Firm History

This is what experience looks like. For over 50 years, Hawks Quindel attorneys have fought side-by-side with Wisconsin workers, families, and labor unions to provide legal counsel, and protect and defend their rights.

Hawks Quindel. S.C. traces its history in Wisconsin back more than six decades. Today’s firm is the product of a merger of Shneidman, Hawks & Ehlke, S.C., and Perry, Shapiro, Quindel, Saks, Charlton, Sumara & Lerner, S.C. in 2005. Both firms had a sterling reputation for their representation of labor unions and workers in Wisconsin. Those traditions inform Hawks Quindel’s practice today.

The “Hawks” Lineage

The Shneidman, Hawks & Ehlke, S.C., line begins with Daniel L. Shneidman. Attorney Shneidman graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1959 and began his career with Robert E. Gratz in Milwaukee. That same year, Shneidman argued his first case before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Clark v. Hein-Werner Corp., 8 Wis.2d 264 (1959).

In 1966, Howard N. Myers joined Shneidman to form Shneidman & Myers. Prior to joining Shneidman, Attorney Myers had graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1964 and completed two years at the National Labor Review Board (NLRB) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

A Focus on Labor and Workers

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Shneidman & Myers was active in a number of practice areas, including personal injury and general commercial litigation. However, with Myers’ experience at the NLRB and Shneidman’s union practice, Shneidman & Myers quickly developed a reputation as effective advocates for workers and labor unions throughout Wisconsin.

In the collective bargaining and NLRB arena, the firm represented retail workers, bakery and confectionary workers, laundry workers, machinists, paper workers, leather workers, operating engineers, foundry workers, county and city attorneys, professional and technical employees, nurses, bank tellers, printers, pilots, electrical workers, teachers, and school bus drivers.

Timothy Hawks joined Shneidman & Myers in 1981, four years after receiving his law degree from the University of Iowa Law School. Drawn to Shneidman & Myers’ union practice, Attorney Hawks grew the firm’s public sector clientele. He has represented AFT-Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Education Association Council, the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin, the Green Bay Education Association, and local affiliates of the International Association of Fire Fighters.

Madison Office Opens

By the early 1990s, the firm’s geographic reach required a permanent presence in the state capital. In 1995, Aaron Halstead, a 1990 graduate of Brigham Young University’s law school, joined the firm and opened a Madison office. In addition to broadening the firm’s geographic reach, Attorney Halstead expanded the firm’s worker’s compensation practice to include injured Spanish-speaking employees.

Expanding to Serve the Full-Spectrum of Employee Legal Needs

By the late 1990s, the firm had added a number of other highly competent attorneys to its ranks, becoming Shneidman, Myers, Dowling, Blumenfield, Ehlke, Hawks & Domer. With the addition of more attorneys, the firm could take on other practice areas. In addition to representing its union clients before the NLRB and in collective bargaining negotiations, the firm helped both union and non-union workers in employment matters. During this period, the firm grew its practice in worker’s compensation, unemployment insurance, ERISA, equal rights, and wage and hour issues. In 2001, the firm became Shneidman Hawks & Ehlke.

The “Quindel” Lineage

The Perry, Shapiro, Quindel, Saks, Charlton, Sumara & Lerner, S.C. line begins in the 1970s. Barbara Quindel joined Perry, First & Reiher in 1979. A graduate of Northeastern University School of Law, Attorney Quindel represented Boston tenants in housing disputes prior to joining the Milwaukee-based firm. She became a shareholder of Perry, First, Reiher, Lerner & Quindel in 1981.

While Attorney Robert Lerner maintained a criminal defense practice, the firm Quindel joined and eventually led was primarily a labor and employment firm. The firm proudly represented the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association, Milwaukee bus drivers, and, later on, SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin.

Nationally Renown for Advising Organized Labor

Through the firm’s work, Attorney Quindel became a trusted union advisor nationally. She served as a member of the national Board of Directors for the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee. Further, Attorney Quindel was appointed by the U.S. District Court in New York as Election Officer to supervise the 1996 national Teamster elections.

