Attorney Thomas was one of the founding charter members of the Genesis Development Corporation board when they first opened up back in 1987 in the basement of Mt. Zion Church on Fisher Street, and from 1999-2001 he served as Executive Director for the corporation. From 1995-1997 he practiced general employment and family law with Thomas Law Office in Madison.
"It feels good to be in Genesis. I've had 15 years of corporate experience on the west side at Cuna Mutual, and I've spent 11 years in government," Thomas says. "I feel like I'm heading towards the end of my career and I want to get back into community support. I felt like this is where I can still earn a living and do that as well. There are many areas where I can give people the benefit of my diverse experiences. That feels good"
Thomas is again a board member at the Genesis Enterprise Center and brings over 30 years of diversified corporate, governmental and private legal practice experience. Among the many services that Thomas Law Offices provides, it helps in the negotiating and drafting of contracts, estate planning (including drafting of testamentary and living wills), civil and criminal litigation, incorporation of businesses as for profit or non-profit, attaining 501 (c)(3) status under the IRS Code, and providing assistance in attaining certification as a Minority business in the State of Wisconsin. For the past couple of months, Thomas has been letting people in the community know where his office is located and what his new company is all about.
"A lot of people know who I am, but I don't think a lot of them know I made the transition to private practice," Thomas says. "It has a much more personal appeal in that you are dealing with a lot of people directly. Obviously, in the corporate world you are dealing with attorneys and higher-ups."
"I was recruited by the late great Al McGuire," Thomas recalls. "I was the first player to be recruited from the Deep South by Coach McGuire, "He was somewhat eccentric and eclectic, yet he was also very serious and he always gave us good life advice. He was very practical and pragmatic," Thomas remembers. "He didn't treat us like kids. He tried to instruct us on how we should handle ourselves with the media and in our personal life. He used to tell us, 'If you spit on the sidewalk, I'll know about it before you get back in your dorm.'" Thomas remembers Wisconsin being very, very cold coming from the Deep South.
"We had a bit of an uprising my sophomore year," Thomas remembers. "The president would not entertain talks with us about Afro-American studies and an Afro-American Student Union. We all signed a petition to quit." The Respond Movement, as the student-led protest came to be called, featured six Marquette basketball players. "Coach McGuire came to speak to us and tried to bully us to go back to school but we told him that this was something we really believed in," Thomas says.
Thomas went on to graduate from Marquette with a bachelor's of science in Business Administration specializing in economics. In 1975, he received his JD law degree from Marquette University. He was employed by Marquette as its first Affirmative Action Officer from August 1975 until September 1977. His duties included the authorship, implementation, and monitoring of its first affirmative action plan. The duties also included the preparation and filing of all the required reports.
He accepted a position with Wick Building Systems, Inc. (Mazomanie, Wisconsin) in September 1977, as the Regional Industrial Relations Manager. Those duties included writing and implementing employment policies; recruiting and interviewing individuals for management positions; implementing programs in employee relations; assisting in the defense of EEO lawsuits and handling unemployment compensation hearings. He remained with Wick Building Systems until April 1979.
Thomas held several positions afterwards in the Office of General Counsel for Madison's CUNA Mutual Insurance Group from July 1979 to February 1997. His legal responsibilities included retaining outside attorneys/firms to defend the Group and its affiliate companies against lawsuits filed in various federal, state and local courts or administrative agencies; retaining and coordinating all efforts of outside counsel in the defense of insured credit unions, members of credit union staff and members of credit union boards of directors when sued in various states or federal courts. He also provided legal counsel and opinions to Credit Insurance Division on matters pertaining to credit disability insurance, credit life insurance, and corresponding contracts.
Mr. Thomas joined the Wisconsin Department of Justice as an Assistant Attorney General from July 1997 until June 1999. His duties included trying civil cases in federal and state courts, responding to writs of certiorari filed in the courts of appeal by inmates; responding to Chapter 227 petitions for review of agency decisions to the circuit courts; arguing before the courts of appeals or various other legal tasks as assigned by the Attorney General.
Since September 1999, Mr. Thomas has served as the Assistant Executive Director for the Genesis Development Corporation. Thomas' current duties at Genesis include directing the Minority Apprenticeship Program (MAP) for the construction industry, directing the day-to-day operations of the various social services programs for the corporation, and assisting in the purchase of commercial property to start a business incubator program. For how does tramadol work meeting numerous other tenants in the building and surrounding community members after taking up office again at Genesis. He emphasizes that Thomas Law Offices has a flexible and equitable fee arrangements for their clients.
"Experience has taught me that the best attorney/client relations are established when both parties are financially vested in the case from the start," Thomas says.
Thomas is coming back to the community to help as many people as possible and show all of the good things that lawyers have to offer. Too often, lawyers are vilified in the media or the punchline of a sarcastic joke.
"They don't often report on the lawyer of the year with 'x' amount of pro-bono service to the community," Thomas says. "They don't report on all the good things that lawyers do. It's always the bad things. "One thing that I've learned over the years is that in some way some legal person's work has benefited us from the cradle to the grave," Thomas adds.
He is married to Gloria J. Thomas, Assistant Legal Counsel for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, and they have 2 teenage children. He is also a long-time member of the Mt. Zion Baptist Church.