Wisconsin Law Foundation President Dean R. Dietrich (left) and Charles L. Goldberg Distinguished Service Award recipient James D. Friedman.
The 2012 Class of Fellows: (From left) William A. Jennaro, Mary Susan Gerbig, Angela B. Bartell, Janet C. Protasiewicz, Kathleen A. Gray. Second row from left: Coreen Dicus-Johnson, William C. Pickering, Don Leo Bach. Missing from photo Emile H. Banks Jr., James C. Boll Jr., Eileen A. Brownlee, Jackson M. Bruce Jr., Richard S. Gallagher, Joshua L. Gimbel, Christine Liu Mclaughlin, Thomas J. Misfeldt, and Louise G. Trubek.
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Oct. 10, 2012 – Last week, Milwaukee attorney James D. Friedman received the Charles L. Goldberg Distinguished Service Award, and 17 lawyers were inducted into the 2012 Class of Fellows of the Wisconsin Law Foundation. The award is presented by the Wisconsin Law Foundation (WLF) for a long-standing record of service to the legal profession and to the public. More than 60 guests attended the annual dinner in Milwaukee on Oct. 2.
Noting Friedman’s many years of service to profession and the public, WLF President Dean Dietrich said, “Jim’s contributions to the profession are significant from his service to the State Bar, to the Foundation, to the Diversity Committee. Jim also has undertaken very important areas of service to the public. He has been an advocate of providing the best opportunities of education for all children in our community to ensure a strong future for everyone. Jim also served local library foundations – again with a focus on education and providing an opportunity for individuals to learn. And finally, serving as an elected local government official has allowed him to show the principles of the legal profession in governance. It is with great honor and appreciation that I present this award to Jim for his commitment to our profession and more importantly to the public.”
Accepting the award, Friedman said, “I didn’t know Charlie Goldberg personally, but I remember when I was a very young lawyer that senior lawyers would speak of him regularly. They would talk about how smart he was and how much of a friend he was. People would call him and ask for advice.”
Acknowledging that so many great lawyers have received this award, Friedman said. “I am very proud to be a lawyer. When you talk about core values, I think there are two very important things that stand out about lawyers. You can go to any community organization wherever you live and you’ll find a lawyer in a leadership position. Also, in very difficult times, such as we are in today, lawyers get along. We all aggressively advocate on behalf of our client, but we all get along. I am proud of our profession and humbled by this award.”
Friedman maintains an active practice in the business and financial services industry as a partner at Quarles & Brady LLP, Milwaukee, serving as the chair of its Financial Institutions Practice Group. His expertise has been regularly recognized by his frequent appointments to legislative councils, advisory committees, boards, and more. Friedman played an active role on the State of Wisconsin Legislative Council Special Study Committee on the Regulation of Financial Institutions. He was appointed by the Governor’s Advisory Council on Judicial Selection of the State of Wisconsin for Ozaukee County and also served as a member of the State of Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions Task Force on Financial Competitiveness.
His contributions to the State Bar include serving as chair and member of the Board of Governors, member of the Executive and Finance committees, and he is one of the founders of the State Bar Diversity Committee and its clerkship program. Friedman has served as a board member and president of the Wisconsin Law Foundation and a board member and president of Wisconsin’s Equal Justice Fund Inc.
For nearly 30 years, Friedman has been an advocate for providing the best opportunities of education to children in our community who otherwise would not have such opportunities. He was one of the founders of Partners Advancing Values in Education (PAVE), and he currently serves on its board of directors. PAVE is a private, nonprofit organization that provides scholarship aid to low-income students attending parochial and private schools in Milwaukee.
Friedman has served as a director and president of the Weyenberg Public Library Foundation in Mequon since 1983. He served as an alderman for the City of Mequon for years and is the chair of the board of ethics. He served as the president of the Common Council and chaired the community’s Blue Ribbon Visioning Committee.
Friedman sets the bar high for other lawyers and as Wisconsin Court of Appeals Judge Richard S. Brown, who has known Friedman for more than 30 years, said in his nomination letter, “Jim is truly a citizen out to help make the world a better place than he found it, without any thought of personal material gain. I’ve known Jim as a person who has worked hard to broaden the educational opportunities of disadvantaged children and as an ardent supporter of our public libraries. He is equally at home as a director of the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce Association and the Wisconsin Equal Justice Fund.”
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Deb Heneghan is the reporter for the State Bar of Wisconsin.