Court of Appeals
District II (1983-2007); Deputy Chief Judge (1998-2007); Presiding Judge (1990-1993, 2001-2003)
Judge Neal Nettesheim began his legal career in 1966 as a private practitioner after graduating from Marquette University Law School. He began his judicial career in 1975 when he was elected to a newly created branch of the then county courts for Waukesha County. He became a circuit judge for Waukesha County under court reorganization and was re-elected in 1980 and 1986. He served as Presiding Judge in the Criminal Division of the Waukesha County circuit courts until his assignment to the civil division.
Judge Nettesheim was appointed to the Court of Appeals, District II, in 1984, was elected in the ensuing election, and was regularly re-elected until his retirement at the end of 2007. During his years on the court of appeals, Judge Nettesheim served a number of terms as Presiding Judge in District 2 and also served as Deputy Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals during his final nine years on the court.
Judge Nettesheim is very devoted to the judicial education program of Wisconsin. He served as Dean of the Wisconsin Judicial College from 1987-1993 and also was a regular instructor at the College. He served as a faculty advisor at the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada. In addition, he taught at many judicial education and State Bar programs and has lectured at both the University of Wisconsin and Marquette University law schools .
Judge Nettesheim also served as a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin Bench Bar Committee, the New Judge Orientation Committee, the Wisconsin State Bar Mentor Council, the Judicial Conduct Advisory Committee, and the Committee On the Politicizing of the Judiciary. He chaired the Wisconsin Judicial Conference in 1983, 1997 and 1998. He has also authored articles in the Wisconsin Journal of Family Law and the Wisconsin Lawyer magazine. Most recently, Judge Nettesheim travelled to the Ukraine where he was part of a teaching team instructing the Ukraine judiciary on appellate structure and opinion writing.
Judge Nettesheim has received various awards and recognitions, including the Wisconsin Supreme Court's Distinguished Service Award for his leadership in the field of judicial education, the 2008 Wisconsin Leaders in the Law Award and the State Bar of Wisconsin's Lifetime Achievement Award.
Although retired, Judge Nettesheim is continuing his legal and judicial career, serving as a consultant to lawyers and law firms on trial and appellate issues and assisting the trial courts of Wisconsin in a reserve judge capacity. For enjoyment, Judge Nettesheim pursues his "other life" – playing the piano and travelling with his wife, Mary Lee.