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  • Rural Revolution: Is the Future So Bright Ag Lawyers Should Wear Shades?

    Generational, technological, and policy changes ahead for agriculture in the U.S. mean attorneys serving rural clients are in a unique position to affect the future of rural America and agriculture worldwide. Nancy Trueblood talks about why the future is bright for lawyers in agriculture law.

    Nancy L. Trueblood

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    While some like to say there are too many lawyers in the United States, the fact is only two percent of small law practices are in rural areas, leaving many of the 20 percent of Americans in rural areas without legal help.

    But those attorneys who are practicing in rural areas are uniquely situated to affect the future of agriculture worldwide, according to an article in a recent of the Drake Journal of Agricultural Law. The journal focuses on contemporary issues in international and domestic agricultural law, and dedicates its spring issue to topics discussed at the Annual American Agricultural Law Symposium.

    Nancy L. Trueblood com nancy ntruelaw Nancy L. Trueblood, Marquette 2001, owns Trueblood Law Firm LLC, Wauwatosa, where she serves small businesses and people with estate planning needs.

    In their article, “Agriculture and the Law: Can the Legal Profession Power the Next Green Revolution?” in the Drake Journal, authors Dan Jacobi and Caitlin Andersen argue that attorneys can – and should – do just that. They believe that feeding the ever-growing numbers of people around the world will depend on how well agricultural law responds to societal changes.

    “Succession planning in light of generational changes in rural America; science-based regulatory frameworks, as consumers demand additional food labeling; and land-use rights, as they intersect with a growing understanding of the environmental impact of agriculture, all represent areas of the law ripe for fresh thinking,” Jacobi and Andersen write.1

    Generational Change

    One concern is that the average age of a U.S. farmer is 58 years old, and the number of farmers over age 70 has increased 30 percent since 2010, they note. Meanwhile, there has been a 20 percent decrease in farmers under age 25.

    The attorneys representing those farmers also have an average age closer to retirement than to the average of 49 for all U.S. lawyers. That means a lot of farm ground is expected to change hands in the next 20 years – and the rural lawyers available to help will dwindle.

    “Land ownership is going to change, whether by inheritance, tenancy, or purchase. Clearly, there is a corresponding need for attorneys with an understanding of the formal and informal legal aspects of succession planning, lease agreements, and purchase of title to property,” Jacobi and Andersen write.

    New attorneys who take up the rural challenge will need to understand these issues, as well as the nuances of farm leasing and the parties involved.

    Other Issues

    Attorneys in rural practice will need to get up to speed on technological changes in farming, the latest governmental agriculture polices, global markets, and alternate energy options. “If we are successful, however, the legal profession will be the driver of the next Green Revolution,” Jacobi and Andersen say.

    Neil D. Hamilton, director of the Agricultural Law Center at Drake University Law School in Des Moines, Iowa, might agree. “The key to the future of alternative energy for agriculture and rural communities is whether the system will be built on a structure of access, economic opportunity, and sustainability, or on the exploitive model – often seen with other energy sources such as coal and oil. Rural attorneys will play a critical role in shaping this future,” he wrote in 2007.

    When it comes to the ethics of practicing in rural areas, the intimacy of rural life is a key factor. While lawyers in urban settings may not know a client before he or she walks through the door, a rural practitioner is more likely to serve a friend, neighbor, or acquaintance.

    Medical professionals share this concern. “Trusting relationships in rural health care settings are enhanced by the familiarity common in rural living,” notes the Handbook for Rural Health Care Ethics (University Press of New England). “In rural communities, residents know many of the details of each other’s lives, which can lead to confidentiality issues.”

    The Future of Rural Law Practice

    But Hamilton also warned in 2007 that it’s hard to predict the future of agricultural law. According to Hamilton, few could have foreseen in 1980 what would shape today’s agricultural law:

    “The farm crisis of the early 1980s, the development of environmental concerns, the rate of industrialization and consolidation of farms and agricultural businesses, the reorientation and scale of farm programs – these are just a few of the key developments that have shaped agricultural law and rural practice. ... Other trends such as the continuing decline in farm numbers, the increased scale of many remaining operations, and the emergence of new communities of farmers and rural landowners influence agricultural law and rural practice. While each trend or development was not entirely unexpected, what could not be predicted with accuracy was the actual shape they took, the timing of their development, and their effect on relations within agriculture and rural America.”2

    Hamilton concluded:

    “In looking to the future of agricultural law and rural practice – and there will definitely be such a future – one challenge is to think strategically about the trends and innovations that will shape the opportunities faced by attorneys and the clients and communities we serve.”3

    Endnotes


    1 Dan Jacobi and Caitlin Andersen, “Agriculture and the Law: Can the Legal Profession Power the Next Green Revolution?,” the Drake Journal of Agricultural Law, Spring 2016.

    2 Neil D. Hamilton, “Emerging Issues of 21st Century Agricultural Law and Rural Practice,” Drake Journal of Agricultural Law, Spring 2007.

    3 Id.




  • The Many Paths to Practicing
    International Law

    International law is a fascinating and fast-growing legal field. What does it take to get into this practice area? While an attorney can certainly plan to focus on international matters from day one, involvement in international matters can be varied and nuanced, and may simply arise out of clients’ needs.

    Matthew A. Koch

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    In looking at career options, international law is one of the more fascinating and fastest growing legal fields.1 The complex issues, new opportunities, and potential for international travel often captivate new attorneys or attorneys looking for change or to grow their careers.

    International law can – but doesn’t necessarily – have a set progression path. Most attorneys can contemplate a career course, for example, of an employment lawyer advising clients on employment regulations and policies, defending clients in front of administrative agencies and courts, or focusing on labor negotiations. While an attorney can certainly plan to focus on international matters from day one, involvement in international matters can be varied and nuanced, and may just arise out of the needs of a particular client or clients.

    Of course, there are many ways that attorneys, new or experienced, can find themselves working on international matters.

    Here are some of the more common areas of international practice – and what it is like to practice as an in-house counsel.

    Private Practice Law Firms

    Much of the international law work in law firms is focused around business clients and advising them in international or intercompany transactions.2 This may have a traditional corporate or contact law component, and experience in the tax and intellectual property areas can be particularly valuable as clients attempt to not only navigate their own home country regulations but also international and local requirements.

    Matthew A. Koch com mkoch directs Matthew A. Koch, U.W. 1998, is the general counsel and vice president of Corporate, Campus, and Legal Affairs for Direct Supply, Inc. in Milwaukee. He previously served as the interim leader of Direct Supply’s Product Supply Chain and is former president of the Wisconsin Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel.

    Using one of the world’s largest law firms as an example, Baker McKenzie lists over 300 attorneys in their international commerce and trade practice area webpage. Representative legal matters for their international practice attorneys includes a long list of legal areas from joint ventures (common in international transactions as a foreign company attempts to enter a local market in partnership with a local established company) to international commercial agreements, regulatory matters, and dispute resolution.

    This does not mean that someone cannot pursue international law at smaller law firm. It may come in different forms. For example, one may have a local client who is looking to expand its sales into another market or source parts or products from another country, and accordingly there will be contracts to negotiate, different laws to consider, intellectual property to protect, and local in-country counsel to engage. Even if it is a matter of assisting and coordinating with local counsel in the particular country, a practitioner at a small firm can provide a new opportunity of how to look at and understand the international implications.

    An interrelated field of practice is immigration law. To oversimplify, immigration law involves helping potential employees (and employers), their family members, and other individuals from other countries enter a home country temporarily (e.g., on a visa), obtain work authorization, seek citizenship in the home country, or address the home country’s attempt to deport the individual from the home country. The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) alone has more than 15,000 attorney and law professor members who practice and teach immigration law.

    Government, Agencies, and Organizations

    Attorneys looking to find international experience can take many paths. Take, for example, Christine Lagarde, the current International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director, who attempted to start her career by applying to a French college which prepares students for civil service.

    It is reported that Lagarde failed to gain admission and instead decided to pursue a career as an associate at a law firm. Ultimately, after becoming the Finance Minister in France (among other posts), she appointed as the managing director of the IMF in 2011 and was considered by Forbes last year to be the sixth most powerful woman in the world.

    Of course, Lagarde’s story is extraordinary, and there are many channels to international public interest law. Examples of employers include the federal government (U.S. Agency for International Development, Department of State, Department of Justice), international and local nongovernmental organizations or NGOs, intergovernmental agencies or IGOs (the IMF, United Nations, World Trade Organization), and international tribunals and courts.3 Such work may be international law specifically, or applying a knowledge of and interest in international law.

