Nathan Otis is a partner at Nicholson, Gansner & Otis, S.C., where he practices both criminal defense and family law. He began his legal career clerking for Honorable Federal District Court Judge Robert Pratt. He then worked as a prosecutor in the Dane County District Attorney's Office, where he gained valuable insight into the practices and procedures used by prosecutors, and refined his litigation skills. In 2013, he realized he liked keeping people out of jail more than putting them in, and has been working as a defense attorney ever since.
Attorney Otis handles all manner of criminal cases, ranging from homicides to underage drinking citations. A substantial portion of his practice is dedicated to defending those charged with operating-while-intoxicated offenses. He also spearheads the firm's federal criminal defense practice, where he practices in Wisconsin's Federal District Court, and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, routinely defending those charged with drug and firearm offenses. In addition, he regularly represents those charged with sensitive crimes, including allegations of domestic violence, sexual assault, and possession of child pornography.
Attorney Otis is a formidable trial advocate. He has secured wins for his clients in various trials, including operating while intoxicated and sexual assault cases. But he also prides himself on aggressive pre-trial motion and investigative work, seeking to prevent unreliable or illegally obtained evidence from being used against his clients. His tenacious pre-trial approach in combination with his commitment to thoroughly investigating cases from all angles has enabled Attorney Otis to secure full dismissals prior to trial for numerous clients, including those charged with drunk driving, domestic violence, and sexual assault.
Attorney Otis also devotes a substantial portion of his practice to family law, representing people seeking divorce, those involved in paternity actions, or those seeking to modify established custody and placement or child support orders. With a background in criminal defense, he is at home aggressively litigating custody, placement or financial issues in high-conflict cases. But he also recognizes the limitations of trying to solve familial problems using the legal systems. Because of this, he works with his clients to identify and prioritize their interests, in order to achieve their big-picture family and financial goals.
His fierce advocacy and success in the courtroom has not gone unnoticed. Attorney Otis was designated a "Rising Star," by Super Lawyers, a recognition limited to 2.5% of attorneys in the State of Wisconsin. He was also awarded the 2017 "Warrior Award" by the Dane County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association for his tenacious work in securing a full dismissal with prejudice for a client charged with sexual assault. A number of his cases have also garnered substantial media coverage, including when he was featured on Wisconsin Public Radio after securing $97,500 in compensation for a client who was exonerated after being wrongfully incarceration.
Attorney Otis is a 2004 graduate of the University of Michigan, where he earned a degree in Psychology and a minor in Philosophy. While he enjoyed his time in Ann Arbor, his hometown loyalties never faded, and he returned to Madison where he graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 2010. In addition to his legal practice, Attorney Otis has served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School, teaching a course in criminal procedure and coaching aspiring litigators for the school's Mock Trial team. He also serves on the board of Rubin for Kids, a non-profit organization that aims to help underprivileged children in the community. When he is not thinking about the law, he is either playing basketball, or haplessly chasing his two young children.
You can reach him at [email protected], or by calling 608-237-6854.
Areas of Practice
- Criminal Law
- Drug Charges
- Sex Offenses
- Family Law
- University of Wisconsin Law School, Madison, Wisconsin
- J.D. - 2010
- Honors: summa cum laude
- University of Michigan
- Major: Psychology
- Minor: Philosophy
- Adjunct Professor, University of Wisconsin Law School
Honors and Awards
- Rising Star, Super Lawyers
- Warrior Award, Dane County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
Professional Associations and Memberships
- Wisconsin Bar Association, Member
- Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Member
- National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers , Member
- Adjunct Professor University of Wisconsin Law School
Past Employment Positions
- Honorable Federal District Court Judge Robert Pratt, Clerk
- Dane County District Attorney's Office, Prosecutor
Pro Bono Activities
- Board, Rubin for Kids