Effective November 1, 2008, I opened my own law office in Brookfield, Wisconsin (in Waukesha County, a suburb of the City of Milwaukee). In addition to being more centrally situated to my personal client base, this move also reflects the fact that as my practice was increasingly focused on asset planning and debt reorganization, it resulted in my former law firm more frequently encountering conflicts of interest with business organizations and financial organizations it represented (or, desired to represent!).
Generally, I will continue to provide services in the following areas of concern as they tend to interact, and at the listed rates:
A. Personal/business debt reorganization/resolution. My services here are based on assisting clients either eliminating debt concerns that hamper their business, or in exiting the business under circumstances where protection of the owner's personal assets are maximized, to the extant legally possible. This involves the use of such tools as Chapter 7 and 11 bankruptcies; Chapter 128 state law liquidations: and personal asset protection plans. To that end, I am representing only a few area banking concerns [AnchorBank; NorStates Bank) to eliminate conflicts of interest which, far too often, may be influencing the vigor of representation offered by other firms in this locale. Fees in this practice area will range from $250 to $265 per hour.
B. Employment matters and litigation. For businesses, I offer services in responding to employee claims, and assisting in employment decisions where a claim potential exists. I also will counsel higher-compensated employees about exploring their options in conflict with their employer. To this area, I bring my experience as a former claims investigator for the Wisconsin Equal Rights Division and years of representing each side in - typically - contested employment disputes, where trials or administrative hearings are likely to occur. My litigation (courtroom work) matters will focus on misrepresentation, fraud and/or administrative code violations, such as deceptive business practices. Fees here will range from $225-$245, again driven by the complexity and breadth of the issues.
C. General business consulting, planning and setup matters, including subsidiary and affiliate implementation, as a means to protect the core business in the event a planned expansion or venture either fails, or is more successful than anticipated. Generally, these services will be at an hourly fee range of $200-225, based on the size and complexity of the client's project.
A note about the fee ranges: Generally, these ranges are markedly less than charged by similar practitioners with similar experience in the subject fields. Nor do I expect to increase them any time soon. The business model of a "downtown firm," with annual fee increases noted as
standard in their engagement letter is not one I care to follow. I have a long relationship with most all of my present client base; they expect effective service and I intend to keep my overhead under control to eliminate fee spiraling for such services.
It goes without saying that a business seeks customers that pay timely for fair services; but the larger you grow in the service fields, the harder it is to hold true to that goal . . . and other clients tend to suffer for the consequences of that growth. I am proud that my practice has been virtually client referral-based. After initial discussion on a matter, I quote a fee rate from the above ranges and confirm it by letter. I also charge as "expenses" only out-of-pocket fees (for legal filings, court reporter fees) and, occasionally, photocopying; scanning; mailing, if a large volume is handled on my end (versus being copied and issued at your own facilities).
Personally, I obtained the coveted A-V rating from Martindale-Hubbell (generally recognized as the foremost and longest-established lawyer evaluation service) back in 1991 (one of the first to achieve such at my former firm).
Prior to engaging in private practice, I served as a law clerk (legal researcher) to the Wisconsin Supreme Court after graduating cum laude from Marquette Law School, where I was one of the editors of its Law Review. During law school, I was employed as a field investigator for the Equal Rights Division (through a law school clinical program) of the State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (investigating discrimination claims).
I have also been president of the Alumni Association for the Law School, and served two terms as its representative on the Marquette University National Alumni Association's Board of Directors. Early on, I was awarded the Volunteer Lawyer of the Year for the Milwaukee Young Lawyers' Association/Legal Action of Wisconsin joint program for supplying legal services to the community for complex employment matters; and still provide services on bankruptcy matters for its current program.