Activists for Social Justice

The attorneys at what eventually became Perry, Shapiro, Quindel, Saks, Charlton, Sumara & Lerner were activists at heart. Through their work, the firm sought economic, social, and racial justice for its clients. For example, the firm represented the League of Martin, an organization of Milwaukee’s African-American police officers, in challenging the city’s hiring and promotion practices.

Defending Employees From Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Attorney Quindel also represented numerous women in sexual harassment claims, including working with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to ensure women who have experienced sexual harassment are compensated, and employers have policies and provide training to prevent future harassment. For example, in EEOC vs Hufcor, a settlement was reached providing significant compensation to the employee Attorney Quindel represented. In addition, the employer was ordered to train its managers and supervisors to prevent harassment and retaliation against employees who complain of harassment, and to post a notice to all its employees explaining the settlement and their right to contact the EEOC with any complaints of discrimination or retaliation.

Hawks Quindel, S.C. Takes Shape

A shared commitment to seeking economic, social, and racial justice eventually led to the merger of Shneidman, Hawks & Ehlke, S.C., and Perry, Shapiro, Quindel, Saks, Charlton, Sumara & Lerner, S.C., in 2005. First named Hawks, Quindel, Ehlke & Perry, S.C., the firm took on its current form, Hawks Quindel, S.C., on August 18, 2009.

Prior to merging, the two firms had worked together on a number of labor and employment matters. For example, both firms were instrumental in achieving the Global Pension Settlement between public sector employees and the City of Milwaukee. The settlement secured $500 million in benefits for the city’s workers, and prevented one of many city and state attempts at raiding public sector employee’s retirement benefits.

We Continue to Stand Up for Working People

Unsurprisingly, the values of Shneidman, Hawks & Ehlke, S.C., and Perry, Shapiro, Quindel, Saks, Charlton, Sumara & Lerner, S.C. inform Hawks Quindel’s practice today.

Lewis v. Epic Systems

Since 2015, the firm has represented employees of a large health care technology company in their fight for overtime compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The class action suit began in the Western District of Wisconsin and eventually made its way to the United State Supreme Court in 2018 as Lewis v. Epic Systems Corporation in the Seventh Circuit. With a number of victories already secured, our attorneys continue to advocate for these workers’ right to overtime compensation in individual arbitrations. 

Boyden v. Conlin

In 2018, Hawks Quindel partnered with the ACLU to secure a major victory for transgender rights in Boyden v. Conlin. The firm represented two clients who are transgender in challenging the state’s ban on covering transition-related health care for its employees. The federal court concluded that the state’s denial of coverage violated the individual’s civil rights, and a jury awarded more than $780,000 in damages.

Defending Voter Rights

In 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the firm, led by Attorney Richard Saks, joined with community organizations, including Souls to the Polls, League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, Voces de la Frontera, Black Leaders Organizing for Communities, AFT Local 212, and SEIU Wisconsin State Council, to protect Wisconsinites’ right to vote in the April 7, 2020, election. The group effort resulted in the enfranchisement of 113,906 voters. This effort complemented the firm’s regular election monitoring efforts with the ACLU.

Expanding Firm Reach Throughout Wisconsin

Finally, the firm recently opened additional offices in Appleton and Eau Claire. With this expanded geographic reach, our attorneys represent clients throughout the State of Wisconsin, including the cities of Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Kenosha, Racine, Appleton, Waukesha, Eau Claire, Oshkosh, Janesville, West Allis, La Crosse, Wauwatosa, Sheboygan, Fond du Lac, New Berlin, Wausau, Menomonee Falls, Brookfield, Oak Creek, and Beloit and among others statewide.

At Hawks Quindel, we are proud of our history. Although our firm’s name has changed over those years, our mission has not. We help all workers learn and stand up for their legal rights, regardless of profession or citizenship—and we always will.

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