Amakie Amattey

U.W. law grad Amakie Amattey signs the Attorney Roll book – a tradition in Wisconsin for more than 170 years – that is the final step in becoming a Wisconsin lawyer.

May 21, 2021 – It is the culmination of years of work, with a twist: The U.W. Law School class of 2021 spent half their time in law school in a pandemic.

In a year of remote work and virtual education, the Class of 2021 took their oath in person before the Wisconsin Supreme Court – not in the State Capitol’s Supreme Court Hearing Room as in years past, but wearing masks and socially distanced in the much larger space of the Assembly Chamber.

“We have all experienced extraordinary challenges over the last 14 months,” said Justice Rebecca Grassl Bradley, speaking to the soon-to-be lawyers.

“Amidst tragedies, you have been very blessed: You are entering a new phase of life as you embark on your professional careers as lawyers. And that gives me great hope for the future.”

Andrew Johnson

U.W. Law grad Andrew Johnson joins his peers in taking the Attorney’s Oath before the Wisconsin Supreme Court during the swearing-in ceremony May 17.

Meeting the Challenge of COVID-19

The sudden move to isolation amid the pandemic was a “very scary” time, full of worry over family members and friends. “Nobody knew anything,” said U.W. Law School graduate Brittani Miller. But the U.W. Law School “did a great job transitioning to virtual classes, and that helped us immensely, making it one less worry for us.”

The feeling of loss is real. “You don’t realize how much you missed the law building until you can’t go in there,” Miller said. In ordinary times, the students gather to talk, share ideas, and support each other, making connections with students in classes before and after their class years. “Even being in the classrooms and being cold-called by professors – which is terrifying, I missed that,” she said. When the building finally opens, Miller plans to return, even as an alumni, to “soak up” the environment.

The pivot to virtual learning in the middle of their 2L year was “tough,” said Adam Fontana. “But we have a really great law school community at U.W.,” and worked together to get things done. “It was challenging, but rewarding in the end.”

Graduates Isaac and Megan Brodkey, who met in law school and married before their 3L year, tried to take it in stride, “realizing that we will always have challenges in life,” said Isaac. “We were balancing COVID and marriage. It was a challenge, and it is part of our journey.”

While virtual classrooms were not ideal, “we all made it through,” said grad Amakie Amattey.

Megan and Isaac Brodkey

Megan and Isaac Brodkey pause for a photo outside the Assembly Chamber after becoming Wisconsin Lawyers.

Next Steps and New Beginnings

Amattey is not the first lawyer in her family – but all the other lawyers in her family are from Ghana. She chose law as an area “where I will be able to make an impact. I enjoy advocating for myself and others, so this is one area where I can do that every day.”

Fontana has his dream job: to work as a public defender – and as the first lawyer in his family, he is headed to Wausau. Inspired by movies like “My Cousin Vinnie” and television programs, Fontana developed his interest in criminal law and a desire to help others. “I’ve been drawn to that my whole life,” he said. “In my criminal law classes, I loved looking at the statutes and working out a criminal defense. I met public defenders before law school, and always thought that’s what I wanted to do.” Growing up in Blanchardville, he is excited also to work in rural areas in Wisconsin.

The Brodkeys met the first semester of their 1L year in contracts law class – and together completed their degree, marrying in August 2020.  “We had an abbreviated COVID wedding,” said Isaac, “but it was still really nice.”

Isaac, from a family of attorneys, always knew he would become a lawyer out of a desire to help others. “That was always my path,” he said. “I think I was 5 or 6 when I thought I was going to be a lawyer.”

Megan will be working as a public defender in Madison – directly across the street from Isaac, who will join Stafford Rosenbaum. Megan knew she wanted to work in criminal defense even before entering law school. She had mentors in high school and during her undergraduate years that helped her on the path to become a lawyer. “I was really lucky to have them,” she said.

Jenny Kumosz

Jenny Kumosz of Milwaukee poses in graduation regalia at the Capitol Building in Madison, shortly before becoming a Wisconsin lawyer.

Miller said the experience of finally taking the Attorney’s Oath and signing the Roll Book “is so surreal. You work for three years, and years before that and – now I’m a lawyer,” she said.

