New Hires, Promotions, Partners
Erika Bierma, Creighton 2003, Jeremy Lange, U.W. 2010, and John G. Walsh, U.W. 2009, have become partners at Axley Brynelson, Madison. Bierma focuses on criminal defense and civil litigation. Lange focuses on civil litigation, including breach of contract, municipal liability, construction defects, and professional errors and omissions. Walsh focuses on business law, including corporate, intellectual property, estate planning, and real estate matters.
Greg Banchy, Marquette 1987 magna cum laude, has joined Weld Riley S.C., Eau Claire. His estate planning practice includes preparing simple wills, powers of attorney, asset protection trusts, and marital agreements. He also helps when guardianships are needed and works with clients to establish their businesses, as well as advising on business succession plans. He previously operated a solo practice.
Christine Bruen, Catholic Univ. 1996, has joined J. Kippa Law LLC, Appleton, and focuses on criminal defense. She previously worked as a prosecutor in Virginia and most recently in the Outagamie County District Attorney’s Office.
Matthew M. Van Nuland, William Mitchell 2010, has been named a partner in the Law Firm of Conway, Olejniczak & Jerry S.C., Green Bay. He focuses on business matters, including banking and finance, business formation, real estate, general corporate, and mergers and acquisitions; and on probate and trust administration. Bryant M. Dorsey, Marquette 2014, has joined the firm and focuses on commercial litigation and trials, insurance coverage and defense, construction, municipal matters, and personal injury claims. Dorsey previously was a Brown County assistant district attorney.
Dan L. Dooge, U.W. 1991, has joined Johnson Block & Co. as a tax partner in the Madison office, providing tax services to businesses, business owners, high-net-worth individuals, and estates and trusts.
Jon L. Fischer, U.W. 2013, has been named a partner at McCarty Law LLP, Appleton, and continues to focus on Medicaid planning, estate planning, probate, real estate, and business formations and transactions. He also is on the board of the State Bar of Wisconsin Elder Law and Special Needs Section.
Four attorneys have been elected to partnership at Foley & Lardner S.C.’s Wisconsin offices. Madison office: Howard (Wes) W. Taylor, U.W. 2009, is a member of the estates and trusts practice. He advises individuals and families on estate planning, business and wealth succession planning, disposition and management of sensitive assets, charitable planning, family foundations, special-needs trust planning, trust and estate administration, and beneficiary mediation. He also is an adjunct professor at the U.W. Law School.
Milwaukee office: Amy A. Ciepluch, Marquette 2000, is a member of the employee benefits and executive compensation practice. She works with companies on the design, drafting, and ongoing legal compliance of retirement, health, and welfare programs, including issues involving correction of plan operation errors, benefit plan claims and appeals, participant election change requests, and options for plan design changes. John T. Dunlap, Indiana Univ.-Bloomington 2009, is a member of the corporate, finance, and government solutions practices and the energy industry team. He counsels utility companies, developers, and investors in the development, sale, and acquisition of traditional and renewable energy facilities and the financing of energy facilities, including tax equity financing. Kathleen (Kate) E. Wegrzyn, U.W. 2009, is a member of the commercial transactions and business counseling and the distribution and franchise practices and the food and beverage and the manufacturing industry teams. Her areas of focus include commercial contracts, dealer arrangements, licensing issues, supply chain contracts, marketing and promotion agreements, and logistics and transportation contracts.
Andrea Gage-Michaels, Marquette 2011, has joined DeLeers Legal LLC, De Pere, and focuses on assisting the elder community with divorces, legal separations, guardianships, and mediation services. She previously worked for Legal Action of Wisconsin and the State Bar of Wisconsin.
Gini L. Hendrickson, Pace 2002, has joined Davis|Kuelthau, Milwaukee, as a senior attorney on the corporate team. She focuses on trust and estate planning and related litigation for individuals, succession planning for family-owned businesses, and tax controversy, corporate law, employee benefits, and related litigation for small and midsize companies. She is a Fellow of the American Bar Association and the Wisconsin Law Foundation. Hendrickson previously was a shareholder and chair of the estate planning and probate practice at a Madison-based firm.
Philip A. Helgeson, St. Thomas 2004, and Kevin M. Urbik, Hamline 2010, have become partners at Heywood, Cari & Anderson S.C., Hudson. Helgeson practices from the Prescott office and also is Prescott city attorney.
Twelve attorneys have joined Husch Blackwell as part of the healthcare, life sciences, and education industry team, all primarily based in Madison. A team led by partners Tom Shorter, Northeastern 1996, Jed Roher, NYU 2006, and Jon Anderson, Marquette 1981, joined from Godfrey & Kahn S.C., where Shorter served as chair of the health care industry group and Anderson served as its Madison office managing partner. The team also includes Kelsey Anderson, Marquette 2017, Peggy Barlett, U.W. 2009, Bill Foley, U.W. 2013, Matthew Ludden, Marquette 2013, and Tom O’Day, U.W. 2005.
