WisBar News: Ginsberg Highlights Importance of Past, Calloway the Future, at State Bar Institute:

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  • WisBar News
    June
    12
    2012

    Ginsberg Highlights Importance of Past, Calloway the Future, at State Bar Institute


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    Plenary speaker Atty. William Ginsburg’s presentation, “The Importance of the Jury Trial in America,” touched on philosophy and constitutional history to explain how the jury trial and the nation’s appellate process is the lynchpin of democracy.

    Atty. Ginsberg discusses his presentation with State Bar of Wisconsin Legal Writer Joe Forward. Ginsburg says lawyers have a large role to play in teaching younger generations about civics and democracy where those subjects have been cut in schools.

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    Jim Calloway (left), Director of the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Management Assistance Program, discusses his plenary speech, “The Future of Law Practice: Dark Clouds or Silver Linings?” with State Bar of Wisconsin Management Advisor Nerino Petro. Says Calloway, “We have a lot of dedicated professionals in our practice, and there’s always going to be room for success for people who work hard and do innovative things.”

    Atty. Calloway discusses his presentation with State Bar of Wisconsin Practice Management Adviser Nerino Petro. Calloway offers tips on adapting to the evolving practice of law.

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    Attendees listen as AttyGinsburg delivers the plenary speech, “The Importance of the Jury Trial in America.”

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    Panelists (from left) Hon. Stephen E. Ehlke, Dane County Circuit Court; Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, Wisconsin Supreme Court; and Prof. Chad M. Oldfather, Marquette University Law School, discuss “Challenges to Judicial Independence in Today’s Legal Environment.”

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    State Bar staff members Jeff Brown (center) and Peter Kraemer (right) discuss upcoming Institute programming with Atty. Jim Cole, Madison.

    To see photos and video clips from the Litigation, Dispute Resolution, and Appellate Practice Institute, visit the State Bar’s Facebook page.

    June 12, 2012 – William Ginsberg, who represented Monica Lewinsky in the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal and has tried more than 250 cases in 21 states, says lawyers play a crucial role in preserving the nation’s democracy and must help fight to preserve it.

    A former trial lawyer in California, Ginsberg was one of many presenters and panelists at the State Bar of Wisconsin PINNACLE’s two-day Litigation Dispute Resolution and Appellate Practice Institute, which began yesterday at the Chula Vista Resort in Wisconsin Dells.

    Wisconsin lawyers converged to gain insights and knowledge while earning CLE credits through the relatively new Institute-format, designed for in-depth programming in several areas of law. PINNACLE’s Real Estate and Business Institute will take place June 14-15.

    Ginsberg’s presentation, “The Importance of the Jury Trial in America,” touched on philosophy and constitutional history to explain how the jury trial and the nation’s appellate process is the lynchpin of democracy, and the nation must learn from previous mistakes.

    Invoking philosopher George Santayana’s quote that “those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it,” Ginsberg says lawyers have a large role to play in teaching younger generations about civics and democracy where those subjects have been cut in schools.

    “It’s critically important for [younger generations] to understand our democracy and how it’s framed under the constitution,” Ginsberg said. “Lawyers can be direct teachers.”

    Ginsberg also explained that jury trials give people a voice, meaning that citizens must know what’s at stake when they make decisions that will impact segments of our society. “Lawyers play a role in giving juries a voice,” he said. “When Aristotle and Lincoln said this is government of the people, for the people, by the people, they were referring to the jury trial.”

    Ginsberg highlighted programs such as high school mock trial and iCivics, founded by former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Conner, which lawyers can participate in and use to promote education while serving as leaders and educators within the community.

    Insights on the Future of Law Practice

    Legal profession alarmists, as they are known, paint a bleak picture for the future of lawyers. But as long as lawyers stay tuned-in to the changing practice of law, things will be okay, says Jim Calloway, Director of the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Management Assistance Program.

    “We have a lot of dedicated professionals in our practice, and there’s always going to be room for success for people who work hard and do innovative things,” Calloway said in post-presentation interview with State Bar of Wisconsin Practice Management Advisor Nerino Petro.

    But lawyers must find those innovative solutions to compete with online service providers and other competitors that are displacing legal services, says Calloway, who today gave his key note presentation entitled, “The Future of Law Practice: Dark Clouds or Silver Linings.”

    Lawyers are competing with the “commoditization” of legal services that don’t involve advice, guidance, or other services that require a law license. “We can’t keep doing things in 25 minutes that takes someone else five,” Calloway says.

    Going paperless, embracing document assembly, formulating alternative fee arrangements, and exploring technology that allow law offices to contract and expand as business comes and goes – those things are keys to staying competitive, Calloway says.

    “I think we are going to see a lot of competition from online legal service document assembly programs,” said Calloway, noting that 20 percent of limited liability companies in California last year were formed using a well-known online service provider.

    While key note speakers such as Ginsberg and Calloway embraced the past and future, various Wisconsin lawyers spoke on present topics involving litigation, dispute resolution, and appellate practice, including recent legislation that has drastically changed Wisconsin’s legal landscape.

    Hot Topics in Litigation

    As Appleton lawyer Joe Troy put it, now is an interesting time to be a litigator. “Not only has the legislature made many changes affecting litigation, those changes have come very quickly,” said Troy, moderator for a panel on “Hot Topics in Litigation.”

    Troy introduced several attorneys who discussed the impacts of new laws, particularly in the product liability and auto insurance areas. Milwaukee attorney Tim Trecek said one of the biggest changes in product liability is 2011 Wisconsin Act 2’s creation of a statute of repose.

    “That means that if the product was manufactured more than 15 years prior to the date you intend on filing the lawsuit, you have no case,” said Trecek, noting how the swift change forced his firm to scramble to file a roof crush case involving a car more than 15 years old.

    “We filed it the day the before the law changed,” he said. “A one-day difference in filing made a huge impact in the life of a gentleman who became a quadriplegic,” he said.

    Insurance defense lawyer Claude Covelli and plaintiffs’ lawyer Kevin Lonergan discussed the issues likely to arise now that auto insurance laws changed to allow anti-stacking provisions.

    Adversaries in a recent case involving a drunk driver who killed a young girl, the litigators both discussed the turbulent history of Wisconsin’s auto insurance laws and where it stands today.

    Other Topics

    Experienced litigators presented “back to basics” programs to provide lawyers with insights to successful litigation. In particular, the presenters focused on tactics and strategy, providing nuggets of information from both sides of an issue to give lawyers more tools moving forward.

    For instance, programs on discovery and depositions included advice on deposition strategy, including situations involving difficult or uncooperative opposing counsel.

    “We wanted to give the tools to lawyers to know what to do when you are faced with that situation,” said Christine Bremer Muggli, a small-firm litigator in Wausau. “The tendency is to get angry, and that’s the wrong thing to do. What [lawyers] really need to do is know the rules.”

    Other programs focused on dispute resolution and appellate practice, many of which will be available through State Bar PINNACLE webcast replays for CLE credit in the future. For instance, a panel of in-house lawyers today addressed how they hire and evaluate appellate counsel.

    Several lawyers discussed the “art” of mediation, and Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley joined a panel to discuss “judicial independence.”

    Related

    To see photos and video clips from the Litigation, Dispute Resolution, and Appellate Practice Institute, visit the State Bar’s Facebook page.