State Bar of Wisconsin
(608) 630-0432 (cell)
(800) 444-9404 ext. 6025
Attorney Donald Leo Bach of Madison recognized for lifetime
of public service
Sept. 23, 2011 — A Madison lawyer will be recognized this month
for his lifetime of service to both the legal profession and to the
public. Attorney Donald Leo Bach will receive the Charles L. Goldberg
Distinguished Service Award, presented by the Wisconsin Law Foundation
at its Annual Recognition Dinner in Madison on September 27.
Bach has an extensive record of public service to the state, the
country, the community and the legal profession. After graduating the
UW-Madison, Bach served in the U.S. Naval Reserve for 26
years, including a tour in the Vietnam combat zone aboard the guided
missile destroyer, USS Benjamin Stoddert.
He earned his law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School in
December 1974. After over a decade in private sector practice with the
Madison firm with DeWitt Ross & Stevens, Governor Tommy Thompson
appointed Bach as his legal counsel and advisor in 1987. Bach also acted
as Thompson’s acting chief of staff and as chair of the
Governor’s Pardon Advisory Board.
Bach drafted the executive order for, and was appointed as the
governor’s liaison to, the Governor’s Commission on the USS
Wisconsin, the official state body formed to celebrate the return of the
battleship to active service with the Navy. He was a member of the
Governor’s Commission on the Bicentennial and the governor’s
liaison to the State Capitol Rededication and Judicial Selection
Advisory committees. He was also a negotiator for the Low-Level
Radioactive Waste Host Site Committee.
Subsequently, Bach became chair of the Wisconsin Parole Board
(1987-1988) and held executive positions in the state Departments of
Administration and Revenue, including the position of Deputy Secretary
of Revenue (1988-1991). Additionally, he served as either a liaison to
or a member of the State Council on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse, the
state’s Information Technology Strategic Planning Advisory Board,
the Computer Utility Implementation Steering Committee and the Interim
Board on Information Technology.
In 1992 Bach returned to the private sector as a partner with DeWitt
Ross & Stevens.
In 2004, the Wisconsin Supreme Court appointed him to the Wisconsin
Judicial Commission; he was re-appointed in 2007 and served as chair.
Bach was named by the Governor’s Advisory Council on Judicial
Selection as “one of the three best qualified candidates”
for appointment to the Supreme Court of Wisconsin in 1998.
His contributions to the State Bar include writing articles for
Wisconsin Lawyer™ magazine, presenting at PINNACLE seminars and
serving on the Bench-Bar Committee, including a term as chair.
Bach has served on the board for the DeForest Elderly
Housing and Owner and Management Corporation, a non-profit, low-income
elderly housing organization and is affiliated with the Knights of
In his nomination letter, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen noted that
"Wisconsin has benefitted from Don’s career of service. The
legal profession has not only benefitted from his work, but it is
honored by his membership."
The Wisconsin Law
Foundation, founded in 1951 as the charitable arm of the State Bar
of Wisconsin, is dedicated to enhancing, promoting, funding and
developing charitable and educational programs to promote public
understanding of the law. The foundation presents its Charles L.
Goldberg Distinguished Service Award to a State Bar member who has a
long-standing record of service to both the legal profession and to the
The State Bar of Wisconsin is the mandatory professional
association, created by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, for attorneys who
hold a Wisconsin law license. With more than 24,000 members, the State
Bar aids the courts in improving the administration of justice, provides
continuing legal education for its members to help them maintain their
expertise, and assists Wisconsin lawyers in carrying out community
service initiatives to educate the public about the legal system and the
value of lawyers. For more information, visit www.wisbar.org.
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