Margaret Baumgartner

Emeritus Legal Research & Writing Faculty


M.A., University of Wisconsin
J.D., University of Wisconsin

Teaching Areas:
Skills Training

Recently Taught Courses
602 Legal Sources
723 Legal Research & Writing II


Admitted to the Wisconsin Bar in September 1984, Margaret Baumgartner began her legal career litigating matters ranging from divorce to the First Amendment and spending countless hours in court in labyrinthine accountant malpractice litigation. In late 1986, she joined Madison's DeWitt law firm (now DeWitt, Ross & Stevens, S.C.) and was elected a shareholder two years later. There, she concentrated on nationwide business and environmental litigation, handling cases in such areas as civil RICO, franchise and dealership, and environmental insurance. After serving pro bono as an environmental consultant in China, she affiliated "of counsel" with Gagliardi, Nelson & O'Brien, S.C., where she continued to practice law and pursue her international public service interests. 

In 2004, Prof. Baumgartner's public service interests turned to teaching advocacy and writing courses at the UW Law School. In addition to teaching, she also agreed to serve as curriculum adviser for 1L research and writing and did so for several years. In 2012 she returned to teaching full-time in the Legal Research and Writing Program. From 2006 to 2016, seven of her persuasive writing students won the annual Best Brief Competition.

Throughout her law practice, Prof. Baumgartner wrote hundreds of briefs and petitions to trial courts, state appellate courts, the Seventh Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Yet, her interests in teaching and in writing stem, in part, from her experiences before practicing law. An avid student of languages, she studied in Argentina and Germany before transferring to the UW-Madison to study Chinese and Japanese. In graduate school, she did psycholinguistic studies of the Chinese writing system, translated Chinese short stories into English for publication in literary anthologies, received training in language teaching, and taught ESL and writing to foreign students enrolled at the UW. She then taught for a year at the Colegio de Postgraduados in Chapingo, Mexico. Upon her return to Madison, she entered law school and obtained her J.D. after completing an accelerated two-year program.

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