Vol. 79, No. 5, May
Winding Down, Building Up
As the school and fiscal year wind
down, it's time to take stock of our accomplishments, and then take a
deep breath before building up for the next year by spending time with
our most important "clients" - our families.
by D. Michael Guerin
"The presidency is temporary - but the family is permanent." - Yvonne
de Gaulle, wife of French President Charles de Gaulle
As we all prepare for longer days, warmer temperatures, and greener
grass, we are in the winding down phase - winding down our "to do"
lists, winding down the school year, and winding down our
responsibilities to the Bar, including my year as your president. In a
few short months, I will refocus my attention on my law practice, my
golf game, and my family - not necessarily in that order.
Throughout this year, I have attempted to use this column to
emphasize what's good about being a lawyer. More than once I have spoken
of volunteerism, because I truly believe one of the best things about
being attorneys is our ability to volunteer, to help support each other
in our practices, and to provide a good living for our families.
Our organization is based on the generous volunteer time given by our
members. For those who have given unselfishly to the Bar, I thank
As attorney Rex Ewald reminded me, there are also a number of
volunteer opportunities for nonlawyers that have a great impact on our
profession. These nonlawyer volunteers are the citizens who serve on
entities such as the Board of Bar Examiners and the Office of Lawyer
Regulation, and the public members who serve on our own State Bar Board
of Governors and on various Bar committees. The Wisconsin Supreme Court
fills many of these positions, and recently Chief Justice Abrahamson
asked for people to step forward and volunteer for these important
positions. As leaders within your community, try to identify individuals
who have an interest in strengthening our profession and encourage them
to step forward. For more information, contact Cornelia Clark, Clerk of
the Supreme Court, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the supreme
court Web site at www.courts.state.wi.us.
Winding Down Our "To Do" List
The leadership of the State Bar recognized some years ago that the
Bar needed to provide our members with some specialized services. You
may have heard those services referred to as the "three-legged stool" of
service programs. The first two "legs" - the Ethics Hotline and the
Wisconsin Lawyers Assistance Program (WisLAP) - have been around for
some time. Well, the two-legged stool is no longer teetering; we are
pleased to have added to the State Bar staff a law office management
advisor to build on the great work already done for our Law Office
Management Assistance Program (LOMAP).
Since January, new advisor Nerino Petro has been working with our
members to provide information and support related to diverse areas of
law office management, including technology, business planning,
personnel, facilities and operations management, and more. Most of the
questions that Petro has received to date have focused on law office
technology and trust accounting; however, he has fielded inquiries about
other areas, including "of counsel" agreements.
Members also are using the LOMAP hotline and the practice management
electronic list, Practice 411. The elist enables members to share
information, ask questions, and connect with a panel of experts when
tackling the business and technology aspects of their practices. This
service is open to any State Bar member - no section or committee
membership is required for LOMAP services. Visit the Law Practice
Management area on WisBar, www.wisbar.org, regularly for links to new
LOMAP material and to subscribe to Practice411, www.wisbar.org.
On May 17, Gov. Jim Doyle will sign a public proclamation announcing
"Life Planning Week," May 22-26, during which time the State Bar will
strive to educate the public about the importance of preparing for
future health needs and to encourage Wisconsin residents to take the
steps necessary to protect themselves and their loved ones. In addition,
I am pleased to announce that A Gift to Your Family: Planning Ahead for
Future Health Needs - one of our best public resources for end of life
decisions - also is available in Spanish. As attorneys who are serving a
more diverse clientele and facing language barriers firsthand, it is
important to recognize that our clients, regardless of their national
origin, are entitled to dignity and to assistance in their native
As June approaches, many families are anticipating proms,
graduations, and the end of the school year. Rather than waiting for the
last second before school starts again in the fall, take the time now to
schedule family vacations and just plain old family "Brady Bunch" time.
We are finished with tax season, and summer events are filling our
calendars, but don't forget to schedule in your most important personal
"clients" - your family.