When Russ Klingaman has a hearing, deposition or client meeting well beyond the borders of southeastern Wisconsin, he hops aboard his Cessna 182 and takes to the skies to get there.
Klingaman, partner at Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP in Milwaukee, has been flying for more than 20 years and has clocked well over 2,000 hours in the air. His passion for flying stems from childhood, much of which he spent flying with his late father, Bill, who served as a professional flight instructor on the side.
“I learned about flying through being his son, and when I became an adult I acted upon those passions that he had helped me develop,” Klingaman said.
Klingaman first began piloting planes in the early 1980s, when Bill taught him how to fly an ultralight aircraft – what Klingaman describes as “a motorcycle or a moped with wings.”
He bought his first plane, a two-seat Cessna 150, upon graduating from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1991, and a few years later purchased the four-seat plane he still flies today.
While a good chunk of Klingaman’s airtime is devoted to business trips, most of his flights take his family of four on getaways all over North America. Klingaman has flown as far as Key West, New Orleans, Palm Springs, Martha’s Vineyard and Winnipeg, Canada.
Outside of flying, Klingaman focuses part of his practice on aviation. In addition to teaching aviation law at Marquette University Law School and serving as president of the Lawyer Pilots Bar Association, he has advised flight instructors, mechanics and other industry professionals in need of legal aid.
“What I really love is knowing what I know about aviation and being part of the aviation community and being able to deal with assignments from clients that involve aviation,” Klingaman said. “It’s putting together what I love to do with my career.”