Quotable: “This is a chance for Wisconsin’s legal community to show the nation its pride in educating our next generation, some of whom may go on to be practicing lawyers.”
– Appleton attorney Kevin Lonergan, speaking about the State Bar of Wisconsin’s sponsorship of the 2014 National Mock Trial Tournament, May 8-10, 2014, in Madison. Lonergan chairs the State Bar’s National Mock Trial Executive Committee.
Wisconsin’s legal community will be “on display,” as hundreds of students, teachers, attorneys, and judges attend this three-day event. Last year 48 teams, including Guam and South Korea, competed at the national championship.
Volunteer lawyers and judges are needed to run this event, and the State Bar needs to raise at least $200,000 to cover associated costs.
Help Wisconsin’s legal community shine. Contact Marsha Varvil-Weld at (800) 444-9404, ext. 6191, to learn more. Donate at http://nationalmocktrial2014.wisbar.org.
By the Numbers: 37
The number of U.S. Supreme Court cases that originated from a Wisconsin state court since 1946, according to data compiled by The Supreme Court Database.
Eleven cases involved questions of federalism. Seven involved the First Amendment, including the landmark 1972 decision in Wisconsin v. Yoder, in which the court ruled that Wisconsin could not compel Amish parents to send their children to high school.
The high court has not reviewed a Wisconsin state court case since 2002.
Good Idea: Treadmill Desk: The Road to Healthier Lawyers?
We’ve heard of people standing at their desks to break free of the health hazards related to sitting for prolonged periods. But one Cincinnati law firm has literally taken this trend a step further by installing “treadmill desks,” reports the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Outlandish? Is it? Two of the lawyers at Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP are “work-treading” for one to four hours per day.
The treadmill desks are Bluetooth-enabled and equipped with wireless keyboards, computers, and mice. Extensive writing is a problem, but dictation technology lets lawyers write through talking.
“There’s very little time in the day where I could not be on here,” said lawyer Mary Taft in a video demonstration.
In addition to keeping lawyers “fit for practice,” the law firm is hoping it helps the bottom line, as healthier employees keep health-care costs in check.
Before you run out for that treadmill desk, consider the view that exercise “allows you to take a mental break from the office,” said one commentator on the ABA’s website.
Out there: Hey, Honey, Should We Renew Our Marital Lease?
People can rent real estate. Why not let couples rent the marriage, instead of “buying” it for a lifetime?
The marital commitment could last for a term of years, with an option to renew. The “wedlease” – as opposed to “wedlock” – is the idea of one estate planning lawyer in Palm Beach, Fla.
“It could end up lasting a lifetime if the relationship is good and worth continuing. But if the relationship is bad, the couple could go their separate ways at the end of the term. The messiness of divorce is avoided, and the end can be as simple as vacating a rental unit,” writes lawyer Paul Rampell for the Washington Post.
From the Archives: A Milestone in Women’s Suffrage Movement
This year marks the 125th anniversary of Brown v. Phillips (1888), a little-known milestone in Wisconsin women’s history.
In 1884, the Wisconsin Legislature gave women a limited right to vote in elections for school offices but did not provide special ballots limited to those offices. Olympia Brown, Wisconsin’s first female minister and leader of the state suffrage movement, argued in that case that women should be allowed to use regular ballots.
Local judge John Winslow agreed, but in Phillips, the Wisconsin Supreme Court said there was too much risk of cheating: women could not vote until the Legislature gave them special ballots.
It finally did so in 1901, and in 1919 Wisconsin women – with the hearty approval of Winslow, now Wisconsin’s chief justice – finally got the right to vote for all offices.
Photo: Olympia Brown, WHI (X3) 25872. State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
On the Radar: Uruguay, Illinois Latest to Embrace Pot
Uruguay is on the verge of becoming the first country to fully legalize marijuana use, production, and sale, The Week magazine reports, noting that places like Amsterdam have completely decriminalized consumption only.
“Tens of thousands of Latin Americans have died over the past few decades because of drug trafficking,” and Uruguayan President Jose Mujica “is one of a growing number of Latin American leaders convinced that legalizing some drugs is a more effective way to undermine the cartels than the U.S. method, which is ‘heavily dependent on law enforcement and prohibition,’” the magazine reports.
Colorado and Washington state legalized recreational marijuana use last year, but possessing it is still technically illegal under federal law. And last month, Illinois became the 20th state to allow the use of marijuana strictly for medical purposes.
In Wisconsin, bills to legalize medical marijuana have failed, but expect to see another push this fall, the Wisconsin State Journal reports.