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Service just part of Berzowski’s character

Retired Army Maj. Gen. Michael M. Berzowski has an appreciation for what it takes to succeed.

While he would like to take a crack at leading our country’s armed forces, if just for a day, Berzowski does get the opportunity to oversee a law firm.

The managing partner of Milwaukee’s Weiss Berzowski Brady LLP supervises more than 20 attorneys and also maintains a healthy business, employment and tax practice.

But throughout his 40 years in the legal profession and as many on active duty and in a reserve role with the Army, Berzowski has showcased a wide range of talent.

He has been a Certified Public Accountant since 1968, has served as President of the Wisconsin Club and is invested into the Orders of St. George and the Knights Templar, Grand Croix Order of Merit and Deputy Grand Prior Region VI.

Berzowski brought his broad experience to this week’s Asked & Answered.

Michael M. Berzowski

Michael M. Berzowski

Wisconsin Law Journal: What do you value most about being an attorney?

Michael M. Berzowski: The opportunity to help people resolve problems and give advice that will hopefully make a difference in their lives.

WLJ: What is the best advice anyone ever gave you?

Berzowski: Do what’s right – easy to say, difficult to do at times for a variety of reasons.

WLJ: What is your favorite website and why?

Berzowski: Google News – the ability to immediately access up to date news on any topic from thousands of sources.

WLJ: Which actor would play you in a movie?

Berzowski: Probably someone like Robert De Niro – a gruff exterior probably masking an above average ability to empathize.

WLJ: What is one thing attorneys should know that they won’t learn in law school?

Berzowski: Clients will not always be real appreciative even in favorable situations, and also ethics is probably the most important course they take in law school.

WLJ: What is the first concert you went to?

Berzowski: The 5th Dimension at State Fair Park – a long time ago.

WLJ: If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would it be and why?

Berzowski: I’d like to see what it would be like to be the Chief of Staff of the Army. Counting ROTC time, I spent a little over 40 years with the Army between active and reserve service and would like to see what it looks like from the very top.

WLJ: In three words or less, describe your legal career?

Berzowski: A good time.

WLJ: If you could change one thing about Wisconsin’s legal system, what would it be?

Berzowski: I think I would like to devise some method of resolving disputes, say, for example, under $35,000 wherein the cost of handling the matter did not make it prohibitive to proceed with asserting the claim or presenting the defense. There are a lot of cases/problems/disputes where the cost of proceeding and the risk involved does not warrant pursuit or support a strong defense, so they might be resolved on a nuisance basis. Possibly a change that might address this would be to increase the dollar limit in small claims matters from $5,000 to $30,000 or creating a court that would address claims falling in these limits that could utilize streamlined procedures.

WLJ: Where and when are you most happy?

Berzowski: I consider myself fortunate to be able to say there is no singular activity that qualified as a most happy event. I guess the common thread is a yes answer to the question “what do you accomplish with regard to any particular undertaking.” Being involved in a lot of things gives me a shot at multiple happiness levels. From a purely goof-off basis this could involve fishing, motorcycling, reading or playing the piano.

Jack Zemlicka can be reached at jack.zemlicka@wislawjournal.com.

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