March 27, 2017 – “Be the mentor you seek,” and look for those who need help. This is the message from two young lawyers who were honored Friday with awards from the State Bar of Wisconsin Young Lawyers Division.
The recipients of the inaugural Outstanding Mentor and the 2017 Outstanding Young Lawyer awards were honored by their peers at the Seventh Annual Young Lawyers Division Leadership Conference on Friday, March 24, in Green Bay.
The First Outstanding Mentor Award: Rochelle Johnson Bent
Rochelle Johnson Bent, recipient of the inaugural Outstanding Mentor Award from the Young Lawyers Division.
Rochelle Johnson Bent of Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee Inc. is the first recipient of the new Outstanding Mentor Award from the Young Lawyers Division
“She is a new attorney’s dream,” said T.R. Williams, one of those who nominated Johnson Bent for the award. “She’s full of information, down to earth, and a standout practitioner of family law.”
Johnson Bent finds time in her busy schedule to help attorneys in her office, giving advice and practical tips to help them to work effectively with clients and other parties, said Ben Roovers, co-chair of the YLD Nomination Committee.
“This is an amazing honor,” Johnson Bent said.
Mentorship was vital for her, when she first began practicing, she said. “So my goal was always to give back and do the same thing with the young attorneys that I encounter.”
Her suggestion is this: Look for those who may need help. “Be the mentor that you seek.”
The 2017 Outstanding Young Lawyer: John G. Walsh
John G. Walsh, recipient of the 2017 Outstanding Young Lawyer Award from the Young Lawyers Division.
John G. Walsh of Axley Brynelson, Madison, stood out among this year’s nominees for the Outstanding Young Lawyer Award, said Roovers. The award is given to a young lawyer who has made an impact in his or her practice area, in service to the State Bar of Wisconsin, and in service to the community.
Walsh has worked both in public and private practice, and served as a volunteer clerk for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and sat on the court’s Planning and Policy Advisory Committee. “He also was a finalist in Madison’s Funniest Comic Competition in 2011-12,” Roovers said.
“All this as a young attorney with a substantial hearing impairment and while being legally blind,” Roovers said. “He is an effective counselor, and practices with empathy and determination in overcoming obstacles. He demonstrates daily the best the legal profession can be,” Roovers said.
“Practicing law is not the easiest thing in the world to do. I’ve had the benefit of fantastic teachers and mentors all my life,” he said. “So I encourage all of you, even though we are young, to mentor those who are less fortunate.”
“I thank you for this recognition,” Walsh said. “I don’t feel deserving of it at all, but I hope to keep moving forward and making you proud.”
Find out more about Walsh as a comedian in "10 Questions: Johnny Walsh: Leave ’Em Laughing," in the November 2013 issue of Wisconsin Lawyer.
To see photos of the conference, visit the State Bar’s Facebook page.