Sept. 20, 2023 – It all started with a suggestion, and resulted in benefits to my practice and my life in ways I did not expect.
My First Term
In 2018, my boss suggested that I run for the State Bar of Wisconsin Board of Governors (Board). Rarely one to shy away from new challenges, I threw my hat in the ring.
Jan Marks and her team at the State Bar who coordinate the Board made the process very easy. I was excited when I won, despite having been unopposed.
My first meeting was somewhat overwhelming, but more senior State Bar leaders took me under their wing immediately and helped me to understand the processes.
From there, I was appointed to the State Bar Policy Committee and remained on that committee for my entire term. Policy turned out to be a lively committee, where the members engaged in a good-spirited debate about some of the most pressing topics facing the legal profession.
Additionally, I served as the Board’s liaison to the State Bar International Practice and the Children in the Law sections.
How Service Boosted My Practice and Career
As attorneys, our jobs often require attention to very narrow issues and very specific facts.
One thing that I enjoy about serving on the Board is being able to engage with big-picture legal questions, such as how to pivot in the face of a global pandemic.
Another immeasurable benefit is the ability to network with people outside of my area of practice. Prior to my service on the Board, I was pretty much in my criminal-defense silo, primarily interacting with other criminal justice professionals.
Serving on the Board was a little like going back to law school – suddenly I was learning about tort law and consumer law and meeting a wide-range of attorneys, including those engaged in work that would not strictly be considered the practice of law.
Now, I probably know an attorney in each county of this state and am equipped to make referrals – and rely on these individuals when faced with questions regarding a novel area of law.
Consider this Opportunity for Unexpected Benefits
I encourage anyone to offer to serve as a leader of the State Bar, because it is a way to engage with the law outside of the constraints of your employment.
And it will inevitably benefit your practice and your quality of life in ways that may surprise you.
The State Bar of Wisconsin is looking for leaders in service to the State Bar of Wisconsin and the legal profession, specifically, candidates for the positions o fpresident-elect, secretary, and Judicial Council member for the 2024-25 fiscal year.
To apply, submit your expression of interest to the Nominations Committee by Oct. 20, 2023, via an email to Kim Jansen at email@example.com.
Join State Bar Leadership: Nominations Accepted Through Oct. 20 for Officer Candidates
The officer positions up for election for 2024-25 are president-elect, secretary, and Judicial Council representative. You can also submit a petition for a district position on the State Bar’s Board of Governors. Those elected take office July 1, 2024.
If you are interested in nominating yourself (a perfectly acceptable practice) or nominating someone else to run for State Bar office, contact Kim Jansen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find out about other State Bar leadership opportunities through divisions, sections, and committees.
Learn more about State Bar leadership opportunities on WisBar.org