In becoming a lawyer, Melissa McCord shifted her focus from covering problems to coming up with solutions.
Before becoming an associate attorney at Quarles & Brady’s Milwaukee office, where she works on commercial transactions, McCord worked as a reporter for nearly a decade, mainly with The Associated Press.
She then decided to change careers partly because of the changing landscape of journalism, largely due to the rising popularity of the Internet. Beyond that, there was something about covering conflict but not being able to help solve the underlying issues that left her unsatisfied.
Much like a reporter, “The bedrock of what we do really falls on communication, but it really added that piece I was missing is that attorneys solve problems,” McCord said.
And McCord seems to be a natural at the job. Dave Bourne, a partner at Quarles & Brady, praised her skills, calling her the most talented young lawyer he’s ever worked with.
Beyond that, McCord is incredibly devoted to her work, Bourne pointed out.
“Her work ethic is second to none,” McCord said. “She provides practical, timely and client-centric business advice. Melissa has gained the trust and confidence of our clients, who now regularly contact her when they have questions or need assistance.”
What likely contributes to that relationship between McCord and her clients is her ability to communicate without relying too much on legal terminology.
“I’m able to simply convey to them the issue and my recommendations without getting bogged down with the legal mumbo-jumbo,” she said.
McCord said she appreciates that the relationship between two parties in transactions or acquisitions is naturally more cooperative than adversarial.
“They have the same goal,” she said. “They may have different ways to get to that outcome, but they want to get there at the end. I really like that collaboration.”
Among the number of community groups and organizations McCord helps out is the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp., which gives loans to those who may face barriers to traditional financing.
McCord first got involved with WWBIC shortly after starting with Quarles & Brady in 2010. She did pro bono work there for about six months, but her relationship with the group has lasted well beyond that. In fact, she still works with the lending team, reviewing files and helping out in any other way she can.
“She has been a great asset to WWBIC and the many loan clients she has directly supported,” said Wendy Baumann, the group’s president and chief visionary officer.