Hansen plans to retire
Waupaca attorney has 55 years’ experience
By Robert Cloud
After 55 years as an attorney, Steve Hansen plans to retire.
“I figure I had just about enough,” Hansen said.
Hansen plans to retire in December and semi-merge his office with Appleton-based Herrling Clark Law Firm.
“Technically, the practices are still independent,” Hansen said, adding that the firms will share office space in Waupaca.
Hansen graduated from Waupaca High School in 1960.
He remembers with pride his game scoring record of 44 points against Amherst in 1959 when he scored 19 goals and six free throws.
“I didn’t have the benefit of a three-point shot,” Hansen said.
Many Waupaca residents will recall seeing Hansen walking daily around Waupaca for four decades.
“I’m 80 years old and I’ve walked around the world seven times,” Hansen said. “The world is 25,000 miles around the equator. Over 40 years ago, I started walking three miles a day, then five miles a day, then eight miles a day.”
Hansen said he stopped at all the drive-thru restaurants during his morning walks and picked up the change that fell to the ground.
Benefits of mediation
Hansen is a general practice attorney who specializes in mediation.
He noted that mediation gives both parties an opportunity to have their side of the situation heard by a third party. It also gives them a chance to hear the other side’s point of view.
Following mediation, 97% of the cases are settled without going to trial, Hansen said.
“Mediation takes an enormous burden off the courts,” said Chuck Koehler, who will be handling Hansen’s Waupaca clients for Herrling Clark.
“We often mediate cases before the lawsuit is filed,” Koehler said. “Once you’re in a suit, money is being spent on both sides.”
A personal injury case may cost $25,000 to go to trial.
Legal expenses may include filing fees, transcription fees from deposition and time providing research on a case.
Mediation accelerates the process and can often be completed within eight hours.
A 1968 Iola-Scandinavia High School graduate, Koehler started practicing law in 1978.
“My primary area is business law and real estate,” he said.
Koehler said a business can benefit from working with a general practice attorney because business-related legal issues cover a broad spectrum ranging from property law, regulations, contracts and employment.
“Their firm has three or four of the best personal injury lawyers in the state, based on outcomes,” Hansen said.
Koehler said he will continue working from his office in Appleton. However, he will meet with clients by appointment in Waupaca.
“We’re only an hour away from Waupaca,” Koehler said.
He noted that he currently works with long-term clients over the computer, by email or over the phone.
In addition to sharing office space, Koehler said Herrling Clark plans to share the services of Julie Holat, currently a paralegal for Hansen.
“I see the role of lawyers as helping people solve their problems,” Koehler said. “Not everyone who walks into a lawyer’s office wants to sue someone. They may just need legal information.”
He said sometimes people can handle legal issues without having to use the services an attorney.
“They can send their landlord a letter or they can take it to small claims court,” Koehler said.