About Mark Schaaf

Mark Schaaf Articles written 8

Mark Schaaf is a freelance journalist for Super Lawyers. He has a journalism degree from an accredited program, and has worked for Wisconsin publications such as Prairie du Chien Courier Press, Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, Community Newspapers Inc., Oak Creek Patch and The Journal Times.

Articles written by Mark Schaaf

More Than a Jerry Maguire Moment

Litigator Jamie Filipovic worked for a time as an NFL agent

The job of an NFL kicker is a unique one. In any given game, a kicker is involved in only a handful of plays—but those plays can be extraordinarily high in both pressure and profile. One bad game and they could be out of a job. “For kickers and punters, there are 32 jobs available in the world,” says Jamie Filipovic, a licensed NFL agent and partner at O’Hagan Meyer in Chicago. “I always ask my friends, ‘I know you are really great attorneys, but if there were only 32 [spots], do …

Moving Wisconsin Forward

When democracy came under attack, Doug Poland heard the call

When Doug Poland grew up in Whitefish Bay in the ’70s and ’80s, politics wasn’t a big topic of conversation. While it was home to people of all political stripes, Wisconsin wasn’t an especially polarized state, he remembers. “I grew up in a Wisconsin where, from what I could see, partisan politics didn’t hamstring the state,” Poland says. “Governors, whether they were Republicans or Democrats, members of the state Legislature, whether they were Republicans or Democrats, were …

Bigger Than the Cases

Craig Mastantuono and Rebecca Coffee look to change the system for their clients and community

In 1996, 22 year-old Baron Walker received a 60-year prison sentence for his involvement in a pair of bank robberies. “My judge made it clear she wasn’t giving me a sentence of condemnation,” Walker says. “She didn’t want to send me to prison for the rest of my life. She wanted me to serve some significant time, but whether I was let out after that was supposed to be up to whether or not I would learn and grow. If I met some particular programs and had institutional adjustment, she …

Big Fish, Small Ponds

The challenges and rewards of having a practice in rural Wisconsin

When Matthew Lein wants to unwind after a long day of work, he doesn’t have to go far.  Lein, 37, a partner at his family’s Lein Law Offices in Hayward, works a lot, particularly on injury and consumer law. But one Sunday, he needed a break. “I popped into my car and went out to the family farm and shot shotguns for about a half an hour,” says Lein, who returned to his hometown after finishing Marquette Law School in 2011. “You can’t do that in the Twin Cities, Milwaukee, …

How Much Is Enough?

Mark Thomsen says it’s high time to do something about police misconduct

In Mark Thomsen’s 33-year career, he has handled a number of high-profile civil rights cases—including, most recently, that of Bucks player Sterling Brown, whom police tased and pushed to the ground over a parking violation in January 2018. So when Thomsen watched the video of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of Minneapolis police, he saw it as another example of America’s failure to address racist policing, and the product of society’s “deliberate indifference.” “When I first …

Standing Tall

Volunteerism is the foundation of Beth Kushner’s career

The years Beth Kushner has spent handling business, employment and antitrust disputes, fraud and RICO cases, and class actions of all sorts, is only part of her story. Since graduating law school in 1979, Kushner has also performed a wide variety of humanitarian and pro bono legal work.  “When you have a background of privation, and you see how people can be able to make a better life, I think it is natural to want to help people who are underserved,” says Kushner, 66. Her grandparents …

The Silent Partner at Sweet & Maier

The historic home adds something strange to the neighborhood

Walking toward the back of the historic Elkhorn home that houses Sweet & Maier law offices, John Maier stops at the spot he first heard it. “I was standing right here,” he says. “Nobody else was in the building—early morning—and that stupid ghost … I heard him.”  He points to the ceiling, indicating the 12 to 15 footsteps he heard travel from one corner of the room to another. It was, he says, the unmistakable sound of someone walking across a hard, wooden floor. Except the …

Divorcing from the Status Quo

Susan Hansen and Gregory Hildebrand created the Family Mediation Center to meet evolving legal needs

A significant portion of Wisconsinites need family lawyers but don’t realize it, according to Gregory Hildebrand and Susan Hansen. In turn, they often decide to represent themselves.  “Some of it is cost, certainly, but I think for many people it’s concern that lawyers increase or fuel conflict,” Hildebrand says. “Some of it is access to the internet, and that there is now less of a need for basic procedural information that lawyers used to provide and handle exclusively. We want to …

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