After six years as a lawyer, Matt Lee still is trying to strike that elusive work-life balance of juggling bankruptcy and business cases while raising two boys and giving back to the community.
“The hours are difficult, but I don’t complain about them too much because I knew what I was getting into,” Lee said. “People struggle all their lives doing the family-work balance, and I’m no different.”
He is a different kind of attorney, at least according to his bosses, who consider him a go-to bankruptcy lawyer who has distinguished himself as first-chair in several multimillion-dollar cases.
Lee also has stood out in commercial disputes, with multiple appearances in U.S. District Court and the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
“I’m kind of a jack of all trades,” he said. “They plug me in where they need me.”
It’s an identity Lee has embraced as he has worked to find his way in the firm. But his work extends beyond Foley & Lardner to a position as co-chairman of the firm’s United Way of Dane County campaign.
But the challenge is finding the balance and returning home to his sons, ages 2 and 4. Most days, he said, he does pretty well.
“I’m home for dinner about 98 percent of the time,” Lee said.
What is your greatest extravagance?
I love going out to a good dinner at a restaurant that is worth the prices you’re paying. And babysitting. We get a lot of babysitters so Matt and Rachel can go on a date, so it’s usually an expensive date. We’re usually gone for five hours.
What’s your favorite thing to do in Wisconsin?
Broadly, it’s being outside in the summertime. We love the farmers market in Madison on Saturday mornings. We go almost every week. Wisconsin in the summertime is why you live in Wisconsin.
What is your greatest fear?
Heights. The answer is heights. I can’t stand talking about being in a tall building. But the most material one is that I’m not going to be the type of father my kids need me to be.
Which living person do you most admire?
My father is the greatest man I’ve ever met in my life. It’s not even close. He’s a small-business owner, who turned his small business into a big business and who made time to coach Little League and go to the movies and be involved with his children while running a business. I can’t imagine how little he slept.