:

State Bar of Wisconsin

Sign In

Top Link Bar

  • InsideTrackInsideTrack
  • InsideTrackInsideTrack
  • InsideTrackInsideTrack
  • InsideTrackInsideTrack
  • InsideTrackInsideTrack
  • InsideTrackInsideTrack
  • InsideTrackInsideTrack
  • InsideTrackInsideTrack
  • InsideTrackInsideTrack
  • InsideTrackInsideTrack
  • InsideTrackInsideTrack
  • InsideTrackInsideTrack
  • InsideTrackInsideTrack
  • InsideTrackInsideTrack
  • InsideTrackInsideTrack
System.NullReferenceException: Object reference not set to an instance of an object. at News.NewsTOCNavigation.NewsTOCNavigationUserControl.Page_Load(Object sender, EventArgs e)

News & Pubs Search

-
Format: MM/DD/YYYY
  • New WisBar Marketplace: A Better Way to Find State Bar Products and Upcoming Events

    A new WisBar Marketplace – where you can find State Bar products or register for events – is coming in July, with improved browsing, searching, and navigation.
    Share This:

    June 19, 2019 – WisBar’s Marketplace is changing soon – and we think you’ll like the new look.

    You’ve relied on WisBar’s Marketplace, a “one-stop shop” for finding State Bar products or registering for events, including PINNACLE® CLE programs, books and Books UnBound®, online forms, and State Bar section CLE programs.

    In July, you’ll experience an easier, more intuitive shopping experience, similar to what you’ll find on other e-commerce sites.

    With the new Marketplace, you’ll find:

    • an intuitive, mobile-friendly interface

    • improved and intuitive keyword searching, filtering, and navigation

    • more flexible registration options, including the ability to register multiple people for events

    • a clearer, more detailed registration process

    • product reviews and ratings

    • a way to opt in or out of auto-supplementation when purchasing books

    • ability to use multiple discount codes on different products in a single purchase

    Browse, Search, & Click for Details

    As with other popular e-commerce sites, start with a search to find a general listing of available State Bar products, PINNACLE seminars, or other events. Know exactly what your searching for? Use a detailed keyword search to pull up your product or event.​

    After a search, you’ll find thumbnail images of the products and events. Click on one to see detailed descriptions, or use the filters to narrow down your results.

    Or, through the new menu system, you can easily browse all CLE seminars, books, online forms, law office videos, and more.

    Find out what CLE seminars are coming up, including all live and webcast seminar dates on one page.

    You can also sort by 37 separate topics and practice areas, legal research and writing, attorney regulation, and more.

    When you’re ready to purchase, you’ll find an easier registration process. Once you log in, you will see the price information for the product, service, or event. For your protection, Marketplace does not store credit card information, and the new Marketplace continues to meet industry e-commerce security standards, and it meets or exceeds all payment card industry compliance standards.

    Take a moment in July to browse through the new WisBar Marketplace – where you’ll find easier navigation and searching that will save you valuable time.




  • CNN Legal Analyst on the U.S. Supreme Court and Chief Justice Roberts

    Share This:

    June 19, 2019 – CNN Legal Analyst Joan Biskupic, a lawyer-journalist and Marquette University graduate, knows something about the U.S. Supreme Court: She has been covering the High Court’s every move for almost three decades.

    Recently, she published her latest book about Chief Justice John G. Roberts, the fourth biography she has written about a U.S. Supreme Court justice in her journalism career.

    In “The Chief: The Life and Turbulent Times of Chief Justice John Roberts,” Biskupic examines and explores the life and work of the country’s most influential justice.

    Last week, Biskupic was a featured speaker at the State Bar of Wisconsin’s 2019 Annual Meeting and Conference (AMC) in Green Bay, providing insights on Chief Justice Roberts and about blockbuster decisions that we may see in the coming weeks.

    “We are about to see so many big cases released,” Biskupic says in this post-presentation interview with the State Bar last week. “On the day we are taping this, in the middle of your conference, there are 24 more rulings expected.”

    Biskupic said we still don’t know what the court’s going to say about the validity of the census question, asking about citizenship. And we don’t know what the justices will say about partisan gerrymandering, an issue that is so important in Wisconsin.

    “All those are going to come down and test this very divided court, and it will test the Chief Justice also,” said Biskupic, noting the Chief Justice Roberts is only the 17th Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in the court’s history.

    “John Roberts is the decisive figure on the Supreme Court. He is the ideological median justice on this court; essentially he could be the swing justice for our future.”

    Read more about Biskupic’s book in her pre-conference interview with the State Bar and learn about all the great sessions and activities at this year’s AMC roundup.​




  • Wisconsin and U.S. Supreme Courts Clarify Burglary Provisions

    Recent decisions by the Wisconsin and the U.S. supreme courts provide additional layers to state and federal law on burglary and the impact of prior convictions.

    Joe Forward

    Share This:
    burglary breaking in

    June 19, 2019 – Both the U.S. Supreme Court and the Wisconsin Supreme Court clarified what constitutes “burglary” for purposes of the federal Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), which imposes harsher penalties for repeat violent offenders.

    Four days after the Wisconsin Supreme Court decided U.S. v. Franklin,1 a rare certification from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Quarles v. U.S.2 Both decisions examine how state burglary statutes interact with the ACCA and a generic definition of “burglary” from a 1990 decision.

    In the Franklin case, the Wisconsin Supreme Court examined a question involving Wisconsin’s burglary statute, Wis. Stat. section 943.10(1m), which makes it a felony to intentionally enter any of the following places without the consent of the person in lawful possession and with intent to steal or commit a felony in such place:

    a) Any building or dwelling;

    b) An enclosed railroad car;

    c) An enclosed portion of any ship or vessel;

    d) A locked enclosed cargo portion of a truck or trailer;

    e) A motor home or other motorized type of home or a trailer home, whether or not any person is living in the home; or

    f) A room within any of the above.

    Mandatory Minimum

    Prosecutors charged Dennis Franklin and Shane Sahm for possessing firearms as felons and sought enhanced penalties under the federal ACCA, 18 U.S.C. section 924(e)(1), based on three previous Wisconsin burglary convictions.

    Joe Forwardorg jforward wisbar Joe Forward, Saint Louis Univ. School of Law 2010, is a legal writer for the State Bar of Wisconsin, Madison. He can be reached by org jforward wisbar email or by phone at (608) 250-6161.

    They faced a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison under the ACCA, which allows for enhanced penalties if someone has three previous convictions for violent felonies or serious drug offenses, committed on occasions different from one another. The ACCA says “burglary” is counted for enhancement purposes but does not define “burglary.”

    In Taylor v. United States, 495 U.S. 575 (1990), the U.S. Supreme Court adopted a “generic” definition of burglary: “an unlawful or unprivileged entry into, or remaining in, a building or other structure, with intent to commit a crime.”

    For purposes of the ACCA analysis, courts compare the generic definition with the burglary statute in a particular state to determine if the offense counts as an ACCA predicate offense, a “categorical approach.” It’s not an ACCA predicate offense if the crime of conviction “covers more conduct than the generic offense.”

    The defendants argued that the Wisconsin burglary statute is too broad to fall within the generic definition of burglary, as applied under the ACCA. That is, they argued that their prior burglary convictions did not count as violent offenses for ACCA purposes.

