Nov. 4, 2015 – At around this time last year I was enjoying glorious autumn and contemplating the beginning of a new season of college basketball, my favorite sport. And while my practice was as challenging as ever, I suppose it had settled into something approaching a routine. Then one day I got a call from a longtime friend in our profession, Mike Guerin, that changed everything for me.
He asked if I would accept a nomination to run for office with the State Bar of Wisconsin. I was stunned to be asked – and flattered, of course – but I had to think hard about his request. While I had been very active in my local bar, my involvement with the State Bar had never amounted to much more than agreeing to give an occasional seminar that it sponsored. The breadth of the State Bar, both in its membership and its machinery, seemed daunting to me.
But who wants things to be routine? About a week later I said yes – and I am now already in my fifth month as president-elect.
Are You a Leader? Or Do You Wish You Were One?
Now’s your chance for leadership experience – sign up to run for a 2016 State Bar Leadership position, including officer and other positions on the Board of Governors.
For more information, see this story in the Sept. 16, 2015, issue of InsideTrack.
Here’s why I’m recounting my personal story: President Ralph Cagle appointed me the chair of this year’s Nominating Committee, and I want to take the opportunity to encourage State Bar members to run for office.
That encouragement is based on my own experience, which has been positive in every respect. And in this respect more than any other: being an elected officer of the State Bar will give you endless opportunities to meet the great people in our profession, from the bar’s section leaders and committee members, to the governors, to members of the judiciary, and even the newest members of our profession and the law students who aspire to join us. Isn’t that what being part of an association is all about?
Those connections will not just be forever valuable in your practice, they can be rewarding in your life. When I was contemplating whether to say ‘yes’ to Mike Guerin, I told my wife that it seemed to me that the worst thing that could happen if I ran would be that – even if I lost the election – I would have a unique opportunity to meet lawyers throughout the state. That sounded pretty good to me.
And in practice, it has been even better.
This year there will be opportunities to run for president-elect, for secretary, for Judicial Council, and in many regions for the Board of Governors. Note that in accordance with bar tradition the nominees in the president-elect race this year will be lawyers who practice outside Milwaukee and Madison.
My friendly advice is simple: Shake up the routine in your professional life. The rewards of running will make you glad you did – even if you win!
Nominations Accepted Through Nov. 13
If you are interested in nominating yourself (a perfectly acceptable practice) or nominating someone else to run for State Bar office, please contact me via email or call me at (414) 298-8178.
You may also contact any member of the Nominating Committee:
Chair: Fran Deisinger
Members: Susan Collins; William Curran; Benjamin Lane; Kevin Palmersheim.