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Charles’ single-minded focus on the interests of his clients has produced an exceptional success rate in jury trials.

For more than 40 years, he has represented counties, municipalities, school boards, corporations and individuals in cases ranging from civil rights to product liability, from government compliance to banking issues.

Charles has served as lead trial counsel in more than 75 jury trials and counsel of record in more than 100 reported decisions. He has represented about half the counties in Wisconsin in lawsuits in federal and state court, and successfully defended Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. in a civil rights jury trial. He has argued many cases before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and is recognized as one of the leading civil rights lawyers in Wisconsin.

Charles brings a wealth of experience and long-standing court relationships to his work on clients’ behalf. He enjoys the creative artistry involved in litigation, structuring his arguments in a compelling way that presents each client’s case in the best light.

Early in his career, when he was an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Charles developed an appreciation for law enforcement and those who serve in it. That respect has helped him represent many law enforcement personnel as lead counsel, winning favorable decisions in civil rights trials involving sex discrimination, assault, wrongful death, religious freedom and other issues.




  • Benchmark Litigation, Local Litigation Star, 2019
  • The Best Lawyers in America, Civil Rights Law, 2011-2019
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent
  • Director’s Awards for Superior Performance, U.S. Department of Justice, 1982
  • Attorney General’s Award for Outstanding Service, 1979
  • Drug Enforcement Administration’s Certificate for Outstanding Performance, 1979


  • J.D., University of Wisconsin Law School
    • cum laude
  • B.S., University of Wisconsin
    • cum laude


  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Tax Court
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • Wisconsin Supreme Court
  • Menominee Tribal Court

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Eastern District of Wisconsin Bar Association
  • Western District of Wisconsin Bar Association
  • Milwaukee Bar Association

  • Successfully defended Milwaukee County against class action lawsuit sponsored by American Civil Liberties Union concerning conditions of confinement of approximately 16,000 prisoners held in violation of court order.
  • Successfully defended municipality in class action lawsuit involving allegations that it strip-searched more than 10,000 prisoners.
  • Supervised national and foreign product liability litigation for major manufacturer of heating systems.
  • Served as prosecutor and defense counsel in federal criminal tax evasion trials, including in criminal tax trials involving indirect methods of proof.
  • Served as lead trial counsel in civil rights trials involving sexual discrimination, assaults, wrongful death, catastrophic injury, religious freedom, adequacy of medical care and excessive force.
  • Defended product liability claims in litigation involving variety of consumer products, including tree stands, bicycles and helmets.
  • Advised business entities in responding to federal grand jury subpoenas and subpoena of regulatory agencies.
  • Secured pro bono appellate victory on behalf of former inmate who alleged that correctional officers violated his constitutional rights in their response to his medical needs. Case was remanded to District Court for further discovery and trial on the merits.
Outside the Office

Charles and his wife are avid sailors.

They sail Lake Michigan in their Beneteau 321 and frequently sail the Virgin Islands. They also enjoy scuba diving in the Caribbean and kayaking on Wisconsin’s many lakes and rivers.