A second healthcare team focuses on hospice and palliative care and is led by Meg Pekarske, U.W. 2000, and Bryan Nowicki, U.W. 1997, both of whom join the firm as partners, and includes Andrew Brenton, U.W. 2012, and Erin Burns, U.W. 2016. The team arrives from Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c., where Pekarske chaired the hospice and palliative care practice group.
Bailey B. Lagman, U.W. 2015, has joined David F. Grams, U.W. 1971, and Eric D. Christoffersen, U.W. 2010, as a shareholder at Grams & Christoffersen S.C., Middleton. Lagman focuses on trust and estate planning and administration and elder law.
Laura A. Lindner, U.W. 1993, has joined Lindner Law LLC, working from the firm’s Milwaukee and Appleton offices. She previously worked at a large employment and labor law firm representing employers and now represents employees and injured parties.
Adam Meyers, U.W. 2019, has joined Murphy Desmond S.C. in the Madison office. He represents clients in municipal, employment, and litigation matters.
Six lawyers have been elected partners at Michael Best & Friedrich LLC’s Wisconsin offices. Madison office: Eric J. Callisto, U.W. 1994, is chair of the regulatory practice group. He helps clients with regulatory filings and issues before state public utility commissions, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission audits and investigations, and electric transmission and Regional Transmission Organization policy matters. Adrienne S. Ehrhardt, Columbia 1999, is chair of the privacy and cybersecurity practice group. She is experienced with issues relating to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation; privacy programs; and cyber security issues.
Milwaukee office: Molly S. Lawson, George Mason 2010, is a member of the intellectual property practice group. Her patent prosecution and patent clearance practice is focused on computer software and hardware technologies, vehicle and industrial machinery control systems, imaging systems and applications, productivity and messaging software and services, cryptographic and security applications, and web-based applications and business methods. Lee M. Seese, U.W. 2000, is a member of the litigation practice group with substantial experience in insurance recovery, complex commercial litigation, product liability, and construction matters. David J. Trautschold, U.W. 2012, focuses on intellectual property. He has experience with consumer products such as outdoor power equipment, furniture, office supplies, computer accessories, power tools, motorcycles, medical devices, and robotic storage and dispensing systems.
Waukesha office: Denise L. Greathouse, Marquette 2005, is a member of the labor and employment practice group. She represents management clients in matters involving OSHA and Mine Safety and Health Administration issues, workplace investigations, labor arbitration, employment tort and breach of contract lawsuits, employee safety and health, Medicare/Medicaid billing disputes, and Social Security disability.
Amy Kiiskila, U.W. 2000 magna cum laude, has rejoined Michael Best as a partner in the wealth planning practice group and is based primarily in the Waukesha office. Previously she was with the advanced planning team at Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. She focuses on estate planning, estate and trust administration, tax planning, charitable planning, and business succession planning.
Three attorneys have been promoted to partner at Perkins Coie LLP, Madison. Andrew Dufresne, Berkeley Law 2010, is a member of the patent litigation and appellate law practices and helps clients in fields including pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, electronics, and computer software. Emily Greb, U.W. 2009, is a member of the patent litigation practice. She concentrates on life science technologies and has significant experience in Hatch-Waxman litigation. Kira Loehr, U.W. 2002, is a member of the environment and natural resources practice. Her experience includes electric and water rate case proceedings, energy policy investigations, rulemakings, mergers, purchase and sale of facilities, innovative rate designs, and construction dockets.
Todd Podell, Marquette 1993, has joined Discover Financial Services as vice president and chief procurement officer. He is responsible for ensuring best value for all supplier contracts for Discover, a global credit card issuer, payment processor, and bank.
Kathryn E. Potratz, U.W. 2019, has joined Richter & Phillips LLP, Madison. The firm focuses on adoption and surrogacy, civil litigation, divorce and family law, and professional licensure defense.
James N. Law, Marquette 2012 summa cum laude, Sara Stellpflug Rapkin, U.W. 2012 magna cum laude, and Maya S. Zahn Rhine, Minnesota 2011 cum laude, have been elected shareholders at Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c. Law is with the litigation practice in the Milwaukee office and is experienced in areas including patent and IP litigation, product liability claims, civil rights litigation, commercial litigation, antitrust, and trade regulation. Rapkin is with the tax practice in the Milwaukee office, focusing on matters such as mergers and acquisitions, restructuring, and compliance issues, as well as tax structuring, planning, and controversy matters. Zahn Rhine is with the real estate practice in the Madison office and counsels commercial real estate companies involved in leasing, acquisitions, and dispositions. She is well-versed in energy and mineral law (mining, oil and gas, coal and green initiatives).
