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Lester A. Pines

  • Senior Partner

Lester A. Pines is a Senior Partner and one of the founders of the firm.

A Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, Lester is a respected advocate who concentrates his practice on civil and criminal trials, arbitrations, and civil appeals. For over 46 years he has appeared in state and federal trial courts and before the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Wisconsin governors have relied on him for legal advocacy and advice, as did President Obama who sought his assistance for a friend in need of legal counsel in Wisconsin. In 1976 at the request of Wisconsin’s governor, Lester, who had been an attorney for just over a year, negotiated the resolution of a prison uprising, ensuring the release of over a dozen hostages who were being held by armed prisoners in a barricaded building. Throughout his career, he has displayed that same level of confidence, skill, and courage on behalf of his clients.

Lester has tried and resolved numerous personal injury and commercial claims. He has represented clients in significant civil cases about the interpretation of Wisconsin’s constitution and amendments to it, in race, sex, and LGBTQ discrimination matters, about restrictions on the right to vote, in defense of employees’ rights, and to protect women’s access to reproductive health care. In his criminal law practice, among many other cases, he has regularly defended public employees. For over 30 years he has been counsel to Madison’s teachers’ union. 

A host of Lester's Wisconsin appellate cases have addressed high-profile public policy matters. Most recently, representing Governor Tony Evers, he convinced the Wisconsin Supreme Court in SEIU v Vos https://www.wicourts.gov/sc/opinion/DisplayDocument.pdf?content=pdf&seqNo=268888 that the legislature’s attempt to disrupt the executive branch by imposing onerous burdens on the Governor’s provision of advice and guidance about statutes, rules and regulations to Wisconsin’s citizens was unconstitutional.

For many years he was an adjunct professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School, teaching pre-trial civil advocacy. In 2018 Lester was one of only five all-time graduates of the UW Law School selected by its Dean to speak at the school’s 150th anniversary celebration. You can listen to his presentation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqI1ffqEMzY. 

Lester is often called upon to speak before a variety of audiences on a host of legal issues and is one of the most written about and quoted attorneys in Wisconsin. National media as well, including the New York Times, have quoted him. In September 2017, he was featured in cover story in the Isthmus, a Madison weekly paper which you can read here: https://isthmus.com/news/cover-story/lester-pines-draws-on-faith-and-family-in-his-practice-and-b/

Practice Areas

  • Criminal Defense 20%
  • Civil Litigation 70%
  • Appellate 10%

Bar Admissions

  • Wisconsin, 1975
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Wisconsin, 1975
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Wisconsin, 1976
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of Illinois, 2005
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Michigan, 2008
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 7th Circuit, 1975
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1986

Education

  • University of Wisconsin Law School, Madison, Wisconsin
    • J.D. - 1974
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin
    • B.A. - 1972
    • Honors: With Distinction
    • Major: History

Previous Positions

  • Frankel Langhammer & Pines, Partner, 1975 to 1979
  • Langhammer & Pines, Partner, 1979 to 1983

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • American College of Trial Lawyers, Federal Civil Procedure Committee
  • American Bar Association, Litigation Section
  • Wisconsin Association for Justice
  • Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • American Association for Justice
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • James E. Doyle Chapter of the American Inns of Court, President, 2002-2007
  • Downtown Madison Rotary
  • Jewish Federation of Madison Board of Directors; President, 2007 - 2010

Honors and Awards

  • 2021 Appointed by Senator Tammy Baldwin to the Wisconsin Federal Nominating Commission to provide recommendations for nominations during the 117th Congress for United States Attorneys and federal judicial positions
  • 2020 Lawyer of the Year in Madison, Wisconsin from Best Lawyers in America for Criminal Defense: White-Collar
  • 2019 University City (Mo.) High School Hall of Fame Inductee
  • 2018 Lawyer of the Year in Madison, Wisconsin from Best Lawyers in America for Employment Law-Individuals
  • 2017 Lawyer of the Year in Madison, Wisconsin from Best Lawyers in America for Criminal Defense: White-Collar
  • Fellow of the American Bar Foundation
  • Martindale Hubbell AV Preeminent rating
  • Wisconsin Super Lawyer (General Litigation)
  • Best Lawyers in America, White Collar & Non-White Collar Criminal Defense, and Labor & Employment
  • Ben Minkoff Volunteer Service Award, Jewish Federation of Madison, 2004
  • Harry & Velma Hamilton Branch Service Award for exemplary volunteer efforts, NAACP Madison Branch, 2009
  • Fair Wisconsin Leadership Award, 2010
  • University of Wisconsin Law School Adjunct Professor of the Year, 2010
  • Wisconsin Law Journal "Leader in Law", 2011
  • Alex Temkin Distinguished Service Award, Jewish Federation of Madison, 2014

Classes and Seminars

  • Adjunct Professor, University of Wisconsin Law School, Pre-Trial Civil Advocacy

Representative Clients

  • Madison Teachers, Inc.
  • League of Women Voters of Wisconsin

Pro Bono Activities

  • Jewish Federation of Madison Board of Directors, President, 2007 to 2010
  • Madison Teachers Inc., Counsel
  • Downtown Madison Rotary