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Shadman gives back to program that inspired her

Shadman gives back to program that inspired her

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Sheila Shadman | Halloin & Murdock
Sheila Shadman | Halloin & Murdock

Sheila Shadman knows from experience how one class can set a student on a completely unexpected course.

It happened to her when she was an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She was then planning a career in psychology, but there was a criminal law class that had caught her interest.

When she finally got into the class, she found it was exactly what she hoped it would be. It laid out the step-by-step reasoning that goes into criminal law, she said, and it appealed directly to her love of problem-solving.

“That class,” Shadman said, “kind of transformed my idea of what I wanted to do.”

It set her on a course for Marquette University Law School, where she discovered Street Law, another class she said can prove transformative. Street Law lets law school students teach high-schoolers substantive law. The coursework culminates in a mock-trial competition.

Now, after being an associate attorney at Halloin & Murdock for five years, Shadman has become an adjunct assistant professor at Marquette and the director of Street Law.

It’s a chance for Shadman to build on a program that inspired her.

“It’s focused,” she said, “on making the high school students in Milwaukee informed citizens.”

Kimberly Finnigan, a paralegal at the firm, said she is amazed at how involved Shadman is outside of work while also dealing with the demands that are usually placed on an associate attorney.

“I just don’t know how she gets the energy,” Finnigan said.

Shadman said she loves the variety. The firm specializes in business, real estate and construction litigation. Shadman has devoted much of her time to the latter practice.

She said she works regularly with architects, engineers and others in the industry. Seldom are two cases alike.

“It makes every day exciting,” she said.

Finnigan said Shadman has proved herself to be a talented attorney. One example of her abilities can be seen in the work she has done in her native state of Illinois, where she also holds a law license. Finnigan said Illinois’ Cook County is a “crazy minefield of rules and regulations.”

Even so, Shadman was able to show quickly through case filings for the firm that she is comfortable navigating that maze.

“That was impressive to me,” Finnigan said, “and I’ve been a paralegal for 12 years.”


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