Milwaukee attorney Franklyn Gimbel has been practicing law since the 1960’s and has been at the center of several key cases over the years. Gimbel chats with Libby Collins on this week’s WTMJ Conversations.
A portion of their chat was transcribed by eCourt Reporters, Inc.
LIBBY COLLINS: Frank, let’s start at the beginning. What was like growing up as a Jewish kid Milwaukee?
FRANKLYN GIMBEL: Well, let me tell you Libby, I grew up on the west side of Milwaukee for the first, I guess, 11 years of my life. And my folks lived in a lower flat on 40th and Auer Street. They paid $40 a month rent, and it was my mother, my father, and I had a brother named Stanley. And until we were in the 6th grade, we went to a place called Townsend Street School on Sherman Boulevard, and it was during World War II. And being a Jewish kid in that particular neighborhood wasn’t always wine and roses. There were frequently times when we were confronted about our religion, and we had fist fights on the street. So, to answer your question, there were kind of troublesome times during that period of time.
LIBBY COLLINS: How did that affect you?
FRANKLYN GIMBEL: I think it made me appreciate that we should be tolerant towards each other irrespective of our differences. So, I think that it grounded this guy into believing that whether you are Black or White or Brown or Asian, whether you are of one religion or another, we all are essentially the same and we should not use what differences we happen to have with people with whom we interact as a basis for conflict. And I like to think that I still think that today in what I do and think and in the way that I practice law and the way that I serve the community.
LIBBY COLLINS: Thinking back to those days, what did you want to be when you grew up?
FRANKLYN GIMBEL: Well, early on, I — I honored the law, and I honored the law because I guess that I had kind of a natural ability to communicate orally with people. My mother and father did not go to college, but my dad had two brothers who were lawyers. My mother had one brother who’s a CPA and another brother who was a PhD in engineering and retired as a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. And, so, I had role models growing up in the family of people who had been well educated and were able to succeed in many ways including having the ability to do better than a $40-a-month flat on 40th and Auer