Criminal-defense attorney Jessica Giesen has immersed herself in her practice.
The 36-year-old is a partner and vice president of Giesen Law Offices — the two-person firm she runs with her father — and has been learning the ropes since she was young.
“I started coming to the office as soon as I knew the alphabet and could do filing,” she said.
Now, she immerses herself there every day. From calling witnesses and cross-checking police reports to making sure they match information provided by clients and visiting scenes of incidents and reviewing evidence in-person, Giesen surrounds herself with the details of every case that comes across her desk.
“I do a lot of investigation on my own first,” she said. “It’s shocking the things you will see when you look at it first-person.”
It was this routine practice that helped Giesen find an inconsistency in an alleged motorist-cyclist collision that threw out the opposition’s credibility and ultimately led to her client being acquitted on counts of second-degree reckless endangerment and reckless driving causing injury.
“If I hadn’t gone to view the evidence and seen it physically first-hand, we would have just relied on the photos from the scene. We never would have known about him falsifying evidence,” she said.
In 2018 alone, she has earned two outright dismissals of criminal cases. In 2017, she helped write a brief for State of Wisconsin v. Stietz, which became the only defense win in the Wisconsin Supreme Court that session.
“Jessica has had a stellar run and achieved wins and milestones that many who practice a lifetime never see,” said Charles Giesen, president of Giesen Law Offices.
When she’s not bouncing between client visits and meetings with detectives or managing the business side of the firm, Giesen is fostering connections where she lives. In addition to her work with the Big Brothers Big Sisters Dane County gala committee, she’s on the board of directors for the Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and is the secretary of the Dane County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. She is involved in a women’s caucus, is planning a women’s-only seminar program and started a women in courts and corrections group.
Her success has come from thorough attention to detail and from becoming what she calls a quasi-expert in whatever area of the law is involved in a given case. Most of all, though, it has come from her clients.
“If you put in the work and the client has seen that and knows that you put a true interest in their life, they are forever grateful,” she said. “It makes the long hours worth it.”