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Shifting gears is part of Bensky’s leadership path

By: Justin Kern//June 21, 2012//

Shifting gears is part of Bensky’s leadership path

By: Justin Kern//June 21, 2012//

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Janice Bensky, Stafford Rosenbaum LLP

Law degree received from: University of Wisconsin Law School, 1983

Staff photo by Kevin Harnack

Before embarking on her career as a lawyer, Janice Bensky tackled post-graduate studies in French, worked as a federal tax employee, started a family and then became a Realtor.

Managing those career and life changes left her well suited for her job as a partner in Stafford Rosenbaum LLP’s estate planning, probate and family law practices, she said, as her work often boils down to “helping people through transition.”

“You don’t want to make all their decisions for them,” Bensky said. “But you want to guide them and help them on the best decision, and get them through a divorce or in planning for their death.”

It’s a familiar spot, she said, after guiding herself through the many changes in her life.

Bensky was working on her doctorate in French at the University of Wisconsin, she said, when she realized she felt too isolated in her research and removed from the desire to teach that led her down that path. A career search led to the Internal Revenue Service, where she received a primer on tax law and real estate.

She and her husband then started a family and Bensky became a Realtor while caring for their two children. Eventually, Bensky and her husband both decided to study law.

“I kind of thought of it as a means to an end,” she said, “and I wasn’t even sure I could finish in three years.”

But finish she did, and after graduating from UW Law in 1983, Bensky started work at Stafford Rosenbaum, where she’s been for almost 30 years.

Bensky still makes time, as well, for her first love: teaching. Along with presentations to community organizations and continuing education groups, Bensky is an adjunct professor at the UW, teaching courses in general lawyer skills and an introduction to estate planning.

She also mentors a first-year Madison law school student.

Bensky is an ideal mentor given her varied background, said Jini Jasti, assistant dean of alumni relations at the University of Wisconsin. Jasti, who met Bensky at a dinner, said she was impressed with the longtime lawyer from the start.

“She was so warm and had such a wealth of experience,” Jasti said.

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