Not many attorneys can claim the variety of experiences that Deborah Tomczyk has had in her career, even though she has worked for more than two decades at just one firm.
While in law school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she took a job as a clerk at Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren in Milwaukee.
She is now the chair of Reinhart’s Real Estate Practice, a shareholder in the firm’s Corporate Law Practice and the chair of Reinhart’s Entitlements Group.
“I was very fortunate that I got to clerk at my firm during my first year of law school and have been working there ever since and plan to retire from here. I knew right away this is the type of practice I wanted to pursue,” Tomczyk said.
Throughout her career, Tomczyk has built an outstanding reputation and forged strong business relationships with the industry and municipal leaders, with attorneys throughout Reinhart, and with the broader legal community. And she’s managed to do it all despite practicing in the often male-dominated real estate industry.
“Debby joined the firm almost 25 years ago, her career has been distinguished by her exceptional leadership qualities and abilities, benefitting not only our firm as she is a great mentor, but most importantly through her deep commitment to her clients,” said Jerome Janzer, chief executive officer and shareholder at Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren.
The work has Tomczyk helping clients with all sides of real estate development, from structuring deals to obtaining financing and permits to ensuring that projects are successful. Her specialties include government relations, zoning, land use, eminent domain, licensing, tax-increment financing and business-improvement districts.
She regularly works with local legislative bodies and state and federal agencies, including the Wisconsin departments of administration, natural resources, transportation, revenue and safety and professional services, as well as the State Historical Society, Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Department of Interior.
“Clients come to me when they are not able to navigate real-estate challenges on their own and it is rewarding to assist them in getting the approvals they need. My work is about my clients and not me. I prefer to be behind the scenes,” Tomczyk said.
Her desire to help people goes beyond her clients. She recently, for instance, used her talents and knowledge to help complete a tax-credit project for St. Catherine’s Residence in Milwaukee. The work ultimately increased the housing capacity for low-income women at the residence by 42 units.
“It was early on in high school that this was the path that I wanted to follow once I realized I couldn’t be a rock star or nuclear physicist. I enjoy helping people and my clients to achieve their goals, and as lawyers we are uniquely situated to do so,” Tomczyk said.