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Home / 2015 Women in the Law / Weston teaches law, even while running tech company

Weston teaches law, even while running tech company

Cheryl Weston, University of Wisconsin Law School (Staff Photo by Kevin Harnack)

Cheryl Weston, University of Wisconsin Law School (Staff Photo by Kevin Harnack)

Cheryl Weston wants to help her students to think as deeply about the law as she does. That means they should be able to recognize the intersection of substance and procedure, to understand rules and use them tactically.

“If they learn the tools of being a good litigator, they always can pick up the substance of law,” she said.

Weston, a senior lecturer at the University of Wisconsin Law School, has taught many subjects during more than 40 years in the classroom, including civil procedure, torts, constitutional law, professional responsibilities, family law and the legal process.

She began teaching part time in 1974 while litigating for Cullen Weston Pines and Bach. She soon took on a leadership role in her family business and now is CEO of Douglas Stewart Co., a technology company in Madison with more than 4,500 employees. She began to teach full time in 1999 after successfully rearranging her course load to accommodate her work at the company.

“I wanted to think very seriously about the law — the way you do when you teach,” she said.

That level of attention is obvious in her lectures, said Margaret Raymond, dean of the law school, and the benefits are evident in students’ responses. Though Weston teaches both upper- and lower-classmen, many of her courses are designed to provide elements of the curriculum to new students. Despite her obligations to her company and continuing affiliation with her law firm, she is “incredibly present” on campus.

“If you wander by her office,” Raymond said, “there’s usually a few students in there, and they’re having an animated, engaged conversation.”

Weston says she enjoys meeting with students outside of class and seizes on opportunities to provide advice.

“The opportunity to be a mentor and encourage the women students, the students who did not come from a background of having a lot of advantages, are people that I can relate to, and encouraging them is something that has given me great satisfaction,” she said.

Raymond said she is amazed by how much Weston gives of herself to the university and its students. She approaches each question in a conscientious, deliberative manner and ensures students know she has time for them.

“She’s such a rich combination of good citizen and good lawyer and good role model,” Raymond said.

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