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Willenbrink’s work music to his client’s ears

By: Jimmy Nesbitt//September 18, 2019//

Willenbrink’s work music to his client’s ears

By: Jimmy Nesbitt//September 18, 2019//

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Zachary Willenbrink - Godfrey & Kahn
Zachary Willenbrink – Godfrey & Kahn

There are many reasons people enter the legal profession. For Zachary Willenbrink, it was the opportunity it would give him to use his mind.

Every day as a lawyer involves writing, synthesizing rules and developing arguments.

“I love the fact that every day I get to think about and create something new,” said Willenbrink, who is a member of Godfrey & Kahn’s Litigation Practice Group in the firm’s Milwaukee office.

Willenbrink represents clients in many types of litigation and disputes, primarily those involving matters related to complex commercial, intellectual property, insurance-trade practices, international law and media and entertainment. He also accepts a variety of pro bono legal matters. He, for instance, has represented state prisoners in civil-rights appeals to the 7th Circuit and worked with the Eviction Defense Project in Milwaukee County Circuit Court.

“There is a massive amount of uncertainty in litigation,” Willenbrink said. “It’s impossible to predict the way a judge will rule. It’s impossible even to know how a judge or opposing counsel will approach an oral argument — how long will it be, what questions will be asked. … But that uncertainty is what opens up room for creativity.”

His colleague, Justin Webb, said there’s much to praise about Willenbrink.

“He is well respected by his peers, admired by his former co-clerks and also a talented musician,” Webb said.

Music is another one of Willenbrink’s loves. He has played in a variety of bands, both before and after law school.

“One of the bands I was in started releasing music and touring,” he said. “In college, I joined another band with Jessica (his now wife), and we released a few albums and did some touring, as well.”

He took a break during law school, but continued to record music. After graduating he joined a band in Milwaukee and recorded an album that was eventually pressed to vinyl.

“Some of that band’s music, as well as my solo recordings, have been used in commercials and movies,” he said. “For example, one of the recent Wisconsin Tourism commercials that plays during Packers games has been using the band’s song for the last couple of years — it’s always a crazy experience to be watching a game and hear the song come on.”


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