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Kroes rocking his legal career

By: Nate Beck, [email protected]//September 18, 2019//

Kroes rocking his legal career

By: Nate Beck, [email protected]//September 18, 2019//

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Bryan Kroes - Hurtado Zimmerman
Bryan Kroes – Hurtado Zimmerman

Bryan Kroes didn’t take a direct path to a legal career.

He was a construction worker, a police dispatcher, an activist and a punk rocker before he became an attorney at the Wauwatosa law firm Hurtado Zimmerman.

“It has been a long and winding road,” he said. “A lot of it is because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I thought, going to law school, every single area of the world has a need for that.”

Kroes grew up in Racine, and in high school considered practicing sound engineering. He loved punk rock and played in bands through college but ultimately decided to study psychology and criminal justice at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

That, too, was a choice born out of a budding interest: activism. And Kroes threw himself into protesting the Iraq war and injustice in Milwaukee. For a time in college, he worked as a security guard and dispatcher for the UW-Milwaukee Police Department, roles he said made him realize he didn’t really want to work in the criminal justice system.

Still, he saw the courts as a place where justice could be fought for. His first brush with the court system came when he was still a college student and he and his roommates were unable to get their landlord to return a security deposit they were owed. Kroes, then 19, joined his roommates in a lawsuit — and won.

He didn’t begin to consider law school, however, until his late 20s. He was burning out at his job at a group called Justice 2000, where he screened people recently charged with crimes and asked prosecutors to defer charges in some cases. It was only after he enrolled in classes that a friend asked him if he wanted to work in construction. He decided to give it a try.

So for several years he worked in the construction industry, learning what it took to put a building together. He was enthralled by his job, which largely entailed remodeling apartment buildings. He and his wife even started a small company to pay the bills while he was in law school.

When it came time to look for a job, Hurtado Zimmerman stood out. The firm practices mostly construction law, but has a small entertainment practice too. Kroes has worked hard to develop this in his five years working there. He’s still playing music, country mostly nowadays — the “punk rock retirement plan,” he calls it.

Kroes said he’s found a supportive law firm that’s allowed him to grow into his new profession.

“I’m glad I went into law school and put myself into debt,” he deadpanned. “You’ve still got to enjoy what you’re doing and being an attorney is no exception.”


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