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Employment law attorney stands up to bullying

Tim Stewart of DeWitt Ross & Stevens SC. (Staff photo by Kevin Harnack)

As an employment law attorney in the Milwaukee office of DeWitt Ross & Stevens SC, Tim Stewart puts his ability to advocate for clients to use every day.

But once a week, he uses those same skills as a volunteer for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Milwaukee.

For the past eight years, Stewart, 40, has mentored a young Milwaukee boy named Kenny who had struggled in school after his parents divorced when he was 10 years old. Stewart said he coped with many of the same confidence and bullying issues Kenny experienced.

Now Kenny is set to start college in January and Stewart said the two continue to spend time together each week as friends.

Beyond his participation with the mentoring program, Stewart is an anti-bullying advocate in schools.

With two young children — ages four and six — just starting their education, he said it is important to promote awareness so teachers, students and parents know what warning signs to look for and how to deal with them.

Stewart has helped organize seminars on anti-bullying and said it has been one of his primary passions outside of law.

He joined DeWitt in 2005, after eight years with Davis & Kuelthau SC. Stewart serves as an employee benefits attorney, working with employers to resolve issues with retirement, health and welfare plans.

Stewart offered some advice to the next generation of lawyers in this week’s Asked & Answered.

Wisconsin Law Journal: If you could develop one CLE course for credit, what would it be about?
Tim Stewart: Guidance to first-year attorneys on how to succeed in a law firm. I would like to see others avoid the mistakes I made in my first few years.

WLJ: What was your least favorite course in law school and why?
Stewart: Copyright Law. The whole course just seemed like a rapidly-moving target. But it’s the only law school book I still have, mostly so that I can show my kids how thick it was.

WLJ: What do you consider your biggest achievement to date and why?
Stewart: On a professional level, hopefully, earning the respect and trust of my clients, partners and colleagues. In my opinion, you cannot be truly successful without that.

WLJ: What is the one luxury item you cannot live without?
Stewart: Is a smartphone considered a luxury item? If not, then it would be my HBO subscription.

WLJ: What is one thing attorneys should know that they wonít learn in law school?
Stewart: How to interview for an attorney position. I am always astonished at how few candidates are truly prepared.

WLJ: What is the first concert you went to?
Stewart: Heart, at the Marcus Amphitheater in 1987-ish, and a young Michael Bolton opened for them. Bad hair everywhere you looked.

WLJ: If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would it be and why?
Stewart: Bono, from U2. Through his humanitarian efforts and his music, I’ll bet he has made lots of interesting friends.

WLJ: What is your motto?
Stewart: Life’s too short to worry about … fill in the blank.

WLJ: What is your favorite movie about lawyers or the law and why?
Stewart: “Philadelphia.” That movie exposes the ugliness of bigotry that exists in America, but also shows us that what is right is worth fighting for.

WLJ: If you hadn’t become a lawyer, what career would you have chosen?
Stewart: Sports radio host. I am not sure that I am qualified for anything else.

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