"I hope that Milwaukee stops being a city where people grow up with the goal to leave..."
Where do you work and what makes your role awesome?
I am an Associate Attorney at Hartley Pecora Law Offices and I specialize in Criminal Defense and Family Law. I mainly represent clients who have either been accused of committing a crime; getting a divorce ; or need help with child custody and support issues.The majority of my days are spent at the Milwaukee County Courthouse or traveling to various courthouses, jails, and prisons throughout the state of Wisconsin. As a criminal defense and family law attorney, “losing”; getting yelled at by judges/other attorneys; and hearing the word “no” comes with the territory but everyone deserves their day in court and an effective advocate. I think that the most awesome part of my job is when a case is over, no matter the outcome, that my client knows that he or she had someone on their side, defending their rights, and fighting for them. For many of my clients, when they walk into that courtroom, hardly anyone looks like them or comes from where they come from-and that can be a very intimidating and frustrating reality to be faced with especially when you are being charged with a crime or going through a very personal family law matter so I try to make it my goal to give my clients a voice and to make sure that their stories are heard.
How long have you lived in your city and what brought you here?
I was born and raised in Milwaukee. I attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison for undergrad and law school. I decided to come back to Milwaukee after law school primarily because of my friends and family, however, I also chose to develop my law career in Milwaukee because as a result of having grown up here, I believed I had a special understanding of the city; its people; and its issues.
What do you love most about your city?
The way that the city comes to life in the spring and summer months. I think that the people of Milwaukee do a great job at embracing all the seasons, but in the summer, the city feels different; it is more alive everywhere you go.
What is one word that you would use to describe your city?
I hope that Milwaukee stops being a city where people grow up with the goal to leave or move here with no intention of staying long term. I hope that one day it won’t be the norm to hear the phrases, “I can’t wait to leave Milwaukee” or “there’s nothing to do in Milwaukee”… I hope that more diverse young professionals and people with talent decide to stay in Milwaukee and raise their families here. I hope that more businesses move to Milwaukee and attract more economic growth. I hope that the Brewers and the Bucks and other local companies and organizations continue to invest in our city. I hope that our schools get better funding and start paying teachers higher salaries. Finally, I hope that more of our young people stay out of the criminal justice system, graduate high school, attend college, and return home to Milwaukee.
What does an ideal weekend in your city look like?
Depends on the season. In the summer, I want to be outside as much as possible so an ideal weekend would include enjoying dinner and drinks at a restaurant with an outdoor patio or rooftop; spending the day at a local beach or park; and attending one of the many summer outdoor festivals. In the fall and winter, any weekend spent watching the Badgers and Packers with friends and family are always my favorite weekends.
What’s your favorite hidden gem or secret fact about your city?
Its people. I think that it is easy to see the people who look like you and live where you live or shop where you shop, but I think it is a lot harder to uncover the people who you don’t get to interact with on a daily basis because of the way that Milwaukee and the surrounding communities are designed. Sometimes it takes driving 15 to 20 minutes in the other direction to discover a neighborhood restaurant or bar that you never would have known existed if you didn’t venture out.