James Goldschmidt regards appellate work as the practice of law at the highest level. And in his six years at Quarles & Brady, he has built a reputation as a talented appellate litigator.
Goldschmidt, 31, has briefed and argued cases before state and federal appellate courts, including in the states of Illinois and Florida and the federal circuit.
“He thrives on crafting academic arguments and appearing before judges interested in thinking about and shaping the law,” said Katherine Perhach, chairwoman of Quarles & Brady’s Financial Institutions Litigation Practice Group.
Goldschmidt’s background in literature and Romance languages “instilled in him the importance of good writing,” which he uses to craft winning legal briefs and arguments, Perhach said. He went to Harvard for his bachelor’s and law degrees.
Goldschmidt’s appellate practice dovetails into his work on regulatory policy involving public utility clients, for which he is tapped whenever agency decisions are appealed.
The Milwaukee attorney is part of a team representing one of Wisconsin’s largest public utility companies, for which he appears before the Wisconsin Public Service Commission on such matters as setting electric rates and approvals of utility transactions.
“His legal judgment is top notch, and he matches it with great client service and a level of humility I find refreshing,” said Margaret Kelsey, executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary for Goldschmidt’s client, WEC Energy Group.
The cases Goldschmidt has handled include persuading the Wisconsin Court of Appeals to reverse a trial court’s administrative ruling related to public utility rates, as well as developing testimony and advocating for a merger between two multistate investor-owned utilities.
His pro bono work now involves criminal appeals in Wisconsin courts and the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. In June, he secured a rarely seen victory in the state Court of Appeals, which sent a criminal conviction back to the trial court to decide whether the defendant received ineffective assistance of counsel.
But it is the relationships he has formed that have given Goldschmidt the most satisfaction as a lawyer.
“Those relationships are characterized by earned trust, mutual respect and genuine interest in the other’s success, and they’re worth more than a hill of trophies,” he said.
He serves on the board of the Center for Urban Teaching, a Milwaukee nonprofit organization that identifies, trains and supports urban teachers in response to the critical need for better instruction in urban schools.
Krysta DeBoer, the center’s executive director, said Goldschmidt is committed to using his legal expertise beyond the courtroom walls “to ensure that children in Milwaukee’s most underserved neighborhoods receive a world-class education.”