Attorney Adrian Schoone stands next to the bar association’s Roll Book, with signatures dating back to 1848. Schoone signed the book in 1961. See additional photos of the event on the State Bar’s Facebook page.
Oct. 19, 2022 – With flowers on an empty chair in the courtroom and, on a nearby table, an historic book open to a new page, members of the Racine County Bar Association (RCBA) recently gathered for an annual event: Racine County Bar Association’s annual Call of the Calendar.
Held on a Thursday afternoon in September – this year, on Sept. 29 – the Call of the Calendar brings together judges, veteran lawyers, and attorneys just beginning their career.
“This is a time-honored tradition where the judiciary and the bar honor Racine County Bar members who have passed over the course of the last year,” said Deputy Chief Judge Timothy D. Boyle, who presided over the event
The ceremony looks to the past – where members who passed away over the year are eulogized – and looks to the future – with an oath and a signature for new members.
Three bar members who passed away over the past year were eulogized at the event: attorneys John V. Whaley, Daniel J. LaFave, and Robert R. Goepel. Their eulogies, given by close colleagues, are formally entered into the court record during the ceremony.
New attorney Jacob Garman signs the Roll Book. A 2022 U.W. Law School graduate, Garman started in June in the Racine County District Attorney’s Office.
Adding to an Historic List
The other part of the ceremony: attending attorneys – new and continuing – stand and recite the RCBA’s oath, administered by Judge Boyle. To complete the ceremony, new bar members put their signature into the RCBA’s Roll Book.
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.
The Roll Book began with signatures from 1848. The book, carefully stored away, is brought out once a year so that new members can add their signatures to the historic list.
From a family of lawyers, Judge Boyle’s signature is in the book, which also reflects some of his family history.
“It’s always interesting to me to go back in time and see where my grandpa, my father, and my uncle actually signed the book that the new attorneys will sign today,” he said.
Deputy Chief Judge Timothy D. Boyle administers the oath in the Racine County Courthouse to new members of the Racine County Bar Association.
Tradition Reflects a ‘Collegial Community’
Devin Stasek, RCBA president, remembers when she signed the Roll Book in 2016. “I thought it was very unique that our bar association held such a special event. It made me feel a part of our community,” she said. “It is an honor to be part of this history. I am grateful for the community we have.”
The Racine legal community is “exceptionally tight-knit, open, and willing to impart wisdom and mentorship – a collegial community,” Stasek said. Such mentorship is important to new lawyers as they build their careers. “I am personally grateful for my own mentors,” Stasek said.
Attorney Adrian Schoone, former State Bar president (1983-84), who eulogized Goepel during the ceremony, also helped to restore the Call of the Calendar in the late 1990s.
Schoone, admitted to practice in 1959, vividly remembers when he signed Racine’s Roll Book on April 3, 1961, two days after arriving in Racine to practice. The event, held since 1848, was discontinued in 1976, with law practice changes by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. In 1997, Schoone volunteered to lead a committee to restore the ceremony. “I’m big on tradition – I’ve always been that way,” Schoone said.
James Pitts eulogizes Daniel J. LaFave, who passed away in January.