Donna L. Ginzl
Donna has been representing people in Central Wisconsin for over 25 years as they battle some of the most traumatic and emotional legal challenges a person can face: divorce and family law disputes, personal injury, and being a defendant in a criminal case. For the past several years, Donna’s practice has been almost exclusively devoted to family law, including divorce, paternity actions, child custody and placement disputes, property division, child support, and maintenance.
Donna’s approach to legal advocacy is listening, counseling, and preparing: listening to her clients to identify their legal concerns and desired outcomes, counseling her clients to establish realistic goals and expectations, and preparing by gathering the necessary facts and reviewing and researching the applicable law to negotiate or litigate the best results possible for her clients. From the first client meeting, Donna is preparing for trial because she has learned that this is one of the most effective ways to reach a favorable settlement. If settlement negotiations fail, Donna has decades of litigation experience that has made her a tough and formidable trial attorney.
Donna does not just represent adult parties; she is also a passionate advocate for children, in her personal as well as her professional life. Donna has been a legal advocate for children in juvenile and children’s court and has frequently been appointed by Judges and Court Commissioners in Portage County to act as Guardian ad Litem to represent the best interests of minor children who are involved in family law disputes.
Donna also serves as a mediator for parties who jointly retain her to help them mediate mutually acceptable agreements to resolve their family law disputes. Regardless if she is a mediator, a parent’s advocate attorney, or a Guardian ad Litem representing the best interests of children, Donna is always mindful of the importance of minimizing the emotional cost that is inherent in her practice areas.
Donna is proud to be a member of the legal profession and is grateful for the clients who entrust her to represent them in legal matters that can impact some of the most important aspects of their lives such as their children, and their present and future financial security. Donna is one of approximately thirty Wisconsin family law attorney fellows in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML). As stated on the AAML website, “to be represented by a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers is to be represented by a leading practitioner in the field of family law. . . . Fellows across the United States are generally recognized by judges and attorneys as preeminent family law practitioners with a high level of knowledge, skill and integrity. Academy Fellows enjoy a reputation for professionalism, competence and integrity.”
Donna currently serves as a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin Family Law Section Board. As a board member, Donna is chair of the annual Family Law Workshop in Door County and the section’s communications committee. She is also an active member of the Board’s legislative committee and diversity and inclusion committee. Donna has presented at State Bar continuing education programs on family law. Additionally, Donna is active in the local bar association, having served as president in 2010. Donna is the local attorney representative to the Portage County Courthouse Facilities and Security Committee and recently joined Portage County’s family law stakeholder committee.
On a personal level, Donna has been married to Brian, her high school sweetheart, for 30 years. Donna and Brian have two adult daughters, Emily and Kathryn. Emily and her husband, Nate, live in Madison. In May 2020, Emily joined Donna as a member of the legal profession. Kathryn is finishing her last year of her undergraduate studies at Gustavus Adolphus College where she will graduate in May 2021 with a BA in history and a double minor in dance and Scandinavian studies.
Donna and Brian are active members of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Plover, and both she and Brian volunteer with a variety of non-profit organizations. In her spare time Donna likes to listen to podcasts, watch TED talks, read (mostly non-fiction) and, as of recently, is obsessed with watching videos on YouTube. Donna and her husband have three adopted rescue dogs, took up photography as a joint “empty nest” hobby, and they enjoy travel, cooking and entertaining.
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (1990)
BA – History with minor in Political Science
University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School (1994)
Fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
Member of the American Bar Association
Member of the Family Law Section of the American Bar Association
Board Member of the Family Law Section of the Wisconsin Bar Association
Door County Family Law Workshop Committee – Chair
Communications Committee – Chair
Legislative Committee – Member
Diversity and Inclusion Committee – Member
Member of the Wisconsin Bar Association
Member of the Family Law Section of the Wisconsin Bar Association
Blog writer for the State Bar Family Law Section
Member of the Portage County Bar Association (President in 2010)
Local Bar Association Attorney Liaison to Portage County Courthouse Facility and Security Committee
Member Portage County Family Law Stakeholders Committee
Big Brother Big Sisters
Former President and board member
Childcaring Central Wisconsin Early Education Resources
Current Vice President and board member
Crossways Camping Ministries
Former President and board member
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Former Adult Forum Coordinator
Founding member and former board member
“When I went through my divorce I felt that I was not alone. Donna walked me through the different aspects of the divorce and child custody agreement. There were areas that I focused on that were important to me, but if it had not been for Donna, I would have overlooked other important issues. I feel that because of Donna’s hard work and dedication on my case my life is less stressful because of what was included in my divorce decree and custody agreement.” E.H.
