SD Metro Article- Top Lawyers
San Diego’s Top 25 Lawyers Our panel’s choices practice in a variety of legal fields
We’ve got the top 25 lawyers in San Diego for you.
Chosen by a select panel of attorneys, judges and other professionals in the field of law who have keen insights into the legal world in San Diego, our “stars” represent many disciplines of legal representation.
Charles A. Bird
Charles A. Bird is lead appellate partner of Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps LLP. He has argued civil cases in the United States Supreme Court, United States Courts of Appeals for the Federal, Sixth, Ninth (including en banc), and Tenth Circuits, California Supreme Court, and Calfiornia’s six intermediate appellate districts. More than 60 of his cases have been decided in officially published opinions. He is listed in Best Lawyers of America in appellate practice on several SuperLawyers lists. Bird is a fellow and director of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and a member and past president of the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers. He is a 1973 graduate of King Hall School of Law, University of California, Davis, where he was an editor of the Law Review and member of the school’s national moot court team.
Of local interest, Bird represented the city of San Diego in a series of challenges to the bond financing for San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium (now Qualcomm Stadium), the San Diego Convention Center and Petco Park. The city succeeded in all the cases.
His public service activities include chairing the California Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation. His professional and community leadership experience includes service as a director or equivalent of the San Diego County Bar Association, the Defenders Organizations, the California Habeas Corpus Resource Center, the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program, the Alaska Geographic Association, the San Diego Law Center and the Real Property Law Section of the State Bar of California. Bird is an author and editor of professional articles and handbooks.
William E. Beamer
William E. Beamer is partner in the law firm of Beamer, Lauth, Steinley & Bond, LLP, a practice focused on estate planning, trust and probate law and limited real estate matters, as well as representation of foundations and nonprofit organizations.
After graduating from Stanford University, Beamer attended Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley (JD 1969). From his admission to the California Bar in 1970 until 1996, he practiced as a trusts and estates lawyer with the law firm Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich (now DLA Piper US LLP), where he was elected partner in 1975.
Beamer is a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and is actively involved in several national committees including Estate Planning Council of San Diego County and the American, California and San Diego County Bar Associations. He has been certified by the California State Bar since 1993 as a legal specialist in estate planning, trust and probate law, and has been listed in Best Lawyers in America since 1987.
Beamer is president of the Parker Foundation and member of the development committee and general counsel of the board for the Zoological Society of San Diego, Chancellor’s Associates for UCSD, San Diego Grantmakers and Rotary Club of San Diego.
Robert J. Bell
Robert J. Bell is partner at Luce Forward’s San Diego and Orange County offices and specializes in real estate development, leasing, workouts and brokerage matters. His practice covers a wide range of transactions focused primarily on real estate development and workouts in commercial, industrial, office and residential projects.
Bell has extensive experiences in urban in-fill and redevelopment transactions, construction contracts, real estate debt restructuring, workouts and real estate brokerage issues. He has represented a number of publicly traded and privately held home builders and commercial/industrial developers with respect to the acquisition, development and sale of projects including joint development agreements and joint ventures. He also has served on numerous occasions as an expert witness in complex real estate litigation.
Bell is currently on the board of directors for San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. and is member of several associations including San Diego County Bar Association, San Diego County Building Industry Association, California Association of Realtors, National Association of Industrial and Office Properties and many others.
Bell was named the 2010 Lawyer of the Year for Real Estate Law for San Diego in Best Lawyers in America. He served as Luce Forward’s managing partner from 2004-2009 and is a licensed California real estate broker.
