Rebeca Lopez decided to become a labor and employment lawyer after seeing firsthand the everyday difficulties that employers faced. She was then managing the Milwaukee district office of former Wisconsin State Sen. Russ Feingold, where she was working as a liaison between federal agencies and families experiencing hardships.
Now a lawyer at Godfrey & Kahn’s Milwaukee office, Lopez helps clients with matters such as disability-accommodation requests and wage-and-hour complaints, as well as enforcing the restrictive covenant obligations of former and current employees.
Lopez helps employers and corporate boards conduct internal investigations into employee complaints, including discrimination allegations. She also represents employers before state and federal courts, equal-rights agencies and labor arbitrators.
Godfrey & Kahn said one part of Lopez’s practice that she values is her ability to help clients through some very tough situations. Her work involves informing employers not just of what the law requires but also helping them understand how their decisions can affect their organizations and employees.
“When a company is facing serious allegations of inappropriate actions by an employee, Rebeca understands that one of the most important things to consider, in addition to the legal issues and ramifications, is the well-being of the employees in the workforce,” said Christine Liu McLaughlin, chairwoman of Godfrey & Kahn’s Labor, Employment and Immigration Law Practice Group. “She works with company leaders to investigate allegations and implement a solution in a manner that is fair and lawful.”
Lopez said it “has been rewarding” to hear from clients who say they felt supported during their legal proceedings, which she helps make easier for them.
Her relationship with Godfrey & Kahn goes back to her first year of law school at Marquette University when she received a scholarship from the firm. Its Fellowship in the Law covered her law-school tuition for three years.
She is a frequent speaker and writer on topics related to employment law, such as restrictive covenants and the #MeToo movement.
Besides her law practice, the wife and mother of a 17-year-old girl is involved in various community organizations. She serves on the board of Centro Legal, a nonprofit organization in Milwaukee that provides legal education and representation to low-income families.
She also is a board member of the Latino Veterans’ Legacy of Valor Foundation, which honors Latino military veterans and service members in the Greater Milwaukee area. The organization plans to establish the first Latino veterans’ memorial on the shores of Lake Michigan.
“Having Rebeca drive some of our earliest efforts really set the standard,” said Gladys Manzanet, a founder of the foundation and its treasurer. “I don’t know where she finds the time, but she’s always come through for us. And we’re all the better for it.”