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The Tenacious Ten

Ten lawyers you don't want to face in court

The following is an excerpt from an article appearing in the January, 1998 issue of Milwaukee Lifestyle West:

Article by Rob Golub

If you should be so lucky as to wind up in litigation, you don't just need a lawyer on your side. You need a pit bull.

You want a trial lawyer who's tenacious. You also want your lawyer to approach your case with intellect and common sense. He needs to know when and how to settle. Not to mention, he needs the ability to connect with a judge and jury. Southeast Wisconsin has a litany of great trial lawyers who do just that. But after a good deal of research, we've whittled the local bar down to ten lawyers who are among the best.

We came up with our list by way of paper research, talking to lawyers, and even interviewing local judges who will remain anonymous. We asked lawyers and judges who they thought was best, or who they wouldn't want to face in court.

There were those - in the minority - who insisted that you want to face a good attorney in court, that the man you don't want to face is the incompetent attorney.

Some attorneys were less idealistic, such as those who suggested themselves. We didn't give those votes too much weight. Some lawyers selected their own partners. Through careful questioning and research, we did our best to ferret out that sort of thing. We also checked with the Supreme Court of Wisconsin, to ensure our choices are members of the bar in good standing.

Our result is a short list of great litigators. These are guys you want on your side, people you don't want to mess with. If you're the bad guy, these are lawyers you definitely do not want to face in court.

Dynamic Duo:

Cannon & Dunphy S.C.

Though Bill Cannon and Pat Dunphy make our list as individuals, the two have practiced together for 12 years. Actually, they grew up together, part of the Irish-Catholic community in Wauwatosa. "All the kids ran together," remembers Dunphy, so the two got to know each other even though Cannon was three years older.

Cannon and Dunphy once terrorized the neighborhood together. They would "ring the doorbell and run," remembers Cannon. "Our perspective has changed a little bit since then."

They attended separate law schools, but were brought together again when both joined Robert Habush's firm in the late '70s. In 1985, the two left Habush to form their own firm. It was not a sweet parting. "I would call it less than amicable, but that's ancient history," says Dunphy.

Today, Cannon & Dunphy S.C. is one of the best-regarded personal injury firms in the state. The dynamic duo have only tried a case together on three occasions, but they both handle auto accidents, employee injuries, and both medical and legal malpractice.

"We love what we do," says Cannon. Dunphy agrees: "I feel like I got my law degree for a socially useful purpose." Indeed, one Milwaukee lawyer says Cannon and Dunphy are "righteous about their cases," that getting into the shoes of their clients makes them more effective. Another attorney says, "They're very aggressive. These two are head and shoulders above the rest

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