Frank W. DiCastri, U.W. 1997, and Joia Sanders Wodarczyk, U.W. 2018, have joined Reinhart. DiCastri is a shareholder in the business reorganization practice in the Milwaukee office. He focuses on insolvency proceedings, including corporate reorganization cases, liquidations, and receiverships, and other litigation and trial work arising from sophisticated commercial transactions. Wodarczyk is with the real estate practice in the Madison office. She advises clients on a variety of real estate matters, including commercial real estate acquisitions, leasing, and financing, as well as land use, entitlements, and zoning.
Alexandra K. Smathers, U.W. 2013, has been promoted to Sheboygan County Deputy District Attorney. She formerly was an assistant district attorney.
Christine Bestor Townsend, Virginia 2009, has been elected shareholder at Ogletree Deakins, Milwaukee. She focuses on assisting employers in complying with state and federal employment laws, navigating leave and accommodation situations, and handling personnel issues.
Eli Van Camp, Oregon 2007, has been promoted to partner at DeWitt LLP, Madison. He is a trial attorney focusing on intellectual property and business litigation. He represents businesses and individuals in patent, trademark, and copyright lawsuits, as well as contract and other commercial disputes.
Mergers, Relocations, New Offices
John A. Birdsall, U.W. 1989, and Kirk B. Obear, Buffalo 1994, have launched Birdsall Obear & Associates SC, Milwaukee and Sheboygan, focusing exclusively on criminal defense. Nicole A. Muller, Marquette 2018, has joined the firm as an associate.
Thomas B. Burton, U.W. 2010 with honors, has opened a new office at 310 Pinnacle Way, Suite 301, Eau Claire. The firm’s name is now Burton Law LLC and continues its focus on estate planning, real estate, business law, and asset protection.
Dustin F. Von Ruden, Marquette 2009, and Garrett W. Nix, Marquette 2012, have launched Von Ruden & Nix S.C., 4410 Golf Terrace, Suite 210, Eau Claire. The firm focuses on business and real estate transactions, banking, cooperative and municipal law, estate planning, and general corporate consulting.
Greg Collins, Marquette 1992, has been elected managing partner of Axley Brynelson LLP, Madison, succeeding Buck Sweeney, U.W. 1985. Collins focuses on real estate, business, nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations, and elder law. Sweeney will continue with his construction law practice.
William Wallo, Oklahoma 1992 high honors, has been elected managing partner of Weld Riley S.C., Eau Claire. He succeeds Melissa Kirschner, San Diego 1996, in that position. Wallo continues to practice with the firm’s business and litigation sections, in areas including business transactions, commercial litigation, financial restructuring, creditors’ rights, insolvency, and bankruptcy.
Awards, Degrees, Honors
Vata Edari, U.W. 2001, owner and chocolatier of CocoVaa Chocolatier, Madison, has been selected as a judge for the London-based Academy of Chocolate Awards for 2020. She is a previous competitor and has received 29 awards for her chocolates.
The Hon. Catherine J. Furay, U.W. 1980, has been selected as a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy. She serves on the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Madison, and is an author of the State Bar of Wisconsin publication, Collections and Bankruptcy in Wisconsin. The 31 new Fellows are being honored and recognized for their professional excellence and their exceptional contributions to the bankruptcy and insolvency practice.
Pro Bono, Public Service
Ruder Ware LLSC is celebrating its 100th year by making donations to local nonprofit organizations in Eau Claire, Wausau, and Green Bay.
Janice Murphy Baldwin, U.W. 1971, Middleton, July 16, 1926 – Feb. 2, 2020.
Mark J. Haberberger, Cornell 1985, Wauwatosa, Sept. 21, 1959 – Jan. 4, 2020.
Allan P. Hubbard, U.W. 1957, Madison, Jan. 28, 1930 – Feb. 4, 2020.
Hon. William E. Kiessling Jr., U.W. 1959, Madison, Oct. 7, 1932 – Feb. 2, 2020.
Judith M. Paulick, Northern Illinois 1978, Elm Grove, Dec. 6, 1948 – Sept. 23, 2019.
How to Place your Announcement
If you have moved, become a partner or an associate, or received a promotion or an award, let us know! Email announcements to: org MembersOnly wisbar wisbar MembersOnly org. Notices about State Bar members in good standing are printed as space is available, and subject to editing. Writing guidelines are available here. Questions? org MembersOnly wisbar Email us or call (608) 250-6139.
Photo placement: Submit a professional-quality photo. If the photo is used, the State Bar will issue an invoice ($35 each). Group photos are not accepted. High-resolution electronic photos are preferred.
Deadline: The first of the month preceding publication. For example, to place an announcement in the May issue, it must be received before April 1.
Ineligible announcements: Talks, speeches (unless they are of national stature), honors from other publications, and political announcements are not accepted.