Brian Smigelski enjoys solving a good problem.
“I enjoy it when clients drop their problems on my desk and I have to sift through it all figure out how we’re going to solve them,” said Smigelski, an attorney with Brookfied-based DeWitt Ross & Stevens SC. “I dive in and really analyze what’s going on and figure out how I’m going to help my client achieve their goals. The situations can sometimes be messy.”
Smigelski specializes in complex litigation in business, construction and employment. His cases range from typical breach of contract actions to complex construction arbitration cases and multimillion-dollar class-action lawsuits.
“When I finish a case and things go my clients’ way, there’s such a sense of accomplishment,” he said.
While Smigelski chose a career in law because he enjoyed oral arguments and considered himself as a fairly good writer, he admitted he gets few opportunities to present in front of juries.
“In my experience, there are fewer business trials taking place. The position has really turned into doing depositions and discovery work,” he said. “You need to carefully go through all the information and try to score some points in depositions. Having strong writing skills is very important.”
A few years out of law school while he was with another firm, Smigelski worked on a case between two industry rivals in which he took dozens of depositions and wrote a variety of briefs. That experience helped refine his writing skills, he said.
“It really opened my eyes and was a great learning experience,” Smigelski said. “There was a lot of strategy involved.”
Cases can easily last months and many culminate in mediation, which, in Smigelski’s mind, isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“There’s not always a winner or loser,” he said. “You can have each party achieve some of their goals.”
Through his business litigation work, Smigelski works with a variety of companies and industries – something he really enjoys.
“I really love the wide exposure I get to businesses and learning to understand better how they work,” he said. “One day, I could be working with a construction business and the next day it could be an Internet distribution business. It’s a huge variety.”
Wisconsin Law Journal: If you hadn’t become an attorney, what career would you have chosen?
Brian Smigelski: Doctor.
WLJ: What activity can you spend hours doing outside of the office?
WLJ: What app can’t you live without?
WLJ: Where is your favorite vacation destination?
Smigelski: Cayman Islands.
WLJ: If you could have drinks with anyone, who would you choose?
Smigelski: Thomas Jefferson.
WLJ: What was the first concert you attended?
Smigelski: Grand Slam Jam — Foreigner, Cheap Trick, Heart and Ted Nugent.
WLJ: What was the last book that you read?
Smigelski: Game of Thrones.
WLJ: If you could change something about yourself, what would it be?
Smigelski: To be taller.
WLJ: What’s your favorite thing to do in Wisconsin?
Smigelski: Hang out with the family at the family cottage.
WLJ: What’s your favorite sport?
Smigelski: Watching Packers football or playing tennis.