Home > Articles > Block Legal Services opens in Wauwatosa
VIEW OUR PRACTICE AREAS

Block Legal Services opens in Wauwatosa Featured on Wauwatosa Now

Posted on September 30, 2015 in Wauwatosa Now By Jessica Stephen

Before William Block became a lawyer, he worked at Kinko's.

And it taught him a thing or two about perspective.

"At the end of the day, when I looked back at what I accomplished, I found we were just putting ink on paper. If someone's business proposal wasn't printed right or the birthday invitation didn't turn out right — it didn't seem like I was making a difference."

So, after spending a couple of years adrift, the Rice Lake native, son of a minister and a seventh-grade teacher, put his triple major to work (English composition, philosophy and comparative theology, in case you're wondering) and went to law school.

"I thought I would end up in criminal (law)," said Block.

Still, he studied restorative justice with former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice Janine Geske, before exploring mediation, dispute resolution and, eventually, collaborative divorce, a branch of alternative dispute resolution that takes a less adversarial approach to, as Gwyneth Paltrow so infamously put it, conscious uncoupling.

"What I took from all of that was to listen, really, really listen."

Including to himself.

So, after graduating from law school in 2010 and building a practice as a divorce, estate planning and probate attorney with an established private firm, he took a chance earlier this year with a big-law-type firm in downtown Milwaukee.

"That lasted about five months. I found I had a lot of ideas about how I thought a firm should be run, and getting back in the associate track behind a couple of other associates wasn't a good fit," Block admitted. "So, I decided I wanted to take my life into my own hands."

By July, he'd found a basement office on Harwood Avenue, near St. Bernard's Church.

He was going to start his own firm.

"The first two weeks were painting and trying to find a desk and chairs, buying pens, all the exciting stuff they show on the attorney shows," Block teased.

By August, he was installing the phone system, setting up a website and weighing whether to get that last bit of paint on the walls or start calling colleagues for referrals.

"I had to say, 'O.K., is it more important that I make sure my office is ready to have clients come in or do I go get clients?' They're totally different, and there's no way to balance one over the other. But now that I'm out on my own, I don't just show up and ask someone what to do. I get to do all the nitty-gritty details, and that's exciting. I've got this whole sea of what could be next."

For now, he's focused on the reason he went to work for himself: providing affordable legal service for families trying to find their way, whether that means planning for the future or forging a new one.

All, of course, while tending to the little things, like creating a paperless office and keeping overhead low, and the not-so-little things, like his three kids (ages 4, 2½ and 9 months) and his recent fifth wedding anniversary.

"It's an exciting time," Block said. "I'm sailing uncharted waters, but that's exactly why I did this. I wanted that challenge."