“I didn’t realize how much I didn’t know about navigating the scary waters of divorce. Ms. Ginzl was a lifeline for me during one of the darkest periods of my life. Her caring concern and professional knowledge helped me to make informed decisions about not only the big issues, but also the ones that were just big to me. Ms. Ginzl respected by choices even when she felt that they were not in my best interests. She respected me while giving her advice and helped me to make those decisions from an informed perspective. I cannot imagine having gone through my divorce with an attorney who treated me indifferently or just as an anonymous client. I will always be grateful for her support, expertise and friendship.” K.Z.
“Working with Donna Ginzl has been a pleasure. I felt like Donna cared about me and my situation, not just as a lawyer, but as a mother and a friend. She would listen to my concerns and then play out the scenarios that could possibly happen. She would walk me through the steps we were going to take and made sure that I was ok with everything that we did. I could not have asked for a better lawyer and would highly recommend Donna.” L.W.
“Few times in a person’s life are more stressful than divorce and child placement disagreements. While Donna is extremely empathetic with the emotions of her client, she is able to lend clarity to every issue, to maintain the reasonableness necessary to be effective from negotiations to trial, and to call forth from experience and research legal precedents to benefit her clients and their children. Her extensive knowledge of divorce and child placement laws and practices make her an exceptionally fine attorney. Her compassion, well-placed humor, and patience make her an exceptionally fine person.” S.A.
“I was truly blessed to find a lawyer like Donna Ginzl. We usually meet lawyers in some of our darkest moments. These kinds of situations can be very challenging for a lawyer. Not only having to deal with the legal aspects but to work well with the clients personal and emotional needs as well. Donna is one of those lawyers that can do this hands down. My divorce was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life. I needed a lawyer that I could trust to look out for the best needs of my family. There is always give and take in these cases. Donna did an excellent job in presenting me with all the facts and options that I needed to make my final decisions. I felt confident and comfortable with all the decisions I needed to make. I always felt like my case was her top priority. She always respected my choices and decisions. There were times that we even needed to work in the evenings or weekends. She was willing to sacrifice her own time for me. I really felt like I was dealing with a friend. She was there every step of the way for my family. I cannot express enough the gratitude I have for Donna, her support, her professionalism and her friendship.” R.P.
“I am writing to commend Attorney Donna L. Ginzl for the work she had provided me in the past. I was fortunate enough to retain her services during a very trying time of my life. Attorney Ginzl was more than professional in her work. She was kind, considerate, and most importantly, understanding of my needs. She demonstrated proficiency of the inner–workings of the law in my case and her attorney work is unmatched. I was impressed with her attention to detail and follow-through. Her knowledge of the law and the ability to effectively problem solve places Mrs. Ginzl as a top attorney in her field. Her work far exceeded my expectations.” M.E.
“Donna handled my divorce recently. The aspect of her counsel that impressed me the most was her attentiveness. There were no distractions or other interruptions. She was there for me and clearly made me feel my case was important to her and her firm. There were times when I wanted to bull ahead, but she cautioned me at these times citing obstacles that would likely present themselves that I could not envision. I had my ideas of how to get what I felt I deserved and she patiently educated me on the realities of the court system. She, of course, worked hard on my case, but she also spent a lot of time on smaller issues that she didn’t really have to do. For a professional, knowledgeable personable and hardworking attorney, Donna Ginzl fits the profile well..” R.M.