Dec. 2, 2020 – As a young lawyer, Joe Boucher set out to remedy an imbalance.
Witnessing his father and father-in-law running small businesses as sole proprietors in the years after World War II, he realized they had no liability protection. “My personal goal was to make sure small-business owners have the same protections as larger businesses,” Boucher said.
Thus, Boucher’s career as a limited liability company (LLC) expert in Wisconsin was born.
Madison attorney Joseph W. Boucher (U.W. 1978) is recipient of the Wisconsin Law Foundation’s 2020 Charles L. Goldberg Distinguished Service Award. The award recognizes a lifetime of service to the profession and the community. “To be on the list of recipients is just humbling to me,” Boucher said.
A founding shareholder of the Madison firm Neider & Boucher S.C., Boucher concentrates on business law.
Father of LLCs
Boucher chaired the State Bar of Wisconsin Business Law Section committee that drafted the original Wis. Stat. chapter 183 that established LLCs in Wisconsin. “I have worked on it ever since,” he said.
The initial drafting of chapter 183 took years of effort. Boucher later participated in revising chapter 183, and is a co-author of numerous business law books, including Organizing a Wisconsin Business Corporation and The LLCs and LLPs: a Wisconsin Handbook from State Bar of Wisconsin PINNACLE®.
In Wisconsin, the vast majority of small businesses are now LLCs. The statute gives small-business owners the same limited liability and legal opportunities as larger businesses.
Madison would be a much different place for entrepreneurs without the culture of supporting entrepreneurship that Joe fostered.
“This is good for everybody,” Boucher said. “They are an inexpensive, simple way to form a business, and a great vehicle to help them progress.”
Boucher is also a CPA with his MBA, and has taught classes at the UW-Madison School of Business since 1980. A happy byproduct of teaching these students is that he knows many successful business owners “all over the place.”
“I love teaching young people,” Boucher said. They are invigorating, enthusiastic, and motivational.”
Startups Boost Communities
Over the years, Boucher has served on numerous nonprofit boards and on Madison’s Economic Development Commission, among others. His support of Madison’s entrepreneurial community is “tireless,” says Charles Neider, a co-founder of the Neider & Boucher firm.
Shannon Green is communications writer for the State Bar of Wisconsin, Madison. She can be reached byorg sgreen wisbar email or by phone at (608) 250-6135.
Boucher is active in fostering local startup hubs. “Entrepreneurs may not know how to run a business. As lawyers and accountants, we can help them grow their businesses,” he said.
Boucher and his firm Neider & Boucher were instrumental as a sponsor in launching The Forward Festival – the largest event for Wisconsin entrepreneurs. Boucher also co-founded the Wisconsin Innovation Awards with Matt Younkle, and other organizations.
“Madison would be a much different place for entrepreneurs without the culture of supporting entrepreneurship that Joe fostered,” said Younkle, co-founder of Pythonic AI.
Boucher’s support helps dreams come true, said Heather Wentler, co-founder and executive director of the nonprofit Doyenne Group, which provides support to women entrepreneurs.
“He goes out and makes change happen,” Wentler said.
See the past recipients of the Charles L. Goldberg Distinguished Service Award from the Wisconsin Law Foundation.