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Cohen leads by example

By: David Ziemer, [email protected]//February 16, 2012

Cohen leads by example

By: David Ziemer, [email protected]//February 16, 2012

In addition to a busy practice in complex commercial litigation, attorney Michael Cohen, of Meissner Tierney Fisher & Nichols SC, Milwaukee, plays a leading role in the legal community.

As president of the Milwaukee Bar Association, Cohen works to ensure the long-term viability of the Milwaukee Justice Center, which recently expanded its space in the Milwaukee County Courthouse and provides volunteer legal services to those in need.

“It has been nothing but a success,” he said, “in terms of the number of clients served and volunteers.”

Before taking the presidency of the bar association, Cohen concluded a 19-year commitment to Wisconsin’s high school mock trial tournament, which he chaired for many years. The transition to a new leader was smooth, however, because Cohen is always working to help develop the next level of young professionals.

Cohen passed the mock trial chairman position to Thomas Hruz, a younger partner at his firm. Hruz also took Cohen’s place on the board of directors for the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, another organization Cohen had served for many years.

“I can’t imagine a better mentor as a lawyer than Mike,” Hruz said. “He is so confident in his work, yet humble.”

Cohen continues to serve on the board for the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, which he calls “the go-to organization for anything related to gastrointestinal disorders” and which holds its international symposium every year in Milwaukee.

At Meissner Tierney, an all-purpose business law firm founded in 1848, the year Wisconsin became a state, Cohen serves as the head of the litigation department. His practice areas include employment law, business torts and complex insurance coverage, including environmental and bad faith issues.

Recently, Cohen successfully argued before the Minnesota Supreme Court, resulting in the reversal of 40 years of precedents governing insurers’ contribution rights.

Cohen also is a member of his firm’s executive committee.

“We owe it to our clients to put forth the best possible product, zealously represent them, and set a high standard,” he said. “That’s why we’ve been successful, and I’ve been successful.”

Cohen and the firm are active in the political process. The firm frequently holds fundraisers for conservative candidates, as well as an annual client symposium on political matters of interest to their business.

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