    An In-house Perspective

    So, what experience may an in-house attorney have with international law? For corporate counsel, the opportunity to work on international matters follows the client’s needs – where they operate; where customers, distributors and suppliers are located; and the nature of the client’s business generally. The relative size of the business, of course, comes into play: a Fortune 500 company is likely to have global operations and more international legal needs. However, if a smaller company has, for example, a worldwide supply chain, there are still many international opportunities.

    In fact, 62 percent of in-house lawyers recently surveyed reported that they have cross-border work; 20 percent reported that at least half of their work was multinational or cross-border.4

    Our legal department works with customers who operate internationally, suppliers who are based in or manufacture in different countries, technology and innovation companies who may be looking to expand into or out of the U.S., employees who may require sponsorship, and local counsel for our own operations in Asia.

    Like many areas of the law, in-house counsel may not hold specific expertise in all areas of international law, but rather an ability to issue spot items such as Foreign Corrupt Practice Act (FCPA) requirements, choice of law and venue, and applicable compliance considerations.

    Many Other Paths

    Practicing international law can ultimately mean many things – and there are more potential opportunities than discussed here. There are those attorneys who only practice international law and others of us who need to support our clients with international issues when and as they impact our clients. International law may also take one into academia, consulting, or other areas of business, government, or public interest.

    In the end, however, international law will undoubtedly continue to evolve, as will the opportunities for those who pursue it.

    Endnotes


    1 See “International Public Interest Law,” Harvard Law School.

    2 See, e.g., Brown University’s Law Careers Advising website.

    3 See International Public Interest Law, Yale Law School.




  • Will Medicare Set-asides be Required Starting Oct. 1? The Medicare Secondary Payer Act and Transmittal 1857

    In June, a Transmittal from the Department of Health and Human Services created a buzz among lawyers and Medicare professionals after it appeared to require Medicare Set-Asides. A more careful read of the Transmittal leads to a different conclusion, says Kristen Scheuerman.

    Kristen S. Scheuerman

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    On Feb. 3, 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued Pub 100-20 Transmittal 1787 Change Request 9383, which was subsequently replaced by Transmittal 1857 on June 8, 2017.1

    The subject of the document is: New Common Working File (CWF) Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) Type for Liability Medicare Set-Aside (LMSAs) and No-Fault Medicare Set-Aside Arrangements (NFMSAs).

    Kristen S. Scheuerman com scheuerman herrlingclark Kristen S. Scheuerman, Marquette 2010, is a shareholder with Herrling Clark Law Firm, Ltd., in Appleton, where her practice is devoted primarily to plaintiffs’ personal injury litigation.

    This Transmittal created a buzz among lawyers and set-aside professionals, and as a result, you may have heard recently that LMSAs would be required beginning Oct. 1, 2017. A careful read of the Transmittal, though, leads to a different conclusion.

    The easiest way to appreciate this recent transmittal is to look at Medicare historically and the MSP Act.

    History of Medicare

    In 1965, the 89th United States Congress approved the Social Security Act, establishing government-sponsored health insurance for all people starting at age 65.2 This insurance is what we all know today as Medicare.

    In the 1980s, Congress amended part of the 1965 Social Security Act to include the Medicare Secondary Payer Act (MSP Act):3

    In simple terms, the MSP statute provides that to the extent a group health, workers’ compensation, liability, or no-fault insurance plan (including a self-insured entity) is obligated and chooses to pay the medical expenses of a Medicare beneficiary, the insurance plan is the primary payer and Medicare becomes the secondary payer. In these circumstances, Medicare may pay such expenses conditionally if payment by the commercial insurer is delayed or in dispute, or the existence of private insurance is unknown. If an insurer subsequently pays or settles the beneficiary’s claim, Medicare may recover its conditional payments from the beneficiary, or any person or entity receiving any portion of the insurance payment (including plaintiff’s counsel), and/or the insurer.4

    From the beginning, the MSP Act has included this critical language:

    Payment under this subchapter may not be made, except as provided in subparagraph (B), with respect to any item or service to the extent that … payment has been made or can reasonably be expected to be made under a workmen's compensation law or plan of the United States or a State or under an automobile or liability insurance policy or plan (including a self-insured plan) or under no fault insurance.5

    Based on this statutory language, the MSP Act has two key functions: (1) to shift fiscal responsibility for certain otherwise-covered services to a “primary plan” and; (2) to create an obligation that prevents Medicare from payment responsibility for future care when “primary funds” are available. In other words, the MSP Act addresses past payments (commonly referred to as conditional payments) and Medicare’s future interest.

    Conditional Payments

    Specifically, federal law states as follows:

    (ii) Repayment Required … a primary plan, and an entity that receives payment from a primary plan, shall reimburse the appropriate Trust Fund for any payment made by the Secretary under this subchapter with respect to an item or service if it is demonstrated that such primary plan has or had a responsibility to make payment with respect to such item or service. A primary plan’s responsibility for such payment may be demonstrated by a judgment, a payment conditioned upon the recipient’s compromise, waiver, or release (whether or not there is a determination or admission of liability) of payment for items or services included in a claim against the primary plan or the primary plan’s insured, or by other means. If reimbursement is not made to the appropriate Trust Fund before the expiration of the 60-day period that begins on the date of notice, or information related to, a primary plan’s responsibility for such payment or other information is received the Secretary may charge interest (beginning with the date on which the notice or other information is received) on the amount of the reimbursement until reimbursement is made (at a rate determined by the Secretary in accordance with regulation of the Secretary of the Treasury applicable to charges for late payments).6

    With respect to the MSP Act and conditional payments, the Eleventh Circuit noted:

    In a nutshell, the MSP declares that, under certain conditions, Medicare will be the secondary rather than primary payer for its insureds. Consequently, Medicare is empowered to recoup from the rightful primary payer (or from the recipient of such payment) if Medicare pays for a service that was, or should have been, covered by the primary insurer. Although the statute is structurally complex – a complexity that has produced considerable confusion among courts attempting to construe it – the MSP's function is straightforward.7

    It is important to understand how “primary payer” is defined. Although the MSP Act does not define this term, Federal Regulation does:

    Primary payer means, when used in the context in which Medicare is the secondary payer,any entity that is or was required or responsible to make paymentwith respect to an item or service (or any portion thereof)under a primary plan.These entities include, but are not limited to, insurers or self-insurers, third party administrators, and all employers that sponsor or contribute to group health plans or large group health plans.8 (emphasis added)

    Liability Medicare Set-Asides (LMSAs)

    Since the MSP Act was enacted in 1980, claimants have always been required to consider Medicare’s future interest in the context of a liability settlement.9 However, there is not a single statute, regulation, rule, or code that requiresa set-aside in a liability case.

    There is no statute, regulation, or Medicare guidance that requires liability insurers to allocate settlement funds between future medical expenses and other beneficiary costs, nor is there any corresponding requirement for liability insurers to establish MSAs for payment of future medical expenses. In fact, Medicare guidance clearly acknowledges that such requirements do not exist.10

    CMS has a system in place to approve MSAs in the workers’ compensation arena.11 However, even within the workers’ compensation framework, MSAs are not required, despite popular beliefs to the contrary. In terms of workers’ compensation claims, MSAs are a preferred vehicle for considering Medicare’s future interests, but the term “set-aside” is not used anywhere in the MSP Act or related regulations.

    Stalcup’s Handout

    Until May 25, 2011, CMS, Congress, and every other regulatory body for that matter, were entirely silent on the issue of LMSAs. On that date, MSP Regional Coordinator Sally Stalcup issued a “specific handout” as a “service to the public” with respect to Medicare claims in certain states.12

    Stalcup’s handout ultimately provided little guidance and simply reiterated what was known, without providing any new or clear direction for the future. The handout reminded everyone that Medicare’s interests must be protected, whether the claim is a workers’ compensation or liability claim, but also affirmed that CMS does not mandate specific mechanisms to protect those interests.13

    The Benson Memo

    Shortly after the Stalcup handout was released, CMS issued a Memorandum (the Benson Memo) on Sept. 30, 2011.14

    Where the beneficiary’s treating physician certifies in writing that treatment for the alleged injury related to the liability insurance … “settlement” has been completed as of the date of the “settlement,” and that future medical items and/or service for that injury will not be required, Medicare considers its interest with respect to future medicals … satisfied.15

    While the Benson Memo offers insight into determining when a set-aside may or may not be required, it did nothing to provide any concrete conclusions about exactly how parties to a liability settlement were to address the need to protect Medicare’s future interests.

