After almost 32 years of practice, Mark Hazelbaker has emerged as one of the leading legal voices for local government and small business in Wisconsin. He began his legal career as legal counsel of the Wisconsin Counties Association. There, he served as a lobbyist and legal consultant to all 72 Wisconsin counties. His achievements in the legislative arena include shepherding the law which created the county sales tax through the legislative process. He also was instrumental in legislation which comprehensively reorganized county government, enacted in 1985 and 1986.
Mark moved to northeastern Wisconsin in 1986 to gain experience in the real world by becoming Corporation Counsel/Personnel Director of Manitowoc County. In that position, he served as personnel officer for an 800-employee organization with a budget of $40 million. He also acted as Chief Legal Counsel, defending the County in liability cases and handling a wide range of civil legal matters. After three years in that dual position, the County Board named him Manitowoc County’s first full-time Administrative Coordinator, a position he held while continuing to serve as Corporation Counsel. As Administrative Coordinator, Mark was responsible for budget development, policy formulation, capital project planning, and the general administrative direction of Manitowoc county government.
In 1992, Mark left Manitowoc County and returned to Madison to join the law firm Axley Brynelson. As an associate there, Mark developed a substantial litigation and municipal practice, taking on such clients as the Dane County Towns Association and a number of counties and communities state wide. His trial experience included numerous jury trials, and hundreds of hearings, special proceedings and summary judgment motions. In 1999, Mark decided to set out on his own. He founded Hazelbaker & Associates, where he continues to be the senior partner.
Along the way, Mark has presented at dozens of continuing legal education seminars, training other lawyers in Wisconsin. He also delivered a paper at a major international symposium sponsored by John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the University of New York, which was held in Bucharest, Romania in June 2004. He is the author of “Privatization and the ‘Primarily Related’ Test: A Case For Clarification” published in the Marquette Law Review in 1992.
Mark is active in The Masons, a fraternal and charitable group, and the Shriners.