Madison, WI - Former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice William A. Bablitch has joined Michael Best & Friedrich as a partner in the law firm's Madison office in its Litigation and Government and Public Policy groups.
Justice Bablitch, 62, retired July 31 from the Wisconsin Supreme Court after serving two ten-year terms.
"It is rare for an Appellate or Supreme Court Justice to retire from the court and go on to pursue other work," Bablitch said. "In my case, my decision to leave the court while I am still energized and active enables me to pursue a life long dream of using the knowledge I have acquired as a public prosecutor, State Legislator and Supreme Court Justice in representing clients at the intersection of law, public policy and politics."
Bablitch will concentrate on appellate practice, government and public policy and alternative dispute resolution.
In his appellate consulting work, Bablitch will collaborate with the firm's litigation group to assist both large and small law firms and Michael Best & Friedrich clients with all aspects of legal appeals.
"Justice Bablitch brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the firm," said David J. Hanson, a member of the Michael Best Management Committee. "We know Bill will pursue his interest in appellate practice, government and public policy and alternate dispute resolution with the same enthusiasm and commitment that he made to his exceptional career in public service."
Former colleagues and a current and former governor have praised Justice Bablitch's career in public service highlighting both his intellect and his reputation as a consensus builder.
"I'm a longtime admirer of Justice Bablitch's fairness and intellect," said Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle. "Given his background and years of service to the state of Wisconsin, it is of historic interest that he would join Michael Best & Friedrich, a firm begun at the time of statehood by an attorney who later served as Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court."
The Honorable Tommy G. Thompson added, "Justice Bablitch has a first rate legal mind. He has a unique ability to work well with Republicans and Democrats alike. He will be an invaluable asset."
Widely regarded as a moderate on the court, Bablitch has been a regular faculty member of the Institute of Judicial Education at New York University Law School and a frequent lecturer at American Bar Association programs for appellate judges.
Justice Bablitch graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1968 after serving two years in the U.S. Peace Corps. His career in public service spanned 35 years. He was Portage County District Attorney from 1968 to 1972, a Wisconsin State Senator from 1972 to 1983, Wisconsin State Senate Majority Leader from 1975 to 1982 and Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice since 1983. In 1988 he earned his Master of Laws degree from the University of Virginia. During his service in the legislature, Bablitch also was a private practice attorney.
Bablitch's former colleagues lauded his return to private practice.
"Bill is a true legal scholar whose intellect has served the people of Wisconsin well for more than 35 years," said former Chief Justice Nathan Heffernan. "I'm pleased to see he has decided to continue his good work."
Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser noted, "I've known Justice Bablitch for many years. We served together in the legislature as well as the Supreme Court. I've respected him, been proud to work with him, and I will miss his valuable insights. I always thought he was much too young and vigorous to retire."