The Third Annual Fundraiser for the Milwaukee Rescue Mission


A message from Attorney John A. Birdsall:

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As a volunteer to the Mission for the past 6 years, I have personally witnessed many success stories of people whose lives have been turned around by the dedicated Mission staff. I hope you can join me on July 31, 2014 at 5:30 PM at The Wisconsin Club in support of one of the most important charitable organizations in our city.

– John A. Birdsall

 All the donations go directly to the Rescue Mission and support various programs such as:

·       250 guest beds available for nightly use by homeless men in Milwaukee.

·       The 12 Month Life Skills program that takes at-risk men off the street and gives them shelter, helping them to overcome chemical dependency, coordinating appropriate education, and help in securing gainful employment.

·       The 6 Month FOCUS program to take graduates from the Life Skills program into a transitional phase that involves actual employment and debt repayment of more than $324,000 since 1997.  An increase of almost 10% in the last 12 months.

·       100 mothers and children living at the Joy House that provides safe housing and a positive environment as they rebuild their lives from often difficult domestic situations.

·       The Cross Trainers choice school that provides high-quality education from kindergarten through 7th graders.


Continued Success for the Milwaukee YMCA’s Driver License Restoration Project

For 5 years, the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee has been conducting the Driver’s License Restoration Project, with the latest edition held on June 21. This event is spearheaded by Attorney John A. Birdsall who volunteers on the YMCA Urban Campus Board. Three times a year, attorney Birdsall and other volunteer lawyers from the Milwaukee area (most recently with attorneys from Michael Best & Friedrich LLP) take the time to meet with individuals with suspended licenses in an effort to restore their driving record. These sessions are designed to help people understand their driving record and arm them with the information to restore their driver’s license. In most cases these situations are successful and these individuals are able to restore their suspended licenses. In more complex cases, individuals are referred to Hon. James Gramling at the Center for Driver’s License Recovery and Employability. For more information about the Driver’s License Restoration Project, check out the links in the text above.


Milwaukee’s New Gun Hot Line: Can it Really Help?

Every major city deals with it fair share of crime. Milwaukee is no different, especially when it comes to gun violence. After numerous shootings over the weekend, in addition to the high number of shootings this year, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett debuted the creation of a gun hotline, which is operated by the city. The gun hotline is designed to allow citizens to anonymously report illegal weapons. This is seen as a necessary precaution considering 30 children have been shot in the city of Milwaukee so far this year, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.


Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Attorney Ben Van Severen agrees that the gun hotline is a step in the right direction towards curbing gun violence, but there is still an issue of probable cause. “The police will need to independently verify information provided in the anonymous tip before they can go and arrest or search individuals suspected in the illegal firearms offenses,” said attorney Van Severen.

Attorney Matthew Meyer, thinks the new hot line does good for the community’s sense of security, but it not the final answer to correct the problem. “A gun hotline sounds good, but I can’t see it actually doing anything to fix the gun problem in Milwaukee,” said attorney Meyer. He believes the approach taken by Rev. Darryl Williams of the St Mark A.M.E. Church could go a long way in solving the city’s gun problem. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Rev. Williams is using local government, schools, faith, and community groups to help change the way young men think when it comes to violence.

What do you think of Milwaukee’s new gun hotline? Let us know in the comments below.

4 Tips for Law School Graduates

ImageAs spring is upon us and law schools are coming to a close, another crop of young lawyers are celebrating graduating and the beginning of their law careers. While there will almost never be a shortage of attorneys, there is however a shortage of jobs. Milwaukee has become a saturated market that is full of talented attorneys, with more and more entering the bar each year. With that in mind, attorneys Matthew Meyer and Ben Van Severen, shed some light on what it takes to land that first job out of law school. Matthew and Ben are both graduates of Marquette University Law school and attorneys at Birdsall Law Offices, S.C.

  1. First and foremost, it is important to build a solid network. Not only will this help you find that first job but it will pay dividends in the future. Focus on both relationships with experienced lawyers and your peers. “It’s the main reason I had a job as soon as I was licensed,” adds Matthew Meyer. 

  2. Cast a wide net when looking for a job. The idea is to get your name out there and taking every opportunity to do that will help you find success.

  3. It is also important to stay focused on the search. It is easy to get discouraged when sending out multiple resumes without any responses. Stay true to the job search and the right fit will come.

  4. Make sure you put in the work. Whether it is preparing for an interview or designing your resume, make sure you put some time into it. Being fully prepared is always a good look. “I think that this also extends out to working your first job.  Unfortunately the six-figure jobs we all hope to have aren’t as prevalent anymore. Sometimes you’ve got to work hard and make only a tiny bit of money the first few years before you start to see successes,” says Matthew Meyer.



Early Success for Young Defense Attorneys



Attorneys Matthew Meyer and Ben Van Severen are seeing early success here at Birdsall Law Offices. Both attorneys focus their practice primarily on criminal defense, including OWI defense. Matthew Meyer was recently nominated to the National Trial Lawyer’s Top 100 Trail Attorneys in Wisconsin.


Defense Attorney Matthew Meyer

The National Trial Lawyers’ mission is to promote excellence in the legal profession through advocacy training, networking, and education of trial lawyers. Membership to the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Attorneys is through invitation only and is offered to attorneys that have shown leadership, influence, and reputation as a trial lawyer.


Defense Attorney Ben Van Severen

Matthew is not the only one at Birdsall Law Offices experiencing success as Attorney Ben Van Severen had his first ever trial in February, which resulted in a victory. Birdsall Law Offices is proud of their successes and achievement so far in their careers.

Educating Milwaukee on Criminal Defense


One of the biggest hurdles that people face when charged with a crime is that they do not understand the typical criminal procedure. Being charged with a serious crime like drug possession, homicide, or sexual harassment is not something that anyone anticipates so there is a lack of knowledge of how to handle the situation. Not knowing how to properly handle the situation can lead to making false statements that the police can deem incriminating.

Milwaukee attorney John A. Birdsall believes education and understanding the implications of a criminal charge are one of the first steps in a successful defense. When the defendant is familiar with what they are being charged with, exactly what it means, and what to expect, the defendant can have a clear mind to begin their defense. From this idea, Birdsall Law Offices S.C. has made four new websites devoted to educating people on various criminal charges and how to handle them. The four sites are devoted to DUI defense, sex crime defense, homicide defense, and drug crime defense.

We invite you to check out the sites below and educate yourself. However, always contact a lawyer as soon as possible when charged with a criminal offense.







Relevant Evidence: A Bigger Issue Than You Think


It seems intuitive that all evidence for a case should be considered during a criminal trial. But in many cases, deciding what evidence is relevant and what evidence is not can be a major issue. Many state laws call for DNA evidence to be preserved forever, but what about certain video, audio, or image evidence 

The destruction of these materials, in most cases, is up to the judge’s discretion, according to this case article from In this particular case based in Columbus, OH, the judge backed the destruction of some pieces of evidence in a rape and murder case, based on the nature of the evidence. The evidence was deemed obscene and did not serve any real purpose to the case.

Attorney John A. Birdsall agrees that most items should be preserved, especially when you look at the amount of exonerations since DNA was first implemented. “While this isn’t involving DNA, any pertinent evidence in a serious conviction, even a guilty plea, should have a presumption of retention,” continued Birdsall. Cases like this serve as a great reminder of exactly how complicated criminal trials can become and how critical quality representation can be for a case.

Is it right to have evidence retention up to the discretion of the judge, what do you think?

Check out the case article here for more information.