The Lincoln Lawyer is a fictional character, a Los Angeles attorney who conducts business in the back of his car.
Now, meet the Tesla Attorney.
His name is Michael Sperling, a Milwaukee lawyer who runs a downtown firm.
After a recent trip to California, a center of the coronavirus outbreak, Sperling didn’t want to take chances and decided to practice a limited self-quarantine.
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He didn’t go into the office.
Instead, he commuted to work from his home in Mequon and parked outside the office, in the parking ramp at 101 E. Wisconsin Ave.
“It’s amazing how much work you can get done in the car,” Sperling said Friday, finishing up the workweek right where he began it, in the driver’s seat of his 2018 Tesla.
Sperling has been conducting video conferences, going over key paperwork and checking mail.
A lot of legal business can be conducted on the cloud.
But someone has to sign the checks and company letters.
Especially when he’s the boss.
Sperling oversees a firm with 24 employees that specializes in personal injury cases.
“People just have to find creative solutions,” he said.
He was dressed legal casual: camel hair overcoat, open collar shirt, slacks and winged tips. And during an interview, he made sure to keep a six-foot distance.
Sperling and his wife, Peggy Kirkeeng, recently competed in the National Husband and Wife Grass Courts tennis tournament in Palm Springs, Calif. They finished fourth in a senior division.
On March 14, they flew home to Milwaukee, finding a lot of things had changed while they were away.
After being in California the question was: should he self-quarantine?
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services recommended those who had been to California self-quarantine for two weeks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not have a similar recommendation, Sperling said.
He also checked with his doctor.
Sperling said there was no way he could go into the office but he decided on the alternative course, to hunker down in his car.
“I’ve had no symptoms,” he said. “I’m 100 percent healthy, six days out.”
The only way he could make it work was with the help of Anne Schmidt, a legal assistant who has been with the firm 12 years.
A couple of times a day, Schmidt came down from the office with paper for Sperling to sign.
She also brought him lunch and coffee.
“My kids were like, ‘okay,’ ” Schmidt said. “My brother thought it was hilarious.”
When handling the paperwork, Sperling wore rubber gloves, just in case.
Sperling hasn’t yet figured out how he’ll work in the coming days. Eight or so attorneys and staff have been in the office. But he’s considering having the staff go fully remote.
Still, working out of the car hasn’t been so bad.
“I think it’s a great solution,” he said. “At home, I would have been so much less productive.”
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