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Corner Man


By Jim Walsh



Former cop Ed Harness is empathetic and unintimidated


Published in Wisconsin Rising Stars 2009 — December 2009


When the going gets tough, Ed Harness looks at his hand.


“I can look down and see where I had stitches from somebody who tried to hit me with an axe handle,” says the former military and Milwaukee policeman-turned-bankruptcy attorney, describing an incident from his days on the force. “I hit him in the mouth, and his tooth cut my hand, my finger. Going into dark basements, experiencing near-death, fire scenes, shootings; it puts things in perspective. While helping people with debt problems, it never gets to that level, but sometimes you have to talk people off the ledge a little bit.”


These days more than ever. To be sure, as the economy has tanked and bankruptcy filings have skyrocketed, Harness approaches his work at Harness Law Offices in Milwaukee in much the same way he did when he worked as a civil servant.


“That’s central to how we operate here,” he says. “We take very seriously an obligation to the public and to our clients to inform them and get them good information so they can make good decisions. I’ve had hard economic times, so has the staff, and we empathize with people. We are really squarely against the credit industry and the way they operate their business.”


Not a bad guy to have in your corner against a system that can make even an honest taxpayer feel like a loser.


“I tell people that their family economic decision is no different than a business economic decision,” says Harness. “They deserve to have the protection just as much as General Motors or Chrysler or any of the big companies. But for some reason, personal bankruptcy has been allowed to be framed as some sort of moral decision, when it’s not. It’s an economic decision.”


Harness played baseball in college for Cal Poly Pomona, got interested in law when he took a few business law classes, but ran out of tuition money. In the army for six years, he became an MP, got married and divorced, and moved to Milwaukee to be close to his children. In Milwaukee, he became a police officer while attending Concordia College and then went on to law school at Marquette University.


Harness’ Web site,, is a valuable tool for reeling Midwesterners, as is Harness himself. “I think I have a certain demeanor; a certain calmness, confidence, I guess, [that can assist] in interactions with clients, opposing counsel, the day-to-day workings of being a lawyer,” he says. “Having experienced things as a police officer, I probably am not as intimidated. I have a higher level of tolerance for conflict and frustration that I see in people, and I think that helps me in my position as a mediator as well.


“I learned early on in my police career that it’s certainly easier to talk your way out of things.”


Published in Wisconsin Rising Stars 2009 — December 2009


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Practice areas


  1. Bankruptcy: 100%
    16 years, 650 cases



Fixed (always), Free consultation (30 minutes)

Payment types:

Cash, Check

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Contact info

Harness Law Offices

PO Box 1276
Milwaukee, WI, 53201-1276


WIGood Standing200003/23/2015
We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
Top Rated AttorneysM' Milwaukee Lifestyle Magazine2015
State of Wisconsin Top 10 AttorneyNational Academy for Bankruptcy Attorneys2014
Top Rated AttorneysM Milwaukee's Lifestyle Magazine2014
Top Rated AttorneysM Milwaukee's Lifestyle Magazine2013
Top Rated AttorneysM Milwaukee's Lifestyle Magazine2012
Wisconsin Rising Star 2010Law & Politics Magazine2010
SuperLawyers Wisconsin Rising Star 2009Law & Politics Magazine2009
SuperLawyers Wisconsin Rising Star 2008Law & Politics Magazine2008
Work experience
TitleCompany nameDuration
AttorneyLagmann, Inc.2015 - Present
Attorney & Counselor at LawHarness Law Offices, LLC2001 - Present
Director - Dispute Resolution CenterBetter Business Bureau of Wisconsin1999 - 2001
Police OfficerMilwaukee Police Department1991 - 1997
Association namePosition nameDuration
National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law EnforcementRegular Member2014 - Present
Department of Veterans AffairsAccredited Attorney2013 - Present
National Organization of Veterans' AdvocatesAttorney Member2013 - Present
Whitefish Bay Police CommissionVice Chair2007 - Present
National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy AttorneysAttorney2005 - Present
Eastern District of Wisconsin Bar AssociationMember2000 - Present
State Bar of Wisconsin, Alternative Dispute Resolution SectionBoard Member2001 - 2005
Wisconsin Association of MediatorsTreasurer1999 - 2011
Legal cases
Case nameOutcome
In re Patton et alPetitioner's 524 (i) language approved
In re CrawfordVehicle's Negative Equity Not Protected - 1325 (a)
In re CregoCouple Entitled to Seperate Housing Expenses
See all legal cases 
Publication nameTitleDate
Wisconsin State Bar: Inside TrackSaving family homes: Is your client eligible for mortgage refinancing or modification under HR 11062009
Wisconsin State Bar: Inside TrackMortgage Modifiers: Beware of Upfont Fees2009
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
Marquette University Law SchoolLawJD - Juris Doctor2000
Concordia UniversityManagement of Criminal Justice OperationsBA - Bachelor of Arts1997
Speaking engagements
Conference nameTitleDate
Assata High SchoolFinancial Literacy2014
Neighbors Teaching NeighborsStrategies for Tough Financial Times2012
NBI-National TeleconferenceUsing Bankruptcy to Prevent Foreclosure2011
Foreclosure Mediation TrainingMortgage Modification Mediation2011
Consumer BankruptcyDrafting Chapter 13 Plans & Bankruptcy Ethics2010
Bankruptcy Advocacy in PracticeStripping Junior Liens or 2nd Mortgages2010
Women's Economic ForumForeclosure Prevention Strategies2009
BICR RetreatChapter 13 plan drafting2009