Nielsen is Vilas' next judge
...Eagle River attorney Neal A. "Chip" Nielsen III was named last week as Vilas County's next circuit court judge by Wisconsin Gov.
Elated and still somewhat in shock, Nielsen
said Monday that last week's "life-transforming telephone call" sparked quite a Thanksgiving celebration for the Nielsen family.
"It was a great honor, and above that, a great responsibility and opportunity that I look forward to," Nielsen
...Not only will Nielsen be faced with an election challenge, but a Feb. 17 primary is inevitable now that at least two challengers have declared their intent to run - Eagle River attorney Steve Lucareli and Vilas County District Attorney Al Moustakis.
...Nielsen is vice president and general counsel for Custom Components of Eagle River Inc., and formerly had a general law practice in Eagle River known as Nielsen & Nielsen for 13 years.
The practice included almost every aspect of law, from adoption to zoning.Nielsen is also a member of the Vilas County Board of Supervisors and past president of the Eagle River Rotary Club and the Oneida-Vilas-Forest County Bar Association.Nielsen
wife, and their two children live in Eagle River.
"A judge, particularly in a smaller county, plays a very unique and important role in his
community.It's a job where character, integrity and hard work still matter, and I'll do my very best to uphold the public's trust in our court system," said Nielsen
"I said a careful and thorough process would lead to the selection of the right candidate, and I thought that was me," he
said."I'm looking forward to the citizens of Vilas County
having the same opportunity to review my credentials, experience and character."
The coming days will probably be somewhat of a blur for Nielsen
, who has two weeks to wrap up work at Custom Components
, make the transition to circuit judge and start an election campaign.Many new judges have months between the spring election and when their term begins Aug. 1 to make the transition.
"The whole transition will be an extraordinary challenge," he
said."But Jean Numrich and her
circuit court staff, longtime register in probate Mary Lou Bloch and my legal assistant, Jerrie Van Haverbeke
, are all excellent people with a wealth of experience and knowledge.Their presence makes me feel very comfortable." Nielsen is the son of a longtime Eagle River dentist and grew up in Land O' Lakes.He has been an attorney for 20 years.He
graduated in 1976 from Tufts University
with a bachelor of arts degree in economics and received his
law degree in 1981 from Suffolk University Law School in Boston, Mass. At Suffolk, he
wife, Sharon, who also is a lawyer.
After several years of work with firms in Massachusetts, the two returned to Vilas County
to establish their own practice and raise a family.They practiced under the name Nielsen & Nielsen for nearly 15 years before he accepted a position as general counsel to Custom Components/CornerStone Builders, a longtime client of the firm.He
experience as a lawyer has been varied and extensive, including a lot of appointments as a public defender in his
early years and his
continued representation of criminal defendants throughout his
has been active in professional, civic and community matters.In 2002, he
was elected to the Vilas County Board of Supervisors
to represent part of the towns of Washington and Lincoln
.In addition to being past president of the Eagle River Rotary Club, he has been a member of the board of directors for 15 years.He currently serves as the Rotary Youth Exchange officer and has hosted seven foreign exchange students over the years.Nielsen
has had aspirations to be a judge for a long time, but didn't act because Vilas County
was so well served by Mohr.
"Every applicant will meet that criteria, but the true qualities of a good judge are much harder to quantify: intellect, compassion, fairness, integrity, an abiding love of the law, and a deep respect for the judicial system and the community one serves," said Nielsen