What is the furthest you’ve traveled to give a continuing legal education talk?
com ddiel diellaw Diane S. Diel, Diane S. Diel S.C., Milwaukee
I once gave a talk for two hours of CLE credits in Perth, Australia. That is about 11,000 miles from Milwaukee and many hours of flying. While Perth was the farthest from home, I also gave talks in Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane, and Canberra. In Sydney, I met with the Board of Trustees of the Law Society of New South Wales. My travels in Australia came during my year as the president of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. All across Australia, I taught collaborative practice (CP) and helped The Law Council of Australia launch its “Guidelines for Collaborative Practice.”
I had been a divorce lawyer for many years when I first heard about CP. It is a form of limited-scope representation in which the lawyer is retained for negotiations only and cannot appear in court on any contested matter. This interdisciplinary practice uses mental health professionals and financial specialists to help families resolve placement and financial matters in a respectful, interest-based process.
Today, I met yet another person whose childhood memories center on the conflict between her parents. I am grateful for the chance I have to offer an alternative to conflict and to help bring real and positive change to families and children. I am truly fortunate to have had the chance to spread this word on an international basis.
And by the way, the golden sand and the jade green Indian Ocean were a terrific side benefit!
If you weren’t practicing law, what would you be doing?
com dfinerty lindner-marsack Daniel Finerty, Lindner & Marsack S.C., Milwaukee
In a word, fishing! I love practicing law, but there is something about throwing a line over the edge of a boat and waiting … that provides a great escape. I developed a love and appreciation for fishing and the outdoors vacationing every summer with my family up north where I regularly spent time fishing on some of Wisconsin’s best lakes.
I had some good catches over the years, a muskie off the end of a pier in Boulder Junction, a 42” northern pike with my brother John at Sanborn Lake in Land O’Lakes, and a largemouth bass while I was wading in the cold, springtime water in Door County. There is nothing like finding that perfect rocky area to fish for hungry smallmouth bass.
For me, it is not so much about the catch (I always practice catch-and-release) as much as it is about taking the time to relax and unwind doing something I enjoy with friends or with my wife and three kids. Fishing can also be a real test of patience – a skill often used in my legal work. This photo is from a memorable trip with my son Daniel Jr. He caught this 23” smallmouth bass on his first cast!
My great escape … the sound of my kids’ voices on a slow Saturday or Sunday morning asking, “Dad, can we go fishing?”
What is your practice area and why did you go into law?
com Scott kohlerandfranklin Scott B. Franklin, Kohler and Franklin LLC CPAs, Milwaukee
I am both a Certified Public Accountant and an attorney. I primarily practice as a CPA in the accounting firm my grandfather started back in 1955 as a sole practitioner CPA before his son-in-law, my dad (also a CPA/attorney), joined him in the early 1970s. Growing up, I spent much time at their office watching them work and helping out a bit; I was probably destined to follow both of their leads. I currently concentrate in tax and accounting services for individuals and small to mid-sized businesses, some of which are second- or third-generation clients, although my legal training comes in handy when I work with other attorneys in litigation support roles, mostly family law or tax related in nature. Representing clients before the taxing authorities is often no different than other types of legal advocacy, and my law school education has been invaluable in how I approach these engagements. My J.D. degree helps to round out my professional skill set to best serve my clients.
Your practice focuses on creditor’s rights. What drew you to that practice area?
com dkoll bakkenorman Deanne Koll, Bakke Norman, Menomonie
"If anyone would have asked me when I graduated from law school whether I’d be practicing in the creditor’s rights area, I would have told them they were crazy."
I did not choose my practice, it chose me. I began my career in private practice in 2006. As we all know, shortly thereafter, the economy tanked. My firm had a substantial base of bank clients, many of whom did not have any work for the firm during the boom. In contrast, come 2007 and 2008, the clients had a considerable need for representation in their loans that were going bad. I was new to the firm and did not have the caseload of the other lawyers. Thus, I became the collection and creditor’s rights attorney. There was a need and I filled it. It’s been a crazy ride, being in the midst of a huge banking crisis and assisting clients in trying to recover collateral, renegotiate terms on defaulted loans, pursue adversary actions in bankruptcy, and generally assist loan officers who might never have had a loan go bad since they began their work. The great side of this story is that I love the work and have been able to further grow the practice. But, if anyone would have asked me when I graduated from law school whether I’d be practicing in the creditor’s rights area, I would have told them they were crazy. Funny how things work out.
What’s your favorite nonwork activity?
gov Christopher.Foley wicourts Christopher R. Foley, Milwaukee County Circuit Court
"Heaven will have a hard time beating Eagle River, Wis."
I’m Catholic. I am hopeful of going to heaven when my time on earth is done (though I admit that outcome may be in some – hopefully not significant – doubt). Heaven will have a hard time beating Eagle River, Wis.
My wife and I honeymooned at the Chanticleer Inn 30 years ago and subsequently were lucky enough to buy a condominium there. Water skiing, swimming, bike riding, hiking, kayaking, playing tennis, watching the sunset over Dollar Lake, eating pizza at Spang’s in St. Germaine or steak at Blink Bonnie (even though it costs a fortune to take seven children to dinner). Life simply does not get any better than that!