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Craig Mastantuono Oct. 29, 2010

Mastantuono’s Goal: To Keep Kids Out of TroubleOctober 28, 2010By Rick Benedict, Wisconsin Law Journal

In the competitive legal profession, having a name that stands out doesn’t hurt.

But Milwaukee lawyer Craig A. Mastantuono offers much more to clients than just a memorable combination of consonants and vowels.

Since 1992, the criminal defense lawyer has successfully represented citizens in state and federal court, beginning with his time in the State Public Defender’s Office defending people facing drug prosecutions.

He started Mastantuono Law Office SC in 1999 and has successfully challenged the state’s concealed carry law and also defends children charged with delinquent or criminal behavior.

Mastantuono has said that he would prefer to never have to defend another child facing criminal allegations. To that end, he helped establish the annual fundraiser Lawyers for Boys & Girls and also the Lawyer Life Coaching Project, which pairs attorneys with children from the Boys & Girls Clubs for mentoring.

This week, Mastantuono shares his thoughts on the profession and also taps into his inner child for Asked & Answered.

Wisconsin Law Journal: If you could develop one CLE course for credit, what would it be about?

Craig A. Mastantuono: I’m a criminal defense lawyer. A topic rarely CLE’d in this area: Teaching Clients How to Say ‘I’m Sorry’ During Allocution at a Sentencing Hearing. They’re really on the spot at that moment, and almost any ordinary person can mess that moment up. Of course, the larger topic of criminal sentencing hearings is also one I rarely see CLE’d well.

WLJ: What can you spend hours doing that isn’t law-related?

Mastantuono: Dining and socializing out and road biking.

WLJ: What is your favorite website and why?

Mastantuono: I don’t know about favorite, but I’m on JSOnline a lot. I like my local news as its happening. Facebook too – it’s mental French fries.

WLJ: Which actor would play you in a movie and why?

Mastantuono: One who isn’t too expensive. If they’re making a movie about me, we’re on a low budget.

WLJ: What is one thing attorneys should know that they won’t learn in law school?

Mastantuono: Anticipate and know your audience, whether court, counsel, or client.

WLJ: What is the first concert you went to?

Mastantuono: Rush at the Rosemont Horizon in Chicago, 1984. Embarrassing. Such a typical male teen.

WLJ: If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would it be and why?

Mastantuono: Mayor Richard M. Daley of Chicago. My dream job in my hometown.

WLJ: What is the hardest thing to tell a client?

Mastantuono: That they are in trouble. Hearing that creates the same anxiety in us as when we were kids. That doesn’t change.

WLJ: What is the one luxury item you cannot live without?

Mastantuono: Navigation system on my car. Once I got one, couldn’t go back.

WLJ: If you were State Bar President for a day and could make one permanent change to the profession, what would it be?

Mastantuono: I’d make every prosecutor spend a month representing people accused of crime. Perspective can be an amazing thing.