Lester A. Pines
  • Senior Counsel

Lester A. Pines
  • Senior Counsel

Lester A. Pines is Senior Counsel 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 decades 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 and also represents the Service Employees International Union (SEIU Wisconsin), the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association (MTEA) and the Office & Professional Employees Union, Local 39 (OPEIU).

A host of Lester's Wisconsin appellate cases have addressed high-profile public policy matters. In 2020, representing Governor Tony Evers, he convinced the Wisconsin Supreme Court in SEIU v Vos (2020 WI 67) 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. 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/


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

Bar Admission

  • 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

Professional Associations

  • American College of Trial Lawyers, Federal Civil Procedure Committee
  • Wisconsin State Committee, Chair, 2022-2024
  • American Bar Association, Litigation Section
  • James E. Doyle Chapter of the American Inns of Court, President, 2002-2007
  • Dane County Bar Association
  • Downtown Madison Rotary
  • Jewish Federation of Madison Board of Directors; President, 2007 - 2010


  • Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers (Inducted 2005)
  • Wisconsin Super Lawyer - General Litigation (2005-2024)
  • Best Lawyers in America® for White Collar & Non-White Collar Criminal Defense, and Labor & Employment (2003-2024))
  • “Madison’s Best Attorney,” People’s Choice Awards, Wisconsin State Journal/madison.com (2021)
  • Wisconsin Federal Nominating Commission member providing recommendations for nominations during the 117th Congress for United States Attorneys and federal judicial positions. (2021)
  • University City (Mo.) High School Hall of Fame Inductee (2019)
  • Lawyer of the Year in Madison, Wisconsin for Employment Law - Individuals, from Best Lawyers in America® (2019)
  • Lawyer of the Year in Madison, Wisconsin for Criminal Defense – White Collar, from Best Lawyers in America® (2017)
  • Pro Bono Honor Roll for the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin (2017)
  • Alex Temkin Distinguished Service Award, Jewish Federation of Madison, 2014
  • Fair Wisconsin Leadership Award, 2010
  • Wisconsin Law Journal "Leader in Law", 2011
  • University of Wisconsin Law School Adjunct Professor of the Year, 2010
  • Service Award for exemplary volunteer efforts, NAACP Madison Branch, 2009
  • Ben Minkoff Volunteer Service Award, Jewish Federation of Madison, 2004
  • Fellow of the American Bar Foundation
  • Fellow the Wisconsin Bar Foundation
  • Martindale Hubbell AV Preeminent rating

Representative Cases

  • Sierra Club v. Franklin County Power of Illinois LLC, et al., 546 F.3d 918, 2008, 7th Cir.
  • In re Storms v. Action Wisconsin, Inc., 2008 WI 56, 309 Wis. 2d 704, 750 N.W.2d 739
  • Madison Teachers, Inc. v. Wisconsin Education Association Council, 2005 WI App 180, 703 N.W.2d 711
  • Witte v. Department of Corrections, 434 F.3d 1031, 2006, 7th Cir.
  • Wisconsin Professional Police Association v. Lightbourn, 2001 WI 59, 243 Wis. 2d 512, 627 N.W.2d 807
  • Thompson v. Craney, 199 Wis. 2d 674, 1996
  • State ex rel Ozanne v. Fitzgerald, 2011 WI 43, 334 Wis. 2d 70
  • Miller v. Hanover Insurance Company, WI 75, 326 Wis. 2d 640, 2010
  • Coyne v. Walker

Past Positions

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


  • English