Wisconsin Lawyer: Letters - What Has Been the Most Personally Satisfying Use of Your Legal Training?:

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  • Wisconsin Lawyer
    January
    23
    2009

    Letters - What Has Been the Most Personally Satisfying Use of Your Legal Training?

    Donna Jones

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    Astronomer, teacher, newspaper reporter? As a young girl growing up in the '50s, I knew I wanted to be a career woman. The only question, was "Which career?" I became a lawyer and went on to earn a master's in public administration. Instead of practicing law in the traditional sense, I embarked upon a public service career as an administrator. I also remained active in the State Bar to help improve the profession.

    Wisconsin Lawyer
    Vol. 75, No. 4, April 2002

    What Has Been the Most Personally Satisfying Use of Your Legal Training?

    I wanted to be a career woman

    Astronomer, teacher, newspaper reporter? As a young girl growing up in the '50s, I knew I wanted to be a career woman. The only question, was "Which career?" I became a lawyer and went on to earn a master's in public administration. Instead of practicing law in the traditional sense, I embarked upon a public service career as an administrator. I also remained active in the State Bar to help improve the profession.

    The most personally satisfying use of my legal training occurred when a CLE program that I recommended and cochaired became the unexpected catalyst for establishing a new State Bar section. In 1990, a matter of significant legal controversy - the Chippewa treaty rights dispute - was drawing national attention to Wisconsin. Concerns were growing over the escalation of threats and violence at Chippewa spearfishing sites. Yet, this all involved an area of the law that most Wisconsin attorneys (including myself) were unfamiliar with - Indian law.

    It occurred to me that this was a unique opportunity to introduce State Bar members to Indian law and the specifics of this federal dispute. As a member of the Special Committee for the Participation of Women in the Law, I recommended that the committee sponsor a CLE program on the subject at the Midwinter Convention and offered to serve as a cochair. The program, "Contemporary and Traditional Native American Legal Issues," was a resounding success, drawing an audience of attorneys, judges, and supreme court justices. The program's impressive speakers included attorneys from across Wisconsin and the country.

    Interest in Indian law grew so much that, one year later, in 1991, the State Bar Board of Governors created the Indian Law Section. I was a member of the Board of Governors at that time. Ours remains one of the few state bar associations with a section dedicated to Indian law. It is gratifying to have been part of making this lasting contribution.

    - Donna M. Jones, Atlanta, Ga.

    What's Your Most Rewarding Experience? The Wisconsin Lawyer is pleased to include letters from lawyers about experiences they have found personally rewarding. Please send your experiences via email to the org wislawmag wisbar editor at the State Bar or by letter to the State Bar of Wisconsin, P.O. Box 7158, Madison, WI 53707-7158.