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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    November 12, 2021

    Meet Our Contributors

    Are you working on an interesting case? Have a practice tip to share? There are several ways to contribute to Wisconsin Lawyer.

    Where did you grow up, and what lessons did you learn from your family?

    Emil OvbiageleI grew up in Benin City, Nigeria. Although I lost my father at a young age, I’ve always counted my blessings. My mother taught me to never wallow in our misfortune and to practice gratitude through trying times. Consequently, I’ve lived my life with the mantra that, regardless of circumstances, for every opportunity I’ve been given and for every misfortune I’ve suffered, there’s someone out there who has been given half as much, has suffered twice as much, but has been thrice as impactful. No excuses.

    My upbringing also imparted important advice to me that I want to pass along to other new lawyers. Have an entrepreneurial mindset from the get-go! This doesn’t mean you have to start your own law firm. It means taking charge of your career very early on and treating it like it is a corporate entity. Be intentional, don’t just let things happen to you all the time. Dare to affect your circumstances. Be relentless about chasing experiences. Try out new things. Adjust. Be your biggest critic and biggest fan.

    Find your voice. Don’t just network, build relationships. Start figuring out what type of lawyer you want to be. No, not just what type of law you want to practice. I mean, figure out what guides you. What are your core values? What’s your vision? What’s your mission? Set those out. Put mind to purpose. You don’t need to have everything (or most things) figured out. You just have to be in tune with yourself and locked in on the journey. It will likely take you on paths you never imagined or anticipated. Embrace the possibilities.

    Emil Ovbiagele, OVB Law & Consulting S.C., Milwaukee.

    Become a 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 Check out our writing and submission guidelines.

    What’s the most memorable trip you ever took?

    Erin (Maggie) CookI have been fortunate to go on many memorable trips, but if forced to choose my favorite, one trip stands out from the rest. It was the summer before I started law school, and my sister was interning at the Legal Centre in Windhoek, Namibia. At the end of her internship and just weeks before my first day of law school, my husband and I flew to Johannesburg, South Africa, to meet my sister and embark on a seven-day African safari.

    I am not sure how we packed so much into seven days. We visited Blyde River Canyon, slept in a tribe’s village, went on bush walks and night safaris in Kruger National Park, listened to the roar of lions as we slept under the moonlight, stood at the top of Victoria Falls in Zambia, and had a brief run-in with a territorial hippopotamus while fishing on the Zambezi River. It was a trip of a lifetime, and I am thankful to this day for the experience.

    Erin (Maggie) Cook, Godfrey & Kahn S.C., Milwaukee.

    If you could get free tickets to any event, what would it be?

    Summer H. MurshidIf I could pick free tickets to any event, it would be to see “Hamilton” (again). I know it’s terribly trendy and a little bit of a cliché, but the first time I went to see it I was so astonished by the concept and cleverness that I didn’t get to entirely enjoy the performances and artists themselves. I would love to watch it from a different perspective. Plus, now that I know all the words to every song, I can sing along, which I’m sure everyone around me will love!

    Summer H. Murshid, Hawks Quindel s.c., Milwaukee.

    What was your funniest or oddest experience in a legal context?

    Teresa K. KobeltWe were in the midst of a several-day trial – a business dispute – and the defendant’s attorney was going down a long, rather unique line of questioning of our client about the terms of a contract. The attorney asked the witness if he agreed that time only moves forward. The attorney then asked the judge to take judicial notice that time only moves in a forward direction. The judge, somewhat exasperated and holding his head in his hands, deadpanned, “Right now, I will take judicial notice that time seems to be standing still.” It was very difficult to keep a straight face.

    Teresa K. Kobelt, Bartelt Grob S.C., Middleton.

    What’s the most memorable trip you ever took?

    James PearsonThe most memorable trip I ever took was to New Orleans with my youngest daughter, Lauren. New Orleans is a unique and fascinating place to visit and has such a rich history. We spent our days visiting historic landmarks, including the famous above-ground cemeteries. Being huge Halloween fans, we weren’t disappointed by the number of ghost-story-themed walking tours and museums.

    It seemed that every corner had something new to explore. Tiny shops and tourist traps fought for our attention. Musicians and artists filled the hot, humid streets, vying for our attention, hoping to sell their latest creation or exchange a small tip for a few moments of entertainment. The sights included the Museum of Death and Voodoo Museums and the Boutique du Vampyre.

    Unfortunately, we also witnessed the remnants of destruction from Katrina, a very sobering part of our trip. Nevertheless, it was one of the most incredible bonding experiences we’ve had and is a trip we talk about frequently.

    James Pearson, The Computer Center, Janesville.

    How did you find your way to your current position?

    Aaron P. McCannI took a nontraditional path to my current position as a management-side labor and employment litigation attorney at Godfrey & Kahn S.C. After law school, I spent my first three years of practice representing individuals and employees at a small plaintiff-side litigation firm, which, in many ways, is the opposite of where I work today. Despite beginning my career among a talented group of attorneys, I soon realized that a small firm was not the right environment for me.

    As I was contemplating my future in the law, a former classmate reached out to me about an opening at her firm. As a young attorney, I was anxious about changing jobs, but the opportunity turned out to be exactly what I was looking for.

    Several lessons from my transition continue to serve me today. First, don’t underestimate your opponents. I know firsthand that the profession is filled with smart and dedicated lawyers. Second, there is no one-size-fits-all method to legal practice. If something feels like it’s not working, take the time to find an environment that works best for you. Third, be kind to your law school classmates and former colleagues. You never know who might present you with the right opportunity at the time you need it most.

    Aaron P. McCann, Godfrey & Kahn S.C., Green Bay.

    What is the best part about practicing labor and employment law?

    Storm B. LarsonSome people come to law school with a clear idea about what type of law they want to practice. Others, like myself, didn’t make that realization until 3L year. I took a course on labor law during my penultimate semester at the U.W. Law School and fell in love with the material the first day. It was the first time I remember really engaging with the substance of the course. The next semester, I took a course on employment discrimination and realized that I had found my calling.

    Some may think labor and employment is a dry field. The opposite is true. It offers attorneys the chance to think about big-picture ideas in a real-world setting where real people are affected. We hear much about systemic racism, inequality, and who our institutions actually serve. Workplaces are a microcosm where we can see those issues play out in a day-to-day scenario. While each day presents its own unique challenges, through it all, it is rewarding to help guide and educate clients on making their workplaces welcoming environments for all.

    Storm B. Larson, Boardman & Clark LLP, Madison.

    What’s the most memorable trip you ever took?

    Emma J. JewellMy husband and I took a week-long vacation to Colorado right after I finished my second year of law school. We got in the car to drive 15 hours from Milwaukee to Estes Park almost immediately after I clicked “submit” on my last exam. The drive was nothing special, but the view that unfolded as we entered Estes Park took my breath away. I had never seen a mountain range that beautiful! We spent three days in Rocky Mountain National Park and hiked as much as we could. We didn’t climb any “14ers” but we were able to conquer a day-long 12-mile hike. The time outside was very peaceful, especially after spending hours in the law school library.

    We ended the trip with four days in Colorado Springs. There, we hiked the Manitou Incline, which is an extreme trail that gains nearly 2,000 feet of elevation in less than one mile. This was a difficult trek, but it felt great to conquer, especially for my husband who decided to wear Crocs! Overall, it was a great trip. I highly recommend a visit to Colorado, but remember to pack your hiking boots!

    Emma J. Jewell, Godfrey & Kahn S.C., Milwaukee.

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