsubishi Corporation in the Miller Park crane accident
case and, currently, well-known developer Boris Gokhman.
Craig Albee (Glynn, Fitzgerald & Albee), 39, the youngest
of the attorneys we list in this category, followed Glynn from Shellow, Shellow & Glynn.
Albee is a “methodical advocate who knows the law better than most judges,” writes
a private lawyer. “Overlooked in Steve Glynn’s shadow, but [he’s] feisty, sensible and credible,” a public defender tells us.
Divorce and Family Law
Bruce Peckerman (Peckerman & Klein), 53, tops our survey; he ranked number
one for wealthy clients on our list of Best Divorce Lawyers in 2001. Peers
agree that Peckerman is “smart, fair,” “very capable,” “always
on top of things.” But they add that he can take on too many clients
and is “sometimes a little too busy.” And “his ego is so
big he will lose control if challenged.”
Tom St. John (Friebert, Finerty & St. John) and Gregg Herman
(Loeb & Herman) follow Peckerman, and both have been ranked high in the
past, particularly for wealthy clients. St. John, 59, “knows when to
fight and when to seek common ground.” He also does other types
of litigation, and “from a business standpoint, he gets up to speed very
quickly and does a very good job.”
One barrister commends Herman, 51, whose well-respected partner,
Leonard Loeb, died last spring, for tackling the complicated financial and
control issues that can come with wealthy clients. Colleagues also say he is “very
common-sense oriented” and “highly energized.”They all say
he’s an excellent lawyer and very well respected, but some question his
billing system, which is not based on an hourly rate.
Carlton Stansbury (Burbach & Stansbury) moved up in our rankings
this year. He made the list as tops for middle-income divorce clients in our
Best Divorce Lawyers listings. Stansbury, 38, is “easy to work with,
cooperative,” say colleagues. “Very level-headed – exemplifies
the type of family law practice all should partake in.”
Susan Hansen (Hansen & Hildebrand), 52, is known as “a
creative problem solver and strong advocate for children in divorce” and
for her “service to the bar. She’s involved in a lot of continuing
education… dealing with children and children’s issues.”
Marty Gagne (Gagne & O’Halloran), 47, a former partner
ofHansen’s, “keeps a damper on things and disputes” and “does
a fair amount of guardian ad litum work.”“He takes charge.… He’s
not frightened to make decisions,” says one attorney.
Personal Injury (for the plaintiff)
Robert Habush (Habush Habush & Rottier) is known for taking on high-profile
cases and clients – from his representation of the state in its tobacco
lawsuit (for which he received millions) to his representation of two of the
three widows of three ironworkers killed in the Miller Park crane accident.
Habush, 67, “wins because his cases are too good to lose,” says
one attorney. He’s “simply the best with a jury” and has
good judgment, say others. His peers named him as one of the top trial attorneys
Patrick Dunphy, 52, and his partner William Cannon, 55 (Cannon & Dunphy),
scored an equal number of recommendations from their peers as lawyers who work
on the big cases. Both previously worked in Habush’s firm. Cannon represents
the family of a small child who died after reportedly contracting E.coli from
contaminated watermelon at a Sizzler restaurant in 2000. The duo is responsible
for representing three injured bricklayers who were awarded $17.2 million,
the largest personal injury verdict at that time and the first eight-figure
personal injury verdict in Wisconsin.
“They’ve been together for many years, so people kind
of think of them synonymously,” says one barrister. “They work
hard and they do a great job on behalf of their clients.”
J. Michael End (Gray & End), 57, who specializes in medical
malpractice, also receives recognition from his peers. “He has an incredible
passion for this business.… He is able to get formidable expert witnesses
to help him and has taught himself medicine like you canimagine,” says
an admirer. Writes another: “Juries believe this utterly believable
guy.” Says one counselor in the field: “He’s not afraid
to go to trial and is well-prepared.”
Personal Injury (for the defense)
Terry Johnson (Peterson,Johnson & Murray), 52, is the hands-down favorite
in this category. Product liability and legal malpractice remain major portions
of his practice, though he now does as much commercial litigation as personal
injury.Johnson represented Anne Shindell, once Mayor John Norquist’s
attorney, when she was sued by state Rep. Pedro Colón for defamation.
