Based on 5 reviews
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I have tried to put the unpleasant experience of working with Janet Heins behind me but after viewing her latest site indicating she was "Wisconsin's Leading Employment Attorney" I decided to share my thoughts on what it was like having her as my lawyer. I felt that she did a horrible job of representing me , in fact it was so bad that I asked for all of my money back that I paid to her on a retainer.
My case was handed off to four different attorneys during the time her law firm represented me which caused several key points to be missed that eventually resulted in losing this case. I found Ms Heins to be disorganized , late on virtually everything , and at times just plain rude and disrespectful. She was consistently unprepared for depositions which opposing council seized upon as a weakness and used to their advantage. Throughout the handling of my case she expressed over confidence in her own abilities and underestimated and downplayed the expertise and tenacity of opposing outside council and the company's legal department.
I was presented a $ 3800 surprise bill during mediation that absolutely floored me . I am not sure if she is dishonest or just so disorganized that she omits things that are very important to her clients , especially when thousands of dollars are at stake.
In my opinion , Janet Heins is a legend in her own mind but in reality she is not ready for prime time. If I had a friend or relative who was looking for an employment law attorney I would advise them to pick anyone but her to represent them .
Just completed (lost) a case on Appeal from Summary judgement. Attorney Heins took my case on a contingency because it was so strong. In addition, she asked for $7500 to be applied to her fee (when we won). At the time, I did not know this is illegal for attorneys to do in Wisconsin or I would have went elsewhere. Now she refuses to give me the $7500 back saying she "earned the fee" even though she lost the case and took it on a 1/3 contingency.
As for handling the case. We had two causes of action. The first was dropped (against my wishes) because her associate was leaving, and he failed to do almost all of the necessary Discovery. The second cause of action was a short cut based on a gross misinterpretation of the law and one I vehemently disagreed with. We had an incredibly strong case in law and in fact. Their response was "you aren't an attorney and you don't know the law". Subsequently, we were essentially laughed out of Court at the trial and appellate level. This is not sour grapes. We had such an airtight case that she was willing to take it on contingency. Her Associate said he'd never "guarantee a win but it's 99.9% in our favor".
I do not say this lightly but Attorney Heins is unethical and handled my case in an incompetent matter. Avoid her at all costs.
She took over from another lawyer who had not managed to accomplish any movement. As soon as she started to represent me, there were clear indications of movement in the case - clear indications that she was completely capable and clear indications that she treated the case and me with respect and understanding. She never filed anything without consultation or anything requiring my signature and she never missed any deadlines!!!
Janet is perhaps the most unethical and untrustworthy attorney I have ever come across. Janet did NOT keep current on changes in the law. In fact, I had to bring changes to the law to Janet's attention. Janet took a $20,000 retainer from me and was to receive 1/3 of the proceeds. Janet fabricated a justification to withdraw from my case and keep the $20,000. In fact, Janet had to enter into a diversion agreement (like probation) with the Office of Lawyer Regulation for falsely withdrawing from my case and keeping the $20,000. Janet, lists my case on her website as an accomplishment. Truth, Janet had absolutely nothing to do with my Federal case. In fact, the Federal case would never have been filed unless the other attorney in the office (James Walcheske) told her the law had changed and my case should be filed. On top of all that, when I won my case in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, Janet Had already withdrawn and kept all of my $20,000.
Janet has demonstrated to me that she is not competent in the newest areas of Employment law (my cases application of Civil RICO in retaliation employment disputes). Janet in fact breached our contract for legal representation when she withdrew without cause. Janet fabricated a cause to withdraw that was shown to be a fabrication which is why she entered into a diversion agreeement with the Office of Lawyer Regulation. Janet was NOT responsive to my case and in fact let the case sit for over a year. Numerous times I would call Janet and leave messages without any return call. I would need to call Janet at least three or four times before getting to speak with her. It got to the point that i would wait and only call once a month and even then I would have difficulty getting in touch with her. Janet was so out of touch with changes in the law that I did my own legal research. After doing my own legal research, I had to demand a meeting with Janet to discuss the legal research. On the very day of the meeting, Janet called to cancel the meeting because she said "it looks like you may be right". That took over six months and every time I called I was ignored by her. Only after demanding a meeting did James Walcheske join her office and he independently told Janet that I was correct on the change in the law. I would not recommend anyone engage her services unless you are searching for more of a headache and more problems than you already have. Janet will NOT be committed to your case and fight and will only look out for her own interest. In short, Janet absolutely cannot be trusted as legal counsel. I am happy to provide more information to anyone that is interested in hearing more facts. Feel free to search me out and contact me. My name is Mike DeGuelle.
Worst experience imaginable. Did nothing to help my case and everything to hurt it. Was not honest with me and communication was very poor. Since cutting ties, have had other attorneys review how Heins handled my case. All agree the actions of Heins were very questionable and detrimental to my case. Beware of being sold on all four attorneys working together for your benefit. It only means you are being billed by four attorneys instead of one, so the benefit is financial and it's not your benefit.