The Village of Salem lakes has hired a new Village Attorney to replace the embattled lawyer, Rich Scholze, who was asked to resign last month. Remzy Bitar, of Municipal Law & Litigation Group, SC has been named as the new top attorney for the Village. If he is unavailable, other attorneys from his firm can sit in to assist the Village. Bitar graduated from the University of Washington Law School in 2001 and was admitted to the Wisconsin bar the same year.
Attorney Bitar was introduced at tonight’s Village Board meeting by Village President Rita Bucur. The group of about 100 residents welcomed Bitar with a warn round of applause.
Bucur, and some other board members, informally sought recommendations for law firms to represent the village. I have worked briefly with Bitar, during my two terms as an Alderman, and have had two public records cases with him, one where we worked together, and the other, where we opposed each other. I was asked which attorney make me nervous going against in court. I answered quickly, “Remzy Bitar.” I knew Bitar to vigorously advocate on behalf of his clients. He has the knowledge of the law, experience, and wisdom required to do a good job. I knew he was a good man for the job, also knowing he has about 14 other attorneys at his firm.
Bitar’s legal career began with a judicial clerkship with the Supreme Court of Missouri for the Honorable Laura Denvir Stith. He then centered his practice around litigation and municipal law, handling all phases of litigation from trial to appeal. He is a member of the Wisconsin Defense Counsel and the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance. In addition to his legal work, Bitar has co-chaired the Milwaukee Bar Association’s Civil Litigation Section and served as President of the Milwaukee Insurance Adjuster’s Association. Bitar also completed membership in the American Inns of Court, an organization of trial lawyers devoted to improving the skills, professionalism, civility and ethics of the bench and bar in our community. A frequent lecturer on topics including municipal, civil rights and constitutional law along with litigation-related matters, Bitar has been honored repeatedly by Wisconsin “Super Lawyers,” the Milwaukee Magazine as a “Best Lawyer” and the Wisconsin Law Journal as a “Leader in the Law.” While Bitar’s clients know he is devoted to them, he tries his best to succeed at the work-life balance. He is a devoted husband, spends as much time as he can with his two boys, and actively involves himself in their youth sports, especially Little League. For 20 years, he has helped organize a MACC Fund Charity Golf Outing. Scout, the family’s goldendoodle, reminds Remzy every day that the best things in life are coming home.
Municipal Law & Litigation Group S.C released the following statement to KCE:
“Remzy Bitar and Municipal Law & Litigation Group S.C. enjoy the work they do every day serving dozens of municipalities and helping their public employees and officials navigate the complex web of state and federal laws relating to local government operations. We look forward to working with the Village of Salem Lakes’ Board of Trustees and all its employees and are honored to be selected to provide them legal services.”
Former Village Attorney, Richard Scholze was embattled for the last several years, seemingly giving his friends and clients, the village board, bad legal advice that shielded them from accountability. Scholze often missed meetings as well. According to village insiders, he took a very long time to respond to emails and return phone calls.
Scholze is also a Town of Burlington Municipal judge. It’s about the equivalent of being third string player for the Detroit Lions’ practice squad. He presides over parking tickets and other trivial matters. However minute, he commands more respect than other attorneys as a “judge.” In fact, one need not be a lawyer to be a municipal judge.
The new board was replaced earlier this year by a village that brought proverbial pitchforks to meeting after meeting. There were several mandates assumed onto the new board. One, to get rid of the embattled administrator, Mike Murdock, and the other, to get rid of the villages attorney. Both have happened in the first six months of the new board.
President Bucur told KCE that “Attorney Bitar has been extremely helpful and had provided sound legal advice for all the exciting changes on the horizon.”