Kelly Noyes makes her living in the margins.
That includes the margins in books, briefs, contracts or any other documents central to the cases she works on. The margins, after all, often are the best spots for jotting down notes that might give her an edge in a case.
“It’s really a fun thing to get to write persuasively and do all of the revisions you have to do to get your point across,” said Noyes, an attorney in von Briesen & Roper SC’s Milwaukee litigation and risk-management practice. “You have to be really organized. It means keeping good notes, marking items off to the side because you think, ‘I know I’m going to need this.’”
In an employee retirement defense for the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Noyes led the background work and brief writing for more than four years in a case rife with tactical shifts. The case appeared twice in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, with Noyes writing and arguing successfully for her client the second time.
“In that case, there are thousands of pages of documents,” said Noyes, who, with her husband, Jason, has two children, ages 4 and 2. “After years on it, I was so involved and I knew it forwards and backwards.”
Susan Lovern, a 19-year law firm veteran in commercial and business litigation, said Noyes excels at reading between the lines of dense documents. Earlier this year, Lovern worked closely with Noyes on a breach of contract, a 100-page agreement with “overlapping details and provisions that needed to be dissected and put back together.”
Lovern said Noyes’ detailed analysis was integral in making sense of the contract and settling the case.
“She has a passion for the heavy lifting,” Lovern said. “Some people take less pleasure in their research and writing and the heavy-duty thinking that comes with that side of law. She relishes it.”
When Noyes returns to her home in Pewaukee, she does more reading, either legal documents or personal picks ranging from “fluffy chick lit” by Emily Griffin to Kate Morton’s historical fiction.
Noyes said she has started to focus more on home, even as she recently was promoted to shareholder at von Briesen. She is winding down to part-time, she said, but that is “a lawyer’s part-time.”