    A three-judge panel for the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals3 ruled that the defendants were career criminals under the ACCA. The panel said Wisconsin’s burglary statute is broader than “generic burglary” under Taylor because it extends to boats and several types of vehicles (not just buildings or other structures), but found the statute “divisible.”

    “That allows the court … to determine whether the defendant was convicted under a portion of the statute within the scope of generic burglary,” wrote Judge David Hamilton. “If he was, then the conviction may count as a violent felony under the ACCA.”

    The panel said the Wisconsin statute was divisible and defendants could be prosecuted under the ACCA since their prior burglary convictions related to buildings or dwellings.

    Upon reconsideration,4 the court vacated its prior opinion and certified the case to the Wisconsin Supreme Court to decide how the ACCA should apply to Wisconsin law.

    “[T]his is at bottom a controlling question of State criminal law,” noted the Seventh Circuit Appeals Court, stating that a statute is “indivisible” if it lists alternative means for committing one crime, because “the actual facts of the underlying case are off-limits.”

    In other words, the courts are looking at the statutory language, and whether it is broader than Taylor’s generic burglary definition, not the actual facts of the case.

    Thus, the certified question was “whether the different location subsections of the Wisconsin burglary statute ... identify alternative elements of burglary, one of which a jury must unanimously find beyond a reasonable doubt to convict, or whether they identify alternative means of committing burglary, for which a unanimous finding beyond a reasonable doubt is not necessary to convict.”

    Wisconsin Supreme Court Decides

    “The categorical approach can be difficult to apply if a statute is phrased alternatively, like Wisconsin’s burglary statute,” wrote Justice Rebecca Dallet. For instance, a burglary can occur for unlawful entry, with criminal intent, into a house or a vehicle.

    But the Wisconsin Supreme Court unanimously concluded that Wisconsin’s burglary statute “identifies alternative means of committing one element of the crime of burglary.” That one element is the locational space that the defendant has entered unlawfully.

    “The straightforward language of § 943.10(1m) creates one offense with multiple means of commission,” Justice Dallet wrote. “Burglary can be broken down into the following elements: intentional entry, without consent, and with intent to steal or commit a felony.”

    Thus, the court ruled that it is not necessary for a jury to unanimously find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt as to a locational alternative. If all jurors believe, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant entered some prohibited space, a conviction can stand.

    “The crime is the act of the burglarious entry into one of the listed locations, regardless of which particular location is entered,” Dallet explained.

    The Wisconsin Supreme Court rejected the federal government’s argument that each locational alternative is a separate element, which would allow the defendant to be convicted of multiple burglaries for entering a home, then each of home’s rooms.

    “The plain text of § 943.10(1m) thus supports the conclusion that the statute creates a single crime of burglary with multiple means of commission, rather than multiple separate offenses,” Justice Dallet wrote.

    “If we adopt the position of the federal government, a defendant could receive multiple punishments for the same act in violation of the double jeopardy clauses of the federal and Wisconsin constitutions.”

    The Wisconsin Supreme Court decision likely meant that Franklin and Sahm could not be considered career criminals under the ACCA, because their prior burglary convictions would not count, but the U.S. Supreme Court weighed on the very same issue, four days after the Wisconsin Supreme Court decided the Franklin case.

    U.S. Supreme Court

    The U.S. Supreme Court, in Quarles v. United States, examined whether Michigan’s burglary statute was too broad for ACCA’s enhanced penalty purposes. However, the case focused on alternative modes of forming the intent element of the crime.

    The defendant said Taylor’s generic definition of burglary is: “an unlawful or unprivileged entry into, or remaining in, a building or other structure, with intent to commit a crime,” suggesting that criminal intent must be formed at the moment the entry is taking place.

    On the other side, the government argued that a defendant can form criminal intent at any time, because burglary occurs so long as the defendant “remains in” the building.

    “Put simply, for burglary predicated on unlawful entry, the defendant must have the intent to commit a crime at the time of entry,” wrote Justice Brett Kavanagh in an almost unanimous opinion. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a concurring opinion. 

    “For burglary predicated on unlawful remaining, the defendant must have the intent to commit a crime at the time of remaining, which is any time during which the defendant unlawfully remains.”

    The issue is not directly on point with Franklin, but Quarles provides some hints on how the U.S. Supreme Court might approach the Franklin issue, namely, in deciding whether Michigan’s burglary statute was broader than Taylor’s generic burglary definition.

    Specifically, the opinion notes Congress’s rationale for specifying burglary as a violent felony under the ACCA: it “creates the possibility of a violent confrontation between the offender and an occupant, caretaker, or some other person who comes to investigate.”

    “[T]o interpret remaining-in burglary narrowly, as Quarles advocates, would thwart the stated goals of the Armed Career Criminal Act,” Justice Kavanagh wrote.

    However, the decision reiterated that state burglary laws must “substantially correspond” to or be narrower than generic burglary, which is clearly limited to buildings and dwellings. The Wisconsin burglary statute goes well beyond those places, extending to ships and vessels, trucks and trailers, and unoccupied motor homes.

    In his concurring opinion, though, Justice Thomas questioned the current precedent for analysis under Taylor. “[A]ny state burglary statute with a broader definition than the one adopted in Taylor is categorically excluded simply because other conduct might be swept in at the margins. It is far from obvious that this is the best reading of the statute.”

    Endnotes

    1 2019 WI 64.

    2 587 U.S. ____ (2019).

    3 U.S. v. Franklin, 884 F.3d 331 (7th Cir. 2018).

    4 U.S. v. Franklin, 895 F.3d 954 (7th Cir. 2018) (per curiam).




  • Help Set Wisconsin Court System Priorities: Take the Critical Issues Survey 2020-22 by July 8

    You've worked within the system – here's your chance to be heard. Take 10 minutes to let the Wisconsin Supreme Court's Planning and Policy Advisory Committee know what you think about critical issues within the court system.
    Share This:

    June 19, 2019 – The Wisconsin Supreme Court invites you to help it identify the critical issues within Wisconsin’s court system.

    Every two years, via the Critical Issues Survey, the Court’s Planning and Policy Advisory Committee (PPAC) and its Planning Subcommittee identify key matters that affect the Wisconsin court system.

    Responses will be used to set priorities and suggest specific actions that the court system might take. Survey results will be included in a Critical Issues Report for consideration by the Supreme Court and Director of State Courts.

    10 Minutes to be Heard – Deadline is July 8

    Your responses to the 2020-22 Critical Issues Survey helps the PPAC define the critical issues to focus on in its decision-making priorities over the next two years.

    The survey takes approximately 10 minutes, and must be completed online in one sitting. The survey closes July 8, 2019.

    Take the survey by clicking this link.

    Find out about past survey results on the PPAC’s webpage.

    Questions? Contact Ann Olson, Policy Analyst, Office of Court Operations, gov ann.olson wicourts via email or by calling (608) 266-3121.




  • Business Litigation and Dispute Resolution in Wisconsin: Efficient and Cost-effective Strategies

    Business clients count on their lawyers for advice about avoiding or handling disputes before or when they arise. For fast and accurate guidance and solutions, turn to Business Litigation and Dispute Resolution in Wisconsin from State Bar of Wisconsin PINNACLE®, newly revised and expanded for 2019.
    Share This:

    June 19, 2019 – What keeps you awake at night? For business owners, it’s the fear of ending up in court, facing civil, regulatory, or criminal allegations that could cost them everything they have invested – and more.

