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Eberle fights injustice with a world view

By: Erika Strebel, [email protected]//June 7, 2017//

Eberle fights injustice with a world view

By: Erika Strebel, [email protected]//June 7, 2017//

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Betty Eberle | Miner, Barnhill & Galland (Staff photo by Kevin Harnack)
Betty Eberle | Miner, Barnhill & Galland (Staff photo by Kevin Harnack)

Betty Eberle is no ordinary Wisconsin lawyer. Beyond her assets as a practitioner — which include a Stanford law degree — Eberle brings to the law a perspective that was shaped by experiences from around the globe.

Before going to law school, she worked in Switzerland as a computer engineer. She then taught math for the Peace Corps in Malawi. After that, she applied to law school.

“I think that after living in other people’s countries, I wanted to address the problems in my own country,” she said.

But her world experiences didn’t stop there. After law school, Eberle taught international law from 1999 to 2000 in Omsk, Russia, where on some winter days the temperature fell to 20 degrees below zero.

“I really enjoyed teaching the students who were coming of age in a country that was changing and starting to open up,” she said. “I think they saw a lot of possibilities ahead of them.”

Back in her home state, Eberle is now a civil litigator at Miner, Barnhill & Galland, fulfilling her goal of working in a civil-rights law firm. She specializes in complex litigation and works in areas such as consumer protection, civil rights and predatory lending.

Eberle has advocated for equality within the firm and for a parental-leave policy that gives male lawyers the same three months of parental leave that women receive.

“The idea that child-raising duties are women’s work and building a career is men’s work is very outdated,” she said. “If a policy allows for parental leave only to a caregiver, that’s going to further entrench that stereotype.”

Eberle says what she enjoys most about the job is working through difficult situations with her colleagues and devising strategies to overcome those difficulties.

On the flip side, though, the work itself is not easy. The sources of difficulty include the massive amounts of evidence lawyers must digest to litigate complex cases. Eberle said she keeps her approach simple and direct.

“It’s just sitting down with no distractions and a cup of coffee and plowing through it,” she said.

Other difficulties come from the long road lawyers must travel in order to prevail on behalf of a client. Eberle recently wrapped up a 13-year-long fraud and consumer-protection lawsuit that had been filed against various pharmaceutical companies.

Whatever it is she’s working on, the difficulties take a back seat to Eberle’s end goal.

“I hate to see injustice and fraud, so if I can play a part in correcting that, that’s what motivates me,” she said.

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