Reprinted with permission of “Leaders In the Law”
A former prosecutor, Brent Nistler founded Milwaukee-based Nistler Law Office SC in 2008 – with a good dose of optimism and not much in the way of funding.
“I basically had a tax return and a credit card,” he said.
Nistler said he kept his initial overhead low, helping to reduce the pressure to produce immediately.
“The biggest challenge was learning how to screen out certain cases, either because they were substantively outside my comfort level, the client or case presented red flags, or I didn’t have the capacity to take on the matter starting out as a solo,” he said. “Learning to say ‘no’ has been immensely helpful in getting us to the next level.”
The native of St. Paul, Minn., said what he likes most about being the boss is that he gets to package his own product:
“So naturally it’s a product I am deeply passionate about.”
Before starting his own firm, Nistler served for four years in the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office, where he said he learned to think on his feet and be decisive and “to bring order out of chaos.”
From 2004 to 2008, he served as a civil litigator at Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren. A member of the Milwaukee Bar Association, Nistler is in his second year of chairing the Litigation Section. He also belongs to the Milwaukee Rotary Club and the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce. Nistler, however, said his favorite extracurricular activity is tutoring fifth-graders at Brown Street Academy on Thursday mornings through the Rotary Club.
Jean DiMotto, a former Milwaukee County judge who now serves of counsel for Nistler Law Office, said Nistler is a “brilliant and talented” trial attorney who exhibits excellent judgment and is a caring leader.
“One of my favorite things about Brent is that he shows up,” she said. “He regularly comes to events in the legal community and frequently volunteers for his daughter’s school activities.”
Nistler said he first became interested in law when he was in middle school.
“I was inspired by legal movies and TV dramas where the lawyers were champions for their client’s causes,”
he said. “I also enjoyed social science classes where we would take one side of a debate, work it up, and put together a persuasive argument.”
Nistler points to his father as the reason he decided opening his own firm was doable.
“My dad ran his own dental practice and is my central mentor and role model, and his doing so gave me the confidence to have my own business,” he said.
— Andy Turner