    Help your business clients achieve peace of mind with guidance from Business Litigation and Dispute Resolution in Wisconsin from State Bar of Wisconsin PINNACLE®, newly revised and expanded for 2019.

    Every lawyer gets civil procedure, contracts, and criminal law and procedure in the first year of law school, so what’s left to learn? Given that corporations are considered “persons” for many legal purposes, there is a lot more to learn.

    Business Litigation and Dispute Resolution in Wisconsin focuses on some of the most salient facets of disputes involving entity clients. In the newly revised 2019 edition, you’ll find chapters on arbitration and mediation in business settings and other topics from authors Susan K. Allen, Franklyn M. Gimbel, Elizabeth A. N. Haas, Trent M. Johnson, Kathryn A. Keppel, Terry F. Peppard, Barry R. White, and Andrew J. Wronski.

    Who is Being Represented

    As discussed in chapter 2 of Business Litigation in Wisconsin, identifying the client can be both complex and crucial in business litigation. The attorney must clarify exactly who the client is – the company, the CEO, or an employee – before undertaking representation.

    For example, corporate counsel interviewing employees as part of a litigation defense must make absolutely clear to the employees that he or she represents the corporation, not them. Similarly, in a closely held corporation, the parties could have different interests. A sales manager could have individual liability, the company could have liability under respondeat superior, while the company’s president could have no liability. In short, clarity in representation is essential – and often difficult to attain.

    Where and By Whom the Dispute Should be Resolved

    Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is increasingly used for many types of disagreements and parties, but that doesn’t mean that if you know one kind of ADR, you know them all.

    Author Terry Peppard, in chapter 5 on the legal and practice considerations that make business arbitration unique, emphasizes the importance of understanding the distinctions and their ramifications:

    The arbitration of business disputes tends to involve economic and institutional, rather than interpersonal, relationships. Moreover, business arbitrations are apt to involve representation of the parties by sophisticated legal counsel, a fact consistent with the scope and scale of those economic and institutional relationships. These factors tend to infuse business arbitrations with elements of legal doctrine, process, and procedure not commonly found in other arbitral realms.

    Peppard presents the legal framework of arbitration, including the Federal Arbitration Act and Wisconsin’s version of the Uniform Arbitration Act, but goes on to explain that the federal and state statutes are less significant than parties’ own agreements. Because “rudimentary principles of contract formation and administration, and related business norms and practices, largely govern arbitration proceedings,” the role of the contract is discussed at length.

    Chapter 6, also written by Peppard and also a new addition to the revised book, deals with mediation in business settings. Similar to the approach in chapter 5, Peppard in chapter 6 provides a definition, sketches the legal environment, explains screening of disputes, summarizes systems and styles, explains the role of the contract, and devotes considerable space to the role of advocacy.

    The Substance of Business Disputes

    Depending on where and when they attended law school, lawyers representing business clients in Wisconsin might be unfamiliar with what has become an integral aspect of Wisconsin business litigation practice: the economic loss doctrine.

    This judicially created doctrine is intended to preserve the distinction between contract and tort. Although the doctrine appears straightforward in theory – when the only injury is an economic loss the parties to a contract are restricted to contract remedies – its application in practice is much more complex, requiring as much an exploration of its exceptions as its applicability.

    Among developments discussed in chapter 1 of Business Litigation and Dispute Resolution in Wisconsin are cases in which Wisconsin state and federal courts held that the economic loss doctrine does not affect statutory causes of action, a conclusion that is particularly relevant in the consumer protection context.

    Chapter 1 also covers other business litigation-specific substantive law issues, such as product liability, misrepresentation, and fraudulent advertising causes of action.

    How to Order

    Business Litigation and Dispute Resolution in Wisconsin is available both in print for $149 for members and $189 for nonmembers, and online via Books UnBound®, the State Bar’s interactive online library.

    For more information or to place an order, visit the WisBar Marketplace or call the State Bar at (800) 728-7788 or (608) 257-3838.




  • Annual Court Assessments and State Bar Dues: Due by July 1

    Wisconsin Supreme Court assessments and State Bar of Wisconsin membership dues for fiscal year 2020 are due July 1. Statements were sent in early May.
    Share This:

    June 19, 2019 – Wisconsin Supreme Court assessments and State Bar of Wisconsin membership dues for fiscal year 2020 (July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020) are due July 1, 2019. Statements were sent in early May.

    The State Bar’s Board of Governors approved a $2 dues increase for fiscal year (FY) 2020 at its April meeting. The last dues increase – in the amount of $4 – was two years ago.

    The amount of your State Bar dues varies based on your membership classification:

    • Membership dues are $260 for full dues-paying active members.

    • Active new members (lawyers admitted to their first bar after April 30, 2017) and inactive members pay half dues of $130.

    • Nonvoting judicial members pay $174.

    • Emeritus members continue to pay no State Bar dues.

    Each member may deduct the portion of their dues that pays for the State Bar’s legislative activities, also known as the Keller dues reduction. That amount totals $15.45 for FY 2020.

    2019 court assessements and dues chart

    No Change in Supreme Court Assessments

    To assist the Wisconsin Supreme Court and avoid duplication of efforts, the State Bar collects court assessments in addition to your annual dues.

    The four court-imposed assessments, totaling $236, remain the same for the seventh year. These assessments support:

    * The court assesses active-licensed attorneys and judicial members $50, paid to the Wisconsin Trust Account Foundation, to fund civil legal services for people who cannot afford an attorney.

    Not all member types pay the full court assessment amount. To find out more information, see Maintaining Your Membership on WisBar.org.

    Ways to Pay: Online, by Mail, or by Phone

    Fully enrolled State Bar members in good standing may pay their court assessments and dues online, from a computer or mobile device with a credit card. Find out more about online dues payment.

    Members will receive their statements via the USPS, unless they opted out of the first mailing, preferring to receive notification by email. Members who opt not to receive a paper statement will receive an email informing them that the Online Dues Portal is open, with links for access and instruction on using the portal.

    Payment is due by July 1, 2019; pay by this date to avoid late fees.

    Methods of payment include:

    • Via a print statement received in the mail or by download at wisbar.org/mydues;

    • Online with a credit card by visiting wisbar.org/mydues; or

    • By phone in May, June, and July by calling Customer Service at (800) 728-7788.

    Who Can Pay Court Assessments and Dues Online?

    Fully enrolled attorneys in good standing – those who have a Bar card – may pay online.

    You cannot pay your dues online if:

    • You are a new member who joins on or before July 1, 2019;

    • You want to change your name or membership status;

    • Your membership is suspended; or

    • Your office participates in the firm billing program.

    After remitting payment, you can visit myStateBar to verify that the State Bar has processed your payment. Your receipt and membership card should arrive within two weeks from the date the State Bar receives payment.

    Questions? See Membership FAQs and Paying Your Assessments and Dues FAQs on WisBar.org or contact Customer Service at (800) 728-7788 or service@wisbar.org.

    Are My Dues Tax Deductible?