Johnson also receives plaudits for being one of the top three trial attorneys
in the area. Johnson “has the whole package,” says one lawyer. “He’s
funny, assertive, has a quicker mind than most of us,” says another.
Those in need of an attorney in this area might also turn to James
T. Murray Jr. (Peterson, Johnson & Murray).Murray, 54, is “like Reagan,
the Teflon man. He’s never subject to too much criticism; he’s
able, skillful, practical and politically a very adept guy.”
Rounding off the list is Michael Malone (Hinshaw & Culbertson),
55. Malone, who focuses on representing healthcare entities and also represents
other professionals in negligence claims and disputes, “fights extraordinarily
hard for his position but does it fairly and professionally,” writes
With the graying of our population, more attorneys are adding elder law to
their practices. They work on traditional estate planning but also with public
benefits issues, powers of attorney and guardianships, and with disabilities
and long-term care.
Barbara Becker (Becker & Hickey), 62, ascends to the top of
this specialty. She is “exceptionally bright, aggressive and fights
hard for clients, yet [she’s a] fair person, honest, and that’s
important.” Both she and her partner do family law as well.
Patricia Nelson (Nelson, Irvings & Waeffler), 54, also
ranks high. “No one knows the area better,” writes one attorney. “Very
knowledgeable, modest, nice manner with clients, very smart, very down to earth,
think she does a really nice job with clients,” says another.
Also highly regarded is Margaret Hickey (Becker & Hickey),
Becker’s partner. Says Hickey, 44: “We assist people… in
planning not just for what happens when they pass away but when they are alive.”
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Joseph McDevitt (McDevitt Mediation Services), 62, is respected as “the
mediator lawyers most want to use.” A full-time mediator and arbitrator
who formerly spent 30 years defending insurance companies, McDevitt “can
make silk out of a sow’s ear,” “really brings parties who
are far apart together – but not by pounding them,” say other attorneys.
Not to mention that “people trust him.”
Gary Gerlach (Gunta & Reak), 60, a former Milwaukee Circuit
Court judge, is considered a top mediator and arbitrator because he “has
a very even temperament” and “experience in hard cases from the
Attorneys also think highly of William Jennaro (Cook & Franke),
a former Milwaukee Circuit Court judge and current reserve judge. The 64-year-old
is a “great people person” with a “great personality and
judicial experience,” attorneys tell us.
Willis Zick was a Waukesha County Circuit Court judge before he
began working full time as a mediator and arbitrator. Zick, 70, “has
a real smooth way of handling people, and being the grandfatherly type and
a former judge, he automatically commands respect,” says one attorney.
However, “his mind is so quick, sometimes it’s hard for clients
to follow him from step A to B,” but he also makes himself available
for evening and weekend work, we’re told.
Former Milwaukee Circuit Court judge, former Supreme Court justice
and former interim county executive, Janine Geske, 54, a Marquette University
law professor, practices mediation and arbitration part time. In our survey,
Geske scores very high for her influence in the legal community, second only
to attorney Franklyn Gimbel. As one attorney says, “She brings a lot
of authority to what she does;” another, “When she tells
somebody, ‘I don’t think this is going to fly,’ they listen.” She “worries
about making sure she doesn’t exert [undue] influence.”
Bruce Lanser (Lanser Law Office) tops the list of bankruptcy lawyers. Lanser,
46, makes his mark representing individuals and small businesses. Says one
attorney: “There are some people who are very bright and know what
the law is but can’t apply it to common sense – he’s not
one of them.” Says another: “He has a very nice way of making
people comfortable when they are obviously confronting a traumatic time in
Leonard G. Leverson (Kravit, Gass, Hovel & Leitner), 47, specializes
in Chapter 11 bankruptcies, representing creditors. The Harvard Law School
graduate was a recent finalist for a vacancy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for
Wisconsin’s Eastern District this summer. One attorney calls him a “brainiac.” “He
loves to get behind the fundamental legal principles and analyze the historic
precedence,” says a peer.
