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Strang works to stay ahead of reform

For Kirk Strang, there are the publicized changes in education law, and then there’s the rest of the story.

“The one that everybody hears most about is the changes in labor relations, Act 10 and the collective bargaining system,” said Strang, of Davis & Kuelthau SC. “At the same time, we’re undergoing equally substantial changes in the systems we use to educate children in Wisconsin: changes in special programs, how enrollment is governed, how students are placed, pupil behavior, teacher effectiveness.

“I think of that as the piece of our practice that hasn’t gotten the news coverage, but it’s an equally important change for the state and the future generation. … All of those things are going to impact how students are educated.”

The almost tidal changes — large and seemingly without end — keep Strang criss-crossing the state in an all-hours schedule of school board meetings and appointments.

As head of his firm’s labor and employment team, those changes also motivate Strang to hold monthly meetings with the nearly 20 attorneys in his practice group, sharing anecdotes that inform existing case law and paint a picture where none is yet available. It’s an opportunity colleagues such as Kathy Nusslock appreciate.

“He makes concerted efforts not only to provide services to his clients, but also to make sure members of his team, who are providing those services, have the benefit of the education and the sounding board,” said Nusslock, a fellow shareholder with the firm. “There is room for discussion, which I think is so important.”

And it’s a commitment, along with his willingness to run down a question for a client or co-worker, that Strang makes no matter how busy his schedule.

“Kirk will take the time, even if that means he is up until 3 or 4 in the morning, to get it done,” Nusslock said.

It’s a no-brainer for Strang, who said attorneys must do what they can to help each other keep ahead of the seismic shifts in education law, from labor issues and Constitutional questions to student behavior and school funding.

“We’ve got to be out there every month,” Strang said, “making sure all of our attorneys get information, frankly, so we can talk about how our firm can face those issues.”

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