Laura Gramling Perez was born in Madison and raised in Milwaukee by retired Milwaukee Municipal Judge Jim Gramling and Attorney Sue Gramling. They instilled in her a passion for public service, and Laura organized her first community event – a carnival to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association – as a fifth grader.
Laura is a proud graduate of Rufus King High School and received her bachelor’s degree from Columbia University. She worked in the New York District Attorney’s Office before attending the University of Michigan Law School, where she received her law degree with honors in 1996.
Laura’s first job out of law school was as an attorney at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in New York. In 1999, Laura returned home to Milwaukee County and joined Reinhart, Boerner Van Deuren S.C., where she handled complex cases in federal and state courts throughout the United States. Laura was elected Shareholder at Reinhart Boerner in 2004, and continued to focus on antitrust, securities, professional liability, and general commercial matters.
After 12 years as a litigator, Laura was appointed the Presiding Court Commissioner for the Milwaukee County Circuit Court by former Chief Judge Kitty Brennan. In her role as Presiding Commissioner, Laura manages a team of 10 commissioners who play a critical role in cases involving children, crime and small claims. Every day, she hears cases and makes decisions from the bench, in addition to her administrative role in helping the courts work more efficiently and effectively. Laura has the best experience to transition quickly and effectively to a seat on the Circuit Court bench – her predecessor as Presiding Commissioner is now well-respected Judge Rebecca Dallet, who was elected in 2008.
Outside of the courthouse, Laura is a member of the Veterans’ Legal Workgroup of Milwaukee, where she assisted in establishing the Milwaukee Veterans Family Law Clinic. She also is a founder, and serves on the steering committee, for the Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinic. Since 2005, she has served as Chairperson of the Milwaukee Bar Association’s Legal Services to the Indigent Committee. Laura is a member of the Milwaukee Bar Association, the Association for Women Lawyers, the Wisconsin Hispanic Lawyers Association, and the Wisconsin Association of Judicial Court Commissioners. She is also a past board member of Legal Action of Wisconsin, has coached the Rufus King High School Mock Trial team, and co-chairs a committee for her children’s school’s PTO.
Laura has received many recognitions and awards for her service to the legal profession, including the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Charles Dunn Award and the Association for Women Lawyers Pro Bono Award.
Laura resides in Wauwatosa with her husband, Edgar, a small business owner, and their two daughters.
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