Hudson attorney honored with state award
After several years in the social work field, Margaret Kaiser felt she wasn’t doing everything she could to make a difference and fully serve those in her care. Wanting to do more, she pursued a law degree and began working as an attorney.
“I didn’t feel like I was able to help people,” she said. “A law degree would give me more power.”
Nearly five years after she began practicing in 2012, she has been honored with the Belle Case La Follette Award from the Wisconsin Law Foundation, in recognition of the difference she’s made working with underserved populations.
This is the inaugural year of the award, which works to honor young lawyers who represent those who have difficulty affording legal services or have limited access to these services based on location.
Kaiser’s work surrounds both aspects of the award, as she works with those with limited financial resources and covers clients in four counties, including rural areas.
Based out of her own Hudson practice, Margaret Kaiser Law, since 2015, Kaiser’s work focuses on Social Security disability appeals and guardian ad litems, in which she represents the best interest of children or vulnerable people.
Kaiser said she was honored to receive the award, especially because of its namesake. Belle Case La Follette was the first woman to graduate from the University of Wisconsin Law School. According to the Wisconsin Law Foundation, she was a lawyer, journalist, teacher and women’s rights activist who is a powerful example for all modern lawyers.
“I’m excited and very honored,” Kaiser said.
The award specifically honors young attorneys in the years after they begin practicing. Kaiser said this is a good way to inspire new lawyers.
“It's a great initiative to help younger attorneys have the the ability to give back,” she said. “This can give you a boost.”
Beyond the duties of her practice, the award also highlights Kaiser for her pro-bono work. She has a relationship with Turningpoint, the River Falls-based resource for victims of domestic and sexual violence, providing legal help to those the organization serves. Domestic violence and sexual assault is an area that Kaiser has been interested in supporting since college at University of Wisconsin Madison.
“Oftentimes people don’t have the financial means to be advocated for in court,” Kaiser said. “There’s a great need for volunteer attorneys.”
Kaiser also works with the Wills for Heroes Foundation in St. Croix and other counties. The organization hosts clinics to develop estate plans for firefighters, police officers, EMTs and other first responders. Kaiser said it's an important way for her to support those who are doing good in her community.
“This is one way I can give back to them,” she said. “It’s a small way that I can help that has a big impact on them.”
This small-scale, big-effect philosophy extends to the community as a whole for Kaiser. She knows her work deals with a greater issue of populations who don’t have the access to the help she needs, and she hopes she can have even a small effect on individual people.
“I hope that I can help as many individuals as I can,” she said. “My job is to help.”