Lawyers also rank Randall Crocker (von Briesen & Roper) high
in the bankruptcy specialty. Concentrating on representing business entities,
Crocker, 49, does commercial litigation, but much of his work is done outside
of court. Attorneys say he “doesn’t shy away from the big, fat,
ugly cases,” but he’s “really expensive.”
Bruce Arnold (Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek), 47, focuses on representing
debtors. He also does healthcare law work. “I really enjoy saving companies,” he
says. His “words are chosen carefully,” says one of his peers.
Todd Esser (Todd C. Esser & Associates), 46, works for individuals
and small businesses in bankruptcy and reorganization proceedings. “He’s
very good at handholding,” says one. Says another: “He’s
a skilled bankruptcy practitioner, assisting clients of all sizes.”
Business Litigation and Corporate Counseling
Topping the list this year is Thomas Shriner Jr. (Foley & Lardner), who
does civil litigation, appellate and bankruptcy work. Other attorneys describe
him as “erudite and shrewd,” “smart, reasonable and realistic” and
as “someone who can really move issues forward.” Another says
Shriner, 55, “has a keen ability to make the winning argument and gets
to the quick of it.” One local judge sees him as “a brilliant mind.”
W. Stuart Parsons (Quarles & Brady), 62, scores high for his
work in business litigation, including securities, lender liability, antitrust
and insurance. Colleagues describe the Harvard Law School grad as “professional
and intelligent” but “the very definition of a stuffed shirt.”
Also a Harvard grad, litigator Stephen Kravit (Kravit, Gass, Hovel & Leitner)
receives plaudits as well. He does some white-collar criminal defense work
but mostly civil litigation. The 53-year-old barrister is “very bright,
very sharp,”“aggressive, a tough litigator,” say some. Others
are candid about his, uh, darker side: “He’s a very good lawyer
but just a jerk.” In his own defense, Kravit says, “Can I say I’m
passionate? I really am. When I believe in a client’s cause… I’m
not quiet about it.”
Peter Sommerhauser (Godfrey & Kahn), 61, focuses on corporate
counseling rather than litigation – from mergers and acquisitions to
leveraged buy-outs, financing structuring, business and financial planning
and corporate law. Colleagues say he’s got “great perspective” and
a “tremendous reputation.” One client tells us: “He tells
it to you squarely, right up front.”
Arthur Harrington (Godfrey & Kahn) tops our list of environmental lawyers.
The 53-year-old does a great deal of work representing municipalities on development
issues. He represents the Forest County Potawatomi in opposing the Crandon
mine and has represented Kenosha to help the city redevelop brownfields. Says
a colleague: “Art has maybe worked harder than anybody else… making
environmental law a recognized specialty.” Says a client: “He has
an excellent grasp on environmental issues and how to make them work for [his] clients to get things done.”
A large part of Dennis Grzezinski’s (Law Office of Dennis
M. Grzezinski) practice is representing environmental groups such as the Sierra
Club, although he also does work for businesses and municipalities. Grzezinski,
53, also serves as chair of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District Commission. “He
is a very effective advocate with excellent legal credentials.”
John Van Lieshout (Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren), 47, makes our
list for the first time. He defends clients involved in environmental clean-up
actions and represents citizen groups concerned with specific environmental
issues. His peers describe him as having “a good reputation on redevelopment
issues impacted by contamination” and as “very competent, knowledgeable
Curry First (First, Blondis, Albrecht & Novotnak) places at the top of
the pack in this category, to a large extent representing workers in race discrimination
and sexual harassment suits. First, 60, “measures up cases quickly,” writes
one attorney. Another tells us: “Curry is a very sensitive, caring,
smart lawyer with very good judgment.”
Walter Kelly (Walter F. Kelly), 60, also receives high marks as
a civil rights attorney and union lawyer. “He’s got a strong sense
of justice and good trial experience,” says a labor attorney.
Arthur Heitzer (Law Offices of Arthur Heitzer) represents individuals
or groups of employees in job-related or civil rights actions. He does
a fair amount of work representing employees who work in the public sector.
Attorneys say Heitzer, 56, “is the name first on my list when I have
a matter when employees need a rep.”
