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First female director considers honor a chance to give back

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//May 24, 2010//

First female director considers honor a chance to give back

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//May 24, 2010//

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In 17 years at Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, Jennifer D’Amato has carved out her place as a prominent Trusts and Estates lawyer.

She still represents some of the same clients today that she did when she started in 1993, which is one of the reasons D’Amato has found the area so rewarding.

Her relationship with Reinhart has also flourished. Last year, D’Amato was named the first female member of the board of directors in the firm’s 105-year history.

“It’s kind of nice to add a somewhat different perspective than what a male attorney might have,” she said. “But it’s also a way to give back to the firm.”

She also gives back to the firm by keeping busy. The economic downturn combined with low interest rates has prompted many small businesses to do estate planning and call on D’Amato.

“I don’t tend to deal with people on a transactional basis,” she said. “It’s not like we crank something out and I never see them again. In the best situations, the relationships really span perhaps several generations.”

As one of the senior female attorneys at the firm, D’Amato also lends her time to mentor younger lawyers.

She is a shareholder in the firm’s Trusts and Estates Practice and also a member of the Tax-Exempt Organizations Team.

Outside of the office, she is on the advisory board of Best Buddies Wisconsin, a nonprofit organization which connects disabled young adults with non-disabled peers.

“It can really be a wonderful learning opportunity for everyone involved,” D’Amato said of her work with Best Buddies.

While her professional workload is consistently busy throughout the year, D’Amato also does some estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer tax issue work for clients and charities.

“I think the better the communication and the more I learn about a company, the better I can help attain goals and do what’s best for a family and their business,” she said.

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