Amy Collins spent years on the stage singing, dancing and acting.
Then, inspired by a friend’s experience as a witness in a criminal case, she decided to go to law school.
“I wonder what UW Law School must have thought when they saw my application. Like, ‘Is she serious?’ I sure did a 180,” laughed Collins, a senior associate at Stafford Rosenbaum in Madison. “But seeing what it was like being a minor child going through that made me want to be a legal advocate.”
Today, Collins specializes in family law, representing children as a guardian ad litem and helping families navigate everything from real estate issues to tax problems with a combination of mediation, arbitration and co-parenting counseling.
“I love when my clients reach a solution through mediation because they feel like they’re involved in the process,” Collins said. “They’re more willing to participate. And they take more ownership in the deal because they had a voice in it. And, frankly, it’s just cheaper. It’s more efficient for my clients.”
Collins also works pro bono with Domestic Abuse Intervention Services, helping with restraining orders, explaining pro se forms and preparing people for court.
“It can be hard to do family pro bono because the cases can be so long and complicated. But this is a really nice way to give some time and give someone the most out of the time you’re able to give,” said Collins, who also helped organize the Dane County Bar Association’s “I Resolve” fundraiser to benefit the domestic abuse agency.
That willingness to help and her positive attitude make Collins a real asset – to her clients and her firm.
“Amy has the ability to diffuse tension with her energy. She’s incredibly positive and upbeat. And it’s not like this Pollyanna, everything is rainbows and kittens,” said Kara Higdon Getter, marketing and library manager at Stafford Rosenbaum, who works with Collins on business development.
“Amy is one of those people who reinforces the idea of there’s more than meets the eye. She’s young, she’s all smiles, but she’s great at what she does. Sometimes people have the prejudice that young people don’t know what they’re doing, and she definitely disproves that.”