Vol. 83, No. 11, November 2010
Just as high school and college friendships become difficult to maintain as friends move farther apart, it also is a challenge for the State Bar to maintain relationships and relevancy with our members who do not practice near Madison. I believe the State Bar needs to stay connected with and relevant to our members statewide; we can do that by building strong relationships with local bar associations. One way to build those relationships is by helping local bars provide targeted benefits to our mutual members.
I’m firmly committed to providing the best benefits and services to add value to State Bar membership. In doing this it is important to remember that we are the State Bar for all of Wisconsin, and the benefits and services that are valued by an attorney in Madison or Milwaukee may be different from those valued by an attorney in Antigo, Phillips, or Racine.
To achieve closer relationships with local bars and to help them provide relevant services to our members throughout the state, I have created a new subcommittee of the Local Bar Relations Committee. Its charge is to solicit requests from local bars that would like to provide a benefit or service directly to their members but have been unable to do so because of lack of financial or administrative resources. This new subcommittee will assist local bars either financially or with administrative assistance through the State Bar.
My hope is this new subcommittee will strengthen the State Bar’s relationship with and relevancy to members in all parts of the state. When local bars use this new resource, we will provide our mutual members with benefits that are chosen locally to directly benefit the local members’ practices.
From left: Local Bar Benefits subcommittee cochair Josh Kindkeppel, State Bar president Jim Boll, and cochair Joe Melli discuss ways to advance the State Bar's initiative to help local bars deliver benefits and services directly to their members.
The idea of creating this subcommittee arose from the Dane County Bar’s development of its mentorship program. The program is run by the Dane County Bar with administrative assistance from the State Bar. The cochairs of the new State Bar Local Bar Benefits subcommittee are Joe Melli and Josh Kindkeppel. Joe and Josh, along with Jack Sweeney, were instrumental in creating the Dane County Bar mentorship program.
The Dane County Bar mentorship program creates meaningful professional relationships between attorneys and fosters a greater appreciation for the law and the importance of civility in everyday practice. The program places attorneys who have less than five years of experience with practicing attorneys who have more than 10 years of experience in similar practice areas. The program asks each pair to meet once a month for lunch and to attend a couple of CLE programs together, also over lunch, throughout the year.
If your local bar wants more details about how the State Bar can help provide targeted benefits to our mutual members, or information about implementing a mentorship program like the Dane County Bar’s, please contact Kris Wenzel at the State Bar, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 728-7788, ext. 6185. The Local Bar Benefits subcommittee has budgeted funds and is looking to continue to provide value to our members’ local and State Bar memberships.
We all should be working hard to make the State Bar better. Please take advantage of this new program. As Abraham Lincoln said during the depths of the Civil War, “He has the right to criticize who has the heart to help.”