Ely A. Leichtling, Retired Partner


Employers relied on Ely Leichtling to help them plan, execute, and defend their reductions in force and reorganizations; comply with their government contracting OFCCP affirmative action obligations and diversity initiatives; create, revise, and defend employee selection and testing procedures; and implement and refine applicant tracking systems and related tools. Nationally, there are only a few employment attorneys with Ely’s comprehensive knowledge and experience in these areas and who possess the ability to assist with related statistical issues as well. Ely was a trusted advisor in employment discrimination avoidance, counseling, and litigation. He partnered with employers to develop tailored, practical, creative, and effective solutions to “people problems,” within each employer’s unique culture and tolerance for risk, across the full spectrum of employment law and litigation matters.

Ely’s clients were employers in a wide variety of industries: from manufacturing and consumer packaged goods to financial services, health care, technology, insurance, and colleges and universities. They are company employment counsel, human resources professionals, and managers who seek premium-quality representation in the defense of discrimination and wrongful discharge claims in court or before administrative agencies, and experienced counsel to assist with human resources issues, whether they be difficult discipline or discharge decisions or complex internal investigations.

Clients won’t find a more responsive attorney than Ely, who prides himself on getting back to them within hours, if not minutes, as a matter of standard operating practice. He loved helping employers achieve their HR-related goals with a minimum of risk, and he has built a national reputation for both service and solutions. He thoughtfully provided timely and practical solutions to even the most challenging people issues, always working hard to understand his clients’ business needs so he can take burdens off their shoulders and help them sleep better at night.

Education and Honors

  • University of Virginia School of Law (J.D., 1979)
  • Wesleyan University (B.A., 1976)

Bar Admissions

  • Wisconsin

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, 1983
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin, 1979
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin, 1979
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit, 1979

Professional and Civic Activities

  • Milwaukee Bar Association (Labor and Employment Section: Member; Chair, 1997–1999; Vice Chair, 1995–1997)
  • American Bar Association (Member, Labor and Employment Law Section, 1979–present)
  • State Bar of Wisconsin (Member, Labor Law Section, 1979–present)
  • Metro Milwaukee Society for Human Resource Management (Member)
  • OFCCP Milwaukee District Office Industry Liaison Group (Founder and Chair, 1993–2004; Member, 2004–present)
  • The Wisconsin Labor Letter (Founding Member of the Editorial Review Board, 1998–2000)
  • Northwest Side Community Development Corporation (Director, 2004–2010; President, 2006–2008)
  • Aurora Weier Education Center (Director, 2002–2004)
  • COA Youth and Family Centers (Director, 1982–1992; President, 1988–1990)
  • Hunger Task Force of Milwaukee (Director, 1991–2001; Emergency Food Program and Advocacy Committee, 1991–2001)
  • Hope House (Advisory Committee, 1995–1999)
  • Rufus King High School Governance Council (Chairperson, 1998–2000) – Milwaukee Public Schools
  • Hartford Avenue University School (math tutor and reading and writing volunteer, 2014–present) – Milwaukee Public Schools

Professional Recognition

  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® (1995–present: Employment Law – Management; Labor Law – Management; Litigation – Labor & Employment)
  • Listed as a "Leading Business Lawyer" in Wisconsin by Chambers USA® (2003–2015: Labor & Employment)
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV® Peer Review Rated