When Kim Hurtado worked construction to put herself through law school, she didn’t know anything about construction law.
She learned early in her practice when her ability to read blueprints helped her spot a design defect and win a $200,000 settlement.
“People just kept giving me construction cases,” Hurtado said. “I got to put my steel toes on and my construction hat and have a ball.”
Today, she runs her own firm, combining her legal know-how and construction background with her passion for renewable resources and her desire to change the often wasteful way we use them to help companies get Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. Hurtado feels so strongly about it that her Milwaukee firm is in a building with silver LEED certification.
“The ceiling tiles are old newspaper,” Hurtado said. “The stuffing in the chairs is recycled. I want to be an example.”
She also contributes in the community, offering pro bono services and labor for area nonprofits, such as Habitat for Humanity and the Women’s Center in Waukesha. She even pays her 10 employees to work at a charity one day each month.
“We try to do projects where we’re giving more than money,” Hurtado said. “We give legal advice. We do construction contracts. We help with land contracts. We don’t just want to throw money at problems.”
Her penchant for pro bono work and her pragmatic, no nonsense approach in business are things attorney O.K. Johnson has come to admire and expect in Hurtado, whom he met almost 25 years ago through their work redrafting forms for the Wisconsin Bankers Association.
“She’s very good with people. She knows how to say, ‘Thank you.’ She’s not afraid to say what’s on her mind. And if it hits the fan, Kimberly knows how to tell people to take the road. She doesn’t work with second-rate people and never has,” said Johnson, who also is a former banker in Mequon.
It’s part of the reason he doesn’t think twice before referring people to Hurtado’s law firm.
“Inevitably,” Johnson said, “I get a thank you from the clients.”