One afternoon in the late ’90s, Peter Fox decided to check out a distant relative’s law office.
He stopped into Fox & Fox SC to introduce himself somewhere around 2:30 p.m.
Fox left at about 10:30 with a new job as a law clerk, and more importantly, inspiration for his future career as a civil rights attorney.
“The type of people they represented, and the type of causes that were always in play, were extremely appealing to me,” he said. “It became obvious very quickly that that’s what I wanted to do.”
He does it well.
Consider Fox’s ongoing representation of Joell Shigur in her lawsuit against her employer, the Wisconsin Department of Justice. Shigur had developed a national reputation in the area of Internet crimes against children. In 2008, she questioned the lawfulness of the state paying for a security detail for the attorney general when he attended a national political convention. Immediately after, her performance review took a negative turn and she was reassigned to a field office doing other work.
This past fall, Shigur prevailed before the Equal Rights Division on her retaliation claim, alleging a violation of the Wisconsin Whistleblower Protection Act. The ALJ’s order made her whole on her wage loss and awarded fees and costs, as well as the expungement of the negative evaluation.
Immediately on the heels of that victory, Fox successfully tried a retaliation case, resulting in a $1.8 million verdict, plus fees and costs, for retired Air Force Col. Gary Wistrom against the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs.
The fight’s not over in either matter. Shigur’s case is on review in circuit court, while motions after verdict are pending for Wistrom.
Fox remains steadfast in the justness of both clients’ causes.
“What keeps me going in these disputes is there’s a conviction that I’m on the right side of the table, all the time,” he said. “It’s totally consistent with who I am, what I want to do and how I see the world.”
That dedication isn’t surprising to his mother, Sue Fox.
“He’s a people person and a champion for the underdog,” she said. “He’s warm-hearted, and everyone feels like he’s their best friend.”