In 1963, Frank Gimbel was just three years out of law school when he became an assistant U.S. attorney, serving five years before switching to defense counsel. Gimbel’s career as a trial lawyer, spanning six decades, has been chronicled extensively, with many awards to his name.

But the early days were no walk in the park. Gimbel worked as a tax return preparer, a clothes salesman, and held other side jobs to keep food on the table. These experiences required hustle and humility as Gimbel seasoned himself into one of Wisconsin’s most recognized trial lawyers.

In this episode of Bottom Up, co-hosts Emil Ovbiagele and Kristen Hardy dig deeper into Gimbel’s career, which includes a successful prosecution of former Milwaukee organized crime boss Frank Balistrieri and other high-profile cases as a litigator in private practice.

Gimbel, former president of the State Bar of Wisconsin (1986-87) and founder of what is now Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown LLP, unveils many qualities and strategies that led to his trial successes. He also discusses how politics and hustle helped forge his path, the conflicts he encountered, the value of respect, and how getting involved can help lawyers build a practice.

“You generate business by being in the community,” Gimbel says. “While the numbers change, the formula for surviving as a lawyer after law school is not different.”