Legal cases can sometimes move slowly, taking months or years before they’re resolved. That’s not necessarily the case with employment and worker’s compensation cases.
“The fast-paced litigation was one of the points of attraction when I selected this area to specialize in,” said Robert Sanders, an attorney with Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek in Milwaukee. “It’s also very fascinating and I get to work with a lot of different employers and types of businesses.”
Sanders works with clients involved in worker’s compensation disputes, including Medicare Set-Aside issues, representing employers, insurance companies and third-party administrators. He first became interested in worker’s compensation while taking a class at the University of Wisconsin School of Law.
From there, the interest grew.
“I really enjoy working with business owners, talking to them and learning about their goals – that’s what really drives my focus and helps me get results,” he said. “I learn about what the client wants and then I fight for them.”
As in other areas of the law, most cases settle, which Sanders said is sometimes a good thing in compensation law since there is no discovery process.
“You can definitely have surprises at an administrative hearing if a witness comes that changes the whole balance of the case,” he said. “I had that happen once, but fortunately we were able to reach a settlement to the satisfaction of our client during a break. The worker’s compensation bar works very collaboratively together and that’s another plus of this line of practice.”
Sanders said it’s important to pay attention to details and manage risks when working on worker’s compensation cases.
“You really need to understand the client’s business so you help manage risk,” he said. “I really want to help my clients reach cost-savings solutions in their disputes.”
Wisconsin Law Journal: What was your favorite class in law school?
Robert Sanders: Negotiations taught by Ralph Cagle. I absolutely love negotiating. I enjoy the challenge of problem-solving to reach an agreement within a set authority. This was a wonderful opportunity to learn from and be critiqued by a great negotiator.
WLJ: What career path would you have chosen if you hadn’t become an attorney?
Sanders: A blues drummer. I played drums in a blues and classic rock band throughout high school, college and law school. It was a lot of fun, but didn’t pay the bills.
WLJ: What was the first concert you attended?
Sanders: My oldest brother’s band, Swerve. The band toured mainly in the southwest in the ’90s. I was 13 at the time and got to ride in the tour bus to a gig on a college campus. It was fun seeing all the behind-the-scenes setup and sound checking.
WLJ: What app can’t you live without?
Sanders: Yahoo Fantasy Baseball – no question about it. My wife says I’m addicted.
WLJ: Where is your favorite place to vacation?
Sanders: I have a lot of family in the San Diego area, so that’s always a nice place to visit.
WLJ: Who is someone you admire?
Sanders: I admire a lot of people. I am inspired by people who set a goal and work hard to get as close to reaching that goal as possible.
WLJ: What was your favorite toy as a child?
Sanders: My baseball glove. My brothers and I would play baseball from sunup to sundown every day in the summer. G.I. Joe was a close second.
WLJ: What activity could you spend hours doing outside of work?
Sanders: Anything baseball related – playing, coaching or watching.
WLJ: What was the last book that you read?
Sanders: I don’t have much time to read for enjoyment, but I like biographies. The last book I read was ‘Born Standing Up’ by Steve Martin.
WLJ: What’s your favorite thing to do in Wisconsin?
Sanders: I love camping. It’s a great opportunity to slow down, enjoy life and spend quality time with family and friends. When possible, having Bob Uecker and the Brewers on the radio is a bonus.