The Last Word With: David Westrup, Attorney and shareholder, vonBriesen & Roper S.C., Milwaukee
Family: Wife, Amy; and daughters, Molly and Kathleen.
Favorite authors: Mark Twain and William Styron
A descendent of migrant workers in Brownsville, Texas, David Westrup has risen to become an attorney and a shareholder of vonBriesen & Roper S.C., one of Milwaukee’s most significant law firms. Westrup is the first person to serve as both president of the Milwaukee Bar Association and president of the Wisconsin Hispanic Lawyers Association.
“There are many on this planet with amazing skills – talents they are able to capitalize on to obtain wealth, fame and happiness. I am not one of them. Lacking any significant innate ability, I have had to compensate with hard work, advance planning and a willingness to put in long hours.
“I thank my parents for giving me a mindset at ease with the idea that reward is the result of blood, toil, tears and sweat. My family had its share of setbacks while I was growing up, but those troubles never shook my parents’ belief (passed on to me like mental DNA) that, given enough time, any problem can be solved if you just keep working at it. Also, my parents were not big on ‘luck.’ My mom might have actually despised it – probably because so little of it came her way. Instead, my parents focused on education and learning – two things they knew how to obtain and knew how to pass on to me and my siblings.
“My mom has passed away, and my dad is thinking about retirement. It turns out that neither had a secret trust fund to give to me when I turned 18. But what they did give me has stood me in good stead. I believe Milwaukee is a near-ideal community in which to live – both because this is still a city in which one can succeed through diligence and fairness, and because this is a place that values raising a family. And what my parents taught me has been the key to my prosperity in this town.”