Claudette G. Wilson
Claudette G. Wilson has been a partner with Wilson Turner Kosmo LLP since its founding in 1991, and leads the Employment Law Practice Group. Wilson has been representing companies in employment litigation for 27 years. Her litigation practice includes wage and hour class actions, Business and Professions Code section 17200 claims, wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, trade secret violations and other employment-related matters. She regularly counsels employers on employment related issues and represents business of all sizes in a wide variety of industry sectors. Wilson has significant trial experience in state and federal courts in a range of employment matters. She has sought and defended claims for injunctive relief involving trade secrets and non-compete agreements, has handled government agency hearings and trials, and argued employment issues before the California Court of Appeal and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Wilson was honored as one of San Diego’s Top Employment Lawyers by the San Diego Daily Transcript from 2005-2009 and selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America in 2007-2009, Labor and Employment Law Specialties. Wilson was also designated as a Super Lawyer, and chosen as one of the Top 10 Lawyers in San Diego County by Law and Politics magazine in 2008 and 2009.
Cynthia Chihak focuses on medical malpractice, personal injury and products liability. Chihak has received the Outstanding Trial Lawyer award by the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego, formerly San Diego Trial Lawyers, five times. She was named as one of the best lawyers from 2006-2010 by San Diego Magazine for personal injury and medical malpractice, and one of the top 100 lawyers from 2006- 2010 by Super Lawyers. In 2007, Chihak received the Daniel T. Broderick III Memorial award recognizing her for the highest standards in civility, integrity and professionalism.
Chihak also serves the legal community by sharing her skill and experience. She is a fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, and an Advocate in the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), where she served as president in 2008. She served as secretary of the Consumer Attorneys of California in 1989 and 1990, and was the president of Consumer Attorneys of San Diego. Chihak is a graduate of Pepperdine University Law School. She was named by the Los Angeles Daily Transcript as one of the top 50 female attorneys in California for five consecutive years from 2002-2006.
John E. Gartman
John Gartman is a principal in Fish & Richardson’s Southern California office, which since 1997 has grown to more than 50 attorneys focused on the firm’s three mission-critical areas: litigation, intellectual property and corporate law. A highly respected trial lawyer, Gartman’s national trial practice focuses on high-technology litigation. He has deep experience in telecommunications, semiconductors, software and sports equipment. He has successfully tried jury and bench cases in federal and state courts and before the United States International Trade Commission. Two of Gartman’s cases have been recognized by the National Law Journal as among the “Year’s Top Wins.” Gartman was named by IP Worldwide as one of the nation’s “Magnificent 7,” one of the “Best Young Trial Lawyers” in intellectual property in 2002. Gartman has been voted by peer-review in 2006, 2007, and 2008 editions of Best Lawyers in America. The Daily Journal has repeatedly named him one of California’s “Top 205 IP Lawyers,” and since 2003, Chambers USA has cited him as one of the leading lawyers in the United States. Gartman contributes his time and resources to numerous charitable and pro bono activities, including the Humane Society (New Orleans disaster relief), Habitat for Humanity, Legal Aid for the underprivileged and the San Diego Science Alliance for students.
Guylyn Remmenga Cummins
Guylyn Remmenga Cummins is a partner at Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP in the Entertainment, Media and Technology Practice Group in the firm’s San Diego office. She specializes in media/First Amendment law, intellectual property law, Internet law and constitutional law. She is a California State Bar-certified appellate specialist. Cummins has spent her career working in media law, and was previously employed with Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich, where she practiced for 20 years. Cummins graduated magna cum laude from University of San Diego School of Law. Prior to this, she earned an M.A. with honors from University of Southern California and a B.A. degree with high distinction from University of Nebraska. Both degrees were in journalism. She has been admitted to the United States Supreme Court, California Supreme Court, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She has been selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America every year since 1997, and by The Daily Journal as one of the “Top Women Litigators in California” from 2006-2010. She has also been recognized by Chambers USA as one of America’s Leading Business Lawyers in Media and Entertainment from 2006-2010.
James A. Hennenhoefer
James A. Hennenhoefer is a California state-certified family law specialist and has been practicing family law exclusively since 1971.He is a diplomat of the American College of Family Trial Lawyers, where membership is limited to the Top 100 Family Law Trial Lawyers in the United States. Hennenhoefer was selected as one of the Top 100 Attorneys in the United States by Worth Magazine. In 2007-2008, he was the national president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. He has served as a Superior Court pro-tem judge since 1975. His practice is limited to complex matters that require substantial family law expertise.
