“Be Prepared” is not only the well-known motto of the Boy Scouts of America, but also words most trial attorneys live by.
Litigator Paul R. Hoefle heeds that advice in the courtroom and also instills it upon the young boys he mentors as a Scout Leader. For the last eight years, he has served as a cubmaster of Pack 359 in Hartland and he has won the Servant of Youth Award for his years of service to the Scouts and his church by the National Lutheran Association on Scouting.
Before joining the Schroeder Group Attorneys at Law, where he heads the Waukesha firm’s litigation group, Hoefle spent nearly a decade at Laufenberg & Hoefle.
A 1981 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, Hoefle celebrates his 30th year of practice in 2011 and applied his wisdom to this week’s Asked & Answered.
Wisconsin Law Journal: If you could develop one CLE course for credit, what would it be about?
Paul R. Hoefle: The value of family and service to the community in building a lasting law practice.
WLJ: What can you spend hours doing that is not law related?
Hoefle: I get enormous personal satisfaction by being involved in Boy Scouting. I have been a cubmaster and am currently a scoutmaster. Watching boys mature into men of character is really cool.
WLJ: What is your favorite website and why?
Hoefle: CCAP – wcca.wicourts.gov/ index.xsl – it makes the practice of law much easier. It is amazing what you can learn about your clients.
WLJ: Which actor would play you in a movie and why?
Hoefle: My avatar would be George Clooney for obvious reasons.
WLJ: What is the one thing that attorneys should know that they will not learn in law school?
Hoefle: Giving back to the community pays large rewards personally and professionally.
WLJ: What is the first concert you went to?
Hoefle: If I use the “way back machine” it was either Buddy Rich or Chicago because I was active in the band during high school; percussion.
WLJ: If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would it be and why?
Hoefle: While I was active in Boy Scouting as a youth and my father was a leader, I stopped at the rank of Life, never earning the Eagle Scout rank. I would trade places with my son, Mitchell, because this fall he earned his Eagle Scout rank and his parents could not have been prouder.
WLJ: What is the hardest thing to tell a client?
Hoefle: That while your mother or father was killed because of malpractice, the doors of the courthouse are closed to you because your mother or father’s spouse predeceased them and only adult children remain. There is no claim to be made. Just as hard as telling a client that while their loved one was killed by malpractice, because of the limits placed on their recovery by our legislature, no lawyer will be able to afford to seek justice for them.
WLJ: What is the one luxury item you cannot live without?
Hoefle: My farm in Dodge County. I grew up hunting with my grandfather and father on public land which can be very frustrating and at times dangerous. I love spending time at the farm with my kids and maybe someday the grandkids. I often tell people that I would be a farmer if I did not have to make a living.
WLJ: If you were the State Bar President for a day and could make one permanent change to the profession, what would it be?
Hoefle: Because lawyering is by its very nature often adversarial, I would have each lawyer instructed on the principles of Rotary, namely – is it the truth – is it fair to all concerned – will it build goodwill and better friendships – will it be beneficial to all concerned.
Jack Zemlicka can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.