Shannon GreenShannon Green is communications writer for the State Bar of Wisconsin, Madison. She can be reached by email or by phone at (608) 250-6135.

Miller’s path to law came via her position as a paralegal in the Air Force. “I worked with some fantastic attorneys,” she said. “They encouraged me to go to law school. With their support, I want to see where it goes.”

Miller is headed to practice in real estate law with Michael Best in Milwaukee. She came to Wisconsin from North Carolina – and plans to take the bar exam for that state later in the summer. “North Carolina is home,” she said.

Regan Pauls of Madison is joining the Air Force as a Judge Advocate General (JAG). While she isn’t sure where she will be located, she will start out as a prosecutor. She knew from sixth grade that she would be a lawyer. “My dad would say I’m good at arguing,” she said with a smile.

Alexander Lech is headed to Wausau to work for Ellison & David, where he will eventually take over the practice of a retiring attorney. As a rural firm, “They do pretty much everything,” he said.

As an in-person event, the swearing-in ceremony was the best part of the process of becoming a lawyer, Lech said – as their graduation ceremony was virtual. “It is a great way to give finality to our law school careers,” he said.

Lech’s interested in law started with a mock trial program in sixth grade. He also got to know a neighbor who was an attorney. “Both of those stuck in my mind,” he said.

He is first in the family to be in a lawyer. “He’s a great debater,” said Lech’s mother, Cindy.

Kathy Brost

State Bar President Kathy Brost speaks to U.W. Law School graduates during the swearing-in ceremony in the Assembly Chamber at the Capitol.

Jenny Kumosz is will be an associate practicing in health care with Hall Render in Milwaukee – a firm she interned with both in her 1L and 2L summers. “I was so happy to get the offer,” she said.

Kumosz knew since high school in Michigan that she wanted to be a lawyer – and as of Monday, she is the first lawyer in her family, although she is not the first in her family to work in the legal profession. When she was 5, she emigrated from China with her parents, with her father seeking a doctorate in engineering. Her grandmother, in China, was a judge. “In China, you can be a judge without being a lawyer,” she said.

In addition to the challenges of law school amid COVID-19, Kumosz also was raising her son, Landon, born at the end of 2019. “I was 9 months pregnant walking up Bascom Hill,” she said. Her classmates were “amazing, she noted, in offering to help her during those months. “People are so kind,” she said.

Interested in seeing more photos? Visit the State Bar’s Facebook page for more event.

Regan Pauls

New lawyer Regan Pauls celebrates on the steps of the Capitol Building in Madison.

Welcome to these New Wisconsin Lawyers

Jennifer Acevedo, New York, New York

George A. Acosta, Madison

Aliuddin Syed Ahmed, Elmhurst, Illinois

John L. Allison , Madison

Amakie Amattey, Chicago

Amy Ambro, Madison

Justin Anderson, Madison

Erin Bartenstein, Waldo

Karen J. Bassler, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Lorraine Black, Madison

Nicholas R. Bloom, Madison

Isaac S. Brodkey, Middleton

Megan Brodkey, Middleton

Jack Brooks, Milwaukee

Harper Brown, Milwaukee

Margaret Brzakala, Saukville

Sara Butler, Madison

Sequoia Laureanna Butler, Madison

Patrick Ryan Campbell, Sheboygan

Emily H. Capodarco, Madison

Sunyoung Cho, Madison

Josephine Wilson Clark, Madison

Brandon J. Conway, Milwaukee

Lillie C. Cox, Madison

Katharine M. Cullen, Janesville

Shelley Cupino, Madison

Monica Delgado, Madison

Caitlyn DeWitt, Madison

Gerardo J. D. Otero, Madison

Tara J. Dobbs, Madison

Jason Donker, Madison

Breana K. Drozd, Chicago

Benjamin C. Eastman, Whitefish Bay

Joshua Engelkemier, Madison

Carol English, Madison

Monica Fallon, Madison

Emma L. Ferguson, Madison

Connor Fleck, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Adam Fontana, Madison

