It’s 2014. What resolutions have you made? To lose weight and exercise more? To exceed last year’s billable hours? To spend more time with family and friends? Is your list of resolutions short and realistic or long and optimistic? Do you even have one? Is this any of my business?
com pfiedler axley Patrick J. Fiedler, Marquette 1980, is a litigator with Axley Brynelson LLP, in Madison.
On behalf of the State Bar, I have three suggested resolutions for your consideration.
Resolution #1. Several years ago, the State Bar Board of Governors passed a resolution supporting the return of 17 year olds to juvenile court. Currently, bills are pending in both the State Assembly (AB 387) and the State Senate (SB 308) that would make this a reality. The legislation, known as the “Second Chance Bill,” has bipartisan support. In September, I spoke in favor of the legislation at a press conference, along with two of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Garey Bies (R-Sturgeon Bay) and Rep. Fred Kessler (D-Milwaukee). In October, I appeared at separate public hearings before the Assembly and the Senate committees that were considering the bill. I also have done television and radio interviews to promote its passage.
For me, being out in front of this bill on behalf of the State Bar is a labor of love. My experience as a lawyer, judge, parent, and now grandparent tells me that this is the right thing to do. As a lawyer, you must draw your own conclusions. But in doing so, I ask that you consider my arguments as set forth in an opinion column that was published on September 19 in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. If you agree that this is a good idea, and if you are a Wisconsin resident, please contact your state assemblyperson and your state senator and ask each of them to support the Second Chance Bill.
Resolution #2. In May, the State Bar will host the 2014 National High School Mock Trial Championship. This is a great occasion for all participants as well as the State Bar. In the past, I have had the opportunity to coach and to judge at local competitions. Inevitably, I came away impressed with the quality of the presentations. You can help in two ways. First, consider making a donation. Our goal is to raise $200,000. As of early December (my deadline for this column), we have raised approximately $140,000. Second, consider volunteering for the event. For more information, check out http://nationalmocktrial2014.wisbar.org/.
Resolution #3. The State Bar’s 2014 Annual Meeting and Conference will be held in June at the Grand Geneva Resort and Spa in Lake Geneva. The convention (as I still call it) offers a great combination of two plenary sessions with excellent speakers, CLE credits, and most important, opportunities to connect and socialize with other lawyers. Bring the family: the Grand Geneva offers something for everyone. Check out http://amc.wisbar.org/.
Whatever you resolve to do in 2014, have a Happy New Year!