George L. Root Jr.
Leader of Procopio’s Health Care Practice Group, Root represents health care providers across the United States, especially in the formation of integrated delivery systems, nonprofit organizations, health care districts, medical staff relations, mental health law, provider relationships with third-party payors, medical groups, IPAs and county-operated health systems. He advises these health care entities on how to react to the changing environment. Root is general counsel to several general acute care and specialty hospitals, including Rady Children’s Hospital, San Diego, Children’s Hospital of Orange County and San Diego Hospice. He is general counsel to the Healthcare Association of San Diego & Imperial Counties, San Diego Psychiatric Society, Orange Prevention Treatment Integrated Medical Assistance (CalOptima), Sharp Community Medical Group, OxyHeal Health Group and Alliance Healthcare Foundation. His general counsel relationships have enabled him to become familiar with all aspects of health care law, as well as industry business and market concerns. Root was admitted to the California Bar in 1975 after receiving a B.A. from Syracuse University and graduating from University of San Diego School of Law (J.D., cum laude). He is listed in Chambers USA: American’s Leading Lawyers (2003-2006), and was included in the 2007 and 2008 editions of Best Lawyers in America.
John H. Gomez
John H. Gomez is the president and founder of the Gomez Law Firm, representing exclusively plaintiffs in cases involving serious personal injury and wrongful death, dangerous and defective products, wrongful employment practices and business disputes. He has litigated catastrophic injury and death cases across the United States. A magna cum laude graduate of the University of San Diego, Gomez went on to graduate from Yale Law School in 1993. He then worked as a member of Latham & Watkins’ Los Angeles litigation department where he litigated commercial, products liability and employment matters. Gomez returned to San Diego in 1997 to accept a position as Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District. An exceptionally effective trial attorney, he tried and won 20 felony trials, including several high-profile, complex prosecutions. Gomez now works in private practice to represent plaintiffs in trial. Since 2000, he has obtained more than $170 million in verdicts and settlements for his clients, with more than 30 awards exceeding $1 million each. His cases have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Consumer Reports, “Good Morning America,” “ABC World News” and on the E Network. Gomez was named the Consumer Attorney of San Diego’s “2006 Trial Lawyer of the Year” for millions of dollars in awards he obtained that year.
Juanita R. Brooks is a principal in Fish & Richardson’s San Diego office. She has a nationwide trial practice specializing in complex intellectual property litigation. Her litigation experience includes numerous cases involving intellectual property, product and premises liability, and antitrust litigation. Brooks was a trial attorney with the Federal Defenders of San Diego Inc. from 1977 to 1980, and has held faculty positions with the California Western School of Law, the National Criminal Defense College and the National Institute of Trial Advocacy. The winner of San Diego’s prestigious Silver Tongue Award, Brooks is the author of numerous articles in the area of trial techniques and the handling of complex litigation. Trial magazine and The Bureau of National Affairs Inc. have frequently published her lectures, cross-examinations and closing arguments. She has been invited to lecture to state bar associations across the United States, and has been listed in Best Lawyers of America since 1987. In 2006, 2007, and 2009, she was voted as one of the “Top Attorneys” in intellectual property litigation in a survey conducted by the San Diego Daily Transcript. She received her B.A. from San Diego State University and attended Yale Law School where she received her J.D. in 1977.
For more than 30 years, Kate Murashige has practiced what she refers to as “straightforward patent prosecution work, the drafting and prosecution of patent applications, re-examinations, opinions of validity and infringement, due diligence for financing, and freedom to operate opinions.” Her clients are generally small-to-medium companies and universities working on cutting-edge biological advancements. Murashige, partner with the Morrison & Foerster law firm, has handled cases throughout her career that often deviate from the norm. She prosecuted a bovine growth hormone patent on behalf of University of California, which took approximately 20 years from application to issuance. Following the issuance of the patents in 2000, biotech giant Monsanto settled with University of California in 2006 on an infringement claim on the eve of the trial. The long-term licensing revenue to the university was valued at potentially more than $250 million. As a recognized pioneer in the industry, Murashige has served on the National Institutes of Health as a member of its National Biotechnology Policy Board. She has been a member of the Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Committee of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She has taught college chemistry and was the physical sciences chairperson at the College of San Mateo for six years.
