A review of my professional experience shows that I have the legal knowledge and experience necessary to be Clark County’s next great judge.
I obtained both my undergraduate degree and Law Degree (with honors) from UW-Madison, one of the top Law Schools in the Nation, and the most prestigious in our State.
While in law school, I obtained experience in both the legal theory side of the law and real-life sides of the law.
On the legal theory side, I interned with the Wisconsin Supreme Court in the office of Justice Michael Gableman, providing legal research and writing assistance to the Court. I did this under the direction of Justice Gableman’s then lead law clerk, Brian Hagedorn (who is now a Justice of the same court).
On the real-life application side, I also participated in the Family Court Assistance Project, helping pro se litigants (typically lower income individuals going through court without an attorney) with filling out various forms and providing information on how to approach each of their unique family law situations and goals, and assistance with obtaining restraining orders (in some cases, in the immediate aftermath of a traumatic event).
So, even before I started my own office, I had experience all the way from the front lines, working with people who were dealing with real-life crisis trying to get legal help, all the way up to the highest level of legal research and writing.
In the last 12+ years since I opened Bratcher Law Office, LLC in Thorp, I have continued to build upon that knowledge and experience through hand-on work directly with thousands of clients, and thousands of different files, in many areas of the law, both in and out of court.
If you think of a lawyer as a baseball player, a judge is like an umpire, calling balls and strikes. Just like how former ball players make better umpires, those with the most experience in the legal game make the best judges. I have that experience in areas such as:
- Business Planning.
- Guardian ad Litem.
- Medicaid planning.
- Mental Health
- Real Estate Litigation.
- Real Estate Transactions.
- Estate Planning.
I have actively participated in a handful of appeals, which rely heavily on legal research and writing. The most notable was a case where I established new precedent in Wisconsin involving the application of the common law doctrine of “gift causa mortis” (gifts made in anticipation of death).
You can read the entire opinion here: (link) https://www.wicourts.gov/ca/opinion/DisplayDocument.pdf?content=pdf&seqNo=258977
In that case, I represented a woman whose long-time boyfriend of over 23 years, who was a veteran suffering from mental health challenges, tragically died of suicide. He left a note right before his death, giving everything to her. The note wasn’t in the proper form of an official Will, so an estranged daughter came forward and tried to claim his entire estate.
I successfully argued to the circuit court that the doctrine of gift causa mortis (gift made in anticipation of death) should apply because the death was from an illness, and therefore my client should get his estate because of the note (the daughter had objected, in part arguing suicide, even if caused by a mental illness, shouldn’t count).
The daughter appealed, and I successfully argued that the court of appeals should uphold the lower court.
When the daughter appealed again to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, I successfully argued to the Supreme Court that they should not take the case and let the court of appeals decision stand.
This case was especially rewarding to me because I have a special interest in veteran’s issues and mental health.
- – Formation, buying, and selling of LLCs, Corporations, etc.
- – Drafting of Operating Agreements, Bylaws, buy/sell agreements, etc.
- – Bringing in and buying out partners, members, or shareholders
- – Collections on behalf of businesses
- – Protecting businesses’ interests when debtors file for bankruptcy
- – Collections on behalf of businesses and individuals, big and small
- – Represent businesses and individuals in small or large claims.
- – Perform discovery (depositions, etc.)
- – Draft and file all appropriate motions and briefs.
- – Bring cases through trial to court or jury if necessary.
– Occasionally represented clients in misdemeanor or traffic matters
- – Represent employers and employees in various employment matters (hiring, firing, non-competes, non-disclosures, unemployment appeals, etc.)
- – draft employee policies
- – I have represented every side of family matters, from wives, husbands, grandparents, and children (see Guardian ad litem)
- – Divorce
- – Child Custody/placement
- – Child support
- – Maintenance (alimony)
- – Adoption
- – Termination of Parental Rights
- – Domestic abuse and harassment restraining orders
Guardianship and Protective Placement.
- – Helped many families petition for and obtain guardianship of a loved one (e.g. a minor with disabilities about to turn 18, or an older parent who suffered a sudden stroke, etc.)
Guardian ad Litem (“GAL”)
- – “Guardian ad litem” is the fancy legal term for an attorney appointed to represent the best interests of someone who cannot represent themselves. For example: children, adults with disabilities, and elders with dementia.
- – I have represented the best interests of children in highly contentious divorces, making recommendations to the court as to matters like child custody and placement. In part, this involves meeting with the child(ren), parents, and doing my own investigation.
- – Sadly, we have children in our county who have to be removed from homes for neglect or other danger (these cases are called CHIPS, which stands for Child In need of Protective Services). I have represented those children as GAL in those matters too.
- – I have also represented the best interests of people, typically older, who have dementia, and the county petitions for guardianship and protective placement on their behalf; and people with mental health issues leading to their involuntary admission to a hospital or other facility.
- – All of these cases involve me visiting these people in person, getting to know them on a personal level in detail (something that the county attorney doesn’t get to do – many times they only see a name on paper until a court hearing).
- – Insurance disputes
- – Represented landlords and tenants in different situations, including evictions and damage to rented property.
- – drafted many leases
- – I have training in mediation and can perform mediation services. This comes in handy when negotiating settlement agreements on behalf of my clients, most of which we can resolve without the need for court action.
- – As part of their overall estate planning, I help a lot of people save assets, such as their real estate, from being eaten up by possible future nursing home care.
- – I have an undergraduate degree in Human Development and Family Studies (with a second major in Psychology), so mental health issues are very important to me, and aspects of that inform and guide me in my handling of nearly every area of the law, like probate,
- – Assist people in settling the affairs of a loved one who has passed
- – I’ve closed everything from simpe, small estates to huge, multi-million dollar estates with 30+ heirs
- – I’ve litigated Will and other heir and asset valuation issues
Real Estate Litigation.
- – Encroachment/trespass.
- – Adverse possession.
- – Earnest money disputes.
- – Easement disputes/enforcement.
Real Estate Transactions.
- – Real Estate closings of all sizes, from small gifts to multi-million-dollar deals
- – Land Contracts, Mortgages, Deeds, etc.
- – I have “cleaned up” real estate problems, often caused by previous attorneys (e.g. wrong legal descriptions, wrong dimensions, etc.)
- – 1031 Exchanges
- – Wills
- – Trusts
- – Powers of Attorney
- – Advanced Directives
- – succession plans for businesses, real estate
In sum, I have the most knowledge of the law and experience in the law of the candidates, so that makes me the right choice for Clark County Branch 2. If you have any questions about my legal knowledge or experience, please contact us.
The values I hold dear include (in no particular order):
- Hard Work
- Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness
- Protecting our Constitutional rights
I believe that most people want the same things: to be able to support themselves and their families, to be able to live and raise children in a safe environment, to be able to worship however they see fit, and to enjoy fellowship with family and friends.
I believe that societies can be judged on how they treat their most vulnerable (children, people with disabilities, elderly, etc.). One of my main focuses as judge will be to hold those accountable who take advantage of others, especially our most vulnerable.
If you have any questions about what I value, please contact me.
- – Green Bay Packers Shareholder
- – Clark County Bar Association Member
- – Thorp Lions Club Member
- – Thorp Chamber of Commerce Member
- – Loyal Music Boosters Club Member
- – Junior Achievement Volunteer
- – Regional Business Fund, Inc. Clark County Loan Committee Member
- – Clark County Law Enforcement’s “Shop with a Cop” contributor
- – Numerous Youth Sports and Activities Supporter