Bethany Fountain, Portage

Savannah Frei, Madison

Natalia J. Gess, Madison

Carla Gracia, Madison

Travis J. Gresham, Madison

Thomas Hasle, Madison

Kathryn E. Hayes, Madison

Abigail Hean, Madison

Abigail Grace Henderson, Madison

Navjot Singh Hira, Madison

Anya Gersoff, Greenwood Village, Colorado

 

Hallie D. Heath, Waukesha

Janae F. Hochmuth, Madison

Colin Hoffman, Madison

Molly Horwitz, Madison

Brandon Thomas Hughey, Madison

Brandon Hunzicker, Madison

Emily Iverson Petit, Holmen

Yejin Jang, Madison

Rachel Jensen, Wild Rose

Jiabao Ji, Madison

Andrew Johnson, Madison

Kyle J. Johnson, Anchorage, Alaska

Emily Grace Jones, Madison

Brendan Juno, Waukesha

Samuel J. Kavalier, Madison

Mckenna Kohlenberg, Madison

Eugene T. Krakow, Madison

KC Kratochvill, Madison

Amy Krivoshik, Lake Bluff, Illinois

Jenny Cao Kumosz, Wauwatosa

Alexander Lech, Green Bay

Kelly Leibhan, Kenosha

Alexis R. Leonard, Madison

Elizabeth Leonard, Sun Prairie

Katherine Leverich, Madison

Douglas Lewis, Madison

Yulin Li, Madison

Rongyi Lin, Madison

Michael Longley, Madison

Kendall Reid Maddix, Madison

Andrea L Meltzer, Chicago

Camilo Mesa, Madison

Brittani M. Miller, Milwaukee

Saman Mirzaian, Madison

Jessa L. Moser, Madison

Andrew G. Mueller, Madison

Kelsey Mullins, Madison

Andy Mutchler, Wausau

Katherine Nawrocki, Madison

Lauren Nelson, Madison

Madeline Nelson, Grand Haven, Michigan

Abrielle R. Newman, Milwaukee

Randall W. Ollie, Madison

Erik T. Olsen, Madison

Courtney O’Reilly, Madison

Alysja Otten, Osseo

Molly Pappenheim, Madison

Manuel Sanchez-Moyano, Madison

Zebulon Patek, Eau Claire

Regan Pauls, Madison

 

Michael A. Pflughoeft Jr., Menomonee Falls

Trenton J. Plitz, Eau Claire

Elisabeth Platt, Shorewood

John Podoll, Marinette

Christina Puhnaty, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Kaylyn Raymaker, Madison

Jennifer Recktenwald, Madison

Evan Richtmyer, Madison

Jordan Robinson-Delaney, Mukwonago

Heather Roehr, Wausau

Rebecca Roumell Rosenthal, New York, NY

Jonathan Ross, Madison

Samuel Ross, Madison

Christopher Rudolph, Madison

Lillian Ariadna Sanchez Porras, El Paso, Texas

Claire Schaible, Green Bay

Alexander Schmidt, Madison

Michael John Schulz, Madison

Jesse Schwartz, Neenah

Olivia Schwartz, Milwaukee

Amanda Rae Scott, Washington, D.C.

Zoe Imber Sellman, Baltimore, Maryland

William Ty Sessums, Manitowoc

Naomi Smith, Madison

Bradley P. Soldon, Madison

Anthony Sparks, Madison

Phillip Steigerwald, Milwaukee

Grace Stewart, Madison

Margaret Straughan, Milwaukee

Vivien TenHaken, Madison

Jacob Thorne, Milwaukee

Alexis Trost, Hartford

Julie Vernon, Minneapolis

Nathan VerVelde, Abrams

Peter Vu, Waukesha

Patrick A. Ward, Madison

Eleanor LM Waters, Madison

Nathan Watson, Madison

Dominic Lutz Weisse, Madison

Alexander Whiteclay, Madison

Aaron Whyte, Madison

Spencer J. Wingert, East Troy

Jacob Wise, Madison

Ashley Wychules, Belleville

Seynabou Youm, Madison

Sojung Yun, Madison

Magnus Zaunmueller, Madison

Ningliu Zhou, New York, New York