Craig Zetley (Zetley & Cohn) ascends to the top of tax law by a very narrow
margin. Zetley, 45, focuses on representing individuals and businesses and
is a certified public accountant. He also serves as the chairman of the Milwaukee
Board of Zoning Appeals. Zetley is “a real quick mind and is very good
at sitting down with the people at the IRS – he knows how to speak their
language and how to get the results he needs,…” says one lawyer.
Robert Meldman (Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren), 66, “for years
and years has been the dean of tax lawyers,” says one barrister. Meldman’s
practice focuses on tax issues for general, domestic and international business
transactions. Though he has no immediate plans for retirement, Meldman, “principled
and very deep experience-wise,” as one attorney described him, is starting
to transition his practice to another attorney.
Real Estate Law
Bruce Block (Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren), 50, a player in the city’s
development scene, comes highly recommended by his colleagues as “practical,
polite, a strategic thinker.”The 1979 graduate ofBoston University School
ofLaw is an adviser to the NationalTrust for Historic Preservation. His clients
in public/private development projects include developer Gary Grunau and the
Milwaukee RiverWalk District. Block also represented the Milwaukee Board of
Harbor Commissioners in the Summer-fest lease negotiations and the city in
the global pension fund settlement.
Michael (Mick) Hatch (Foley & Lardner), 53, chairs his firm’s
real estate practice group. The Yale Law School graduate has represented the
Mandel Group; the developer of Cathedral Place; and the Pabst family in the
development of Pabst Farms in Oconomowoc. Hatch serves as president of Menomonee
Valley Partners Inc. Attorneys describe Hatch as “a true man of his word” and “very
Enjoying a national as well as local reputation in real estate
law is John Daniels Jr. (Quarles & Brady), 54, a managing partner at his
firm and a behind-the-scenes mover and shaker on community issues. With a law
degree from Harvard, Daniels serves as corporate secretary of the Greater Milwaukee
Scott Burns (Halling & Cayo), 54, is a transactional lawyer
practicing in all areas of real estate and general business law. One lawyer
tells us: “He has a good understanding and a good pragmatic approach
to how to get things done.”
You won’t have much of a choice when it comes to facing a prosecutor
in court or being represented by a court-appointed public defender if you’re
unable to afford an attorney. But at least you’ll know what you’re
up against – or who’s sitting with you at the table. Read on.
Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office
Tom McAdams, 42, captain of the misdemeanor team, was also named to the top
of our list in 1999, when he had returned to the DA’s Office after
briefly working in private practice as a tax lawyer.
James Griffin, 43, works in the homicide unit. A criminal defense
lawyer tells us he is “extremely well-prepared, an extremely good advocate,
always knows cases before trial, is a well-rounded lawyer.”
Lawyers responding to our survey also placed DeAnn Heard of the
general felony unit high among attorneys in this office. “Just watch
her cross-examine a criminal defendant and you will observe the definition
of‘wither’ up on the witness stand,” says a fellow Milwaukee
Mark Williams, 51, head of the homicide unit, is the prosecutor
for 14 individuals, many juveniles, for their involvement in the beating death
of Charlie Young Jr. “A real decent guy to have a case with,” says
one criminal defense attorney.
William Molitor, 55, also of the homicide unit, is “one
of the steadiest [assistant DAs] who’s been there a long time; by far
knows what he’s doing up there. He’s almost like an old-fashioned
quality lawyer you don’t see much anymore,” a criminal defense
attorney tells us. Says another:“He’s very methodical but is very
accomplished at what he does.”
Miriam Falk, 43, who works in the sensitive crimes unit, also
receives high marks. Falk “doesn’t let things become personal” in
the courtroom, we’re told.
Jon Reddin, 58, the only one of five deputy district attorneys
who placed high in the survey, supervises the misdemeanor and domestic violence
units. He is commended for being “the only deputy DA to continue to try
Paul Tiffin, 42, head of the sensitive crimes unit, also makes
the list. “While stronglyadvocating for his positions, [Tiffin] is at the same time reasonable and thinks about things before he makes decisions;
is a responsive person,” a private attorney writes.
Leading the pack after more than 30 years, District Attorney E.
Michael McCann, 66, remains the attorney in Milwaukee with the greatest
integrity, according to our survey.
