While working with a domestic-violence shelter, Michele Perreault spent a lot of time in court as an expert witness.
“While in court I realized how attorneys could help families,” said Perreault, an attorney and executive committee member at DeWitt Ross & Stevens’ office in Madison.
After working 10 years with domestic-violence shelters, Perreault went to law school and set out to help families in a variety of ways, working on everything from adoptions and custody placements to divorces and domestic partnerships.
“For my clients, the case is the most important thing in their lives and I honor that,” she said. “I identify the issues and goals and then come up with a plan fitting their needs. To succeed as an attorney you need to be good, smart and committed. To be a great attorney you have to care about what you are doing and need to treat people with respect even if they come off as rude or demanding.”
Besides family law, Perreault works in employment law.
“Employment cases are big and complex, but the cases are personal at their core,” she said. “My goal is to help people where they are.”
Perreault is also passionate about pro bono work, taking on a variety of cases for families. She recently helped a family that wanted to have a name and sex listing changed on a birth certificate.
“I enjoy getting the opportunity to help clients who might not otherwise be able to afford an attorney,” said Perreault, adding that DeWitt encourages its attorneys to pursue pro bono work.
Michelle Friedman, director of marketing for DeWitt Ross & Stevens, said Perreault is viewed as an expert in family law, garnering attention as an advocate for same-sex parents who believe children are entitled to equal protection under the law for adoptions.
“For a firm with nearly 140 attorneys, Michele’s biographical experience has been the most frequently viewed pages on the firm’s website, which speaks to her distinction in the legal community,” Friedman said.
In addition to staying on top of her busy practice and pro bono work, Perreault is an adjunct member of the University of Wisconsin Law School faculty and speaks at continuing legal education courses.