    Supreme Court assessments and State Bar dues are not deductible as charitable contributions but may be deductible as business expenses. Internal Revenue Code section 6033(e)(1) requires certain organizations to notify members that a portion of dues is allocable to lobbying activities. We are uncertain whether the requirement applies to the State Bar of Wisconsin. If it does, your Bar card mailing will outline this percentage. See the Dues FAQs on WisBar.org or the instructions with your mailed dues statement for more information.

    If you made a donation to the Wisconsin Law Foundation or paid your Fellows pledge, these payments are 501(c)3 charitable contributions; receipts will be issued from the Wisconsin Law Foundation.

    Keep These in Mind

    Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when completing the dues and assessments statement:

    • Please self-identify in the Demographic Data Section. The Diversity Inclusion and Oversight Committee seeks to better understand and serve an increasingly diverse membership. Please take the time to read the insert accompanying the printed dues statement, and provide or verify demographic data collected in support of the State Bar’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

    • Be sure to sign the trust account statement to retain your license – and your permanent notary commission. The Supreme Court rules require that every lawyer and judge sign this statement, regardless of whether you maintain a trust account.

    • Suspensions may impact your permanent status as a notary public. Failure to accurately and timely submit the trust account statement may result in loss of permanent notary public status. The Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) may suspend permanent notary commissions of attorneys who are suspended from the practice of law. This means when you are reinstated, you must reapply for a four-year notary public commission and will continue to be reappointed in four-year increments. This matter is solely within DFI’s discretion.

    Take Advantage of Your Member Benefits

    Through your dues, the State Bar offers you exclusive access to a wide variety of helpful resources and opportunities, including helping you to build your practice.

    Visit WisBar.org to access your guide to these exclusive programs and services, representing hundreds of tools and resources designed to help you succeed in your practice.

    Benefits include:

    Remember the Wisconsin Law Foundation on Your Dues Statement

    Please consider a gift to help support the Wisconsin Law Foundation. Any level of contribution is gratefully appreciated. You can make your donation via Line 9 of your dues form.

    Your support goes directly towards supporting worthy statewide programs like:

    • High School Mock Trial;

    • programs that enhance and support diversity in the profession;

    • scholarships to assist news lawyers with debt and establishing their practice; and

    • grants to innovative programs that improve the justice system.

    To find out more about what the Foundation does, see the newsletter on WisBar.org.




  • Final Order 19-17: Amending SCR Chapter 40 Regarding Admission to the Bar

    Share This:

    Wisconsin Supreme Court Notice

    Final Order 19-17: Amending SCR Chapter 40 Regarding Admission to the Bar

    Upon the court’s own motion, and in consultation with the Board of Bar Examiners, the court has eliminated certain fees as part of the application process for admission to the Bar. The court eliminated the $100 admission fee and the $25 fee required for change of name.

    ORDER ISSUE: June 18, 2019

    DISPOSITION: Motion granted, effective Jan. 1, 2020

    Quick Reference for Official Notices

    Visit the Official Notices page for a quick reference for locating recent official notices of Wisconsin Supreme Court orders adopting, amending, or repealing rules, statutes, or policies related to Supreme Court rules and State Bar of Wisconsin rules and bylaws. SCR 10.12 allows the State Bar to provide these notices to members through print or electronic media, including the Wisconsin Lawyer magazine, WisBar InsideTrack, or WisBar.org.

    For a comprehensive collection of all official notices, including pending rule petitions, court orders, and other material such as audio of public hearings, visit the Wisconsin Court System’s website or use the quick links on this page. Refer to the Publication Plan for more information on how the State Bar delivers notices to its members.

    Quick Links to Wisconsin Court System




  • Ethical Dilemma:
    Guardian ad Litem Work: Analyzing Potential Conflicts

    The unique role of guardians ad litem (GAL) pose challenges in applying the Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys, such as determining whether GAL work may conflict with your other cases. Tim Pierce, State Bar of Wisconsin ethics counsel, provides insight into one particular case that may help.

    Timothy J. Pierce

    Share This:
    hopeful girl

    June 19, 2019 – Guardians ad litem represent the best interests of an individual rather than the individual – so what is the best way to determine whether your GAL work may create a conflict with your other work?

    Question

    I am a solo practitioner, and I do a lot of guardian ad litem (GAL) work in family cases.

    I was offered a part-time job prosecuting child support enforcement actions for the county in which I live. I would like to take the job, but I am concerned about how it may affect my GAL work. I don’t really have a regular client when I act as a GAL, so I am not sure how to analyze whether I would have a conflict if I act as GAL in a case where the child support may be owed to the county.

    How do I analyze conflicts when working acting as both a GAL and child support attorney?

    Answer

    This question was addressed in La Crosse County Dep't of Soc. Servs. v. Rose K,1 in which a lawyer had a contract with La Crosse County to prosecute child support enforcement cases, and also had a private practice that involved GAL work.

    Tim Pierceorg tpierce wisbar Tim Pierce is ethics counsel with the State Bar of Wisconsin. Reach him by org tpierce wisbar email or through the Ethics Hotline at (608) 229-2017 or (800) 254-9154.

    Howard and Rose had five nonmarital children, and the lawyer had prosecuted several paternity actions against Howard, which resulted in Howard being ordered to pay child support to Rose. Because Rose received Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), her child support payments were assigned to the La Crosse County Child Support Agency.

    In 1994, a social worker filed a petition alleging that one of Rose’s children was in need of protection and services, and that was eventually expanded to include all the children. The same lawyer who had prosecuted the paternity actions against Howard was appointed GAL for all the children.

    Rose asked the trial court to disqualify the GAL, asserting conflicts arising from the duties of GAL and child support attorney for the county, but the trial court denied the motion. The court of appeals reversed, finding that the GAL had a conflict of interest under SCR 20:1.72, which states in the relevant part:

    (a) Except as provided in par. (b), a lawyer shall not represent a client if the representation involves a concurrent conflict of interest. A concurrent conflict of interest exists if:

    ***

    (2) there is a significant risk that the representation of one or more clients will be materially limited by the lawyer's responsibilities to another client, a former client or a third person or by a personal interest of the lawyer.

    In describing the conflict, the court of appeals stated;

    Attorney Machi's duties include collecting support from Howard, and prosecuting and ultimately attempting to incarcerate him if he fails to pay support. The money that Howard pays to the state is money that is no longer available for him to provide to his children. Attorney Machi decides when to commence a support action against Howard. Her roles present the following conflicts: Should Attorney Machi commence a support action and satisfy her client, the state, and a person with whom she has a contractual relationship, La Crosse County? Or should she not do so because her other clients, Howard's children, could use the extra money for an item not provided through AFDC payments? If Howard fails to pay what is ordered, should Attorney Machi attempt to incarcerate him, thus depriving the children of a father? These conflicts are real, and they place Attorney Machi in a position that no attorney should face: deciding which of two clients she will serve.

    ***

    Attorney Machi has a duty to her clients, Rose and Howard's children. That representation is materially limited by Attorney Machi's responsibilities to another client, the state, and a third party, La Crosse County. We therefore conclude that the trial court erroneously exercised its discretion by denying Rose's request to disqualify Attorney Machi from her representation of Rose and Howard's children. Accordingly, we reverse and order the trial court to grant Rose's request to disqualify Attorney Machi.

