Aug. 2, 2017 – Practicing in an area with limited access to legal services is a challenge, especially for new lawyers struggling under the burden of law school debt.
To help new lawyers who commit to working in underserved areas, the Wisconsin Law Foundation in 2016 established the annual Belle Case La Follette Awards to support three recent law school graduates who represent underserved populations – people who have difficulty affording legal services and those in rural areas with limited access to legal services.
Recognizing Those Serving the Underserved
Who is Belle Case La Follette?
A lawyer, journalist, teacher, and activist in women’s rights, Belle Case La Follette (1859-1931) was the first woman graduate of the U.W. Law School (1885) – attending the school as a married woman with a young child. La Follette was a prominent figure in the women’s movements of the early 20th century as well as the supportive wife of Robert “Fighting Bob” La Follette Sr., Wisconsin congressman, governor and senator, and presidential candidate. At the time of her death, The New York Times called her "probably the least known yet most influential of all the American women who had to do with public affairs in this country."
La Follette not only has the distinction of being the first woman graduate of the U.W. Law School, but her success in balancing family life with an active and distinguished public life is a powerful example for all modern lawyers.
Each award recipient will receive $2,000 to support his or her practice. They also will be invited to attend the 2017 Wisconsin Law Foundation Fellows Recognition Dinner in Madison on Sept. 27.
The awards are made possible by generous contributions from the Wisconsin Law Foundation and the State Bar of Wisconsin Senior Lawyers Division.
How to Apply – Deadline is Sept. 1
These awards, given for the first time in 2016, recognize three recent law school graduates who are State Bar of Wisconsin members and practicing in Wisconsin, and who represent underserved populations, such as those who have difficulty affording legal services or those who live in rural areas.
Applications are due Sept. 1.
One award each is given to a graduate of the U.W. and Marquette University law schools, and to a graduate of an out-of-state law school who is practicing in Wisconsin. Applicants must be sworn in as Wisconsin lawyers between Jan. 1, 2013, and Dec. 31, 2016.
The selection committee will consider a number of factors, including the applicant’s professional reputation and achievements, as well as how the applicant represents underserved populations.
Visit WisBar.org to find out more information and learn how to apply.
The Foundation is a 501(c)3 charitable and educational organization that serves to promote public understanding of the law, improvement of the administration of justice, and other law-related public services through funding of innovative and creative programs that improve the vision of the American justice system.
Thinking of Moving to a Rural Practice?
If you are considering moving to a rural area to practice law, join the Greater Wisconsin Initiative Rural Bus Tour on Sept. 15-16.
This year’s tour visits Barron, Rice Lake, Ashland, and Bayfield. Meet those who are working in these areas to see if a rural practice is right for you.
The bus tour is a free opportunity for lawyers and 3L law students – and their spouses and significant others – to connect with local judges, attorneys, and community and business leaders, and to learn more about life and practice in northern Wisconsin.
Sign Up Before Aug. 11
For more information, read this article in InsideTrack. For the schedule of events, and to apply, visit the tour's website on WisBar.org. Feel free to contact Lois Berning at (608) 250-6125 if you have questions.