Growing up reading John Grisham novels, Brittany Lopez Naleid was inspired that legal work “seemed so interesting and important.”
Though she said she later found the author “gives you a false impression of the profession,” the desire to tackle that type of work stuck, and Naleid began working at Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren SC, Milwaukee, while finishing her degree at the University of Wisconsin Law School.
So far the attorney has shown a knack for litigation, but is expanding her specialties to include employment and immigration matters.
“The cases are a little more personal. There are more faces to them,” Naleid said of her expanded practice areas. “With the immigration work it’s really great to talk to these brilliant professionals that want to come to the U.S. and bring their skills here. It’s great to help them and see what they have to offer.”
Allen Schlinsog, shareholder and chairman of the litigation department and product liability and safety group at Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, said he is amazed at the lawyer Naleid has become.
“She’s working at warp speed on her cases and she’s giving out great advice,” Schlinsog said. “I’ve gotten so many compliments about her. When I see her talk, she takes the lead on all these conversations. She’s the leader; she really gets it.”
As much joy as Naleid gets from her work, she said she gets even more out of helping mold the future of the profession through Judge Charles Clevert’s mentoring program, which pairs high school students with professional lawyers to give them a taste of the profession.
“I think a really critical thing is to have a better understanding of what big law firms do,” Naleid said. “My perception of law was very based on books, movies and TV. It had a focus on criminal law and really overestimated the drama of it all.”
She likes to help the kids, “gain an understanding of what a lawyer’s real day looks like.”
Though so far she has found practicing law to be a great fit, Naleid said she hasn’t ruled out one day pushing for a seat on the bench.
“I think I would miss the advocating,” she said. “So I go back and forth. … I’m early enough in my practice that maybe in another five years I’d be ready to move into a role like that.”