Robert Gagan

State Bar of Wisconsin

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Robert Gagan Candidate for President-elect

Robert Gagan

Calewarts, Duffy, Gagan, Green Bay

Email: rr rrgagan new com new rrgagan rr com

Comments

As an undergraduate of the University of Wisconsin system and a Marquette Law School graduate, I believe my educational background lends a certain perspective common to many of the State Bar members. Being a Wisconsin native probably allows me an additional degree of commonality with many of you. Finally, being a “first-generation” lawyer has brought its own challenges and trepidations to which many, if not most, of you can relate. I hope to bring these common experiences and perspectives to the divergent issues we all face as lawyers.

I have been fortunate enough to serve as Brown County Bar President, as a member of the Board of Governors, and as a member of the Board of Governors Executive Committee. I am honored to have been selected as a candidate for the office of State Bar President-elect. As State Bar President, I will bring these perspectives and experiences to bear upon the issues that continue to affect the members of our State Bar.

Legislative Priorities

Our State Bar is most closely aligned to the Judicial Branch of the government. Although the judiciary is a co-equal branch of the government, it has the least influence upon Wisconsin’s budgetary process. It’s therefore extremely important that the State Bar be an effective and credible advocate before the legislative and executive branches. The State Bar needs to remain an advocacy arm for lawyers and not for either side with respect to divisive political issues. During these times of contentious budgetary and political issues, we need friends on both sides of the political aisle. If elected, I will strive to assure that our lobbying efforts be directed to only those issues affecting our members. While a mechanism for a voluntary dues payment is already in place concerning political issues, I would err on the side of caution should an issue with any political overtones arise. Unless there was a broad and overwhelming bi-partisan consensus concerning a particular issue, I would ask the BOG to take no position.

Improving Member Services

I understand the need for the State Bar to be more responsive to its members. President Klein and President-elect Fiedler have improved communication between the State Bar and its members, and I plan to build on their efforts. I support increased communication with government lawyers, solo and small practice lawyers, young lawyers and non-resident lawyers to understand the unique issues they encounter and find ways that the State Bar can address their needs. I served on my local bar association board for four years and continue to be active in our local events. Local bar associations are an integral part of our organization and need to work in conjunction with the State Bar to provide services our members need. I will be an advocate for all lawyers when confronting budgetary issues involving relevant services for our members.

Unauthorized Practice of Law

We must redouble our efforts in confronting the problems created by the unauthorized practice of law (UPL). While UPL adversely affects almost all areas of law, my experience has been that it most perniciously affects the areas of Family Law and Property Law (Wills, Estates, Trusts, and Real Estate). We have all heard stories or encountered instances where people have been seriously harmed by so-called advocates pretending to be lawyers. Be it a personal matter in Family Law or a financial matter in Property Law, the problems caused by UPL can be enormous and life-changing. The laws governing UPL are adequate; if we lobby to make the laws more restrictive, I believe our efforts will be deemed self-serving. Instead, I believe our efforts should be directed toward a greater enforcement. In addition, I would like to start a program whereby the State Bar solicits from our members specific instances where they have observed egregious harm caused by UPL. We can then explore a mechanism by which these egregious examples can be communicated to the public.

Summary

I am pleased to have so many past State Bar presidents supporting my candidacy. Your State Bar must continue to adapt to ever-changing legal, budgetary, and technological environments. Our State Bar has a proud tradition of uplifting our profession and facilitating the administration of justice. We have all benefitted from the countless volunteer hours of service provided by our past State Bar presidents, officers, governors, and committee-persons. I will tirelessly recruit new volunteers from the ranks of in-house counsel, government lawyers, and private practice to assure that your State Bar continues to work for all of us.

Professional Activities

  • Calewarts, Duffy & Gagan, Associated Attorneys, Green Bay
  • Served as a Special Prosecutor in the Brown County District Attorney's Office in 2011 and 2012
  • Prior to law school, served as a Bank Examiner for the Federal Reserve Banks of Cleveland and Minneapolis
  • Member of the State Bar of Wisconsin
    • Current Member of the Litigation Section
    • Current Member of the Administrative & Local Government Law Section
    • Current Member of the Solo/Small Firm & General Practice Section

Education

  • Marquette University Law School, J.D.
  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, MBA
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison, BBA, majoring in Finance and Marketing

Community Service

  • Co-founder of Brown County Free Legal Clinic where volunteer attorneys answer legal questions as an outreach to the Hispanic community
  • Member of The Salvation Army of Green Bay Advisory Board (2005-2012)
  • Served on the Green Bay YMCA Business Committee.
  • Coach for Allouez Anchor youth soccer
  • Coach for Notre Dame elementary youth basketball

Professional Service

  • Current member of the State Bar Board of Governors as the District 14 representative
  • Current member of the District 14 Investigative Committee appointed by the Wisconsin Supreme Court
  • Current member of the Board of Governors Governance Committee
  • Current Board of Governors Liaison to the Family Law Section
  • Board of Governors Executive Committee (2011-2012)
  • Brown County Bar Association President (2005)
  • Brown County Bar Association Board Member (2002-2005)

Personal

Bob and his spouse, Jenny, have an 8 year old, Audrey, and a 6 year old, Danny.

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