Elizabeth Neary, Grady, Hayes & Neary LLC
Law degree received from: Marquette University Law School, 1983
When Elizabeth Neary says she practices law in an area where “the stakes are huge,” she is not talking about money.
She’s talking about children.
In a profession where some consider child-related issues to be messy and emotional, Neary devotes almost half of her practice to the business of protecting children.
“It’s the most challenging area of my practice,” she said. “These are the cases that cause me to lose the most sleep.”
Neary, a partner at the Waukesha firm of Grady, Hayes & Neary LLC, juggles a full caseload ranging from banking and construction litigation to guardianship, adoption and termination of parental rights.
The married mother of three was the first in her family to graduate from college, and said she wants to see other children from all walks of life have a chance to succeed.
The cases often are difficult, however, such as when Neary represented foster parents working to keep two sisters with them after the girls’ biological mother filed a petition to get the children back full time.
The mother had taken steps to improve her life, but a brother still living with the mother had been accused of molesting the two girls. After grueling testimony over several days, Neary convinced the court to leave the two young girls with the foster parents.
Several years later, Neary said she saw a local news report. The brother had again been accused of sexually assaulting a relative.
“It makes it all worth it,” Neary said, her voice trailing off, knowing how close the two girls, then 7 and 10, came to being stuck in a difficult situation.
Compassionate and empathetic as she may be, said Steve Hayes, Neary’s coworker of 12 years, she also likes to win. Her work ethic is noted by clients and the legal community, he said.
“I’ve seen judges contact Neary for her opinion on legal issues,” Hayes said. ”I see her incredibly dedicated to her clients, with clients who are very dedicated to her.”
Ultimately, Neary said, she just wants to make an impact.
“This area allows me to help people to create a family, who can’t do it on their own,” she said. “It’s really worth the fight.”