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  • May 02, 2018

    Passing the Bar Exam: Welcome to 22 New Wisconsin Lawyers

    They are 22 lawyers who passed the Wisconsin bar exam in February – some just beginning their careers in law, and others finding new opportunities in Wisconsin. Welcome to these new Wisconsin lawyers!
    Jessica Ray and Miranda Welch

    New Wisconsin lawyer Jessica Ray (right) and Miranda Welch of Madison.

    May 2, 2018 – They are the 22 new Wisconsin lawyers who took the oath April 17 in Madison. They include those interested in helping the underrepresented and those coming to Wisconsin to join a loved one.

    The lawyers passed the Wisconsin bar exam in February. They became Wisconsin lawyers after taking the Attorney’s Oath and signing the Wisconsin Supreme Court Roll at a reception hosted by the State Bar of Wisconsin.

    They were welcomed to the practice in Wisconsin by Justice Dan Kelly, who said the profession of law is a calling. “There is respect and honor in what attorneys do,” he said. “You deal in the majesty of the law.”

    Justice Kelly advised the new Wisconsin lawyers to act with honor and uphold their character. “You will sleep most soundly at night if your character is beyond reproach,” he said. “Your character will be known – not by your speech, but by your actions.”

    Sixty Percent Pass Exam

    Jacquelynn B. Rothstein, director of Board of Bar Examiners, said 60 percent of the 67 individuals who took the bar exam in February passed it. And 78 percent of those taking the exam for the first time passed the exam, she said.

    Among those taking the oath is California lawyer James Timm was moved by Howard Eslein of Eslein Law Office in Oconto – who said he’s worked with Timm for 22 years, and now is very happy to welcome him as a new Wisconsin lawyer.

    Kenneth M. Wagner, Adams County corporation counsel, spoke proudly during the ceremony as movant for his son Alex Wagner, a graduate of the University of Miami Law School. Alex practiced four years in Florida, and is now a Wisconsin lawyer.

    Group of lawyers

    Lawyers smile after completing the Attorney’s Oath during the admissions ceremony in the Supreme Court Hearing Room in Madison.

    Passing the Exam for Love

    Victoria Yan of Skokie, Illinois, met her boyfriend through their Wisconsin friends. It is their relationship that prompted Yan, a 2014 graduate of John Marshall in Chicago, to become a Wisconsin lawyer.

    “For love, I studied for and passed the Wisconsin bar exam,” she said.

    She is happy to be a Wisconsin lawyer. “Wisconsin is such a beautiful state,” she said. “And the people here are so nice.”

    She hopes to focus her practice on underrepresented communities.

    Victoria Yan

    Victoria Yan, center, is a new Wisconsin lawyer.

    An Advocate for the Underrepresented

    A 2017 graduate of Southern Illinois University School of Law, Robert Hollers has a master’s degree in human resources management. Hollers joins his partner, James Rutherford, in Milwaukee, where Rutherford, a psychiatrist, is clinical director for Waukesha County Health and Human Services.

    Hollers aims for a practice in family law. “I would like to advocate on behalf of women, minorities, and other people who are historically underrepresented in the legal field,” Hollers said.

    Robert Hollers and James Rutherford

    Robert Hollers, right, points to his name on the list of new Wisconsin lawyers, with his partner, James Rutherford.

    Four Generations and Two Lawyers

    At age 26, Charles “Chauncey” Robert Ellefsen III, Eau Claire, decided to become a lawyer – despite the fact that he hadn’t yet begun college.

    The announcement was a surprise to his father, Charles “Charlie” Robert Ellefsen II, but having a lawyer in the family is not unheard of: Chauncey’s grandfather, Charles Robert Ellefson I, was a Wisconsin lawyer.

    “He said, ‘I want to be a lawyer like grandpa was,’” Charlie said.

    And after nine years – going to college then law school, all while working full time – he made it, taking the oath April 17 at the age of 36.

    Ellefsen is a graduate of Mitchell Hamline School of Law, where he met Ali Seidlitz, who graduated and passed the Wisconsin bar exam in February 2017 – taking the oath a year ago – and is now a personal injury lawyer in Eau Claire.

    Ellefsen’s and Seidlitz’s 10-week-old son, Charles “Huck” Robert Ellefsen IV, quietly attended the ceremony as well – held by his proud grandmother, Mary Dittman.

    Justice Annette Ziegler with baby

    Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Annette Ziegler admires 10-week-old Charles “Huck” Robert Ellefsen IV, following the admissions ceremony. Huck is the son of new Wisconsin lawyer, Charles “Chauncey” Robert Ellefsen III, second from left, and Wisconsin lawyer Ali Seidlitz, third from left.

    ‘Everything That I Love’

    Jessica Ray of Madison, a 2009 graduate of University of Chicago School of Law, is excited to begin her law career in Madison. She studied for five months, and passed the Wisconsin exam on the first try – while working 50 hours a week as a nanny. She joins her spouse, Miranda Welch, a doula, in Madison.

    Ray is very interested in practicing in immigration, real estate, and/or health law. “I’m open to possibilities,” she said

    Rae decided to pursue law after taking an introduction to law class in college – realizing that law involves research, problem-solving, and working directly with people who need help. “That was everything that I love,” she said.

    Visit the State Bar’s Facebook Page for more photos of the event.

    Christine Bruen

    New Wisconsin lawyer Christine Bruen signs the Supreme Court Roll book.

    Welcome to These 22 New Wisconsin Lawyers:

    • Lauren E. Arendt, Appleton
    • Christine Bruen, Appleton
    • Krista Lynn Burkhardt, Milwaukee
    • Charles R. Ellefsen III, Eau Claire
    • Michelle M. Erdman, Baldwin
    • Chris Erik Andrew Framness, Middleton
    • Amy E. Fry-Galow, Brookfield
    • Garrett M. Gondik, Foxboro
    • Jennifer Gross, Ashland
    • Matthew C. Hand, Fayetteville, Arkansas
    • Robert L. Hollers, Milwaukee
    • Heather M. Huebner, Marinette
    • Christopher Blake Johnson Keeler, Milwaukee  
    • Chad C. La Lor, Amnicon
    • Paige L. McCreary, Elm Grove
    • Jessica Merkel, Stratford
    • Jessica Ray, Madison
    • Jeremy M. Schmidt, Janesville
    • James R. Timm, Oconto Falls
    • Adam Voskuil, Madison
    • Andrea N. Winder, Madison
    • Victoria Yan, Skokie, Illinois

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