Stephen P. Hurley

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Steve Hurley is a trial lawyer. People come to him when they have a serious problem that needs to be fixed; whether it’s a criminal charge or a civil complaint. Highly regarded for his ability to solve problems and to try cases, Steve was nominated and elected by his peers to the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers and, for a decade, has been selected as one of the Top 10 Lawyers in Wisconsin by Superlawyers®. His reputation earns him many referrals from colleagues for both criminal and civil cases. Since 1989 he has also been an Adjunct Professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School teaching evidence and trial advocacy.

When it comes to appearing in court Steve says, “First, I care about my client. It’s the only way one can accomplish anything. Second, I prepare. What you see in court is a show—not one line is unrehearsed. Liken it to a play written, produced and performed by one person for one show. One can’t be successful without preparation.”

Best Lawyers
Avvo DUI 100% Rating
Feature ArticlesHurley for the Defense
Isthmus, 2007
When Honesty is Not Best Politics
American Bar Association Journal, 2007
Rainy Day Man
Wisconsin Super Lawyers® Magazine, 2008

Practice Areas

  • Criminal Defense in State and Federal Court
  • Complex Civil Litigation in State and Federal Court

Bar Admissions
U.S. District Court Eastern District of Wisconsin
U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois
U.S. District Court Western District of Wisconsin
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
Supreme Court of the United States of America

University of Illinois College of Law, Champaign, Illinois, J.D.
Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois, B.A.

Honors & Awards

The Wisconsin Law Foundation’s Charles I. Goldberg Distinguished Service Award. Presented to a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin who has a long-standing record of service to both the legal profession and to the public

The Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ William Coffee Award. Presented for exceptional contributions to professionalism in the field of criminal justice

The University of Wisconsin Law School’s Warren L. Stolper Award to the Most Outstanding Adjunct Member of the Instructional Staff

Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers

The Best Lawyers In America®, 1995-present: White Collar and Nonwhite Collar Defense

Super Lawyer®, 2005 – present; among the Top 10 for ten years

Benchmark Litigation, 2014-2015

Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Legal Defense Service, 1994

Academy of Television Arts and Sciences certificate for contributions to the television drama series Picket Fences, 1992-1993

Professional Associations & Memberships
Chair, Board of Federal Defender Services Wisconsin Inc., 2009-2013
Former Member of the Board Directors, Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
President, Board of Trustees, Madison Opera, 2010-2012
Member, Editorial Advisory Board, Wisconsin Defender
Member, Dane County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
Member, Dane County Bar Association
Member, State Bar of Wisconsin
Chairman, Wisconsin Education Fund (U.S. Representative Scott Klug), 1992-1994
Former Chairman, Western District Bar Association, Standing Committee on Criminal Justice
Master Bencher, American Inns of Court, James E. Doyle Chapter, 1992-1999

Community Involvement
Steve is active on non-profit boards and has served as President of two organizations. He has also been deeply committed for over 25 years to the University of Wisconsin Law School, having served as an adjunct professor and on various committees.

Representative Cases
People ex rel. Rice v. Cunningham, 336 N.E.2d 1 (Ill. 1975).
Green v. Associated Milk Producers, 692 F.2d 1153 (8th Cir. 1982).
County of Door v. Hayes-Brook, 449 N.W.2d 601 (Wis. 1989).
Jackson v. Benson, 578 N.W.2d 602 (Wis. 1998).
Uhl v. Zalk Josephs Fabricators, Inc., 121 F.3d 1133 (7th Cir. 1997).
State v. Wulff, 557 N.W.2d 813 (Wis. 1997).
State v. Hicks, 549 N.W.2d 435 (Wis. 1996).
State v. Hicks, 536 N.W.2d 487 (Wis. 1995).
DeWitt, Porter, Huggett, Schumacher & Morgan, S.C. v. Kovalic, 991 F.2d 1243 (7th Cir. 1993).
State of Wisconsin ex rel. Individual Subpoenaed to Appear at Waukesha County v. Davis, 2005 WI 70, 281 Wis. 2d 431, 697 N.W.2d 803.
United States v. Thompson, 484 F.3d 877 (7th Cir. 2007).

Stand and Deliver: Tips on Trying Your First Case, American Bar Association Journal Podcast (May 7, 2012)

Best in Show: Admissibility of Police Dog Evidence., Hurley, Burish & Stanton (2011)

Can Defense Counsel Ethically Breach A Plea Agreement?, Wisconsin Defender (Reprinted in Plea Bargaining and Penology: An Appraisal, M.N. Bhavani, ed., 2008, Amicus Books of Icfai University Press) (June 2005)

“Sharp Practice:” The Use of Section 908.01(4)(b) Admission by Party-Opponent to Hoist A Prosecutor By His Own Words, or the Lessons of State v. Cardenas-Hernandez, Wisconsin Defender (December 1999)

The Attorney-Client Privilege: The Self Defense Exception To The Attorney-Client Privilege, Wisconsin Defender (January 1998)

Straw, Sticks or Bricks: How Strong is the Attorney-Client Privilege? A Cautionary Tale for Defense Counsel, Wisconsin Defender (June 1998)

Defense Juvenile Case in Wisconsin (1993)

Wisconsin Criminal Defense Manual (1992)

ABA National Institute on White Collar Crime, March 4, 2015

University of Wisconsin Law School: Evidence and Trial Advocacy, 1989 – present

Introduction to the American Legal System, East China University of Political Science and Law, Shanghai, China, 2011-2014; Thamassat University, Bangkok, Thailand, 2015.

K-9 Dogs and Drug Searches, Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Appleton, Wisconsin, September 30, 2011

K-9 Dogs and Drug Searches, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Seminar, Las Vegas, Nevada, November 19, 2009

Crossing Dogs: Drug Dogs, Cadaver Dogs, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Seminar, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, August 1, 2008

Doggone Dogma: Dogs, Alerts & Admissibility, Dane County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, April 8, 2008

Wisconsin Evidence Workshop, Professional Educations Systems, Inc., 1992 – 2004

American Jurisdiction over Foreign Business, National Cheng Chi University, Taiwan, 1996