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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    June 09, 2022

    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.

    What is the most memorable trip you ever took?

    Maxine Aldridge WhiteIn September 2005, I was selected by the International Judicial Academy to participate along with 19 American judges in its First Sir Richard May Seminar on International Law and International Courts at The Hague, Netherlands. We were not tourists, but students with front-row seats in “the world’s courts.” Engaging international jurists and renowned legal experts walked us through the operations of at least six international tribunals, including the International Court of Justice (or World Court), the arm of the United Nations responsible for handling disputes among the member states.

    The most significant event during our visit was watching the Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in session for the first genocide case brought against a former head of state – the trial of Slobodan Milosevic. For me, memories of the Milosevic trial, and the current suffering in Ukraine reemphasize and solidify the importance of the work done by the international courts.

    Hon. Maxine Aldridge White, Wisconsin Court of Appeals District I, Milwaukee

    Where or when do you get your best ideas?

    Ioua Alen Marcyn B. LagazoWhether for family, work, or hobbies, I’ve learned that there isn’t one particular place I go to get my best ideas. It could happen on my commute to work while listening to a podcast. It could happen while I’m deep in the trenches of redlining a contract. It could happen while I’m mowing the lawn with music blasting from my headphones. It could happen when I’m eating at a restaurant while my 2 year old is climbing onto the table from his high chair, spilling the food, and causing my 1st grader to cry because her chocolate milk is now spilled, and the baby also bawling because she’s teething. Regardless of the scenario, and perhaps after things have calmed down, I make an effort to write down in my phone ideas that come to me. Sometimes, a few of those ideas turn out to be some of my best ideas.

    Ioua Alen Marcyn B. Lagazo, CNH Industrial, Burr Ridge, Ill.

    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.

    How do you recharge your batteries?

    Jill M. KastnerAfter sitting behind a desk all week, nothing recharges my batteries more than a good hike on one of Wisconsin’s beautiful hiking trails. I’ve hiked more than 500 miles of the Ice Age Trail – from Door County through Baraboo and Waupaca. My favorite part is an eight-mile stretch in Monches. It has everything I could ask for: breath-taking views, a picturesque walking bridge over flowing water, interesting geographic features, including big, ice-age boulders, and a great café to eat lunch afterward. Taking the time to unplug and enjoy these simple pleasures always refreshes me.

    Jill M. Kastner, Legal Action of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

    How has your career surprised you?

    Adam J. TutajOne of the most surprising things about private practice – and it is so subtle that you can often only recognize it in hindsight – is just how much influence one’s earliest work experiences can have on the trajectory of one’s career. This effect seems especially pronounced in the small and mid-sized law firm context, where one can very quickly become the “resident expert” or “go-to person” on a particular subject by sheer dint of having been the first or most recent person to have dealt with it. This, in turn, tends to generate more opportunities that eventually compound into the collection of professional experiences that make up a “career.”  When I think about my own specific collection of professional experiences, and how they came to me, I am always surprised by how clearly I can draw a through-line back to some of my very first projects as a law clerk.

    Adam J. Tutaj, Meissner Tierney Fisher & Nichols S.C., Milwaukee

    What do you do for fun?

    Randal J. BrotherhoodFor fun, I enjoy having my children and grandchildren to our place in Door County and taking them boating on the waters around the peninsula.

    Randal J. Brotherhood, Meissner Tierney Fisher & Nichols S.C., Milwaukee

    How has your career surprised you?

    Roya BahramiIn law school, I was interested in immigration and employment law and aimed to work in either of those fields. However, after completing a yearlong clerkship and wondering how I could draft opinions forever, I happened upon an opportunity at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to be a legal advisor to Veterans Law Judges in Washington, D.C. Not knowing anything about this area of law was challenging, but the nature of the work – drafting opinions – was something that I enjoyed for nearly seven years.

    Changing life circumstances brought me to San Francisco nearly four years ago, and I became friends with a lot of tech industry professionals. I was intrigued by this new world and wondered how I could cross over. Through networking and a little luck, I recently transitioned as in-house counsel to Intel Corporation, focusing on the growing areas of privacy and security law. I love that my career in the law continues to challenge and surprise me.

