When it comes to being an attorney, Benjamin Wagner believes compassion is one of the most important characteristics a person can have.
“As a trial lawyer, it’s very important to be a good listener, and another characteristic that you need to have is empathy. You need to understand and empathize with your client’s perspective,” said Wagner, a shareholder at Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. in the firm’s Milwaukee office. “I try to make empathy a cornerstone of my practice and life, every day.”
Wagner became interested in civil litigation during a trial-advocacy class he took while attending the University of Wisconsin Law School. After graduation, he took a job with Habush working out of its Racine office, where he had an opportunity to try more than a dozen cases his first two years out of law school.
“Being a trial lawyer is a great opportunity to advocate for your clients in the courtroom, and those skills can translate into advocating in the community for the causes you believe in. It is an honor and privilege to do both,” he said.
His practice includes dealing with nursing-home abuse and neglect, personal injury, car and motorcycle accidents and wrong death. Wagner realizes he’s often meeting clients in difficult circumstances and says that he enjoys giving them help when they need it the most.
“I always try to put my clients at ease when they come into the office,” Wagner said. “It is my privilege to help them piece their lives back together.”
Although he has a busy caseload, Wagner finds time to work with various legal and community organizations outside of the office. He’s president-elect of the Wisconsin Association for Justice and serves on the board of directors for Jewish Family Services, Safe & Sound Inc., Discovery World in Milwaukee and the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Neuroscience Center Advisory Board.
“My family instilled in me a duty to help others and when I have an opportunity to help, I take it,” he said.
Wagner credits his success to having great mentors at Habush, including the founding partners Bob Habush and Dan Rottier. He said both inspired him to improve his as a lawyer while also showing him the importance of being active in the community.
“Our firm has a culture of being champions not only for our clients, but also for our respective communities in which we practice,” Wagner said. “The firm is very supportive of the attorneys’ efforts and initiatives in the various communities across the state.”