Mike Hahn accomplished quite a lot before becoming a lawyer.
He spent nearly a decade in the U.S. Army and National Guard as a sergeant and transportation specialist, going on tours of duty in Iraq and Kuwait. That time also saw him completing his undergraduate degree.
Before becoming an associate attorney at Axley Brynelson, Hahn spent a year working as a safety and training manager for DePere-based construction company Holtger Bros.
“It was the combination of the veterans benefits and seeing how the law impacts business on a daily basis that really spurred me to go to law school,” said Hahn.
Even after starting law school, he kept piling on the experiences. He worked as a student attorney at the Wisconsin Innocence Project, then later as a law clerk at Axley and then topped it all off by serving as a clerk for Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman.
All that has no doubt contributed to his success as an attorney. Buck Sweeney, managing partner at Axley, credited Hahn’s military experience in particular for making him more mature than most first-year attorneys.
“He has a unique perspective on a lot of issues,” Sweeney said.
Hahn’s practice involves litigation, day-to-day regulatory compliance and work with municipal and insurance clients. What he likes most about it all can be easily summarized.
“It’s problem solving,” he said. “These are the facts and case law; how do we get a good outcome? How do we get a resolution that gets them back to doing their jobs, getting back to their day-to-day routines and not having to worry about this legal issue?”
But don’t think Hahn’s abilities are limited to just arguing cases, writing briefs and helping clients navigate complex regulations. He’s also a registered lobbyist who helped pass a fish-farming bill this session.
Unlike most lobbyists, Hahn’s responsibilities do not involve a lot of messaging or background work. Instead, because he knows how courts typically interpret statutes and regulations, he spends most of his time talking about the practical effects a proposal might have.
“It’s a rewarding experience because you’re getting an opportunity not just to help your client and help solve their problem,” Hahn said. “It’s also making it easier for other businesses in that industry that aren’t my clients now or will be some day. It’s having an impact beyond just one client or issue.”