Brian D. Winters, Retired Partner


When he graduated from college, Brian Winters planned to take a year off "to read some books" before going to law school. In fact, he took 19 years off, during which he went to graduate school, lived in France, managed political campaigns, taught university-level economics, and traded options on index futures long before it was popular. Thanks to this varied background, Brian was adept at explaining facts and concepts as both teacher and diplomat, a skill he has found quite valuable in his practice. He got to the foundation of each issue without obfuscation or unnecessary technicality.

Brian has worked in the areas of antitrust and trade regulation and has participated in appellate litigation in several areas, but the vast majority of his time was devoted to handling public utility matters such as regulatory proceedings seeking authorization to construct new power plants, general and special purpose rate cases, regulatory proceedings to approve mergers involving utility holding companies, and judicial review of agency decisions.

Care and deliberation were the cornerstones of Brian’s practice. He developed long-term relationships with his clients because his advice was intended to guide them through the years, rather than through any current case alone. He knew that a quick-but-contentious "win" today could come back to haunt you tomorrow, and that complicated issues require deliberate consideration to achieve the strongest, longest-lasting results. Brian wrote every day as a personal discipline, debated issues with himself on paper to explore possible arguments, envisioned multiple scenarios in his head before engaging in any actual event, and foresaw encounters before they occurred, to prepare himself for them. By the time discussion began, he would have already imagined several conversations that should precipitate the best outcome.

Education and Honors

  • Yale Law School (J.D., 1996)
    • Olin Fellow in Law, Economics and Public Policy (1993–1996)
    • Recipient of Olin Summer Research Grant (1994)
    • University of Geneva (Switzerland) Program in Banking and Capital Markets Law (1994)
    • Editor in Chief, Yale Journal of Regulation (1995–1996)
  • University of Toledo (M.A., 1989)
    • Major: Economics
  • University of Toledo (M.A., 1980)
    • Major: Philosophy
  • Cornell University (A.B., with distinction, 1974)
    • Major: Economics
    • Phi Beta Kappa

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court, 2002
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit, 2002
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin, 1996
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin, 1996

Professional and Civic Activities

  • American Bar Association (Member, Section of Antitrust Law)
  • State Bar of Wisconsin (Chair, Energy and Telecommunications Section: 2006–2008)
  • American Economic Association (Member)
  • American Law and Economics Association (Member)

Professional Recognition

  • Recognized as Best Lawyers® 2012, 2017, 2019 Milwaukee Energy Law "Lawyer of the Year"
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® (2005–present: Energy Law)
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rated
  • Selected for inclusion in the 2005–2014 Wisconsin Super Lawyers® lists (Utilities)
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