Mike Kirby was one of four attorneys who founded the firm now known as Kirby Noonan Lance & Hoge. The firm specializes in civil litigation, representing both plaintiffs and defendants. Kirby has been actively involved in civil litigation and trials for over 30 years. He has tried over 40 jury trials, including successful jury trials in Florida and Nevada. His practice is varied, but primarily involves business, partnerships and real estate disputes and investor cases. As lead counsel for various individual plaintiffs or classes, Kirby has obtained total recoveries valued in excess of $250 million. He was recently lead counsel for a class of vehicle owners and the recovery for class members was valued in excess of $90 million. In addition to litigation practice, Kirby has been involved in several legal organizations. He has served as a founding director/vice president of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers of San Diego and was chairman of the Southern District of California Lawyer Representatives to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference. He is president of the San Diego chapter of the International Network of Boutique Law Firms and serves on the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) national board of directors. He is listed in Best Lawyers in America for business litigation.
Dan Stanford has a unique practice: He only represents clients in lawsuits against lawyers. He is the senior member of Stanford & Associates, with 35 years of jury trial experience. Stanford is a nationally recognized expert in the prosecution of legal malpractice and malicious prosecution claims. Stanford was a partner at Luce Forward Hamilton & Scripps and later at Pillsbury Madison and Sutro. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California Law School and clerked for two years for Malcolm M. Lucas, Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court (now retired). Stanford has been profiled in Southern California Super Lawyers, selected as one of the Best Lawyers in America and named by California Lawyer as one of the leading plaintiff’s legal malpractice attorneys in California. He regularly lectures and writes on the subject of legal malpractice and has been profiled or quoted in numerous newspapers and magazines, including Newsweek, Reader’s Digest, USA Today and The California Lawyer.
George Howard has practiced labor and employment law in San Diego since 1977. He has represented employers in a variety of industries, including health care, technology, electronics and defense, construction, hospitality, professional sports, financial services and other industries. Howard has extensive experience in all aspects of labor and employment law including collective bargaining, union-management relations, employment discrimination/harassment, wage and hour disputes, trade secrets and employment mobility issues and whistleblower litigation. He has tried multi-week bench and jury trials as well as numerous shorter matters to judges, arbitrators and administrative law judges. He was elected a Fellow in the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, the premier national association for labor and employment lawyers representing management, plaintiffs, unions and government officials and academics. Howard has been listed in every edition of Best Lawyers in America since 1993. He is a founding editor and continues to serve as a contributing editor to the Rutter Group’s California Employment Litigation Practice Guide.
Michael Pancer is a member of the American Board of Criminal Lawyers, the national Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the San Diego Criminal Defense Bar Association. He has been on the faculty of the National College for Criminal Defense at Mercer College for over 20 years, where he volunteers to teach other defense lawyers. He was twice voted “San Diego Trial Lawyer of the Year” and lectures frequently at seminars for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Pancer founded his practice in 1972 and has represented clients who were executives in Fortune 500 companies, politicians, accountants and numerous attorneys. He has deliberately kept his practice small, as he finds he prefers to have hands-on contact with every aspect of each case. He is currently representing attorneys charged in the Hewlett-Packard pretexting investigation and the San Diego pension case. Pancer is also representing individuals charged with tax offenses and violations of the Internet gaming statutes.
Mikel R. Bistrow
Mikel R. Bistrow is a partner in the national law firm of Duane, Morris LLP. She practices in the areas of commercial finance and lending, real and personal property secured transactions, Uniform Commercial Code, creditors’ collection and related remedies, bankruptcy, insolvency and workouts. Her finance practice emphasizes representing lenders and borrowers in documenting and negotiating real and personal property loans and secured transactions. Bistrow is a seasoned lecturer throughout California and nationally and a published author. She is included in the Best Lawyers in America and named as a Super Lawyer and named one of Corporate Counsel Magazine’s “Best Lawyers.” Bistrow is board certified in business bankruptcy law by the American Board of Certification. She is admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Southern, Northern, Central and Eastern Districts of California, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. Bistrow is a 1981 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and an honors graduate of the University of Michigan.
