M Milwaukees Lifestyle Magazine July 2013 : Page 83
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION L EADING L AWYERS LIST REVEALS MILWAUKEE’S HIGHEST-RANKED ATTORNEYS PHOTOGRAPHY OF MILWAUKEE COUNTY COURTHOUSE BY DAN BISHOP For the second consecutive year, we turned to Avvo www.avvo.com, a Seattle-based company that rates and profiles attorneys. Avvo’s proprietary algorithm rates all lawyers on a 10-point scale, factoring in peer endorsements as well as experience, education, training, speak-ing, publishing and awards. These dynamic ratings are regularly refreshed based on new information gleaned from attorneys as well as from licensing and disciplinary authorities. While the list in the pages that follow is based on Avvo’s ratings, many leading lawyers don’t appear on the list. M Magazine chose to pub-lish only those names that ranked in the top 2 to 5 percent in each category. This reference is best used as just one step in the careful journey toward finding the lawyer who is right for you. July 2013 | M 83
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In partnership with ratings company Avvo, M Magazine is proud to present this annual list of the Milwaukee area’s top attorneys.
For the second consecutive year, we turned to Avvo www.avvo.com, a Seattle-based company that rates and profiles attorneys. Avvo’s proprietary algorithm rates all lawyers on a 10-point scale, factoring in peer endorsements as well as experience, education, training, speaking, publishing and awards. These dynamic ratings are regularly refreshed based on new information gleaned from attorneys as well as from licensing and disciplinary authorities.
While the list in the pages that follow is based on Avvo’s ratings, many leading lawyers don’t appear on the list. M Magazine chose to publish only those names that ranked in the top 2 to 5 percent in each category. This reference is best used as just one step in the careful journey toward finding the lawyer who is right for you.
HOT TOPICSGROWING LEGAL PRACTICES ARE A REFLECTION OF MODERN LIFESTYLES
There’s no question that the world is moving at a faster pace than ever before. Technology has permeated our homes, our jobs and every space in between. New forms of communication have allowed business to be conducted oceans apart. Science has pushed us to new heights, but it has also brought us back to Earth. We’re more conscious about everything — from the environment, to our health, to the way we conduct our lives, both online and vis-à-vis.
With each new innovation comes the challenge of navigating the sea of change. Every adjustment to our way of life has to be digested, understood and interpreted. And in the United States, that includes implementing the legal principles to guide and aid fellow citizens.
The constant flow of change has created an exciting environment for the nation’s law professionals. Among the growing legal practices that have emerged in this so-called Post-Information Age include social networking, health care, e-discovery and green/environmental law.
Read on to see how these fields are developing, and what it means for clients and the future.
Evolving communications technologies have led to the creation of social networks as sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have become a second home to billions of users who use the networks to share news, post updates and keep in touch with friends and family.
The unique public landscape of social networks has ignited a fire storm regarding a user’s level of privacy online — particularly as it relates to employment.
While some attorneys assist employers to implement social media policies, the great majority of the time they are dealing with employees who have suffered adverse action stemming from information gleaned from their social media accounts, says Summer Murshid, an employment attorney and shareholder at Hawks Quindel, Milwaukee.
Employers have been charged with everything from firing employees over photos and status updates, to demanding user names and passwords to get access to employee accounts, she says.
“Employers are becoming social savvy. They are making decisions,” based on what they find on social pages, says Murshid. “People want to use social networks, but they don’t want to lose their jobs. They don’t want to worry about ‘What I did in college.’”
So far, a few states have enacted legislation that curbs these attempts, and defends citizens from employers who use the sites to gather protected details such as sex, race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality or political affiliation.
Murshid hopes her work helps to close the generational gap that exists between social media users, and encourages employers to institute social media policies.
In the meantime, Murshid tells her clients to set and verify their privacy settings. “Social media is a huge part of our society,” she says. “It’s not going anywhere.”
These days everyone has a digital footprint. In the world of business, electronic channels have become the go-to source to send, copy, receive and store documents and correspondence. With all the different ways to communicate and store information — email, video, the cloud — attorneys have to dig a little deeper to retrieve the information significant to a civil litigation case.
The “discovery” premise isn’t new, however, says Olivia Kelley, an attorney at DeWitt Ross & Stevens. Information is always sourced “behind the scenes” before the parties head to court, but it has become a much more sophisticated process, Kelley says.
“The information and the scope of where we have to go,” has changed, she says. “People are processing data from external places — from their home computer, their phones, their iPads. That becomes several computers we have to evaluate.”
Kelley says lawyers then have to take into account the number of people who’ve had access to the information; sometimes that means researching information sent across the globe. In some cases, the attorneys find that the information has been destroyed — intentionally, or inadvertently, an issue businesses want to avoid.
That’s why attorneys like Kelley work with and advise businesses to create a plan for obtaining and storing information. She works with owners, employees and IT managers to put the details in place — before a potential civil issue comes to light and the business finds itself liable or critically unprepared.
We’ve heard, repeated and tried to live by the mantra “Reduce, reuse, recycle.” The alliterated phrase comes out of the green movement that first culminated with the passing of The Clean Air Act in 1970. The bill was largely seen as the nation’s first real attempt at combating the problems of human consumption and its impact on the environment.
Today, the buzzword is “sustainability,” says Mike Carlton, who heads the environmental law practice at von Briesen & Roper, Milwaukee.
Carlton says environmental attorneys deliberate a number of “green” issues on behalf of clients, including energy, waste, land and water use and conservation, air pollution and more.
One way to help clients avoid litigation is to conduct a life cycle analysis, which calculates the cost or savings of an environmental action, such as building a wind farm, for example. The practice is becoming a popular subset of the field. Carlton says people are held more accountable for their grievances than ever before.
That being said, green law can get extremely complicated, he says. Carlton says there is a messy web of laws and regulations on the books, and in some areas, none at all. That’s where legal assistance is beneficial, he says. “There is a moral realization and a monetary realization.” Carlton is referring to the demand on businesses and individuals to be “green friendly” in their buildings, products and processes. While many parties are happy to oblige, others are guilty of “greenwashing,” making exaggerated “green” claims for marketing purposes and profitable gain.
“People have a broader concern of the environment, and a growing appreciation for (sustainability,)” says Carlton. “But nothing in this business is simple.”
It’s no surprise that health care law is growing: As science and technology continue to improve, people are simply living longer. Couple that with the aging baby boomer generation and the passage of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and it’s easy to see why health care is a booming industry. In fact, the health care sector accounts for nearly 16 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product.
In general, health care law covers a wide spectrum, says Lisa Gingerich, an attorney and shareholder in the Health Care Practice Group at von Briesen & Roper, Milwaukee, including any legislation and regulation associated with the health care industry. This affects everybody from health care providers and ethicists, to pharmaceutical makers and patients.
For Gingerich, however, the focus lies primarily on the business of health care. This primarily involves transactions, contract negotiation and implementations, insurance, labor and employment, real estate, legal compliance and litigation. Health care lawyers help their clients from making mistakes that might damage their reputation, or negatively impact their bottom line.
“The best lawyers focus not only on the law, but how to implement our clients’ ideas while staying compliant in the law,” says Gingerich. “We are advisers and strategists, as well as ‘minders of the law.’”
Read the full article at http://www.mydigitalpublication.com/article/Leading+Lawyers/1433170/164093/article.html.