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Our History

The Law Center for Children & Families was founded in 2002 by Lynn Bodi, Carol Gapen, and Judy Sperling-Newton who met as attorneys at Stafford Rosenbaum LLP. They felt that the clients of their boutique practice serving children and families would be well-served by a more specialized law firm. The firm’s roots were in adoption, assisted reproduction, and fighting for the rights of children of LGBTQ families in Wisconsin.

At the time the firm was forming, Nancy Winter and her father, Jay Winter (practicing together as Winter Law Office), needed to relocate as their office was being replaced by the “new courthouse.” Winter Law Office has served the Madison and Oregon communities from one generation to the next in real estate, life and estate planning, probate, and advising businesses. Lynn and Nancy had known each other since law school and co-counseled a number of personal injury cases together. It was natural to join with the expertise of Winter Law Office in an office share and collaborative working arrangement.

The law firms did so for over a decade. In 2013, The Law Center for Children & Families and Winter Law Office officially merged and became The Law Center, S.C. The Law Center has two offices: one in Madison, Wisconsin, and the other in Oregon, Wisconsin, where we continue to serve the Oregon community.

Shortly before 2002, the three founders of The Law Center were involved in starting Adoptions of Wisconsin, Inc. (“AOW”), a Wisconsin-licensed adoption agency. In fact, its beginning was delayed when its insurance application was at the World Trade Center awaiting approval and was destroyed in the terrorist attack.

Lynn is now the sole owner and operator of AOW. In 2002, the three women also founded The Surrogacy Center, LLC, a surrogacy coordinating program. Lynn sold her interest in The Surrogacy Center in 2017, concentrating now on the firm’s substantial surrogacy law practice versus management of a coordinating program.

From its inception, The Law Center has been significantly connected to the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys (“AAAA”), an organization of highly vetted attorneys dedicated to the competent and ethical practice of adoption and assisted reproduction law. Four attorneys of The Law Center have been Fellows of the Academy, one has been President and Director of the assisted reproduction division of the Academy, two have been Vice Presidents, and three have served on the Board of Trustees.

The Law Center has grown and continues to grow. The owners of The Law Center (also called partners or shareholders), are Lynn Bodi, Nancy Winter, Emily Dudak Leiter, and Sara Vanden Brook. We also added associates Kristi Baker and Anne Daugherty-Leiter (no relation to Emily, just an interesting coincidence). There were other changes. Jay Winter passed away at the age of 84, and Judy and Carol moved on to retirement.

One thing that has not changed: our sleep at night test. This test originated early on to help us evaluate the cases that come to us. We will not accept a case where winning would not be in the best interests of the child involved; in other words, where we would not be able to sleep at night. We ask ourselves: if we win, will it be good for the child?

If the answer is yes, then we gather our resources and our team gets to work. This means that we have accepted many difficult cases where winning was very important to the child involved. This also means that we turn cases away. We believe in practicing law with a conscience. This means we are also dedicated to providing a modern, healthy, family-friendly work environment for our employees.

Our boutique law firm has grown with and adapted to the times. We are proud that we can help families with a wide variety of legal matters that affect them, including emerging legal areas and non-family law matters such as property and business. Your family and business depend on you. You can depend on us.

Photos on this page are copyrighted by Todd Klassy Photography, All Rights Reserved, 2020.