    In 2013, CMS submitted to the Office of Management and Budget a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) with respect to CMS’ intent to address future medical costs in liability claims. However, this NPRM was withdrawn by CMS in 2014, and nothing further was released by CMS until the recent Transmittal of June 8, 2017.

    The June 8 Transmittal

    This brings us full-circle to CMS’ most recent Transmittal. In the very first paragraph, it states:

    [t]his change request (CR) identifies the roles the A/B Medicare Administrator Contractors (A/B MACs), Durable Medical Equipment MACs (DME MACs), shared systems, and Common Working File (CWF) will have for creating Liability Insurance Medicare Set-Aside Arrangement (LMSA) … records on CWF and process Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) claims accordingly with an open set aside MSP record on CWF. (emphasis added)

    I think the majority of people who saw this memo read “creating LMSAs” and stopped reading. But the words in bold are the most important to understand the purpose of the Transmittal. This Transmittal aims to create a process for CMS to use in better handling claims where an open LMSA may already exist.

    There is nothing in this Transmittal that changes the MSP Act or any other law relating to Medicare’s future interest: Medicare’s future interest must be protected but there still is no requirement for how that is to be done. Although practitioners and set-aside professionals were all hopeful that perhaps CMS had finally provided a road map to the persistent inquiry of “what must be done when a liability case settles to address Medicare’s future interest,” the question remains.

    If history is any indicator here, CMS’ actions in the workers’ compensation context with respect to set-asides tell us that although there may be guidelines someday with respect to LMSAs, those guidelines will take time, and lots of it, to develop and ultimately be implemented.

    Endnotes


    1 See CMS Manual on CMS.gov.

    2 H.R. 6675, 1965 Pub.L. 89-97. Of course, Medicare has been expanded over the years and also provides coverage today for those under age 65 with certain disabilities, and to any person of any age who is suffering from End Stage Renal Disease. See Medicare.gov and Medicare Program - General Information on CMS.gov.

    3 Codified at 42 U.S.C. § 1395y(b).

    4 Kathryn Bucher, Richard L. McConnell, and Katherine R. McDonald, Dispelling Medicare Myths in Tort Settlements, For the Defense, Vol. 55 No. 5, 49 (May 2013).

    5 42 U.S.C. § 1395y(b)(2)(A)(ii); Subsection (B) as referenced in the Statute states that: “[t]he Secretary may make payment under this subchapter with respect to an item or service if a primary plan described in subparagraph (A)(ii) has not made or cannot reasonably be expected to make payment with respect to such item or service promptly (as determined in accordance with regulations). Any such payment by the Secretary shall be conditioned on reimbursement to the appropriate Trust Fund in accordance with the succeeding provisions of this subsection.” 42 U.S.C. § 1395y(b)(2)(B)(i).

    6 42 U.S.C. § 1395y(b)(2)(B)(ii).

    7 United States v. Baxter Int’l Inc., 345 F.3d 866, 875 (11th Cir. 2003).

    8 42 C.F.R. § 411.21.

    9 42 U.S.C. § 1395y(b)(2)(A).

    10 Buchner, supra note 3, at 52.

    12 Sally Stalcup, CMS Handout, May 25, 2011.

    13 Id.

    14 Charlotte Benson, CMS Memorandum, September 29, 2011.

    15 Id.




  • Appeals Court Upholds Search of Man Walking on Highway, Vehicle Out of Gas

    Joe Forward

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    Tank Empty

    Aug. 15, 2017 – A state appeals court recently upheld the search of a man who was walking on the interstate to retrieve gas for his vehicle despite the man’s argument that the officer did not have reasonable suspicion to believe he possessed a weapon.

    Kavin Nesbit and a friend were walking down Interstate-94 in Kenosha County with a gas can. Their vehicle ran out of gas, and they were walking to a gas station.

    A state trooper pulled behind them and engaged them in a normal conversation before offering to give them a ride, informing them that walking on expressways is illegal.

    Department policy requires a frisk before entering squad cars, so the trooper asked about weapons and intended to frisk them both before entering the squad car.

    Nesbit’s friend said he had no weapons with no change in demeanor. But Nesbit’s demeanor appeared to change with the question. The officer frisked Nesbit, revealing a loaded firearm on his left hip. He was charged with felony possession of a firearm and marijuana possession that he later admitted at the county jail.

    Nesbit moved to suppress the evidence, arguing the state trooper’s search was not supported by reasonable suspicion. He pled guilty to firearm possession after the circuit court denied the motion, and appealed. But the District II Court of Appeals affirmed.

    In State v. Nesbit, 2016AP224-CR (Aug. 9, 2017), a three-judge panel held that the trooper “had reasonable suspicion that Nesbit was armed and dangerous.”

    The panel said it was a close case and “comes down to one key fact and the rational inferences to be drawn therefrom in light of additional facts.” The key fact? It was Nesbit’s change in demeanor when the trooper asked him if he had any weapons.

    “One who reacts to a question by quieting down, becoming deflated, and responding demurely does so for a reason,” wrote Judge Brian Hagedorn.

    “A reasonably prudent officer seeing this response to a question about weapons would be suspicious and wonder if the answer was truthful.”

    Judge Hagedorn said a relevant factor in determining if someone is armed and dangerous is abnormal behavior or unusual responses when interacting with police.

    The panel noted that the state trooper, David Fowles, took measures to mitigate danger before frisking Nesbit – such as positioning him in relation to Nesbit’s friend – an indication that he had suspicion that Nesbit might have lied about possessing a weapon.

    “With no protection from a second law enforcement officer and no bulletproof glass separating Fowles from his passengers, a reasonably prudent officer would be concerned for his or her safety,” Judge Hagedorn noted.




  • Hearing Order 16-09: Admission of Members of Indian Tribes to Wisconsin Bar

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    Wisconsin Supreme Court Notices

    Hearing Order 16-09: Admission of Members of Indian Tribes to Wisconsin Bar

    The Stockbridge-Munsee Community, a federally recognized Indian Tribe, asks the court to amend SCR 40.05 to allow any legal services with any federally recognized Indian tribe be “counted” for purposes of SCR 40.05(1)(b), the “proof of practice” elsewhere option for admission to the Wisconsin bar.

    ORDER ISSUED: August 15, 2017

    DISPOSITION: Public hearing set for Monday, September 25, 2017, at 9:30 a.m., in the Supreme Court Room in the State Capitol.

    Quick Reference for Official Notices

    Visit the Official Notices page for a quick reference for locating recent official notices of Wisconsin Supreme Court orders adopting, amending, or repealing rules, statutes, or policies related to Supreme Court rules and State Bar of Wisconsin rules and bylaws. SCR 10.12 allows the State Bar to provide these notices to members through print or electronic media, including the Wisconsin Lawyer magazine, WisBar InsideTrack, or WisBar.org.

    For a comprehensive collection of all official notices, including pending rule petitions, court orders, and other material such as audio of public hearings, visit the Wisconsin Court System’s website or use the quick links on this page. Refer to the Publication Plan for more information on how the State Bar delivers notices to its members.

    Quick Links to Wisconsin Court System




  • Hearing Order 16-02A: Rules of Evidence

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    Wisconsin Supreme Court Notices

    Hearing Order 16-02A: Amendments to Evidence Rules Pertaining to Witness Bias, Conduct, Testimony, and Impeachment

    The Wisconsin Judicial Council requests the court to amend Wis. Stats. §§ 901.07 (Rule of Completeness), 906.08(2) (Evidence of Character and Conduct of Witness), and 906.09 (Impeachment by Evidence of Conviction of Crime), and create Wis. Stat. § 906.16 (a new “bias rule” that reflects established common law but is not expressly mentioned in the rules of evidence).

    ORDER ISSUED: August 15, 2017

    DISPOSITION: Public hearing set for Monday, September 25, 2017, at 9:30 a.m., in the Supreme Court Room in the State Capitol.

    Quick Reference for Official Notices

    Visit the Official Notices page for a quick reference for locating recent official notices of Wisconsin Supreme Court orders adopting, amending, or repealing rules, statutes, or policies related to Supreme Court rules and State Bar of Wisconsin rules and bylaws. SCR 10.12 allows the State Bar to provide these notices to members through print or electronic media, including the Wisconsin Lawyer magazine, WisBar InsideTrack, or WisBar.org.

