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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    April 01, 2013

    Meet Our Contributors

    Become a Wisconsin Lawyer contributor! Are you working on an interesting case? Have a practice tip to share? There are several ways to contribute to Wisconsin Lawyer. To discuss a topic idea, contact Managing Editor Karlé Lester at (800) 444-9404, ext. 6127, or email Writing and submission guidelines are available on

    If you weren’t practicing law, what would you be doing?

    Nicholas RudmanNicholas Rudman, McCoy Leavitt Laskey LLC

    "I wish I could be an editor or product tester for an outdoor magazine."

    I wish I could be an editor or product tester for an outdoor magazine. I love traveling and being outside. A close second – I would be a physician. One of the best things about the law is learning something new nearly every day, but we spend so much time in front of a computer and in the office that it can be a taxing, daily grind. In addition, as litigators, we spend much of our time in a combative, rather than collaborative, environment.

    My wife is completing her residency this year. Although the hours have been miserable, she repeatedly tells me she chose the right career path. An eight-hour surgery can fly by, and you have constant interactions with your colleagues and patients working toward a common goal. While the competitive nature inherent in litigation is what makes it exciting, you often don’t see results for years and years. As a physician, you see your patients and the results of your work every day.

    If you weren’t practicing law, what would you be doing?

    Matt RosekMatt Rosek, McCoy Leavitt Laskey LLC

    "I would either be flying a jet in the Air Force or be a mixed martial arts fighter."

    I would either be flying a jet in the Air Force or be a mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter. Both seem like a lot of fun and a chance to get the adrenaline pumping! In all fairness, practicing law is a lot easier on the body than MMA and I am sure I would likely be retired from the professional fighting circuit by now. As far as flying, I always wanted to fly fighter jets since I was a kid. It was an early goal in my life. Ultimately, I chose a career as a lawyer over the Air Force. I still do some martial arts training and would love to get a chance to co-pilot a fighter jet someday.

    Tell me something about your family and where you grew up.

    Nilesh P. PatelNilesh P. Patel, Mahadev Law Group LLC

    "My parents and I are first-generation immigrants."

    I simply would not be where I am without my family, even now, as I have returned to full-time law practice.

    My parents and I are first-generation immigrants. My mother immigrated first, in 1974 when I was two and a half. My dad and I joined her in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1976. My parents worked hard to establish our lives in the United States. My dad initially worked 16-hour days at newsstands and my mother worked in a factory.

    In 1978, we visited India and I asked to stay there, because I did not like it in the United States. Somehow, my parents agreed and I stayed with my grandparents and uncles. My parents were able to focus on their careers while I was away, with my mother becoming a licensed nurse and my dad becoming an ultrasound technician. I rejoined them in 1982.

    I have now been in Wisconsin for 14 years while my parents, sister, and her family are in Long Island, N.Y. I make up for the distance by taking a trip home every three or four months. In a small way, I have also honored their contributions, especially my grandfather’s, by naming my law practice after him.

    What is your favorite part of Wisconsin?

    Jessica E. OzalpJessica E. Ozalp, Wisconsin Legislative Council

    "My favorite spots in Wisconsin are the places close to moving water; they feel less landlocked."

    My favorite spots in Wisconsin are the places close to moving water; they feel less landlocked. As a transplant from South Carolina, I miss living close to the ocean. I had lived in Wisconsin for eight or nine years before I was let in on the secret that there are sand beaches in this state. I love the Whitefish Dunes beach, and the whole peninsula, particularly Rock Island with Thordarson’s Nordic-style boathouse. In the other direction, I was thrilled to discover the confluence of the Trempealeau and Mississippi rivers at Perrot State Park. Trempealeau County is a gorgeous part of the state.

    We have phenomenal state parks and trails, and this time of year they are great places to cross-country ski, or in my case, attempt to cross-country ski. I even took my family out to a “candlelight ski,” but it was a little colder and darker out there than I’d imagined, so I just roasted marshmallows for my daughter at the bonfire. I think I’ll stick to sunny daytime skiing.

    What are you reading now? Do you have a favorite author/genre?

    Thomas D. WienschThomas D. Wiensch, Oneida County Assistant Corporation Counsel

    "Reading carries me through the long northern Wisconsin winters."

    I’m currently reading Deep in a Dream: The Long Night of Chet Baker by James Gavin, a biography of the late, great Jazz trumpeter and singer. I’m enjoying this book as it is helping me to learn more about jazz music, which is a relatively new-found interest of mine. Baker came to fame in the 1950s as a practitioner of the “West Coast Jazz” movement, also known as “Cool Jazz.” His life was tragic, as he struggled with heroin addiction for years. Although the book is somewhat dark, it’s been a good way for me, a nonmusician, to learn about jazz music and many of the legendary players of the 1950s.

     I enjoy reading a wide variety of books, especially history, nongenre fiction, and crime fiction. Some of my favorite authors are Richard Russo, Jim Harrison, Larry McMurtry, Jonathan Franzen, Philip Caputo, and Robert Stone.

     Reading carries me through the long northern Wisconsin winters, while I wait for spring, when I spend my spare time fishing the trout streams of upper Michigan.

    If you could be anyplace else right now, where would you be?

    Jay O. RothmanJay O. Rothman, Foley & Lardner LLP

    "I am happy where I am and cannot imagine being anyplace else."

    To be candid, I am happy where I am and cannot imagine being anyplace else. While we all experience “those days” that cause us to reconsider any number of life’s many choices, I have been extraordinarily fortunate to have an interesting and challenging career that was enhanced by mentors who pushed me to be better (to whom I attribute some of my gray hair) but also supported me when I needed it. I have had the privilege of serving a great group of clients and helping them achieve their objectives. I have had the support of a loving wife and two great kids who have understood when I cannot be somewhere because of the challenges of a legal practice. I have been lucky, and I have been blessed. It would be hard to ask for anything more.

    What drew you to your practice area?

    Mary M. SowinskiMary M. Sowinski, Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office

    "I have grown to love litigating child-welfare cases … the work is very rewarding."

    I litigate public child-welfare cases for the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office. I was drawn to work at the children’s court center when my former boss, without my request or prior consultation, assigned me to the unit! I had no idea what a CHIPS case was and was perfectly happy in the downtown misdemeanor court. But I have grown to love the assignment, as the commitment of the foster parents, social workers, my colleagues, and other legal staff is exceptional, and the work is very rewarding.

    What is your favorite nonwork activity?

    Andrew ChristmanAndrew Christman, McCoy Leavitt Laskey LLC

    "I love experimenting with new recipes or creating my own."

    Cooking. It is a great creative outlet. I love experimenting with new recipes or creating my own. I think some of the best dishes that I make are the ones where I depart from a recipe and put my own spin on whatever I’m making. I think that is also why I make such a lousy baker. I find the need to stick to precise measures and recipes a bit limiting, and my attempts at baking never seem to turn out quite right.

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