    Cases addressing conflicts of GALs are rare, so lawyers who serve as GALs should be aware of those that exist.3 There are several important points to take away from the Rose K. decision:

    First, the court engaged in straightforward conflict analysis under SCR 20:1.7. That rule governs concurrent conflicts, so there is nothing noteworthy about that. What is noteworthy is that the court analyzed the conflict as if the GAL was representing the children, and in fact refers to the children as “her clients.” GALs represent the best interests of an individual rather than the individual4, but after acknowledging this fact, the court, in footnote two, states that conflicts will be analyzed as if the GAL represents the individual.5

    Second, the court found that it was appropriate for the mother to raise the issue of the GAL’s conflict. While the court did not use the word “standing,” the question of who has standing to complain of a conflict can become an issue in disqualification motions,6 but here the court had little trouble in determining that the mother had standing to complain of the conflict.

    The unique role of GALs can pose challenges in applying the Rules, but the Rose K. case provides the helpful guidance that concurrent conflicts for GALS should be analyzed as if the GAL was representing the individual.

    In Case You Missed It: Read Past Ethical Dilemmas

    Ethical Dilemmas appears monthly in InsideTrack. Check out these topics from recent issues:

    Endnotes

    1 196 Wis.2d 171, 178, 537 N.W.2d 142, 145 (Ct.App.1995).

    2 The court of appeals referred to the then current SCR 20:1.7(b), which is substantially similar to the current SCR 20:1.7(a)(2).

    3 See also In re Tamara L.P., 177 Wis.2d 770, 503 N.W.2d 333 (Ct.App.1993) and Riemer v. Riemer, 85 Wis.2d 375, 270 N.W.2d 93 (Ct.App. 1978).

    4 See SCR 20:4.5.

    5 This is consistent with Disciplinary Proceedings against Kinast, 192 Wis.2d 36, 530 N.W.2d 387 (1992), where the court found that, for purposes of SCR 20:4.2, a GAL represents the individual.

    6 See, e.g., Foley-Ciccantelli v. Bishop’s Grove Condominium Ass’n Inc., 2011 WI 36, 333 Wis. 2d 402, 797 N.W.2d 789.




  • Judge Everett Mitchell: 3 Leadership Principles that Take Courage

    Dane County Circuit Court Judge Everett Mitchell is known for his leadership in the Madison community. Recently, he outlined three principles of leadership that he uses to make a difference in the justice system.

    Shannon Green

    Share This:
    Judge Everett Mitchell

    Dane County Circuit Court Judge Everett Mitchell gave the keynote address at the State Bar of Wisconsin G. Lane Ware Leadership Academy in April.

    June 19, 2019 – Once called an “advocate judge,” Dane County Circuit Court Judge Everett Mitchell is known for his leadership on issues of disparate incarceration, juvenile justice, and racism reform. Elected to the Dane County bench in 2016, he believes judges and lawyers should be active leaders in their local communities.

    Judge Mitchell spoke during the final session of the State Bar of Wisconsin G. Lane Ware Leadership Academy on April 6 – a multisession program that teaches lawyers practical skills and techniques to boost their leadership skills.

    Mitchell outlined three central principles of leadership that he uses to effect change in his community and in Wisconsin.

    Leadership Principle #1: Have the Courage to Redefine What is Known

    This principle, he says, derives from the idea of leading from within, and an example comes from his own experience.

    In March 2015, before he became a judge, Judge Mitchell joined the Black Lives Matters group following the death of Tony Robinson in Madison. That experience, he said, was eye-opening. “I saw how the imbalance of power left certain people out of the possibility of justice,” he said.

    When he was elected to the bench, he realized a challenge.

    “I asked myself, how can I lead from within a system that I criticized as being responsible for racial disparities in incarceration and furthering the demise of the black community? How can I lead from within this system?” he asked.

    “I realized I can choose to lead, and follow my passion for justice from the bench,” he said.

    Examples of leading from within include his efforts to work with school districts to assist children involved with the juvenile justice system who were scheduled by school administrators for fewer hours at school than other students, due to behavioral or other issues.

    In his view, the children who need education the most weren’t getting it. In discussion with school officials, he worked with them to come up with a new plan that he believes more closely considered the needs of these children. The result was that those students were in school for longer periods of time. “If I hadn’t had the courage to see that these children deserve an education, the system would have stayed the same,” Judge Mitchell said.

    Leadership Principle #2: Bring People with You

    “Sometimes leaders are so far out front that no one is behind them,” Judge Mitchell said.

    The key of this leadership principle is to work with those near you. Sometimes you bring them along one at a time, he said.

    org sgreen wisbar Shannon Green is communications writer for the State Bar of Wisconsin, Madison. She can be reached by org sgreen wisbar email or by phone at (608) 250-6135.

    He was able, by this principle, to gather support for the deletion of certain online criminal court records – where the case was dismissed or had a not-guilty outcome – that could potentially interfere with an individual’s ability to establish a home and a career.

    While serving on the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access Program Oversight Committee, he brought attention to these types of cases. Defendants, he said, had their ability to get a job or housing hampered when dismissed cases which were still on the record. The public, he said, could easily misunderstand the ultimate outcome of the case.

    “As a prosecutor in Dane County, I would charge cases that, later after I got more information, I realized should never have been charged,” Judge Mitchell said. “It’s unfair for them to remain on the record.”

    To effect change, he worked with individuals one-by-one, bringing them around to his point of view. But this principle takes patience as well as courage. “Eventually, you can feel the momentum change,” he said.

    As a result, those types of records are now deleted from the Consolidated Court Automation Programs (CCAP) two years after dismissal or acquittal as opposed to 50 years, which was the previous policy.1

    Leadership Principle #3: Remain Flexible, Embrace Your Options

    In his courtroom, Judge Mitchell handles juvenile justice cases, seeing children who are struggling, who have been traumatized. Although he now holds two undergraduate and three advanced degrees and is a circuit court judge in Dane County, he was functionally illiterate when he graduated from high school in Texas.2

    He understands their struggle and trauma, giving him understanding and empathy for the children who appear before him.

    An issue he witnessed as Dane County judge is what he calls the child welfare to juvenile delinquency to adult-prison pipeline. That pipeline takes traumatized, abused, neglected children, he said, and does little to help them.

    “Everyone knows about the school to prison pipeline. But I see many kids who are not in school, yet are traumatized children going into CHIPS, then passed on to the juvenile justice system, who ultimately end up in the adult system,” Judge Mitchell said. “Rather than sending children to prison, I believe we should learn how to deal with the trauma that they are undergoing.”

    “I realized I can choose to lead, and follow my passion for justice from the bench.”

    The way to break up the pipeline is to address trauma when children are young – at about eight years old. Yet, he realized “I’m young, I’m a new judge, and many people don’t believe in or understand the idea of the traumatized child,” he said.

    He told himself that he would remain flexible and explore different options to address the issue. “This idea has radically changed my options and how I conduct court,” he said.

    In court, he makes an effort to show the children that he cares about them. “I give them high-fives. I try to show them my personality, so they know I’m concerned,” he said.

    He regularly speaks at area schools, encouraging students to think about their future profession – including the possibility of becoming a judge. If that’s their choice, he tells them that he will be there to support them. “Those opportunities cement something in their minds, and they remember you,” Judge Mitchell said.

