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Michele L. Perreault

Attorney
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Education:

  • J.D., magna cum laude, The University of Wisconsin Law School
  • M.A., UW-Oshkosh
  • B.A., magna cum laude Lawrence University

Admissions:

  • Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin

Michele is the Chair of the firm's Family Law practice group and the Managing Partner of its Madison office.  While there are hundreds of family law attorneys in the state, there are few with the experience of representing over 1,000 clients with their family law matters. Michele understands full well the complexities involved in family law, and in fact, her approach is straight forward: identify the issues, and manage and obtain your goals using a customized approach. Whether you are looking for a family lawyer to assist you with a divorce, custody or placement dispute, adoption, issues related to domestic partnership, or any other family matter, Michele is able to assist.

She represents clients in a variety of areas and whether the matter is simple and straight forward, or complicated and complex, each of her clients receives the personal service they deserve. Michele has represented clients in trial and appellate courts throughout Wisconsin and has handled complex cases involving business entities or multiple properties and financial issues. Additionally, she handles cases with lesser financial matters at stake, but with very personal issues involving custody, placement, adoption, or similar matters. She knows that every family law matter is the highest priority for her clients, and responds accordingly. No case is too big, as DeWitt has the experience and resources and no case is too “small,” because all family law cases are the most important matter in our clients’ lives.

Michele’s professional training and experience as a counselor adds an additional, personal dimension to her background which helps her assist clients in achieving positive results in an efficient and reasonable manner. In most cases, she is able to negotiate full resolution of disputes without the need for trial. However, if a matter can’t be resolved through negotiation or alternative dispute resolution such as mediation or arbitration, she has the skill and litigation experience you need in the courtroom. In addition to her family law litigation experience, Michele has successfully litigated cases ranging from estate disputes to multi-million dollar property tax disputes.

In addition to representing parties to litigation, Michele is also an experienced mediator, helping parties (whether represented by attorneys or not) resolve cases without the need for court intervention. This informal process is often an effective, efficient way for parties to resolve disputes and still obtain a final written settlement document that resolves all legal issues.

While in law school, she received numerous awards for academic achievement and leadership. Before joining DeWitt, Michele interned with Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley.

Since becoming an attorney, Michele has won numerous awards for her work including being elected to the 2017 Pro Bono Honor Society, named one of the 2017 top Women in Law in Wisconsin by the Wisconsin Law Journal, being elected to the Fellows of Wisconsin Law from the Wisconsin Law Foundation, and more.

Michele has represented clients in courts throughout Wisconsin as well as in the Court of Appeals and the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Her cases include everything from multi-billion dollar family law cases to representing small-business owners to representing single parents who need the support and services necessary to get their legal issues resolved.

In addition to her practice, Michele serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School, teaching classes related to family law as well as constitutional law.

Michele is frequently called on as a speaker for Continuing Legal Education courses for lawyers in areas including family law and also at an annual ethics seminar for lawyers. As a member of the Wisconsin State Bar Family Law Section Board of Directors, she testified before the Wisconsin Legislature regarding legislation that affects families.

When she is not practicing law, Michele likes to spend time with her family, especially hiking along the Ice Age Trail. She also wants everyone to know that her fantasy football team won the DeWitt championship in 2017/18.

Affiliations

  • Dane County Bar Association
  • Executive Committee Member – DeWitt
  • University of Wisconsin Law School Adjunct Professor

Awards & Recognitions

  • Pro Bono Award
  • 2017 Women in Law Award
  • Elected as a Fellow of the Wisconsin Law Foundation
  • “Top Lawyer” – Madison Magazine
  • Rising Star – Super Lawyers Magazine, a status conferred on less than 5% of attorneys state-wide
  • Up and Coming Lawyer – The Wisconsin State Bar
  • State Bar’s Hotline Volunteer of the Year award for her service in providing free legal service to callers on the State Bar’s hotline

Client Recommendations

Outstanding Family Law Attorney
“Michele has represented me over the past several years for a highly contested divorce with children. She has repeatedly delivered high quality, targeted, and compelling briefs and affidavits on my behalf resulting in incredibly favorable outcomes for me. As a dad, the system often seems biased against the father. However, Michele has repeatedly helped deliver arguments and exhibits that have been much more compelling than my ex’s and her attorneys. I have repeatedly given her name to others who are filing for or considering divorce, especially when kids are involved. I highly recommend Michele and feel you are doing yourself a disservice if you don’t at least consult with her if you are considering or responding to a divorce.” – Andy

