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Haggerty puts together big deals in Milwaukee real estate law

By: David Ziemer, [email protected]//June 23, 2011//

Haggerty puts together big deals in Milwaukee real estate law

By: David Ziemer, [email protected]//June 23, 2011//

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(Staff photo by Kevin Harnack)
(Staff photo by Kevin Harnack)

Nancy Leary Haggerty didn’t intend to become a lawyer; she was more interested in the bright lights of TV news.

But as an undergrad working through college at a Madison tavern, she realized all the bartenders she worked with there had Communication Arts degrees, and decided to pursue a career in law instead.

Studying communications law at the University of California-Los Angeles, where she edited the Federal Communications Law Journal, got her close to Hollywood. But renewing licenses at the Federal Communications Commission didn’t interest her, and after graduation she wound up practicing real estate law in Milwaukee.

“I’ve always liked the area, because it involves putting things together, rather than taking them apart,” she said.

And Haggerty has helped put together some pretty big things in Milwaukee during her many years at Michael Best & Friedrich LLP. Just down the road from her office is the Calatrava-designed addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum, a deal Haggerty helped put together.

That deal was complex, she said, because the city, county, and state all owned parts of the land on which the museum was built. Normally, turf wars ensue when multiple government agencies are involved, but this project sailed through.

“Everyone was so unified in wanting it, and it has proven to be a valuable tourist attraction,” she said.

Haggerty also represented the Glendale Redevelopment Authority in putting together the Bayshore Town Center in Glendale, a mixed-use center that includes restaurants, retail, entertainment, office space and residences.

Mostly, though, she represents traditional real estate developers that build hotels and condominiums, she said. She even co-authored the State Bar’s Wisconsin Condominium Law Handbook.

Haggerty likens real estate law to quilt making, she said, with lots of patches each designed to cover some risk.

“Then you sew together a quilt of protection,” she said.

As a partner in firm’s Land & Resources Practice Group, Haggerty continues to be an enthusiastic member of the firm, said Susan Sager, a partner in the Litigation Practice Group.

“She is always the first to lend a hand when someone else has a baby, or a sick parent,” Sager said. “It’s remarkable that she still has so much zest and innovation, and is the first to raise her hand with a great idea.”


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