    For a comprehensive collection of all official notices, including pending rule petitions, court orders, and other material such as audio of public hearings, visit the Wisconsin Court System’s website or use the quick links on this page. Refer to the Publication Plan for more information on how the State Bar delivers notices to its members.

    Quick Links to Wisconsin Court System




  • Celebrating John Doar: New Richmond Opens History Trail for Renowned Civil Rights Attorney

    New Richmond’s celebration of the life of one of Wisconsin’s most famous lawyers is a unique and rare opportunity to hear stories directly from prominent figures who fought for civil rights in the 1960s and members of the legal team that impeached President Nixon. Join in the community celebration Aug. 24-26.

    Shannon Green

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    John Doar escorts James Meredith

    John Doar (right) escorts James Meredith to the University of Mississippi admissions office in 1962. Meredith was the first African-American admitted to the university. The event is regarded as a pivotal moment in the history of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

    Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, U.S. News & World Report Magazine Collection [reproduction number, e.g., LC-U9-15739, frame 18].

    Aug. 16, 2017 – He is Wisconsin's most renowned civil rights attorney. And now his hometown and family are ensuring that his accomplishments will live on.

    New Richmond is opening its new John Doar History Trail with celebratory events and informational panel displays on Aug. 24-26 – and everyone is invited.

    A Rare Chance to Hear Firsthand Accounts

    It is a big event for the small city of New Richmond, and the work of many months of planning, said Noah Wiedenfeld, an organizer of the events and management analyst for the City of New Richmond. “We have our share of parades, ribbon-cutting ceremonies, and festivals, but this will be unique," he said.

    The celebration features two unique panel discussions on Friday, Aug. 25 – on the Civil Rights Era and the impeachment inquiry into President Richard Nixon – with panelists who experienced the events firsthand.

    Panelists include:

    • Arvid “Bud” Sather, a New Richmond native and Wisconsin lawyer who worked with Doar on several significant voting rights cases, and, with Doar, accompanied James Meredith during his first weeks at the University of Mississippi;

    • Bob Moses, leader of the 1964 Freedom Summer project;

    • Six former members of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice during the 1960s; and

    • Three former members of the legal team that worked on the impeachment inquiry into the conduct of President Richard Nixon.

    “We are very excited and incredibly honored to have the opportunity to bring together such a distinguished and amazing collection of panel participants and moderators," said Mike Darrow, New Richmond city administrator and an organizer of the event.

    Registration is requested for those attending the panel discussions. Visit New Richmond’s website to register or to find out more about the panel discussions.

    A Shining Example of Small-Town America

    At his death at age 92 in 2014, The New York Times described John Doar as "a country lawyer from northern Wisconsin who led the federal government’s on-the-ground efforts to dismantle segregation in the South.” And while Doar's career led him to work in Washington, D.C. and in New York City, he maintained his love for his hometown throughout his life.

    org sgreen wisbar Shannon Green is communications writer for the State Bar of Wisconsin, Madison. She can be reached by org sgreen wisbar email or by phone at (608) 250-6135.

    “Some may not know who John Doar was – perhaps in part because he was a very humble person, and didn’t seek attention or praise for his work,” said Wiedenfeld. “We hope our events will help people get to know John.”

    President Barack Obama presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Doar in 2012. “There could be no more privileged assignment than to work for the country in dealing with the very difficult and long-standing problem of race,” Doar said on receiving the medal.

    Obama, when presenting the medal to Doar, recalled the events of the 1960s:

    "John escorted James Meredith to the University of Mississippi. He walked alongside the Selma-to-Montgomery March. He laid the groundwork for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. … I think it's fair to say that I might not be here had it not been for his work," Obama said.

    Doar is a “shining example of the best of small-town America,” Wiedenfeld said. “It’s amazing to think that someone from our little city would play such a prominent role in U.S. history.”

    Doar is also the 2013 recipient of the Wisconsin Law Foundation's Charles L. Goldberg Distinguished Service Award.

    panel from John Doar History Trail in New Richmond

    One of six panels along the John Doar History Trail in New Richmond. It depicts a significant moment in Doar’s career and in the history of the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S.

    More Events: Photos, Movies, and a Grand Opening

    The weekend events also include an exhibit of photographs and memorabilia provided by Doar's family, the grand opening of the History Trail, and video tributes from prominent state and national politicians and historians, as well as from Milwaukee attorney Lindsey Draper, representing the State Bar of Wisconsin.

    The celebration also includes a community picnic and historic building tours, an outdoor showing of the movie Selma (2014), a moving showing and book discussion of Hidden Figures (2016), and on Saturday, the grand opening of the History Trail.

    The History Trail

    The trail winds through New Richmond, past the downtown mill pond and iconic fountain, and includes six panels providing Doar’s history. “The trail is located near the law office where he worked in New Richmond (currently Doar, Drill & Skow, S.C.) and just a few blocks from where he grew up,” Wiedenfeld said.

    Doar’s brother, Tom Doar, who died in 2016, funded the trail “out of love and respect for this brother,” Wiedenfeld said. “Tom participated in the design of the trail.”

    The panels depict Doar’s childhood, his efforts with the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and his involvement with the inquiry into President Richard Nixon’s impeachment, and Doar receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.

    “It was the values he learned at a young age that he took with him where he went: hard work, integrity, commitment, respect, love for family and friends, and never forgetting his roots – this is what made John so special,” Wiedenfeld said.

    John Doar: Prosecutor and Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Era

    John Doar

    After graduating from the University of California-Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law in 1949, Doar was admitted to practice law in his native Wisconsin in 1950. He practiced law for 10 years at Doar, Drill & Skow in New Richmond, a prominent Wisconsin firm his father helped build.

    From 1960 to 1968, Doar worked as a lawyer for the U.S. Department of Justice, prosecuting voting rights cases during a critical time in the Civil Rights Era. He became an aggressive civil rights advocate, participating in seminal cases and events throughout his eight years in that office.

    His accomplishments include:

    • Helping James Meredith become the first African-American admitted to the University of Mississippi. Doar escorted Meredith to the admissions office in 1962.

    • Defusing a potentially deadly riot in Mississippi in 1963 following the funeral of civil rights activist Medgar Evers who was murdered by an American white supremacist.

    • Serving as a chief prosecutor in 1967 in a federal case against Klan-police conspirators in the killings of three voting rights workers in the famed “Mississippi Burning” trial.

    • Acting as special counsel in 1974 to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s investigation of President Richard Nixon for the Watergate Scandal, which eventually led to Nixon’s impeachment and resignation.

    Read More




  • A Pep Rally: Milwaukee Law Firm Energizes Students for School Year with Backpack Donations

    Lawyers can make a big impact on the quality of life in their communities. Milwaukee lawyer Odalo Ohiku and his staff are energizing the students in their community for the new school year – with a donation of 300 backpacks filled with school supplies.

    Shannon Green

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    Odalo Ohiku poses with students at the donation event in Milwaukee.

    Odalo Ohiku poses with students at the donation event in Milwaukee.

    Aug. 16, 2017 – Odalo Ohiku’s law practice philosophy is “care for the whole person.”

    He recently demonstrated that this philosophy also extends to his community. In July, Ohiku and the staff at his Milwaukee firm, Law Office of Odalo J. Ohiku, donated 300 backpacks filled with school supplies for elementary school students headed for a new school year at Bruce-Guadalupe Community School on Milwaukee’s south side.

    org sgreen wisbar Shannon Green is communications writer for the State Bar of Wisconsin, Madison. She can be reached by org sgreen wisbar email or by phone at (608) 250-6135.

    Now in its second year, the “Backpack to School” event is an annual drive organized and sponsored by the firm. “The purpose is for our office to give back to the local Milwaukee community and make a positive difference,” Ohiku said. They chose the area because of the large concentration of students and families there who have difficulty purchasing the necessary supplies, he said.

    Ohiku initiated the drive in 2016 to ease the financial burden for low- or fixed-income families with school-age children. “This burden can sometimes hinder families from being excited about the new school year,” he said. “By the time our families leave the event, we hope students are more encouraged about starting the school year, and parents feel relieved their children have the supplies they need.”

    Last year, they held the event at a north side church. “Our goal is to target different schools in different areas of the city we think would benefit most,” Ohiku said.

