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Rottier advises listening and learning

Attorney Daniel A. Rottier is among the more familiar figures in the Wisconsin legal community.

Not only has he been in practice for more than 30 years, his name is also attached to of one of the state’s most prominent personal injury firms.

As Chief Operating Officer of Milwaukee-based Habush Habush & Rottier SC, the Madison-based Rottier oversees the 13 offices throughout Wisconsin.

Among Rottier’s specialties are medical negligence and product liability. He has settled or tried more than 60 different cases worth more than $1 million.

Outside of the courtroom, he has served as president of the Wisconsin Association for Justice, been a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Board of Governors and lectured at the University of Wisconsin Law School, his alma mater.

Daniel A. Rottier

Daniel A. Rottier

In this week’s Asked & Answered, Rottier offers some insight on law school education and why he would like to sit on the Supreme Court, if just for a day.

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

Daniel A. Rottier: The feeling of having helped someone who feels overwhelmed by loss is the ultimate emotional satisfaction.

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

Rottier: God gave you two ears and one mouth; use them in that proportion. My father gave me that advice and it certainly applies to trial work.

WLJ: What is your favorite website and why?

Rottier: Wispolitics.com. It provides a very fast way to stay attuned to developments in the state.

WLJ: Which actor would play you in a movie?

Rottier: Gene Hackman. He is talented and appropriately grumpy. There was no better villain than Hackman in “Unforgiven.”

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

Rottier: Usually the law is common sense codified. After many years I learned that to understand the law you must first ask what it is trying to accomplish. With that in mind it is much easier to appreciate the structure and language. This is particularly true with regard to the rules of evidence.

WLJ: What is the first concert you went to?

Rottier: Jefferson Airplane, 1969 at the old Field House in Madison. Anyone around in those days can imagine what it was like.

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

Rottier: A Supreme Court justice; a few things need changing. Seriously, we need our top legal minds to aspire to be part of the judiciary. We need the electorate to respect our courts and if that can’t be done, we need appointment of our justices.

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

Rottier: Luck, opportunity and success.

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

Rottier: Fixed trial dates established immediately after joinder.

WLJ: Where and when are you most happy?

Rottier: Professionally in the month before trial. Personally in the month after trial.

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

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