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Boutique firm founder not afraid to take leap of faith

Toby Reynolds (Staff photo by Kevin Harnack)

Toby Reynolds (Staff photo by Kevin Harnack)

Toby Reynolds tried to avoid following in his lawyer father’s footsteps, but the pull of law was too strong.

Reynolds entered college as an engineering major, but eventually took the LSAT and headed to law school when he realized his push for an alternate career was motivated solely by his desire not to tread his father’s path. Making the switch to law is something he’s never regretted, Reynolds said.

Now the managing partner at Milwaukee boutique litigation firm Hansen Reynolds Dickinson Crueger LLC, Reynolds is using that engineering background in patent law, where a science background is in demand to help with challenging cases.

“Now, [law students] study those areas as an undergrad with the intent to go into patent law,” he said. “For me, it was just happenstance.”

Reynolds focuses on litigating patent infringement cases.

“I enjoy the oral advocacy and being in the courtroom,” he said. “There are a lot of great lawyers and interesting cases.”

Not one to avoid a change midstream, Reynolds left a partner position at Michael Best & Friedrich LLP to help start Hansen Reynolds Dickinson Crueger with three other partners.

“For a lot of people, the plan is to make partner and ride it out until you’re 65 and retire,” he said. “Instead, I left that safety net and started anew.”

Wisconsin Law Journal: If you hadn’t become a lawyer, what would you have done?
Toby Reynolds: One of the reasons I picked Brown University to study engineering was because it was close to the Rhode Island School of Design and I could take some courses there. They offered architecture courses and I really liked architecture. I’ve always enjoyed designing and building things. If I hadn’t become a lawyer, I think that would have been the path I would have followed.

WLJ: What was your favorite toy as a child?
Reynolds: A baseball glove. I lived baseball as a kid. I was 11 when the Brewers went to the World Series and baseball was my life back then.

WLJ: If you could be a superhero, who would you be?
Reynolds: Superman. Most superheroes are limited to one superpower. Superman can fly, which in and of itself makes me want to be him. But, on top of that, he has super strength, super speed and X-ray vision.

WLJ: What famous person would you most like to have a drink with?
Reynolds: George Washington. Part of my reason for that answer is that I’d love to meet anyone from colonial times. Obviously, George Washington would be a particularly interesting person from colonial times to meet. Plus, I know he drinks because there is a bar in New York City I’ve been to that supposedly existed in colonial times and served George Washington.

WLJ: What is your favorite thing to do in Wisconsin?
Reynolds: I’m from Door County and my favorite Wisconsin activity is still to sail in the waters between Fish Creek and Ephraim. At sunset, it has some of the best sailing in the world; lots of islands, the cliffs of Eagle Bluff and good destinations.

WLJ: What is your most prized possession?
Reynolds: I don’t really have possessions that I’m too tied to. But I do prize my dog, Sunny, if you can call a dog a thing. Sunny can even be seen with me on the HRDC Facebook page. Also I have a baseball I used to pitch a championship Little League game.

WLJ: Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Reynolds: Literally and frankly


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