State Public Defenders office
When asked, “Who doesn’t get the credit they deserve?” survey
respondents overwhelmingly named public defenders in general. “They are
overworked and underpaid but dedicated to their clients. And most, with a few
exceptions, do a better job than private attorneys,” says one judge.
One who’s considered outstanding is Neil McGinn, a University
ofCalifornia-Berkeley Law School graduate. An attorney in the DA’s Office
tells us he’s “long in experience and sees the issues.” One
survey respondent wrote of McGinn, 51: “He can handle any type of case.
He knows how to relate to clients. He can talk turkey with them and say, ‘Here
are the facts.’”
Peter Goldberg, 56, receives applause for being “at the
top of the list of people who are committed and still creative despite incredibly
overwhelming caseloads. He’s right up there with the best defense lawyers
in town,” says one criminal defense attorney.
Also receiving nods from public and private attorneys alike are
Jeff Carpenter, 48 (“Smart with juries and judges,” says an assistant
DA); Thomas H. Reed, 49 (“cares a lot about what he does and does a good
job, as well as inspires others to do a good job”); Paige Styler, 36
(“excellent preparation and passion often leads to great settlements,” says
a colleague); and Dennis Gall, 59, erstwhile editor of an underground newspaper
many years ago.
Attorneys working in the state Public Defenders Office in Wauwatosa
defending juveniles and handling mental health issues who received thumbs up
from our survey respondents include Barbara Maier, Patrick Devitt (59), Karl
Rohlich (55) and Bruce Ware (48).
U.S. Attorneys Office
We’ve seen dramatic examples of U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic’s
skills as he’s brought City Hall to its knees with indictments of three
Milwaukee aldermen (two settled with plea bargains and a third was convicted).
Biskupic, 42, is “both running the administration of the office and still
managing to try some cases,”says a criminal defense attorney. “One
of the best trial attorneys in that office,” another tells us. A judge
describes him as having “great judgment.”
Mel Johnson, 52, has been an assistant U.S. attorney since 1980
(before that, he worked as a public defender in Milwaukee) and since 2002 has
been designated as the lead attorney for special prosecutions, supervising
unusual or especially significant cases. One private attorney tells us he’s “the
go-to guy for detailed analysis and for the politically sensitive cases.”
Daniel Sanders, 38, has worked as an assistant U.S. attorney here
since 1997. Before that, he served in several prosecutorial positions in Columbus,
Ohio. A criminal defense attorney says Sanders “doesn’t take his
job too personally, is very well-prepared, knows cases and the law and presents
his side of whatever case it is fairly.”
Federal Defender Services of Eastern Wisconsin
Private and public attorneys in Milwaukee agree that defendants in federal
court are better served now because of the formation of the Federal Defender
Services in 2000. Led by highly regarded attorney Dean Strang, who formerly
practiced privately as a defense attorney, “it’s raised the
level of practicing [as a criminal defense attorney in federal court] significantly,” says
a criminal defense lawyer. Strang, 43, “has the respect of every judge
over there,” we’re told. He “personally tries cases and
also personally does appellate work.” He is working to open a Green
Bay office as well. Adding to the kudos, Strang is considered the attorney
in Milwaukee most dedicated to his clients, according to our survey results.
Nancy Joseph, an associate federal defender, also gets high marks.
She previously worked in the juvenile division of the state Public Defenders
Office in Milwaukee. Joseph, 35, is seen by some as an up-and-comer.
A senior litigator in the office, William (Chip) Burke, 60, formerly
practiced criminal defense privately and was once head of the Milwaukee State
Public Defenders Office. He is “a wonderful attorney; always has been,
always will be,” says one criminal defense attorney. (Full disclosure:
Burke’s license was twice suspended by the state for professional
misconduct in the early and mid-’90s, when he reportedly was abusing
alcohol and cocaine. Yet his peers say he has put his troubles behind him and remains
a top-notch defender.) M
Natalie Dorman is associate editor of Milwaukee Magazine and once considered
becoming a lawyer. Research assistance by Elizabeth Geldermann, Krista Ledbetter,
Stacy Tornio and Stacie Williams. Photographed by Kevin J. Miyazaki.