    This is the leadership principle of using his position to transform what it means not only to be a judge, but to be a human being. “We have many opportunities to lead. You have to maximize every space that you are in, to make sure you are maximizing your leadership potential,” he said.

    ‘It Makes Us Whole’

    The three leadership principles inform his actions, and in his actions, he said, he represents those “nobody wants to hear from.”

    He leads his efforts with all the passion he is able to give. “Why?” he asks. “Because they deserve it.”

    “That’s what makes us different” as leaders, he said. “And that’s what makes us whole.”

    Endnotes

    1 See “Dismissed Criminal, Eviction, Other Cases No Longer Displayed On Court Website After Two Years,” in the Feb. 21, 2018, issue of InsideTrack. See the Feb. 21, 2018, issue of InsideTrack.

    2 Find out more about his background in “‘We Can Do Better Than This': Judge Everett Mitchell on Being Visible in Your Community,” in the April 5, 2017, issue of InsideTrack.




  • Final Order 19-15: Creating SCR 32.015 Relating to the Structure of the Wisconsin Judicial College

    Share This:

    Wisconsin Supreme Court Notice

    Final Order 19-15: Creating SCR 32.015 Relating to the Structure of the Wisconsin Judicial College

    On May 8, 2019, the Hon. Lisa K. Stark, in her capacity as Dean of the Wisconsin Judicial College petitioned the court to codify the faculty structure and appointment process for the Wisconsin Judicial College.

    ORDER ISSUED: June 12, 2019

    DISPOSITION: Petition granted, effective June 12, 2019

    Quick Reference for Official Notices

    Visit the Official Notices page for a quick reference for locating recent official notices of Wisconsin Supreme Court orders adopting, amending, or repealing rules, statutes, or policies related to Supreme Court rules and State Bar of Wisconsin rules and bylaws. SCR 10.12 allows the State Bar to provide these notices to members through print or electronic media, including the Wisconsin Lawyer magazine, WisBar InsideTrack, or WisBar.org.

    For a comprehensive collection of all official notices, including pending rule petitions, court orders, and other material such as audio of public hearings, visit the Wisconsin Court System’s website or use the quick links on this page. Refer to the Publication Plan for more information on how the State Bar delivers notices to its members.

    Quick Links to Wisconsin Court System




  • Final Order 19-03: Amending SCR Chapter 10, Regarding Electronic Voting in State Bar Elections and Referenda

    Share This:

    Wisconsin Supreme Court Notice

    Final Order 19-03: Amending SCR Chapter 10, Regarding Conduct of Voting in State Bar Elections and Referenda

    On March 11, 2019, the State Bar of Wisconsin petitioned the court to amend SCR Chapter 10 to allow for the option of electronic voting for State Bar elections of officers and Board of Governors members and for referenda. Implementing this change required minor modifications to both the State Bar’s bylaws and SCR 10.08.

    ORDER ISSUED: June 12, 2019

    DISPOSITION: Petition granted, effective July 1, 2019

    Quick Reference for Official Notices

    Visit the Official Notices page for a quick reference for locating recent official notices of Wisconsin Supreme Court orders adopting, amending, or repealing rules, statutes, or policies related to Supreme Court rules and State Bar of Wisconsin rules and bylaws. SCR 10.12 allows the State Bar to provide these notices to members through print or electronic media, including the Wisconsin Lawyer magazine, WisBar InsideTrack, or WisBar.org.

    For a comprehensive collection of all official notices, including pending rule petitions, court orders, and other material such as audio of public hearings, visit the Wisconsin Court System’s website or use the quick links on this page. Refer to the Publication Plan for more information on how the State Bar delivers notices to its members.

    Quick Links to Wisconsin Court System




  • West's Jury Verdicts, Bench Decisions, Settlements, and Arbitration Awards

    A selection of recent Wisconsin case verdicts are shared below.
    Share This:

    June 19, 2019 – A selection of recent Wisconsin case verdicts are shared below. The information is provided as a service to State Bar of Wisconsin members in cooperation with Westlaw's® West's Jury Verdicts – Wisconsin Reports, a Thomson Reuters business.

    Featured Cases

    Gunderson v. Franks (Wis. Cir. Ct. - Jackson County)

    Vehicle Negligence - Verdict: $310,195
    Jury Awards $310K for MVA Injuries

    Killebrew v. Cintas Corp. (Wis. Cir. Ct. - Kenosha County)

    Premises Liability - Settlement: $75,000
    Jury Awards $75K for Restroom Slip, Fall

    Van Beaver v. The Travelers Indem. Co. (Wis. Cir. Ct. - Brown County)

    Vehicle Negligence - Settlement: $82,500
    Semi Truck Rear-Ender Results in $82.5K Settlement

    State Bar members can:

    • Request a full case summary, free of charge
    • Submit their own case results for online publication in Westlaw’s® West's Jury Verdicts – Wisconsin Reports, free of charge
    • Order a paid online subscription to Westlaw’s® West's Jury Verdicts – Wisconsin Reports
    • Contact West: com west.juryverdicts thomsonreuters thomsonreuters west.juryverdicts com or (800) 689-9378

    For State Bar members submitting their own results for publication, West will:

    • Send each submitter a pdf of his/her published case as it appears online in Westlaw’s® West's Jury Verdicts – Wisconsin Reports, free of charge
    • Consider featuring the case in the State Bar’s WisBar InsideTrack publication

    © 2019 Thomson Reuters/West. All rights reserved. Users may download and print extracts of content from this Web site for their own personal and noncommercial use only. Republication or redistribution of Thomson Reuters/West content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Thomson Reuters/West.




  • Touchdown! Hot Topics from the State Bar’s 2019 Annual Meeting and Conference

    From prize-winning authors, legal journalists, and law professors to seasoned lawyers and judges, from new lawyers and new friends to Lambeau Field, the three-day 2019 Annual Meeting and Conference closed today with a victory.
    Share This:
    NRLD group photo

    Members of the NRLD board pose following a meeting at the 2019 Annual Meeting & Conference in Green Bay.

    June 14, 2019 – From prize-winning authors, legal journalists, and law professors to seasoned lawyers and judges, from new lawyers and new friends to Lambeau Field, the three-day 2019 Annual Meeting & Conference (AMC) closed today with a victory.

    More than 400 attendees, speakers, and vendors participated in this year’s event at the KI Center in Green Bay, which drew featured speakers and lawyers from around the state and the country. The event was abuzz despite occasional rain showers outside.

    On Wednesday, the AMC kicked off with a Board of Governors meeting, with several actions taken by the board. That evening, incoming State Bar President Jill Kastner was sworn into office before family, friends, and colleagues, setting the conference stage.

    Read on for a brief glimpse of the mountains of information unleashed in the last two days in the areas of trial practice, diversity and inclusion, civility in the courtroom, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts, mass incarceration, and more.

    Kastner poses with friends and family

    Several family members and friends attended the presidential swearing-in ceremony for Jill Kastner.

    Locking Up Our Own

    Yale Law Professor James Forman Jr., author of the Pulitzer prize-winning book “Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America,” delivered a riveting opening plenary session to discuss his research on mass and disparate incarceration.

