As a law student, Robert L. Gegios was pretty sure he wasn’t going to be litigator.
“I was a relatively shy fellow at the time. I got over that along the way,” he said. “And I probably listened to too many friends who were telling me the horror stories of what it would be like to be a litigator, just suggesting it would be a terrifying experience.”
The litigation bug only bit him in his third year at the University of Wisconsin Law School, when he took a class taught by William Hurst, the man known as the father of American legal history.
“He was not a litigator, but he had a special way of communicating how important the matters are and how … practice and litigation could be,” said Gegios.
Fast forward more than 30 years, and Gegios, a successful litigator at Kohner, Mann & Kailas, has found a niche in litigating complex cases in federal, state and even international courts.
Gegios obtained a favorable decision in 2015 from the U.S. Supreme Court when he was representing several small Wisconsin businesses in a lawsuit against nine of the country’s natural gas suppliers. He also recently obtained a $4.7 million jury award against a paper-bag supplier.
But Gegios emphasizes that his litigation success comes from having the right people working alongside him. He said the cases are not just litigated by him, but by a team of dedicated, talented lawyers.
“A lot of it in litigation, it’s not you, it’s not me — it’s your team,” Gegios said. “It’s so important to have the right team. I’ve been extremely blessed.”
Gegios said one word summarizes what he believes is the key to success for any lawyer: professionalism.
“Every case you’ll have will have its ups and downs,” he said. “You’re going to win some battles, you’re going to lose some battles. You just have to understand the big picture: You’re the professional and you’re doing everything you can to help your client.”
To explain what that means, Gegios uses the phrase “insistent clarity.”
“It just means that when you’re looking at the professionalism of a lawyer, there is a clarity you always see and there’s an insistence as a professional that you always follow the professional way,” he said. “I remind myself of that all the time.”