Nomination Committee Chair Ryan Blay presents the 2013 Young Lawyer of the Year award to Barbara J. Privat, Assistant State Public Defender, Washington County.
April 3, 2013 – Despite the heavy workload that befalls public defenders, in her five years with the Washington County State Public Defender’s Office, Barbara J. Privat founded a program that provides services for former offenders and their families, organizes anti-Heroin programs, and is the incoming Washington County Bar Association president.
“Out of a crowded field of 16 well deserving nominees, Barbara stood out not only for her commitment to her challenging work, but her after work commitments in Washington County,” said Young Lawyers Division (YLD) Nomination Committee Chair Ryan Blay, who presented the 2013 Young Lawyer of the Year award to Privat at the Fourth Annual YLD Leadership Conference in March. “The award highlights young attorneys who have gone above and beyond to their clients, to their local and state bars, and to their communities. Barbara is a superstar in each.
“Barbara really stood out through her work founding and nurturing Project Second Start,” said Blay. “The program is supported by the Washington County Bar Association and was developed through a grant Barbara received to found and launch it.”
Barbara Privat, 2013 YLD Attorney of the year (center) with State Public Defender’s Office colleagues Sam Benedict, Waukesha, Mike Tobin, Madison, Nadya Perez-Reyes, West Bend, and Kelli Sue Thompson, Madison.
Project Second Start is a nonprofit program that provides services to former offenders and their families. Volunteers seek to reduce recidivism and work with the courts, the corrections system, treatment providers, families, and the community to provide a support system and a second chance. Second Start also collects clothing, money donations, and seeks job contacts and other resources.
Privat is also active in organizing anti-Heroin programs in her community and is in the process of developing a Recovery Walk and ‘OctSober Fest’ festival to add to future Stop Heroin Rallies, and a ‘The Right Path’ 5K fun run.
A graduate of UW-Milwaukee and of the University of Kansas Law School, Privat is active in the Washington County Bar Association, as she currently serves as vice president and will serve as president in 2013-14.
Deb Heneghan is the publications reporter for the State Bar of Wisconsin. She can be reached by email at org dheneghan wisbar wisbar dheneghan org or by phone at (608) 250-6135.
In the award nomination, the Washington County Bar Association officers said: “At the core of all the work attorney Privat does is her steadfast belief that it is never too late for a person to change his or her life.”
Accepting the award, Privat thanked the Washington County Bar Association and all the people who have helped her. “I think we probably all went to law school to make a difference,” she said. “I’m no different from anyone else. We can all make a difference everyday with all of the people we interact with.”