Brad Jansen was on the legal fast track. After earning undergraduate degrees in psychology and the sociology of law, he graduated from the Chicago-Kent School of Law. Then it was onto firm work in Chicago until he decided it wasn’t the life he wanted.
So Jansen gave it all up for a solo practice in West Bend. The big city was enjoyable enough, but the call to come home was stronger. His mother had taught at the same kindergarten for 30 years.
His father was still working for the same bank where he was hired after graduating from college.
“I moved back in with my folks,” Jansen said. “I had spent enough time out east and wanted to be in a place where clients knew they could always find me. The law is an intimate experience for someone looking at a loss of freedom and I wanted to be there every day for my clients.”
As a defense attorney, Jansen is often the “other guy” in an adversarial relationship with prosecutors, but not always. His nomination for this Up and Coming award, in fact, came from Bob Barrington, the managing attorney of the Dodge County District Attorney’s office.
From Barrington’s letter:
“Brad represents his clients with both genuine compassion and a sound knowledge of the law. He is active in our legal community, courteous and respectful to everyone in our office, and shows an active interest in helping other young lawyers with their work.”
“We’re part of a system that’s designed to make us hate each other, but it doesn’t have to be that way,” Jansen said. “Even though we represent different sides we can still work together to do what’s right.”
Jansen’s hometown solo practice is thriving and he’s moved into a new condominium. But he does keep a few files at his parents’ house just because, with apologies to Thomas Wolfe, sometimes you can go home again.