Robyn Blader — Blader Law Office LLC and Wisconsin Army National Guard
Law degree received from: University of Wisconsin Law School, 1995
Whether serving overseas or practicing family law in her hometown of Wautoma, Wisconsin National Guard Lieutenant Colonel Robyn Blader works to help others.
Blader, who founded Blader Law Office LLC in 1997, has been stationed as chief of military justice at Camp Phoenix in Afghanistan since December. She represents the Army command in cases involving the 11,000 “tenants” in the eight camps of the Kabul Base Cluster.
She also serves as deputy staff judge advocate for task force Hydra, the command unit in Kabul, Afghanistan. In that role, she supervises a legal office that provides services for all the camps in the Kabul cluster.
Among the more dramatic matters Blader has handled overseas involved captured Afghans with suspected ties to Al Qaeda. She made the legal determination to release two back to the Afghan police and to send another one to the Parwan Detention Facility for further handling by the U.S. military.
Outside of her legal responsibilities, Blader spends time giving back through volunteer work with a number of Afghan causes. In April, she received a Military Outstanding Volunteer Service medal for her work with volunteer organization Operation Outreach Afghanistan, which helps build and remodel schools.
“Children here attend school under tarps held up by wooden poles and dilapidated tents under the hot sun,” she said. “There are no sewers, no water, no electricity, no heat and no playground equipment.”
Blader also works with Afghan women to improve their life skills and serves as project manager for the construction of wells, health clinics and roads through other humanitarian projects.
Back at home, she uses a combination of her military experience and family law background in her work to help deployed American soldiers whose spouses file for divorce or who are cut off from their children.
“These issues weigh very heavily on soldiers in a combat environment,” Blader said.
After earning her law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1995, Blader helped develop Wisconsin’s Code of Military Justice, which was codified in the state statutes in 2008. The code allowed the Wisconsin National Guard to process court-martial actions for the first time.
When she returns to Wisconsin this summer, Blader plans to go back to her Wautoma practice, which law partner Jeanne Zamzow maintains while she’s away. She also will return to her post as regional defense counsel for Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.
From Afghanistan to Wisconsin, Blader is a “results-oriented leader,” said her Guard supervisor, Colonel Patrick Barnett.