    Energizing Students for School

    The event was held July 12 at the United Community Center on Milwaukee’s south side. “It was a huge success – within 30 minutes of the event starting, all backpacks were given away,” Ohiku said.

    Ohiku’s office donated not only backpacks and school supplies, but also provided entertainment at the donation event that included music, popcorn, coloring, a balloon artist, face-painting, health screenings, and games.

    By the time our families leave the event, we hope students are more encouraged about starting the school year, and parents feel relieved their children have the supplies they need.

    “The event is a pep rally to get students pumped up about going back to school and learning,” Ohiku said.

    Students “had a blast” dancing and participating in the activities, said Ricardo Diaz, executive director of United Community Center. “We could not have provided this wonderful event and gifts to the students” without the help of Ohiku and his staff, he said.

    backpack donation

    Face painting, music, health screenings, and more accompanied the backpack donation.

    Instilling Confidence

    Ohiku’s firm went “above and beyond” with their donation, making a “tremendous impact” on the students and their families, said Pascual Rodriguez, principal of Bruce-Guadalupe Community School.

    Obtaining supplies for school is an important factor for the students to feel confident and prepared for each school day, Rodriguez said. “Having the appropriate supplies instills the confidence students need to reach their full potential.”

    The event is a pep rally to get students pumped up about going back to school and learning.

    The backpacks and supplies along with the fun entertainment and activities get students excited to face the challenges of a new grade and a new school year, Rodriguez said. “This excitement and eagerness to learn are critical to the students’ growth,” he said.

    Making a Positive Contact with the Legal Community

    The event also serves another important purpose. “We hope to increase the positive contact our families have with the legal community,” Ohiku said. “We want them to know we care.”

    “We cannot wait to plan and host next year’s backpack school drive,” Ohiku said.




  • Dane County Circuit Court Clearing Evidence Room; Reclaim Old Case Exhibits by Oct. 1, 2017

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    Aug. 16, 2017 – The Dane County Circuit Court has an exhibit storage area that is bursting at the seams. To make room for current case exhibits, the Clerk of Court is giving notice that it will follow the procedure in SCR 72.01(46) to destroy criminal case exhibits after Oct. 1, 2017.

    SCR 72.01(46) provides for destruction of criminal case exhibits “twenty years after entry of final judgment or until every person in custody as a result of the … proceeding has reached his or her discharge date, provided that return of the exhibit has been offered to the proffering party.” The destruction of non-criminal case exhibits can take place after one year from the date of the judgment, given that the return of the exhibit has been offered to the proffering party, per SCR 72.01(45).

    Below is a list of Dane County cases with case numbers, names of defendants, and names of defense counsel of record on cases ranging from the 1960s through present day. If you were defense counsel on any of the cases listed, and you offered exhibits to the court on those cases, and you want to receive those exhibits back into your custody, please contact Dane County Clerk of Circuit Court Carlo Esqueda at gov Carlo.Esqueda wicourts wicourts Carlo.Esqueda gov or (608) 266-4679.

    Exhibits unclaimed by Oct. 1, 2017, will subsequently be destroyed per SCR 72.01(45) and (46).

    CASE # NAME Defense Counsel
    CR6-452 Hunt, Vernell Richard Lent
    CR7-125 Chambers, Wm Jack McManus
    CR7-258 Armstrong, Karleton Melvin Greenberg
    W. Kunstler
      Fine, David Stephen Glynn
    J. Sheil
    CR7-354 Watkins, William Bruce Rosen
    CR11-93 Love, Johnny Robert Burke
    CR11-114 Fosso, Jerome John Albert
    CR11-117 Eichelberger, Richard Robert Burr
    CR11-241 Love, Lonnie Robert Christensen
    200-042 Masino, George Donald Kaatz
    79CF077 Leemkuil, John Earl Munson, Jr.
    79CF112 Rabe, David William Bauer
    79CF0300 Allen, Gilbert William Schmall
    79CF0347 Drogsvold, Wayne Richard Lent
    Thomas Brush
    79CF0381 Burmah, Robert Charles Giesen
    79CF0475 Clark, Jesse David Stokes
    79CF0540 Georgeson, William Glenn Cushing
    80CF0014 O’Rear, Terry George Strother
    80CF0841 Suggs, Samual John Koberstein
    81CF0722 Lazaro, Isado Gridley Hall
    81CF0723 Cubelo-Rodriguez, Sesa Gridley Hall
    81CF0892 Lashoure, Henry Dennis Burke
    82CF0551 Stone, John Frederic Hatch
    John Koberstein
    83CF0591 Garcia-Espinoza, Carlos David E. Lehmann
    83CF1124 Herro, Herbert Bruce Rosen
    83CF1372 Slickman, Andrew Richard Cates
    83CF1551 Markart, Scott William Foust
    84CF0140 Gordon, Linda Robert Burr
    84CF0163 Gordon Linda Morris Berman
    84CF0164 Holmes, Myron Sally March
    84CF0275 Franklin, Joseph William Howard Olson
    84CF0881 Mitchell, Caryl John Clark
    84CF0960 Harp, roland William Bauer
    84CF1025 Nachreiner, Theresa Gerald Nichol
    84CF1172 Allen, Mark William Foust
    85CF0160 Dolan, Scott William Read
    85CF0841 Childs, Curtis Deborah Mary Smith
    86CF0071 Lee, Mitchell Stephen Eisenberg
    86CF0072 Smith, Kevin  Catherine Ankenbrandt
    Stanley Woodard
    86CF0073 Williams, George Stephen Hurley
    86CF0631 Inglesins, Jorge Daniel Linehan
    86CF0919 Carpenter, William Stephen Eisenberg
    87CF0072 Sinoway, Michael Richard Jacobson
    87CF0187 Vespi, Stewart Stephen Hurley
    88CF0956 Whittington, Joey Robert Ramsdell
    89CF0088 Oimen, James John Schairer
    89CF0186 Peterson, Dennis Matthew Huppertz
    89CF0423 Mattison, Dvid Peter Steinberg
    89CF0447 Ohlin, Martin Robert Burke
    89CF0601 Maddox, Richard Ted Frank
    90CF0999 James, John Christopher Kelly
    90CF1525 Gunnelson, James Dan Mathews
    91CF357 Holt, Frederick Eric Schulenberg
    91CF358 Green, Samuel Gregory Meeker
    Eric Schulenberg
    91CF1266 Foster, Lee John Koberstein
    91CF1755 Williams, John Janet Rasmussen
    92CF0666 Ferguson, Robert Michael Kooellen
    92CF1819 Holland, Michael Daniel Stein
    93CF0323 Plummer, Nicholas David Geier
    James Hublou
    93CF0325 Parker, Jerry David Geier
    James Hublou
    94CF0209 Nyleen, Robert Reesa Evans
    94CF0613 Bieser, Michael Lester Pines
    94CF0741 Westbury, Deborah Mark Eisenberg
    94CF0760 Maranger, Robert Dan Gartzke
    94CF2179 Allgood, Wayne David Karpe
    94CF2293 Hoskins,. Reginald Glenn Cushing
    95CF0634 Hamak, Randy Lester Pines
    96CF0555 Edmunds, Audrey Keith Findley
    Dean Strang
    Stephen Hurley
    96CF0762 Jones, Quintin Daryl Jensen
    96CF1910 Smith, Mark Lawrence Bensky
    98CF1426 Juares-Guiteres, Olga Dorothea Watson
    Luis Cuevas
    98CF2400 Vyse, Jr., Arthur Ralph Kalal
    Erin Hahn
    99CF0155 Summerfield, Orlander David Mandell
    99CF1871 Bell, Kelt Mark Walter Frank
    00CF1281 Magi, Seer Leonard Kachinsky
    Mark Frank
    00CF2388 Callahan, Daniel Jon Helland
    00CF2418 Evans, Leo James Lucius
    David Karpe
    John Fiske
    01CF0802 Jaschob, Steven Richard Bert Jacobson
    02CF0551 Covarrubias, Edgar Christopher Van Wagner
    02CF0846 Shomberg, Forest Byron Lichstein
    Arnold Cohen
    Charles Giesen
    02CF0918 Streich, Shaun Lester Pines
    02CF1059 Elliott, Ray Michael Fitzsimmons
    Jack Priester
    02CF1312 Carter, Keith T. Christopher Kelly
    02CF1758 Stamps, Barry John Koberstein
    Timothy Provis
    02CF1785 Lao, Thong Stephen Mays
    Richard Jacobson
    02CF2381 Pergande, Dale Stephen Eisenberg
    Thomas James Watson
    02CF2578 Jackson, Eric Frank Medina
    02CF2780 Lor, Toua Richard Jacobson
    Stephen Mays
    03CF0098 Faouzi, Ahmed Mark David Lawton
    Steven Cohen
    Lisa Goldman
    03CF326 Boenick, Patrick Bruce Rosen
    Alan Habermehl
    03CF327 Heider, Ryan Charles Giesen
    03CF698 Lukas, John John Pray
    Christopher Duren
    03CF2177 Lukas, John John Pray
    Christopher Duren
    03CF0837 Stewart, Maurice Mark Walter Frank
    Janice Balistreri
    03CF0951 Hodo, Delwine T. Christopher Kelly
    03CF1098 Ewing, Maurice David Karpe
    John Tompos
    03CF2074 Sussman, Gordon Dean Strang
    Stephen Hurley
    Erik Guenther
    James Geis
    03CF2688 Hanger, Frederick John Smerlinski
    04CF0101 Alexander, Lazzerick Joanne Keane
    John Smerlinski
    04CF0384 Debrow, Eric Michael Schmidt
    Yolanda Woodard
    04CF0441 Williams, Quentrell Brian Walter Gleason
    Gina Bosben
    Eileen Hirsch
    04CF0654 Diaz Calderon, Luis Frank Medina
    05CF1625 Hendree, Kenneth Patrick Thomas Earle
    William Marquis
    05CF2689 Hall, Danny Terry Frederick
    06CF0727 Darby, James Mark Walter Frank
    Dennis Ryan
    Robert Goode
    06CF1415 Karna, Terry Cory Chirafisi
    06CF1996 Zapata, Eugene Dean Strang
    Stephen Hurley
    06CF2583 Geissler, Chad Tracey Wood
    07CF0543 Smith, Sr., Lamont Charles Kenyon, Jr.
    John Voegli
    07CF0611 Warner, Paul Erik Guenther
    Stephen Hurley
    John Hyland
    07CF0709 Lawson, Richard Stephen Eisenberg
    07CF1158 Shird, Marques Catherine Dorl
    07CM2169 Shird, Marques Catherine Dorl
    08CF0364 Smith, Jason Thomas Nelson
    John Tradewell
    08CF0570 Aguirre-Orea, Alejandro Pablo Carranza
    08CF1343 Cole, Jerry Jessa Nicholson
    09CF0488 Neal, Clifford Jon Helland
    09CF1039 Murphy, Matthew Robert Debauche
    Harold Harlowe
    09CF1399 Nelson, Richard Mark Eisenberg
    09CF1645 Buckner, Calvin John Tradewell
    David Geier
    09CF1803 Jensen, Noa Tracey Lencioni
    John Lubarsky
    09CF2025 Mitra, Rajib Jon Helland
    10CF0916 Christensen, Michellle Mark Eisenberg
    Kim Zion
    10CF1081 Nack, Amy David Mandell
    Anthony Jurek
    Joseph Sommers
    10CF1584 Morrison, Jay William Ginsberg
    Tracey Wood
    10CF1726 Doughty, Jesse Yolanda Lehner
    11CF0360 McCarroll, Jeffery Luis Cuevas
    11CF0432 Callahan, Thomas Jessa Nicholson
    Michael Collins
    11CF0508 Stephenson, Maria Edward Hunt
    11CF0563 Clauder, Joseph Stephen Eisenberg
    William Smoler
    11CF0908 Kanoff, Stephanie Ellen Berz
    Murali Jasti
    11CF1214 Grunwald, William Michael Schmidt
    David Stegall
    11CF1416 Vivas Ceja, Raul Robert C. Howard
    11CF1949 Rindfleisch, Daniel Brian Brophy
    12CF0675 Ruffin, Robert Andrew Somers
    Cole Ruby
    12CF1184 Halverson, Craig Lisa Goldman
    12CF2194 Estrada-Thijillo, Alfredo Mark Maciolek
    14CF1680 Steele, Andrew Jessa Nicholson
    14CF2098 Ruegg, Brad John Smerlinski
    15CF0019 Flood, Tyrone Mario White
    15CF1376 Smith, Cassandra Stanley Woodard
    15CF1630 Blackbourn, IV, Lisle Stephen Meyer
    Kathleen Stilling
    15CF2207 Vanderwoude, Taylor Brian Brophy
         
