A well-known and admired solo practitioner, Madison attorney and former State Bar President Michelle Behnke is this year's recipient of the Wisconsin Law Foundation’s Charles L. Goldberg Distinguished Service Award. She poses here with (left) Kathleen Grant, president of the Fellows of the Wisconsin Law Foundation, and (right) Joseph Troy, president of the Wisconsin Law Foundation. For more photos of the event,
see the album on the State Bar of Wisconsin Facebook page.
Oct. 5, 2022 – Be the catalyst for others to make a difference. Look around you and invite others to join you in your service.
That is the message from Madison attorney and former State Bar President Michelle Behnke – recipient of the Wisconsin Law Foundation’s 2022 Charles L. Goldberg Distinguished Service Award.
“If each of us reaches out to one other person and invites them to serve with us and join in the work of our profession and our communities, imagine the impact,” Behnke told an audience of more than 100 attorneys at the Law Foundation’s Fellows Dinner on Sept. 29 at the Wisconsin Club in Milwaukee.
The Charles L. Goldberg Distinguished Service Award recognizes a lifetime of service to the profession and the community. Behnke is a solo practitioner and owner of Michelle Behnke & Associates.
Behnke: ‘A Well-known and Admired Solo Practitioner’
Behnke, a U.W. Law alum, is “a well-known and admired solo practitioner who has spent her entire career volunteering at the State Bar, nationally through the ABA, and locally in her community,” said Law Foundation President Joseph Troy.
Shannon Green is communications writer for the State Bar of Wisconsin, Madison. She can be reached by
email or by phone at (608) 250-6135.
Behnke, past president of the State Bar (2004-05) and past treasurer, has served on the ABA Board of Governors and as its treasurer, and is currently chair of the ABA’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession.
She is active in her community, where she is currently serving on the board of Capitol Bank, the U.W. Law School Board of Visitors, and the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association Board. She has also served on the Dean Health Plan, Inc., Navitus Health Solutions, and SSM Healthcare of Wisconsin boards.
Behnke said she is “speechless,” “humbled” and “surprised” to receive the award. “This award … is the gold standard in our profession and I am honored to have my service put into that category.”
Tatiana Shirasaki (second from right), an assistant corporation counsel in Juneau County, was among the Wisconsin Law Foundation's Belle Case La Follette Awards recipients. The awards are given to recent law school graduates who represent people whose legal needs have been historically unmet, clients who are underserved, or those in rural areas with limited access to legal service.
The Wisconsin Law Foundation: ‘Strong and Growing’
“I am proud to report that the Wisconsin Law Foundation is strong and growing,” said Troy. With the support of members who donated to the foundation, he said, “we were able to grant nearly $66,000 to worthy programs, scholarships, projects, and services across our state, furthering our mission of public understanding of the law and improving the administration of justice.”
Among the Foundation’s awards are the Belle Case La Follette Awards, given to three recent law school graduates who represent people whose legal needs have been historically unmet, clients who are underserved, or those in rural areas with limited access to legal service. The 2022 recipients are:
Tatiana Shirasaki, an assistant corporation counsel in Juneau County;
Cassidy Sandoval Baker of Centro Legal in Milwaukee; and
Kristina Mendez of Mendez Law LLC, De Pere.
19 New Fellows
The night also celebrated 19 new members of the
Fellows of the Wisconsin Law Foundation.
Membership in the Fellows of the Wisconsin Law Foundation is considered a professional honor and evidence of professional distinction. The program honors State Bar of Wisconsin members who have achieved significant accomplishments in their careers and contributed leadership and service to their communities. The Fellows membership is limited to 2.5% of the State Bar’s total membership, and new members are nominated by current Fellows.
They are Fellows because, “in addition to their outstanding contributions to our profession, they’ve made great contributions to the profession in general, and to their communities,” said Kathleen Grant, president of the Fellows of the Wisconsin Law Foundation.
The program supports the mission of the Wisconsin Law Foundation, the State Bar of Wisconsin’s charitable and educational arm that promotes public understanding of the law, improvement of the administration of justice, and other law-related public service through funding of innovative and creative programs that improve the vision of the American justice system.
With Law Foundation past president and Fellow Margaret (Peggy) Herlitzka (second from left) are (from left) Dan Ryan, with Class of 2022 Wisconsin Law Foundation Fellows Megan DeVore, Shari Le Page Locante, and Thomas Horvath.
Welcome to the Class of 2022 Wisconsin Law Foundation Fellows
- Ryan M. Billings, Milwaukee
- Amy Blumenfeld Bogost, Madison
- Randal J. Brotherhood, Milwaukee
- Cynthia L. Buchko, Madison
- Caleb R. Cooper, Neenah
- Megan L. DeVore, La Crosse
- Dan Denker Gartzke, Madison
- Marisol González Castillo, Madison
- Amy K. Greske, Hudson
- Nicholas L. Hahn, Appleton
- Thomas L. Horvath, La Crosse
- Lance Leonhard, Wausau
- Emily Grace Loe, La Crosse
- Shari Le Page Locante, Sparta
- Ohioma Emil Ovbiagele, Milwaukee
- Ashley Ariel Smith, Milwaukee
- April Toy, Milwaukee
- William E. Wallo, Eau Claire
- Nick J. Welle, Milwaukee