An Excellent Attorney: smart, hard-working, caring
“Attorney Perreault is a smart, savvy, hard-working attorney who is well-respected, ethical, and tough. I have recommended her again and again to people for divorce and family law issues. She takes the time to find out key information and isn’t afraid to be honest with her clients. Attorney Perreault’s experience in the courtroom really shows. She is a force to be reckoned with while maintaining high standards.” – Heather

Outstanding
“Michele is an outstanding, confident, knowledgeable and sensitive attorney. When I was going through my divorce, Michele was so helpful. Having two small children, she was able to get us all to a better place and work towards a happy and healthy future. Michele is fair and works for a resolution that is in the best interests of everyone. However, when necessary she will push back and challenge, she doesn’t just settle to get the case completed. I recommend Michele to everyone that asks or has a need for legal counsel, you cannot go wrong and you will be so happy you made the call to work with her, because she will always have “your back”!” – Geriann

Notable Representations

Michele Perreault is an equity partner in the firm’s Madison office. Michele is a skilled and experienced trial attorney, representing business and individual clients in a wide range of civil litigation matters, administrative hearings, and employment matters. Michele has successfully represented clients in trial and appellate courts throughout Wisconsin, including cases to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Additionally, Michele has helped guide clients through administrative enforcement and regulatory matters, ensuring that clients are able to continue to run their businesses or maintain their professional licensures.

Michele’s professional training and experience as a counselor adds an additional, personal dimension to her background which helps her assist clients in achieving positive results in an efficient and reasonable manner. In most cases, she is able to negotiate full resolution of disputes without the need for trial. However, if a matter can’t be resolved through negotiation or alternative dispute resolution such as mediation or arbitration, she has the skill and litigation experience you need in the courtroom or administrative hearings.

While in law school, she received numerous awards for academic achievement and leadership. Before joining DeWitt, Michele interned with Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley.  She has assisted clients with matters such as:

  • Represented a spouse in a divorce involving assets in excess of a billion dollars, including assets located around the world
  • A client who—along with several family members—built a company from one dump truck to a multi-million dollar construction corporation employing well over 50 employees. The client’s goal was to ensure that the family business stayed in the family to pass along to the next generation. That goal was met
  • An international case in which a child was improperly removed from his father, involving international law as well as legal proceedings in two states in the United States. Michele prevailed against the adverse parties, who seemingly had unlimited funds for litigation. She eventually secured the return of the child to his father
  • A mother who obtained a very poor result from a trial court while represented by another attorney. When no one else would take the case, Michele stepped in and by applying both her counseling background and litigation experience, eventually secured primary placement for her client
  • Michele has represented numerous clients in the Court of Appeals and in the Wisconsin Supreme Court, including matters such as reversing the trial court’s order regarding maintenance payments to be paid from her client, securing a trial court’s substantial award of property and assets to her client in a cohabitation case, successfully defending against a claim of invasion of privacy, and numerous family law cases

General Civil Litigation

  • Co-counsel representing a Fortune 500 company in complex multi-year challenge to excessive property tax assessments. The matter involved many weeks of trial, administrative hearings, and appellate work up to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. As a result of successful trial and appellate litigation, the client received several million dollars in immediate tax relief, along with future tax benefits
  • Lead counsel on matter related to maintaining ownership of family business that started with one truck and grew to a multi-million dollar business with 50 employees

Employment Matters

  • Michele’s employment work includes addressing issues related to independent contractor status, responding to EEOC complaints
  • Representing school administrators throughout the state for contract negotiations, investigations of formal complaints, and when appropriate, negotiating resolutions regarding separation from employment
  • Review employment contracts to advise businesses and individuals regarding enforceability of issues such as non-compete/non-disclosure clauses

Administrative/Regulatory

  • Representing professionals with licensure/regulatory matters involving state agencies
  • Representing businesses to ensure maintenance of necessary municipal licenses after such licenses have been threatened

Service Areas Subspecialties

  • Family Law
    • Adoption
    • Child Custody, Placement & Support
    • Divorce
    • Financial and Business Matters in Divorce
    • Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
  • Litigation
    • Appeals
    • Mediation and Arbitration
    • Trials in State and Federal Courts