    00CI00001 Lombard, Joseph Nicholas Bokas
    David Karpe
    Mark Frank
         
    99CM4179 Cole, Jerry Jon Helland
    Mitchell Cooper
    05CM3025 Eddy, Justin Antonette Laitsch
    07CM1019 Bambrough, George Eric Schulenberg
    07CM2169 Shird, Marques Catherine Dorl
    13CM0080 Lewis, Leotis Ronald Benavides
    13CM1014 Morton, Joanne Diana Van Rybroek
    14CM0841 Flores, Armondo Jason Gonzalez
    14CM2220 Pruitt, Micha David Stegall
    15CM1308 Hughes, James David Knoll
    Antonette Laitsch
         
    00CT1446 Kuhls, Donald Robert Nagel
    05CT0525 Walters, Gerald Mitchell Cooper
    06CT0234 Sabin, Brett Michelle Tjader
    06CT1614 Dhashoen, Tenzing Sarah Schmeiser
    06CT2404 Dhashoen, Tenzing Sarah Schmeiser
    06CT2926 Buie, Bionca Sarah Lehner
    10CT1837 Benkert, Daniel John Hyland
    13CT0263 Davis-Fuhrer, Tamera Stephen Eisenberg
    16CT0113 Dohm, Jodi Charles Giesen
         
    08TR19377 Reinwall, Mark  Stephen Mays
    John Chappell Orth
    08TR19378 Reinwall, Mark  Stephen Mays
    John Chappell Orth



  • Ethical Dilemmas
    When Your Clients Divorce: Who Owns the Client File in Joint Representation?

    What happens when your clients divorce? Must a lawyer surrender a client file of a former joint representation when one party does not consent to providing the file to the other party? Who owns a client’s file?
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    handing over file

    Aug. 16, 2017 — Who owns a client’s file? When your client was a couple who are now divorcing, can one party forbid you to give the couple's client file to the other party?

    Question

    I represented a married couple in connection with immigration matters involving themselves and their children. My engagement agreement with the couple explicitly stated that I was representing them jointly and explained the implications of joint representation.

    Over the course of the representation, the relationship between the couple deteriorated and their interests diverged, which forced my withdrawal.

    The couple is now divorcing, and the husband has contacted me requesting the file. The wife’s lawyer sent me an email stating that the wife does not consent to providing the file to the husband and that I may not accede to the husband’s request.

    What do I do?

    Answer

    This situation brings into play two important principles in the disciplinary rules.

    First, the file is the property of the client, and a lawyer must surrender the file at the request of the client upon termination of the representation.1

    Second, in joint representations, each client is owed the same duty of loyalty and communication, and one jointly-represented client may not prohibit the lawyer from providing material information to another jointly-represented client.

    A slight variation of this problem was recently addressed in Rhode Island Ethics Advisory Panel Op. 2016-14, which states:

    The facts presented in the instant inquiry evidence a joint representation of Husband and Wife. In a joint representation, there is a presumption that the lawyer will share information relating to the case or matter with each client, including sharing information disclosed to the lawyer by one client with the other clients. A lawyer in a joint representation has an equal duty of loyalty to each client, and each client has a right to be informed of all information that has bearing on the representation. See Commentary 30, Rule 1.7. A lawyer’s obligation of confidentiality under Rule 1.6 does not attach as between commonly represented clients in a joint representation. In limited circumstances, a lawyer and jointly-represented clients may agree that the lawyer will hold certain information confidential. See Commentary 30, Rule 1.7.

    In the instant inquiry, Wife has requested that the inquiring attorney not provide Husband with a copy of the file for the initial visa petition for Husband. Rule 1.15(d) provides that, “… a lawyer shall promptly deliver to the client …any funds or other property that the client … is entitled to receive. …” A client’s file is property which a client is entitled to receive. The representation of Husband and Wife is a joint representation, and each client is entitled to the file. The Panel concludes that the inquiring attorney must provide Husband with the file relating to the petition for his visa.

    This result is consistent with the principles discussed above and other sources of guidance.2

    Thus, whenever a lawyer represents more than one client in the same matter, the lawyer should plan for the fact that all the clients will have an equal entitlement to the file when requested upon termination of the representation.

