Migrant Working Family
Flores was born in the great state of Texas; his father was a Texan and his mother was a Mexican. He grew up in a very segregated community in southern Texas, approximately 15 miles from the Mexican border. He spoke only Spanish until he started school at 7 years old.
His father worked in a factory, but when his father was laid off he was forced to go to Wisconsin for employment.They stayed in Wisconsin spring to fall, then returned to Texas for the fall. They did this for three years, and on the third year, they came to Wisconsin, only to find the canning factory empty and closed. “It was too late to go somewhere else in Wisconsin,” he said. They headed instead to Michigan, working in orchards.
For years Flores and his family worked tirelessly to put food on the table. After a couple of years repeating that pattern, his parents and sister obtained permanent full-time factory jobs in Belgium, Wisconsin, and later that year, his father got a job at the Kohler Company, where he worked for 25 years.
“I think dad and mom felt we children would have a better chance at success here, away from the segregation and problems of Texas,” Flores said.
He also believes in the truth of that – and was the first in his family to go to college, followed by his younger sister.
Flores chose law school while a senior at U.W.-Madison. Earning his undergraduate degree in economics, he realized he wanted to do more. “I didn’t feel I was complete – that I had that much to offer an employer,” Flores said.
After graduation, he was hired by Ross Langill, to join a firm in Waukesha – both he and his wife Phyllis had family nearby. “I’ve resided here ever since,” Flores said.
That was 1970. Now, in 2016, he is the father of six children. One, Kyra, followed in his footsteps and is a practicing attorney in Illinois, obtaining her degree from the U.W. Law School. “I had the great pleasure of moving her admission when she graduated,” Flores said. “I never pushed my kids to be lawyers. Whatever makes people happy is the most important thing.”
His career path was not an easy one. “I’m proud that I stuck it out 40 years,” he said. He is especially proud of his community service and those he’s helped over the years. “At least fifty percent of my clientele was Latino or Hispanic. When I retired, a lot of them really let me know that they appreciated me. That’s what makes me proud.”
It is his own diligence and his community-mindedness that have prompted his nomination for the Goldberg Award. “I am surprised and honored,” Flores said of the award.
“Throughout his career, he consistently comported himself ethically and gentlemanly, always striving to represent his clients vigorously while maintaining a civil and cordial relationship with the parties, lawyers, court, and court personnel,” Reyes said. “He always sheds a good light on his profession and community.”
This goes to prove that with enough hard work, anything can be achieved. Judge Flores come out of nothing. Hopefully this encourages you to do more with what surrounds you.
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