    Wisconsin has a mass and disparate incarceration problem and Prof. Forman provided insights on the way forward, with reflections from his own work as a public defender, including representation of young African-Americans -- stories he details in his book.

    The son of parents  instrumental in the civil rights movement, Forman said the civil rights struggle was still very much present when he graduated law school in the 1990s.

    “I could see that there was unfinished business,” he said. “The place that I saw it – and it’s not the only place – but I saw it in the criminal legal system. I used to call it the criminal justice system, but more and more I think about as the criminal legal system because it seems like there is not enough justice in the system to deserve the title.”

    James Forman Jr

    Yale Law Professor James Forman Jr., author of the Pulitzer prize-winning book “Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America,” delivered a riveting opening plenary session to discuss his research on mass and disparate incarceration.

    Even with the success of the civil rights movement, Forman said the country could already see one-in-three young black men in the criminal justice system nationally, in the 1990s. The U.S. became the world’s largest incarcerator.

    Forman said alternatives to incarceration, such as restorative justice, can help make victims whole again and ensure offenders atone from crimes without incarceration. He told stories of how it can work, when victims better understand the offender’s life.

    “I had to become a social worker,” said Forman, telling the story of a young African-American man who committed a crime, but atoned for it through restorative justice.

    “I know lawyers have always been on the front lines of social justice movements in this country, from abolition of slavery, to women’s rights, to the African-American civil rights movement, the movement for better treatment of people with disabilities,” he said.

    “The ideas, and the group of people is in the room to bring a more powerful and transformative change than anything I’ve suggested to bring us to a place where we are able to confront mass incarceration and replace it with a system that heals and repairs and restores families, a system that deserves to have the name justice in its title.”

    Joan Biskupic

    CNN legal analyst and longtime U.S. Supreme Court reporter Joan Biskupic discussed her book, “The Chief: The Life and Turbulent Times of Chief Justice John G. Roberts,” and provided insight on the High Court as it is set to release major decisions.

    Chief Justice John G. Roberts

    CNN legal analyst and longtime U.S. Supreme Court reporter Joan Biskupic began covering the U.S. Supreme Court the first time John G. Roberts argued a case before the nation’s highest judicial tribunal, as an advocate, and has covered him ever since.

    Thus, it was fitting that Biskupic would be the one to write a biography, “The Chief: The Life and Turbulent Times of Chief Justice John G. Roberts.” Biskupic discussed the book and provided insight on the High Court as it is set to release major decisions.

    “Right now, John Roberts is the decisive figure on the Supreme Court,” Biskupic said. “He is now the ideological median justice on the court.”

    Biskupic said Roberts could be the swing justice of the future, a role previously associated with Justice Anthony Kennedy. Part of that stems from his role as chief justice, a position that must continuously manage the court as an institution.

    “He has other concerns beyond how to vote in a particular case at a particular time, because he is chief justice. He is concerned about the stature of the court, the legitimacy and reputation of the court in these highly political times,” she said.

    Slide from Simon Tam's presentation

    Simon Tam, a musician and the founding member of his Asian-American band, The Slants, shared his story about bringing a trademark case against the government all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    The Slants

    Simon Tam is a musician, the founding member and bassist of his Asian-American band, The Slants. He was also the plaintiff in the trademark case against the government that landed at the U.S. Supreme Court. Courtesy of the State Bar’s Nonresident Lawyers Division, Tam visited the AMC to tell his story.

    Tam faced road blocks in trying to get his band’s name registered as a trademark. “The government believed that our name was disparaging to persons of Asian descent, even though we are an all Asian band. Of course we appealed and appealed, and seven-and-a-half years later, it ended up before the U.S. Supreme Court,” Tam said.

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of Tam, concluding that section 2a of The Lanham Act was unconstitutionally vague and led to viewpoint discrimination in Tam’s case. The government had argued that the law did not violate free speech rights.

    But as Tam explained, the case wasn’t about trademark protection. “It was really important to see our case through for a couple of reasons. First, we looked at how the law was being used and noticed that it had disparate impact, that it was used to enforce against communities primarily of color and members of the LGBTQ community.”

    Tam said those are the groups that tend to re-appropriate language. “When I realized that it was having this profound effect on already marginalized communities, I couldn’t walk away from that. And secondly, I believe my case is ultimately about dignity.”

    “For me, it was about the idea that communities should have the right to define what is best for themselves without government intervention.”

    Group photo from MRC

    Family, friends, and colleagues were in attendance to honor some of the best in the profession at the Member Recognition Celebration.

    More from AMC

    On Thursday, judges and lawyers got together for “A Conversation Between the Bench and Bar,” presented by the State Bar’s Bench and Bar Committee.

    Former Justice Jon Wilcox moderated the event, which featured Waukesha County Circuit Court Justice Michael Aprahamian and Winnebago County Circuit Court Judge Barbara Key, recently re-appointed as chief judge for District Four.

    Among other things, both discussed civility in the courtroom.

    “It was really a give and take between attorneys and judges … explaining our hopes that we can all work together,” Key said. “There are certain rules with regard to civility between lawyers. With the court, and the court has rules on being civil with attorneys.”

    WAAL group photo

    Members of the Wisconsin Association of African-American (WAAL) Lawyers pose for a photo between sessions at AMC.

    “Things can get heated depending upon the type of case that’s in front of the court and so there were discussions in terms of working together to have mutual respect.”

    Diversity and inclusion was another major topic at AMC. The State Bar’s Diversity and Inclusion Oversight Committee invited Rekha Chiruvolu, the director of diversity and inclusion at Nixon Peabody, a major law firm based on Los Angeles.

    For the legal profession to reflect the communities that it serves, law firms must be better about how they recruit, retain, and promote, said Chiruvolu in “Improving Diversity and Inclusion in the #MeToo Era.

    “The legal profession is one of the least diverse professions in the country. We have to start re-thinking how we do things,” said Chiruvolu, who provided suggestions and advice on how law firms big and small can approach diversity and inclusion.

    The AMC featured many more breakout sessions and networking events, including a party at the Champions Club at Lambeau Field, where Packers Doug Evans (retired) and current defensive lineman Dean Lowry signed autographs.

    Webcasts of select AMC sessions will be available in the near future. Check the WisBar Marketplace and watch for an email (to attendees) announcing available programs. Thanks to those who attended, and see you at next year’s AMC in Elkhart Lake.

    posing with Packers

    Following CLE sessions, members were treated to networking events, including Conference Kick-Off Party at the Champions Club at Lambeau Field, where Packers Doug Evans (retired) and current defensive lineman Dean Lowry signed autographs and posed for pictures.




  • Incoming State Bar President Jill Kastner: "It’s Not About Me. It's About You."

    Jill Kastner was sworn in as the State Bar of Wisconsin's 64th president last evening in Green Bay at the organization's Annual Meeting and Conference, noting that her presidential year isn't a spotlight for her personal successes as a lawyer-leader.

    Joe Forward

    Share This:
     alt=

    Jill Kastner was sworn in as the State Bar of Wisconsin’s 64th president last evening in Green Bay at the organization’s Annual Meeting and Conference. She poses with her husband and son.

    Visit the State Bar’s Facebook page for more photos of this event, or click here.

    June 13, 2019 – Jill Kastner was sworn in as the State Bar of Wisconsin’s 64th president last evening in Green Bay at the organization’s Annual Meeting and Conference, noting that her presidential year isn’t a spotlight for her personal successes as a lawyer-leader.