    In Case You Missed It: Read Past Ethical Dilemmas

    Ethical Dilemmas appears monthly in InsideTrack. Check out these topics from recent issues:

    Endnotes

    1 See Wisconsin Ethics Opinion EF-16-03.

    2 See e.g Maryland Ethics Op. 2006-15.




  • Get Ready: Mandatory E-Filing in Milwaukee County Starts Sept. 1

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    Aug. 16, 2017 – Mandatory e-filing will begin Sept. 1 in Milwaukee County. Attorneys and high-volume filing agents will be required to e-file court documents in civil, small claims, family, paternity, criminal, traffic, and ordinance-forfeiture cases.

    All but four counties have implemented mandatory e-filing. A county-by-county implementation plan began July 1, 2016. Brown and Monroe counties will implement mandatory e-filing on Oct. 2. Burnett County will follow on Oct. 16.

    Things to Know About the New E-filing Rule

    • E-filing is required for lawyers and for agents filing 10 or more small-claims actions in a county per year. Self-represented litigants are allowed to e-file but are not required to do so.

    • Documents e-filed by 11:59 p.m. on the day they are due are considered filed that day. Non e-filing parties may file by fax until 11:59 p.m. Local fax rules restricting the number of pages still apply.

    • Parties must submit copies of documents, not originals, even when filing on paper.

    • The small-claims summons and complaint may be verified without a notary.

    • Lawyers may authorize staff members to submit pleadings to the e-filing system on the lawyer’s behalf and to apply the lawyer’s electronic signature. The lawyer is responsible for all documents e-filed by staff members.

    Other Resources on E-filing




  • Refuel Yourself and Boost Your Practice at October Solo & Small Firm Conference

    It takes bravery and a pioneer spirit to hang out your shingle and take control of your own destiny. But you don’t have to fly solo on your course to success. Refuel yourself with your fellow attorneys at the 2017 Wisconsin Solo & Small Firm Conference in Wisconsin Dells, Oct. 26-28.
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    <iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/mQ36Iwg7Bi4" width="525" height="295" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    From the CLE to networking opportunities to having fun away from the office, there's a lot to like about the Wisconsin Solo & Small Firm Conference. We hope you'll join us!

    Aug. 16, 2017 – Confused by encryption? Worried about cyber liability? Need a boost to your business processes, or want to learn the secrets to successful negotiation?

    Learn this and more at the 2017 Wisconsin Solo & Small Firm Conference, at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells on Oct. 26-28.

    Stay on Top of Practice Changes

    The Wisconsin Solo & Small Firm Conference will help you glide through the unique challenges you face in your practice every day – from having to stay on top of changes (often to multiple practice areas) to piloting the business side of your firm.

    It’s a chance to learn from fellow attorneys, to share your successes and setbacks, swap stories, and establish referral relationships. Visit exhibitors at the Legal Expo for tools, services, and ideas to keep your practice thriving. Learn strategies for feeling better, working smarter, and reducing stress.

    Take the time to relax and unwind at the reception on Thursday evening. And make new and valuable connections by signing up for a dine-around with a conference speaker or planning committee member at a Wisconsin Dells restaurant.

    Solve Your Technology Problems at the Tech Lounge

    Recharge – literally – at this comfy, relaxed lounge while you charge your devices and receive one-on-one help with your tech questions and problems from Practice411, the State Bar’s Law Office Management Assistance Program.

    Our specialists will be on hand to offer tech consultations, conduct mini security audits, and, of course, answer your questions, such as:

    • What should I look for when buying a laptop?
    • What are my options for upgrading my office’s technology?
    • What can I do to improve my network and data backups?

    Earn CLE, EPR, LPM, and LAU Credits

    Effective July 1, 2017, lawyers can earn up to 6.0 hours in law practice management (LPM) credits, and 6.0 hours in lawyer awareness and understanding (LAU) credits toward the 30 hours of approved CLE credits required during a reporting period.

    WSSFC will be submitted to the Wisconsin Board of Bar Examiners for up to 10.5 CLE credits including 9.5 EPR credits, along with an additional 3.5 LPM and 1.5 LAU credits which can be added for a total of 15.5 credits toward your CLE reporting total. You can choose from 15 different sessions at WSSFC to earn up to 6.0 total LPM credits, and from three different sessions to earn up to 3.5 total LAU credits. Attendance verification forms can only be completed onsite at each individual session.

    As a special bonus, attendees will have the opportunity after the conference to watch webcasts of selected programs recorded at WSSFC – earning additional credits at no extra charge. Earn up to 7.0 CLE credits, including 1.0 EPR credit, and an additional 1.0 LPM credit.

    The conference will also be submitted to the Minnesota Board of Bar Examiners for applicable credits.

    For more on the new credit classifications, see SCR 31.02 (3) and (4).

    Register by Oct. 4 for the Best Rates

    Register by Oct. 4 to save up to $50 off the standard registration tuition of $349. To register, visit WisBar’s Marketplace.

    Become an Ultimate Pass Gold subscriber and get free tuition, or use the Ultimate Pass Silver, which gives you 50 percent off tuition.

    To register:

    • Register online (credit card or Ultimate Pass only)
    • Phone: (800) 728-7788 (credit card or Ultimate Pass only)
    • Fax: (608) 250-6020 (credit card or Ultimate Pass only)
    • Mail: State Bar PINNACLE Registrations, P.O. Box 7158, Madison, WI 53707-7158 (check, credit card, passbooks, or Ultimate Pass)

    At the Kalahari Resort – Reserve Your Room by Sept. 25

    Bring your family for a mini-vacation at the Kalahari Resort & Convention Center in Wisconsin Dells. Ideally located in the heart of Wisconsin, the Kalahari Resort features a 27-hole golf club, spa, dining, retail shopping, movie theater, and waterparks.

    To reserve your room, call (877) 253-5466. Register by Sept. 25 to receive the special room rates between Oct. 23 and Oct. 31. Be sure to mention that you are with the Wisconsin Solo & Small Firm Conference to receive the special room rates.

    If you would like to extend your stay, contact the Kalahari to check on discounted rates before and after the conference. All rooms include water park passes for four people.




  • West's Jury Verdicts, Bench Decisions, Settlements, and Arbitration Awards

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    Aug. 16, 2017 – As a service to its members, the State Bar of Wisconsin has entered into an alliance agreement with West, a Thomson Reuters business, to provide award information on Wisconsin civil jury trials, bench trials, settlements, and arbitrations. West's editorial staff selects a few key Wisconsin cases from Westlaw's® West's Jury Verdicts – Wisconsin Reports to highlight in each issue of WisBar InsideTrack.

    This Edition’s Featured Cases:

    Kusz v. Healthcare Services Group, Inc. (Wis. Cir. Ct. - Waukesha County)

    Premises Liability - Settlement: $235,000
    Hospital Pays $235K for Dining Hall Slip, Fall

    Clark v. Secura Ins. (Wis. Cir. Ct. - Waukesha County)

    Vehicle Negligence - Verdict: $4,972
    Jury Awards $5K for Parking Lot Collision

    Sprang v. Laundrie (Wis. Cir. Ct. - Milwaukee County)

    Vehicle Negligence - Verdict: $596,000
    Jury Awards $596K for I-43 Rear-Ender

    State Bar members can:

    • Request a full case summary, free of charge
    • Submit their own case results for online publication in Westlaw’s® West's Jury Verdicts – Wisconsin Reports, free of charge
    • Order a paid online subscription to Westlaw’s® West's Jury Verdicts – Wisconsin Reports
    • Contact West: com west.juryverdicts thomsonreuters thomsonreuters west.juryverdicts com or (800) 689-9378

    For State Bar members submitting their own results for publication, West will:

    • Send each submitter a pdf of his/her published case as it appears online in Westlaw’s® West's Jury Verdicts – Wisconsin Reports, free of charge
    • Consider featuring the case in the State Bar’s WisBar InsideTrack publication

    © 2017 Thomson Reuters/West. All rights reserved. Users may download and print extracts of content from this Web site for their own personal and noncommercial use only. Republication or redistribution of Thomson Reuters/West content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Thomson Reuters/West.




  • 3 Courtroom Dos and Don'ts for Lawyers

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    Aug. 16, 2017 –  Judicial preferences may vary, but here are three common dos (and don’ts) for any courtroom. Wisconsin Court of Appeals Judge Michael Fitzpatrick shares his tips for lawyers hoping to stay in good graces with a judge and professionally represent their client in court.

