- Child Custody
- Spousal Support
About Joanna Fraczek
(also known as Joanna Gibelev)
A message directly from Joanna:
I experienced divorce firsthand. After migrating here from Poland, with all of my immediate family members still across the ocean, the only family I had here (my soon-to-be ex-husband’s) was suddenly gone. I had to rely on my tight group of friends and a solid group of professionals to carry me through.
I cannot overstate how much I appreciated my divorce attorney’s assistance. It was thanks to her that a reasonable dialog, constructive approach and emotional balance prevailed. My divorce ended swiftly and with no unnecessary delay or waste of resources. Just as I received the best possible assistance as a client, I strive to serve my clients with the best possible assistance.
When I can truly relate to a problem, it's easy to do my best work with passion and dedication. As the saying goes, “What goes around comes around.” When I needed help most, someone was there to help me and now it is my job and mission to give back.
As a legal professional, my entire career has been in public service. I started as an intern at the Milwaukee Public Defender’s Office and moved on to the Milwaukee City Attorney’s Office where I started as a paralegal until becoming certified to practice law in the State of Wisconsin in 2013.
Throughout my years with the city, I worked with Milwaukee citizens facing a variety of hardships including home foreclosures, bankruptcies, prosecution for municipal violations, and more. It taught me to be sensitive to a wide spectrum of issues that I never experienced myself.
As a public servant, it was not only my job but also my passion to find solutions and solve problems for individuals who were facing either life-changing events like foreclosure or events that are often intimidating, scary or embarrassing, such as appearing at the Municipal Court on a theft ticket.
For me, as the prosecutor, working in this capacity was a boot camp of empathy, effective communication skills, and taking creative approaches to individual problems. It was necessary for me to utilize all the tools at my disposal to deter from future misconduct and rehabilitate and change behaviors in these individuals.
I give back to my community by actively participating as a member of several professional organizations and local Polish heritage groups. It consumes a lot of time and energy, but in return, brings me immense personal and professional satisfaction when I see the fruits of that effort. For example:
- Together with the Association for Women Lawyers, I co-chaired a recent mentoring event for Marquette law students. To my knowledge, three of them connected with their future employers.
- As the co-chair of the Wisconsin Women in Government-Southeast, I work hard to create a platform for professional women in southeast Wisconsin to network and connect around the issues of empowering women in their leadership roles. The issue of women finding their voice in a professional setting is particularly close to my heart. I was fortunate to have amazing mentors throughout my education and career, both men and women, and I cannot overstate the importance of a great leader and mentor as a part of my own success. Because of that, it is now my turn to engage my own connections and resources to create opportunities for other women who need a hand.
- Being born and raised in Poland I dearly miss my hometown, Lublin. This nostalgia is a driving force for all my efforts in ‘making the ocean smaller’ by connecting Wisconsin and Lublin Region on as many levels as I possibly can. When I am succeeding, it feels like Poland and the U.S. are two neighboring states. Recently I co-organized the first official visit of WI legislators, business owners and representatives of local Polish heritage organizations to Lublin for a Polish-American Congress hosted by the Governor of the Lublin Region and the University of John Paul II. I couldn’t be more proud of having made this connection.
Why I Practice Law:
I knew as early as high school that I wanted to become an attorney. I graduated in 2007 from the University of Maria Curie-Skłodowska in Lublin, Poland. I immigrated to the United States shortly thereafter and was not able to practice. I also didn’t have any friends, family or professional network to help me get on the professional path.
While working odd jobs, I enrolled in a paralegal program at MATC, primarily to meet people in the legal field. This quickly landed me my internship at the Public Defender’s Office, which led to a job with the City Attorney’s Office. Two years later I wrote a petition to the State Bar Examiners to allow me to take the bar exam, estimating that my chances for a positive response were close to one in a million.
It feels great when you are that ‘one’ in a million. I never won big in the lottery, but that is probably a good analogy to how it felt. I took the bar exam and passed it. It wasn't easy for me to become a lawyer here, but I am determined and if I truly believe in something, I will diligently, patiently and exceptionally hard to accomplish what I have set my eyes on. This is most true when I advocate for my clients.
Maria Curie-Sklodowska University
Doctor of Jurisprudence, J.D. (2007)
The Master of Laws, LL.M (2007)
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