Sandra Morris has been recognized by her peers as an outstanding family law trial lawyer for the past 27 of her 40 years in the private practice of law, and has been voted on numerous occasions as the best family law attorney in San Diego. In 2004, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, which she served as president in 2002, voted her “Family Law Person of the Year.” She is a Diplomate in the American College of Family Trial Lawyers, and a Fellow in the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Morris has taught trial advocacy skills to attorneys at the American Bar Association Family Law Advocacy Institute for seven years in Houston. While clearly recognized for her litigation skills, Morris is proudest of her less dramatic but more benign settlement skills. “For me, the result that is most rewarding is the result that I achieved by an amicable settlement,” she says. For this reason, her colleagues often engage her on a frequent basis to consult on everything from brainstorming before settlement or trial, to brushing up on their own trial skills. Morris is currently expanding her mediation and settlement practice as a neutral, and opening the Center for Problem Resolution.
Robert L. Grimes
Robert L. Grimes is a certified criminal law specialist. His practice is restricted to the defense of individuals who are subject to investigation and/or prosecution by state and federal authorities. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers; Master of the American Inns of Court and has been president of San Diego Trial Lawyers Association (now Consumer Attorneys of San Diego) and past president of the Criminal Defense Bar Association and Criminal Defense Lawyer Club Executive Committee. Grimes has been named “Criminal Trial Lawyer of the Year” by the San Diego Trial Lawyers Association, named in Best Lawyers in America and holds an AV rating in Super Lawyers. He frequently represents business executives, law enforcement officers, physicians, athletes and other individuals in criminal cases. Grimes was an All-American wrestler at San Diego State University and is a graduate of the University of San Diego Law School.
Virginia C. Nelson
Virginia C. Nelson specializes in medical malpractice and personal injury litigation and has recovered $100 million in verdicts, awards and settlements. She was voted by her peers as “Best Personal Injury Lawyer of the Year-San Diego 2010,” and selected as one of the “Top Ten Southern California Super Lawyers-San Diego, 2007-2009.” Nelson has received the Bernard E. Witkin Esq. Award for excellence in the teaching, practice, enactment and adjudication of the law and the Daniel T. Broderick III Award for civility, integrity and professionalism. She has served as president of the San Diego County Bar Association, the San Diego Inn of Court and the Enright American Inn of Court. Nelson is involved with the Porter Elementary Reading Program, Coronado Schools Foundation and is a past member of the board of directors of the American Lung Association of San Diego and Imperial Counties and the SDVLP Domestic Violence Prevention Program. She received her undergraduate degree from Colorado State University and her law degree from the University of San Diego, where she served on The Law Review and graduated with honors. She is a Distinguished Alumnus of the USD Law School.
Knut S. Johnson
Knut S. Johnson is a certified specialist in criminal law who defends people and organizations that government agencies are investigating and prosecuting. He has received numerous honors and awards for a practice which includes trials, appeals and petitions for writ of habeas corpus. Johnson’s clients have included those charged with a wide range of crimes, including murder, minor misdemeanor offenses, serious violent crimes, weapons offenses, narcotics crimes, environment crimes and complex white collar and regulatory offenses. Before establishing his own law firm in 1996, he was an attorney with Jenkins & Perry, McKenna & Cuneo and Federal Defenders of San Diego. Johnson has taught at the University of San Diego, California Western School of Law, the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, Institute for Criminal Defense Advocacy and at the American Bar Association’s Central European and Eurasian Law Institute in Tblisi, Georgia, and Baku, Azerbaijan. He has received Martindale Hubble AV’s highest rating for ethics and legal ability, is on the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers, listed as one of the Best Lawyers in America and has won the E. Stanley Conant Award from the Defenders Organization of San Diego. He is a graduate of Tulane University and the University of San Diego School of Law.