    Roya Bahrami, Intel Corporation, San Francisco

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

    Starlyn Tourtillott MillerDuring my judicial externship with my mentor and friend, Menominee Tribal Judge Wendell Askenette, I asked Judge Askenette this exact question. He thought for a moment, then told me about watching his predecessor Judge Sarah Skubitz. He recalled watching her in the courtroom in awe of her natural command of it.

    One day, an elderly gentleman was a defendant before her and he seemed somewhat aloof. When Judge Skubitz asked him a question, the defendant replied, “Yes, ma’am.” Swiftly, Judge Skubitz reminded him that she was “Judge Skubitz.” It must have made the man nervous. The next time Judge Skubitz asked him a question, the defendant quickly replied, “Yes, your highness!” The whole courtroom, including Judge Skubitz, busted out laughing.

    I love that story and when I tell it, my deceased friend is with me for a sweet moment again.

    Starlyn Tourtillott Miller, The Wilderness Society, Washington, D.C.

    What do you do for fun?

    Joseph W. BoucherFamily activities (which now include our grandkids) including hiking, biking, swimming, going to sports and music events that our kids and grandkids are involved in. My wife (Susan) and I like to go to musicals and concerts. If there is any other time available for me personally, I like to read and watch sports.

    Joseph W. Boucher, Neider & Boucher S.C., Madison

    How did you find your way to your current position?

    David A. StriflingI started my career designing water and wastewater systems as an environmental engineer. It’s been a long and winding road to my current position at Marquette. I found my way here because the university’s impressive cohort of water researchers, its commitment to helping solve the world’s water problems, and its location on Lake Michigan make it an ideal place for immersion in the study of important water issues. And in the long run I have found that my engineering background has given me a unique perspective on environmental law issues during my time in practice and now in academia.

    David A. Strifling, Water Law and Policy Initiative, Milwaukee

    How has your career surprised you?

    Alexander M. (Alex) LodgeThe fact that I’m practicing law at all still surprises me. Before entering law school, I had envisioned a career in research and development or in academia. Later, I expected to grow and develop as an IP attorney. I did not expect a legal career that would include a deep commitment to pro bono service and legal education. This was a big surprise for me.

    A significant part of my career today includes advocating for underserved clients through pro bono clinics, such as WAAL’s expungement and arrest-record-correction clinics, or providing educational workshops about Fourth Amendment rights to high school and law students through the Justice101 nonprofit that I cofounded with a law school classmate. As I continue to mature in my legal career, I look forward to the surprising and new directions it will take me.

    Alexander M. (Alex) Lodge, Minneapolis

    What do you do for fun?

    Thomas J. NicholsI like to take long walks, something that is within my athletic abilities and doesn’t require a lot of training.

    Thomas J. Nichols, Meissner Tierney Fisher & Nichols S.C., Milwaukee

    What do you know now about practicing law that you wish you’d known when you were just starting out?

    Craig Billings MillerAs a young attorney, I was told that it would be important to develop good mentors and resources to help me develop my skills. I have learned that career-long mentors and resources in my non-core practice areas are the most valuable assets. A network of accomplished practitioners allows me to be a great resource for assisting my clients in resolving their issues. Good mentors help me find solutions to problems I might encounter in client matters, business development, and work-life balance because over the course of the relationship, they have developed an understanding of my practice style and personality.

    Craig Billings Miller, Neider & Boucher S.C., Madison

    What is your favorite place in the state where you live?

    Emily KelchenI moved to Tennessee less than a year ago, but I am already in love with the Great Smoky Mountains. They are breathtakingly beautiful and so fun to explore. With each passing season I am awed by nature’s ability to shape and reshape the same landscape into wildly different vistas. I am looking forward to the first time I spot a bear in the wild, although I hope it will be in the national park, and not in my backyard.

    Emily Kelchen, Kelchen Consulting, Tennessee

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