If Tyler Wilkinson had decided to be a John Deere salesman or auctioneer, he never would have landed nine not-guilty verdicts for a client who was facing nine felony charges.
The Axley Brynelson attorney considered both careers before choosing the legal profession. Wilkinson, a Muscoda native, also got a teaching certificate and did a stint with Teach for America working with Spanish-speaking, special-needs students in the Bronx.
“I didn’t know what I was going to do,” he said. “But fate directed me back to Wisconsin.”
He graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 2012.
Wilkinson, the son and grandson of auctioneers, grew up talking to people and telling stories, a background that translated neatly into the law, he said. Boiling down abstract concepts into easily understood presentations is the best part of the job, Wilkinson said.
Another highlight of the job, he said, has been the opportunity to take on several high-profile cases.
“I’ve been fortunate to get several jury trials and a Supreme Court case right off the bat,” Wilkinson said. “I stumbled into the perfect job and am having a lot of fun.”
What is the best part of your job?
Being a storyteller. I grew up telling stories to family and friends about my many adventures, and misadventures, and developed into a very good storyteller. I wanted to become a trial lawyer because that’s what they do.
They craft a persuasive and memorable story for the jury based on the facts of the case.
As a law student, I dreamed of standing in front of the jury, just like I did with my family and friends, and telling a story that would resonate and benefit my client. I have been very fortunate this early in my career to help craft the story for multiple juries.
What is the hardest part of your job?
Managing my own expectations. I was very fortunate to have multiple jury trials, a Supreme Court case and other opportunities early in my career. After those successes, I sometimes got frustrated that I did not yet have many of my own clients or matters. I have to remind myself that I’m still learning and that good work leads to more opportunities.
Do you have any tattoos?
No. I grew up in a farm family who did not look favorably on tattoos. I decided, though, that if I ever did get a tattoo, it would be a Wisconsin motion ‘W.’
What can you spend hours doing that’s not law-related?
Hunting. My favorite nonwork activity is hunting and almost any type of animal.
What famous person would you most like to have a drink with?
Bill Clinton and Mark Twain. Think of the stories