Kerry Steigerwalt, who has practiced law in San Diego since 1984, is the owner of the Pacific Law Center which now bears his name. He has built his practice through a commitment to providing access to justice for those in need of legal services regardless of budget or type of case. He is a familiar face to San Diegans through his successful criminal defense practice involving a string of high-profile cases. He has been awarded an AV Peer Review from the Martindale Hubbell International Law Directory. His professional commentary has been a mainstay of many San Diego news media outlets on stories and issues dealing with the justice system. The media frequently feature Steigerwalt as their legal analyst to provide guidance on notable cases such as the O.J. Simpson murder case and the Michael Jackson molestation trial. Steigerwalt also was a key in-studio analyst during coverage of one of San Diego’s most notorious murders:David Westerfield’skidnapping and slaying of Sabre Springs neighbor Danielle van Dam, and has commented on the John Gardner double-murder case. He has been recognized and active in numerous organizations and associations dedicated to fighting for the rights of injured victims as well as the criminally accused. He has successfully defended hundreds of clients in cases ranging from drunken driving to death penalty cases and has won numerous acquittals in murder cases. Steigerwalt, 52, is a graduate of Millersville University in Pennsylvania and earned his law degree at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego.
Robert A. Mautino
Robert A. Mautino is a founding partner of the Mautino and Mautino law firm who has practiced immigration and nationality law exclusively since 1979. He is one of the few nationally recognized experts on the subject of United States citizenship law. He has been certified by the State Bar of California as a specialist in immigration and nationality law, and has been listed in Best Lawyers in America. Mautino earned his J.D. degree from the University of San Diego, an M.A. in political science from San Diego State University and a B.A. in international relations from UCLA. Prior to practicing law, he was a diplomatic and consular officer in the U.S. Foreign Service, with assignments in Finland, Washington, D.C., and Mexico. Mautino has familiarity with nine European languages, including French, Spanish, Swedish, Finnish, German, Italian, Danish and Norwegian. He has been chairman of the Southern California and San Diego chapters of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. He represented Filipino World War II veterans before the U.S. Supreme Court, and he has been active in federal court litigation against the Immigration and Naturalization Service, epecially in mandamus and declaratory relief actions.
John D. Collins
John D. Collins is a partner in the Labor and Employment and Business Trial Practice Group in the Del Mar office of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton. He has spent his entire legal career in San Diego, specializing in litigation/labor and employment matters exclusively on behalf of management. He combines extensive and successful jury trial experience with an established position as one of the area’s leading labor-management advocates/negotiators. Collins has been general labor counsel to a number of employer associations, including Associated Builders and Contractors of San Diego and Restaurant-Hotel Employers Council of San Diego. In the litigation area, he has more jury trial experience than most management labor lawyers. He has successfully handled many wrongful termination, discrimination, ERISA and other employment cases for a wide range of companies. He is an expert on unfair competition and trade secrets issues and has successfully litigated many cases in that area. Collins is a graduate of Stanford University and the Stanford University Law School.
Dennis Schoville, the founding partner of Schoville and Arnell, isn’t easily deterred by unfavorable odds. Over the past three decades, Schoville has obtained more than 30 multimillion-dollar settlements and verdicts in a wide variety of civil cases, and earned the San Diego Trial Lawyers Association’s “Outstanding Trial Advocacy Award on four separate occasions. In 2004, he was voted one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Attorneys in California” by the Los Angeles Daily Law Journal. His reputation within the San Diego legal community is perhaps best summarized by Judge Harrison Hollywood, a former defense attorney with 10 years on the bench: “I can honestly say that Schoville is the the finest plaintiff’s attorney in San Diego County.” Schoville once accepted a personal injury case of a man who, while inebriated, pulled out in front of a commercial truck and was paralyzed as a result of the accident. The case seemed unwinnable, but Schoville prevailed and won a $3 million judgment for his client, which was later reduced to $1.8 million. He earned his law degree from Northwestern University and an undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin.