Vol. 83, No. 2, February 2010
Bar Should Lobby on Behalf of Profession, Consumers
I congratulate Mr. Kammer on his insight and willingness to speak out in his December President’s Message entitled “Who Are They Kidding?”
Soon after I began practicing law in 1986, I spoke with an attorney from another state who was surprised that, in Wisconsin, real estate agents could draft purchase contracts, and that they regularly did so without legal supervision. That attorney wondered how our bar association had allowed that to happen. Over the years, I have seen several offers to purchase that were very poorly drawn by nonlawyers.
Our bar association has now missed a chance to remedy that problem. The remedy suggested by Mr. Kammer would not have required lawyer drafting. It simply would have given people notice that they have a right to have a lawyer review the offer, and a right to rescind. That approach would have likely given some business to lawyers, would have benefited consumers, and would not have forced anyone to hire a lawyer. (By the way, I am no longer in private practice, and would not have financially benefited from such a change.)
Mr. Kammer asks “Where was the State Bar in all this?” On the same day that I received the December Wisconsin Lawyer, I received a call from a fellow lawyer telling me that he received a holiday card from the State Bar. Apparently all holders of the Ultimate Pass for CLE were sent holiday cards this year.
So, when we wonder where the Bar was when it could have been lobbying on behalf of the profession and consumers, the answer may be that it was busy sending holiday cards.
We don’t need holiday cards. We also don’t need a seemingly endless stream of glossy CLE brochures. We need our bar to keep its eye on the ball.
Thomas D. Wiensch, Rhinelander
Bar President Should Lead, Not Point Fingers
President Kammer’s December column, “Who Are They Kidding?,” strikes me as an unfair comment on an integrated State Bar, the State Bar staff, and some unknown persons labeled “They.” I offer the following comments:
- Apparently Mr. Kammer learned of the issue [redrafting of the standard offer-to-purchase form] on or about Oct. 21, 2009, and called it to the attention of the Legislative Oversight Committee. That committee concluded that it had no authority to act, but Mr. Kammer is the president and he can act; he can lead; he can assume authority to solve a problem. He also has an Executive Committee that can be convened by telephone; the Executive Committee has authority to take action if Mr. Kammer were reluctant to do so.
- Mr. Kammer is the president of the State Bar. Presidents take responsibility for mistakes just like the captain of a ship. Leaders don’t complain; they take action.
- Contrary to his statement, Mr. Kammer certainly appears to be pointing a finger at the dedicated staff of the State Bar, the sections, and the committees. He also seems to be criticizing “top management and Bar leadership.” I am sorry, that is Mr. Kammer and his Executive Committee. The December column’s title suggests that “they” are misrepresenting the true facts. I ask, who, what, when?
- George Brown is one of the best executive directors of all the associations in Wisconsin. He has put together an excellent staff. Please don’t put those folks in the cross-fire as Mr. Kammer attempts to drum up support against a mandatory bar.
- I favor an integrated bar, but I suspect I could also argue Mr. Kammer’s position as well as my own. The December President’s Message would not be one of those arguments.
Earl H. Munson, Madison