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Home / 2011 Leaders in the Law / From law to pulpit, Jaeger has varied career

From law to pulpit, Jaeger has varied career

James A. Jaeger – Hill, Glowacki, Jaeger & Hughes

Photo by Kevin Harnack

Photo by Kevin Harnack

James A. Jaeger, a partner at Hill, Glowacki, Jaeger & Hughes in Madison, is a recognized leader in the area of elder law.

In addition to his own successful practice, Jaeger has helped lawyers and law students learn more about that practice area. He also has been involved in shaping the law related to guardianship.

Although he has been involved with elder law for two decades, Jaeger said he had not originally planned on practicing in that area for one particularly good reason.

“Elder law, when I graduated from law school, didn’t exist,” he said.

Jaeger started as a lawyer for the Internal Revenue Service in the office of chief counsel, where he spent six years. In 1981, he came to Madison and he joined his current firm in 1990.

One of Jaeger’s significant contributions to that practice area began while he was chair of the State Bar’s Elder Law Section. That group undertook a rewrite of the guardianship law. He worked on a subcommittee that developed draft language to revise the guardianship statute, which had not been revised in nearly two decades. His role continued when the legislation was introduced. He was part of a group helping it move through the state Legislature. Ultimately, he helped with implementation of those changes.

“It started on my watch as chair of the section board,” he said, “but ultimately it was the work of a lot of people.”

That wasn’t Jaeger’s only journey into the legislative realm. He also worked on a group to help with implementation of the Deficit Reduction Act, which took effect in January 2009. He noted that there were a lot of changes to the divestment rules, issues related to transfers of assets without intent to get Medicaid, and annuity issues. They tried to help smooth out the implementation process.

Throughout his career Jaeger has been actively involved in helping others prepare to practice elder law.

Annually, he teaches up to 10 CLE programs. He also co-teaches elder law at the University of Wisconsin Law School.

However, he’s preparing to engage in a new adventure. During the next two years, Jaeger will be wrapping up his legal career as he prepares to become a minister for the Unitarian Universalist Church.

“That’s kind of my encore career once I finish practicing law,” Jaeger said. “I’ve been a lawyer for 35 years and I’ve enjoyed it. It’s been very rewarding practice and I’m looking forward to doing something different.”


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