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Milwaukee attorney follows in her father’s footsteps

(Staff photo by Kevin Harnack)

Milwaukee attorney Debbie Krukowski credits her interest in the law to her father, a founding partner of Krukowski & Costello SC.

When she was young, Krukowski said, she would mimic her father, Tom Krukowski, by stapling random papers together at home, writing the word “brief” on the top and stuffing them in a toy briefcase.

For the past 13 years, Krukowski, has practiced alongside her father at the firm as a labor and employment lawyer specializing in sexual harassment and employment discrimination.

But prior to becoming an attorney, Krukowski got her first taste of labor and employment issues as a human resources specialist.

She credits her mother with instilling the confidence to take the first step in what would lead to a fruitful legal career.

While Krukowski still relies on her parents for advice, she said, she takes pride in being able to exercise her own influence not only in the legal community as a past president of the Association for Women Lawyers, but also as a role model to her two young daughters.

Krukowski shared some of her wisdom in this week’s Asked & Answered.

Wisconsin Law Journal: If you could develop one CLE course for credit, what would it be about?
Debbie Krukowski: I would do a sexual harassment and retaliation course because these issues can devastate an organization.

WLJ: What was your least favorite course in law school and why?
Krukowski: The one where I got locked out because I was 10 minutes late. I think it was my legal writing class. I remember going to the door and thinking, ‘Are you kidding me?’

WLJ: What do you consider your biggest achievement to date and why?
Krukowski: The birth of my two daughters; a continuing lifelong achievement, especially on days when I finally get them to sleep after they both get out of bed six times before 10 p.m. and I have a trial the next day.

WLJ: What is the one luxury item you cannot live without?
Krukowski: Baby wipes. Their uses are endless. I think I have a box in every room of my house.

WLJ: What is one thing attorneys should know that they won’t learn in law school?
Krukowski: A well-serviced client is the best source of new business, and the client is your only boss.

WLJ: What is the first concert you went to?
Krukowski: The World Series of Rock, with Billy Squier, REO Speedwagon and the Police at County Stadium. I think I was about 12 or 14.

WLJ: If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would it be and why?
Krukowski: Ann Richmond (publisher of Wisconsin Law Journal); I would like to find out how she fits 48 hours of work into one day.

WLJ: What is your motto?
Krukowski: Sometimes you just need to push all your chips in.

WLJ: What is your favorite movie about lawyers or the law and why?
Krukowski: ‘Erin Brokovich.’ It showed that very unconventional perseverance pays off.

WLJ: If you hadn’t become a lawyer, what career would you have chosen?
Krukowski: A psychotherapist. But now that I think about it, maybe I already am.

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