    Hon. Fitzpatrick presented at the 2017 State Bar of Wisconsin Annual Meeting & Conference.

    10 Related Resources For You …​




  • Substance Abuse: Tragic Story Highlights Need for Culture Change

    The story of one lawyer’s struggle with drugs highlights the need for stakeholders in the legal profession to promote culture change. A recent report provides a roadmap for law firms and others to follow.

    Joe Forward

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    hand reaching for rope

    Aug. 16, 2017 – Last month, the New York Times published an article, “The Lawyer, The Addict,” in which the ex-wife of a high-powered Silicon Valley attorney tells the story of her former husband Peter’s downward spiral and eventual death from drug abuse.

    “Of all the heartbreaking details of his story, the one that continues to haunt me is this: The history on his cellphone shows the last call he ever made was for work,” wrote Eilene Zimmerman. “Peter, vomiting, unable to sit up, slipping in and out of consciousness, had managed, somehow, to dial into a conference call.”

    Zimmerman unravels the last year of Peter’s life, tries to make sense of how she and other people around him did not see what was happening, and sheds more light on the substance and mental health problems that lawyers are facing in America.

    She notes the critical signs she missed – his appearance and strange behavior– coupled with the perception that a man of Peter’s intelligence and success could not possibly be a drug abuser. “That’s impossible,” she told medical workers who responded after Zimmerman found Peter dead at his home. “He was so smart.”

    But Zimmerman also questions whether enough is being done, at higher levels, to combat the substance abuse and mental health problems in the legal profession.

    “Real change, experts and recovering addicts say, needs to happen at the law firm level, but that is complicated by an entrenched culture of privacy combined with an allegiance to billable hours,” Zimmerman wrote.

     “I firmly believe that law firm culture, particularly at big firms, has to become more compassionate and more aware of the signs that one of their own is struggling.”

    New Report Provides Steps for Legal Employers

    A new report, “The Path to Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change,” published Aug. 14 by the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being, provides 40 recommendations on how to address the current state of lawyer well-being, including substance abuse and mental health.

    The task force is a coalition of groups initiated by the American Bar Association (ABA) Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs (CoLAP).

    Joe Forwardorg jforward wisbar Joe Forward, Saint Louis Univ. School of Law 2010, is a legal writer for the State Bar of Wisconsin, Madison. He can be reached by org jforward wisbar email or by phone at (608) 250-6161.

    The recommendations are designed to improve attorney well-being, which addresses emotional, intellectual, occupational, physical, social, and spiritual aspects of one’s life.

    Judges, regulators, legal employers, law schools, lawyer assistance programs, and bar associations are the target stakeholders of the report.

    For instance, it recommends that bar associations sponsor high-quality CLE programming on well-being-related topics. It says law schools should train faculty on student mental health. It says regulators should expand CLE requirements to include well-being topics, which is something the Wisconsin Board of Bar Examiners (BBE) has already done. Lawyers can get credit for courses on substance abuse awareness.

    The report recommends that legal employers establish organizational infrastructure to promote well-being, establish policies and practices to support lawyer well-being, and provide training and education on well-being, including new lawyer orientation.

    For instance, law firms could assess the firm’s well-being-related culture through anonymous surveys that gauge staff attitudes about well-being, and the organizational climate for support for mental health or substance use disorders.

    One of Zimmerman’s major questions was how Peter could slip through the cracks and start spiraling so out of control without anyone noticing. Another question: did co-workers at the law firm notice something was wrong with Peter and choose not to intervene?

    “Probably, they didn’t know how to intervene,” said Mary Spranger, who manages the Wisconsin Lawyer Assistance Program (WisLAP) through the State Bar of Wisconsin. WisLAP staff and volunteers can spot the problems and help intervene.

    “We train our volunteers to do this. Intervening takes vulnerability and this is not a comfortable place for most lawyers to stand.”

    WisLAP Can Help

    If you are concerned about a colleague, family member, or yourself, contact WisLAP for a free, confidential consultation at (800) 543-2625.

    What if the law firm had a confidential reporting procedure to report concerns about colleagues? A law firm procedure for Peter to seek confidential help, without being penalized or stigmatized? What if Peter felt the law firm would treat him like a wounded soldier, instead of a pariah, and actively help him on the path towards recovery?

    “With procedures in place, it is more likely that someone would have raised concerns about Peter, and more likely that Peter would have obtained the help he needed,” said Spranger. “It will take a major culture shift over time. Legal work is inherently stressful, and the legal profession needs built-in safety nets to catch those who fall. But lawyers will continue to hide problems if they don’t feel that disclosing them is an option.”

    Spranger says the ABA report gives practical guidance on how law firms can implement the built-in safety net through well-being strategies.

    Spranger also says the report effectively and non-judgmentally shines a light on the real-life concerns that are actually affecting today’s lawyers – this story and others like it happen more than we like to think about.

    It offers guidance on the training and responsibility to help identify lawyers and implement the safety net strategy. Lawyers won’t walk into the net willingly – they need more guidance and more permission about access, Spranger said.

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    “The more we talk, the easier it is to change the culture surrounding these issues,” says Mary Spranger, who manages the Wisconsin Lawyer Assistance Program (WisLAP).

    Reasons to Take Action

    The ABA report draws on a 2016 study, from the ABA and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, showing high rates of substance abuse and mental health problems in the legal profession, which the State Bar of Wisconsin highlighted in Wisconsin Lawyer. Former WisLAP manager Linda Albert was one of the study’s authors.

    The Hazelden/ABA study, the first comprehensive empirical study since 1990, reveals the alarming statistics. For instance, 31 percent of private law firm lawyers who identified as junior associates also identified as problem drinkers. The newest report reiterates the high rates of substance abuse and mental health problems among lawyers and law students.

    But it also notes that many lawyers are simply unsatisfied with or ambivalent about their work, without any underlying mental or substance abuse issues. Spranger says that WisLAP can help lawyers who may feel the “law firm blues” without a diagnosed problem, helping them to develop strategies before other problems arise.

    Law firms and other employers should act to promote the health and well-being of attorneys for various reasons, the report notes. For one, healthy lawyers will contribute to organizational success: happier and healthier lawyers are more productive.

    “For business organizations like law firms and corporate counsel, attorney health is an important form of human capital that can provide a competitive advantage,” the report states. “For example, job satisfaction predicts retention and performance.”

    Attorney well-being makes business sense.

    Guess what? Lawyers who are unhappy will leave, and larger firms lose an estimated $25 million per year because of turnover. Attorney well-being makes business sense, and not just for larger firms. Spranger says solo and small-firm lawyers often struggle alone for extended periods because they have even less ability to access resources.

    Well-being is also linked to ethics and professionalism. Rules that require lawyers to provide competent representation, strive to attain the highest level of skill, and improve the law and the legal profession cannot be achieved if lawyers are impaired or unhappy. Again, happy and healthy lawyers are more likely to meet their ethical obligations.

    “All told, the benefits of increased lawyer well-being are compelling, the cost of lawyer impairment is too great to ignore, and there has never been a better or more important time for all sectors of the profession to get serious about the substance use and mental health of ourselves and those around us,” the report explains.

    Finally, the report notes, ensuring the well-being of lawyers is the right thing to do. In a self-regulated profession, the legal community should be vested in helping each other.

    “While professional norms reinforce an individualistic focus and self-sufficiency, the reality is that we all contribute to, and are affected by, the professional culture that can harm or sustain our own and others’ well-being. [A]voidable obstacles erected by the profession that prevent lawyers from living up to their potential are indefensible.”

    Spranger says the legal profession must continue pushing to destigmatize the mental health and substance abuse problems that many lawyers are clearly experiencing. “The more we talk, the easier it is to change the culture surrounding these issues,” she said.

    As Eilene Zimmerman’s story notes, we may not understand what drives a lawyer to drugs or alcohol, but the legal profession should not pretend it isn’t happening.

    “Human beings are physically and emotionally complex, so there is no simple answer as to why Peter began abusing drugs,” she wrote. “But as a picture of his struggle took shape before my eyes, so did another one: The further I probed, the more apparent it became that drug abuse among America’s lawyers is on the rise and deeply hidden.”

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    The first empirical study in 25 years confirms lawyers have significant substance abuse or mental health problems, more so than other professionals or the general population. And many lawyers are not seeking the help they need, for the wrong reasons. Researchers hope this data will promote change within the profession.