Julie Weber talked about service and being part of a community as part of her introductory presentation. Julie puts her more than two decades of legal practice to work for clients of Weber Law Office in River Falls.
Julie started life as a California girl with a Navy Dad. She grew up living in California and the Philippines until her family moved to Wisconsin in 1971.
“We had no winter clothing, and I remember my mom threw a blanket over me when our plane landed and we just walked out into the cold weather,” she recalls. “Winter and I have had a frosty relationship ever since.”
The rest of her childhood was spent in Trego, Wisconsin, surrounded by her Dad's family. She attended and graduated from Spooner high school.
Julie said her Dad could build anything, and was a pilot. Her Mom, shaped by a rough childhood, had a hallmark of determination. She worked at a bank and managed a deli.
Her father used to say, “If you’re good at something, you don’t need to tell people, just do it,” and Julie has lived by these words.
Julie chose Lakeland College in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. At the small, liberal arts college, she learned about service and being part of a community. She was able to spend a semester in Germany, and graduated with a major in history and a German/philosophy minor.
At that point, she knew she wanted to go to law school, and chose Chicago’s Kent College of Law at the Illinois Institute of Technology. She figure she would end up in a career working as a researcher in a legal library, and focused on that rather than litigation and trial work.
As often happens, Julie’s career took her in a different direction than she’d first planned. Her first job out of law school was in litigation and trial work. She was hired at the largest firm in Sheboygan and struggled because of her school-time focus on research. Upon receiving some tough feedback, she took control of the situation, working hard to know what clients wanted. In that time period, though she became the highest billing associate of the firm, she realized that being at a law firm was not for her. She moved back to Western Wisconsin and started working at a firm in Menomonie.
She became a litigator, and was in court more than she was out of court. She found that she liked litigation. She was able to watch the courtroom and see what needed to be done, and this skill proved very useful in trial situations.
Continuing her passion for public service and community, Julie joined the Dunn county Fish and Game Association, and was a founding member of the first all-female Pheasants, Forever chapter, the Red Cedar Women’s Pheasants, Forever.
She especially enjoyed organizing the Youth Day, where children could come and interact with outdoor hunting and fishing gear, and hunters would lead them through an actual hunt. Even her dog, Maggie, joined in on the hunt, and became an iconic members of the event.
“It was an honor to take children to a ring-net rally, and being able to give them that experience,” Julie said. It reminded her of when she had been on the sporting clay team with her dad, something they really enjoyed doing together.
Julie also joined Cedarbrook Church and became very active with people “who are passionate about church and grow spirituality in faith.”
In 2008, she met her soon-to-be husband, Steve, and in February 2009, they were wed. Julie’s dad, sadly, passed before the wedding, and she recalls fondly how he connected with her husband and mourns the friendship she knew they would have had. Still, the wedding was a happy event, and helped remind her family of celebrations during a difficult time.
Upon that marriage, Julie became step-mom to Daniel and Brian. It wasn’t an easy transition.
“I like to be in control of situations, and I found that as a step mother, it’s different, because another parent has a say,” she said. “Over the years, we have managed to work it out, and to me, they are my children.”
In 2009, Julie and Steve welcomed Miranda into the family, and in 2010, Julie opened her own law practice, providing criminal defense work. In 2013, Ellianna was born, and Julie continued to maintain office space in three places, until, finally in 2015, she bought the old Clay Print Shop building and remodeled it (or rather, Steve and family did) into Weber Law Office.
Julie now has her office just the way she likes it. She jokes that after seeing the wonderful job her husband did on the remodel, she is busy thinking up more projects to do around the house.
Julie continued her practice in criminal defense until it was untenable, and shifted her focus to family law. She urged listeners to keep in mind the state that funding is in for public defenders. She said that the rates in Wisconsin are so low that it causes public defenders unable to sustain a practice, which leads to people not being able to obtain the representation they need.
She now practices family law exclusively, and is a Pierce County court commissioner as well as a guardian ad litem lawyer, working in child protection, family and paternity cases. She also helps Pierce County with mediation work. She says she loves handling adoptions, and calls it “happy law.”
Julie has a busy schedule and she unwinds on occasional Harley rides with Steve. She reached to out Rotary because she missed working with service organizations. “I’m very much looking forward to working with Rotary while discovering what I will be when I grow up,” she jokes.
Welcome, Julie!