Pat Finlan loves his job. Although becoming an attorney was not his initial career choice, it’s clear that law is where he belongs.
“It helps me make a difference,” Finlan said. “We take problems that people have and try to fix them.”
After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Finlan pursued a journalism career that brought him and his wife, Patti, to Rhinelander. One day, Finlan said, it occurred to him that he wanted something different; something more.
“I came home after work one day and told Patti that I wanted to go to law school,” he recalled. “And she said, ‘okay’.”
So for the next three years, Pat commuted weekly from Rhinelander to St. Paul, where he was enrolled at Hamline University Law School. He credits Patti, who was at home with two young children during this time, with making his career change possible. After working at a couple of law firms, first in Rhinelander, then in central Wisconsin, he and Patti decided in 2002 it was time to move back to Rhinelander, and start his own practice. Just recently, Finlan purchased, remodeled and moved into a new office, located in the former Country Seed building on Anderson Street.
Today he concentrates his practice in the areas of personal injury, criminal defense, family law, employment law (employers and employees) as well as other areas of general practice. Together with his long-time legal secretary, Pearl Johnson, Finlan says they help clients navigate through their situations to get the best results.
“We take our work seriously; it’s a very interesting line of work,” Finlan says. “Pearl and I both love our jobs.”
He is certified as a supplemental court commissioner for the Ninth Judicial District of Wisconsin, is a member of the Wisconsin Bar Association and is a former president of the Oneida-Vilas-Forest County Bar Association. He also is regularly appointed by local circuit courts to serve as a mediator or guardian ad litem in child custody / placement disputes.
Among the duties of a supplemental court commissioner is performing marriage ceremonies. Finlan says that is a nice change of pace.
“Weddings are fun because everybody’s happy,” he remarked with a smile. “They have taken place anywhere from the courthouse to a houseboat on the Three Lakes Chain!”
As a former Wisconsin high school wrestling champion, and a member of the Badger wrestling team in college, Pat continues to stay involved in the sport, coaching and helping with the Hodag programs since 1986. In his time off he enjoys hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities, and supporting local sports. Pat and Patti have two adult children and two granddaughters. His new office location is 210 E. Anderson Street in Rhinelander. Finlan can be reached by phone at 715-369-5540, and for more information, the website, www.finlanlawfirm.com.