During law school, Milwaukee attorney Tim Trecek struggled to sit through classes on the theory of law. But when he took a course on Advanced Trial Practice, he said, he found his calling.
“I thought, this is what I want to do,” Trecek said. “There was realness to it that I really enjoyed.”
The course’s teachers, Charlie Stierman and John Murray, both of whom were partners at Habush Habush & Rottier SC at the time, eventually helped him find a home for his professional development, as well.
After graduating from Marquette University Law School in 1993, Trecek spent two years doing insurance defense work before an opportunity arose at Habush.
While the ad sought an experienced attorney, Stierman nevertheless encouraged him to apply, Trecek said. He was hired March 15, 1995.
Seventeen years later, Trecek is the managing partner of Habush’s Milwaukee and West Bend offices and a member of the firm’s executive committee.
On the cusp of his anniversary with the firm, Trecek chatted about his personal and professional achievements in this week’s Asked & Answered.
Wisconsin Law Journal: If you could develop one CLE course for credit, what would it be about?
Tim Trecek: A two-part class; the importance of a client-centric practice and the common sense of law. It’s all about what’s fair.
WLJ: What was your least favorite course in law school and why?
Trecek: I disliked most classes that focused on esoteric and theoretical issues of law. I most enjoyed the realness and practicality of my favorite class, Advanced Trial Practice. It’s a class I’ve had the pleasure of teaching as an adjunct professor for eight years.
WLJ: What do you consider your biggest achievement to date and why?
Trecek: Personally, finding and convincing my wife to marry me. Professionally, being recognized as the recipient of the 2011 Robert L. Habush Trial Lawyer of the Year Award, voted on by my peers and presented at the annual Wisconsin Association for Justice meeting.
WLJ: What is the one luxury item you cannot live without?
Trecek: There is not one possession that I couldn’t live without. The one thing I can’t get enough of is time for all the things I want and need to do.
WLJ: What is one thing attorneys should know that they won’t learn in law school?
Trecek: Planning, preparation and experience shouldn’t lull you into thinking that you can practice law on auto pilot. They only put you in a better position to react to unexpected surprises.
WLJ: What is the first concert you went to?
Trecek: One of the fun early concerts I remember attending with friends was seeing the Violent Femmes at the Oriental Theater in the ‘80s. The building was actually shaking during ‘Blister in the Sun.’
WLJ: If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would it be and why?
Trecek: I have very little interest in peeking into anyone else’s life. I have always thought the most effective way to make sense of the world and our surroundings is to have a better and more in-depth understanding of one’s self. Based on that, I’d like to split my day with half being spent as an 11-year-old boy on a midsummer day with nothing to worry about other than how I would fit in baseball, basketball, football and golf before it got too dark to see. At about 9:30 p.m. I would gather up all the friends in the neighborhood and have a seven-yard boundary game of hide-and-go-seek. Then, I’d spend half a day with myself 25 years from now. Hopefully, it guarantees I’m still alive and kicking and I could get a preview of all the wisdom of the years between now and then should provide.
WLJ: What is your motto?
Trecek: ‘Nothing is easy; nobody said it would be.’
WLJ: What is your favorite movie about lawyers or the law and why?
Trecek: I have three: ‘My Cousin Vinny’ because it is a great example of effective short cross-examination; ‘A Few Good Men’ because it shows the difference between knowing the law, Demi Moore, and being a trial lawyer, Tom Cruise; and ‘Jagged Edge’ because it shows you can’t pick your clients, but you need to be their champion no matter what.
WLJ: If you hadn’t become a lawyer, what career would you have chosen?
Trecek: A psychiatrist. I always wanted to help people work through their problems. Sometimes I think it would be helpful if I could meld the profession I’m in and the one I thought about going into. I’ve dealt with a few people for whom I would like to prescribe some meds.