    “It isn’t about me. It’s about you as members of the bar,” said Kastner, an attorney with Legal Action of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. She is the first women to lead the State Bar in a decade, and just the sixth woman president in the State Bar’s 64-year history.

    Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Patience Roggensack administered the oath of office, noting the State Bar president’s role in assisting the Wisconsin Court System in the administration of justice. The chief noted that State Bar presidents face challenges.

    “It’s often been said and I believe it’s true: the ones who challenge us most, teach us best,” the chief said. “The court will be relying on your leadership, whatever your vision.”

    Oshkosh attorneys Sherry Coley (emcee) and Jessica J. King spoke about Kastner, whose one-year term begins on July 1, 2019. They said Kastner, who was elected last year, is the right person to lead the membership of approximately 25,000 lawyers.

    “Let her lead, and you will not be disappointed,” said King, a former Wisconsin Senator, Kastner’s college classmate at U.W.-Oshkosh, and longtime friend. Both were part of U.W.-Oshkosh’s national champion National Model United Nations teams in the 1990s.

    kastner with female presidents

    The women presidents of the State Bar of Wisconsin. Front row, from left: Patricia Ballman (2002-03); incoming President Jill Kastner (2019-20); and President-elect Kathy Brost. Back row, from left: Diane Diel (2008-09); Michelle Behnke (2004-05); and Susan Steingass (1998-99). Missing from photo: Pamela Barker (1993-94).

    Early Lessons

    Kastner thanked colleagues, friends and her family – her parents, siblings, her husband and two children – before discussing her role and her vision for the year ahead.

    Kastner enters her presidential year at a challenging time for the State Bar as a mandatory organization. But Kastner, who graduated from UCLA Law School in 2000 and did high stakes intellectual property litigation in Silicon Valley for six years before returning to Wisconsin, said she is ready for the challenges the year will bring.

    She mentioned her college professor at U.W. Oshkosh, the late Dr. Kenneth Grieb, who taught and mentored many students through the National Model United Nations competition. Kastner’s U.W.-Oshkosh team won nationals all four years.

    Kastner said she learned a valuable lesson back then. In her freshman year, she outdueled the Model United Nations competition at regionals with a cutthroat approach, rather than the diplomatic strategy that her mentor, Dr. Grieb, had taught them.

    Kastner and Chief Justice Pat Roggensack

    Wisconsin Supreme Court Chieft Justice Patience Roggensack (right) administered the oath of office, noting the State Bar president’s role in assisting the Wisconsin Court System in the administration of justice.

    “It was my first year of competition. I had just gotten my resolution passed – not through that negotiation stuff he had taught us about. But I’d won,” Kastner noted.

    “So what if I’d made people upset doing it. He didn’t agree. And as he was berating me about my many failings, he said four words that I have never forgotten, ‘it’s not about you.’ Simple, profound words. I remember my 19 year old self hearing his wise words and thinking to myself ‘Old man, you have no idea what you’re talking about.’”

    “Fast forward a couple decades and people are asking me about ‘my year” and ‘my plan.’ Let me be clear, it’s not about me. It’s about you, as members of the bar.”

    Kastner said she will explore how the bar can better serve the members so they can better serve their clients, and she wants to ensure that lawyers who may be struggling get the help they need before an issue becomes a problem.

    “It’s also about the priorities of the State Bar,” she said. “Increasing access to justice, promoting a high-functioning justice system, ensuring a commitment to diversity and inclusion, and driving competitive advantage for our members and the organization.”

    past presidents pose with Kastner

    Several past presidents of the State Bar attended the swearing-in ceremony to support Jill Kastner.

    Let’s Get to Work

    Kastner said Wisconsin took a big step toward increasing access to justice and promoting a high functioning justice system by increasing private bar public defender rates and other court funding, which are longstanding State Bar priorities.

    “Now let’s get to work building upon this success and bridging the justice gap by getting younger attorneys to practice in our more rural and underserved counties, particularly in our more northern Counties,” Kastner said. “Let’s also work to get more funding for civil legal services and expand the number of pro bono hours lawyers provide to low income individuals. To improve our justice system, the bar needs to work hand in hand with our courts to ensure there is adequate funding, staffing and security.”

    “To promote diversity and inclusion, we will continue the great work of our Leadership Summit and Academy, both designed to train young lawyers from diverse geographic areas, practice settings, and backgrounds to be future leaders of the bar,” she said.

    Kastner poses with friends and family

    Several family members and friends attended the presidential swearing-in ceremony for Jill Kastner.

    She noted the State Bar’s board is actively implementing action plans to prevent sexual harassment in the legal profession, and to promote diversity and inclusion. Starting July 1, four of the State Bar’s six highest officers are women, and three are people of color. 

    “This did not happen by chance. This does not mean we have accomplished our goal, it just means we are moving in the right direction,” Kastner said.

    “But there is still work to do. There are still many members who do not feel that the bar provides value to them – rural lawyers, government lawyers, solos … already the Bar is redoubling its efforts to bring more services, including WisLAP, ethics, and Practice 411, to our more northern counties – instead of expecting them to come to Madison.”

    Kastner said the State Bar staff is working with sections and divisions, including the Solo Small Firm & General Practice Section and the Government Lawyers Division, to improve programming and work jointly to ensure the State Bar is providing value.

    Joe Forwardorg jforward wisbar Joe Forward, Saint Louis Univ. School of Law 2010, is a legal writer for the State Bar of Wisconsin, Madison. He can be reached by org jforward wisbar email or by phone at (608) 250-6161.

    “This is too much work for any one person,” Kastner said. “This is why we have dozens of volunteers from across the state and even non-resident lawyers who are working together to serve their fellow lawyers.”

    “I am deeply honored by the opportunity to help lead the bar forward over the next 12 months. I am looking forward to working together with all of you, so that we can build on our successes and continue the important work of serving our members.”

    Kastner succeeds outgoing President Christopher Rogers, who will continue a one-year service to the State Bar as an immediate-past president. Rogers said serving as State Bar president is the “singular highlight of his professional career.”

    Rogers said he’s excited about the year ahead because “Jill Kastner is going to be an unbelievable State Bar president.”




  • Director of State Courts Addresses State Bar Board; Board Takes Actions

    Judge Randy Koschnick, the Wisconsin Director of State Courts, gave remarks and took questions at the State Bar of Wisconsin Board of Governors (board) meeting today and the board took several actions in its final meeting of the fiscal year.

    Joe Forward

    Share This:
    Judge Randy Koschnick

    Director of State Courts, Judge Randy Koschnick, addressed the Board of Governors and discussed some of the initiatives his office is working on to improve efficiencies within the court system.

    June 12, 2019 – Judge Randy Koschnick, the Wisconsin Director of State Courts, gave remarks and took questions at the State Bar of Wisconsin Board of Governors (board) meeting today and the board took several actions in its final meeting of the fiscal year.

    Kicking off the State Bar’s Annual Meeting and Conference in Green Bay, the board invited Director Koschnick to report on the court system’s work and initiatives.

    Koschnick, a former circuit court judge for Jefferson County, said lawyers and judges depend on each other for the proper functioning of the court system and must work together. As an example, he noted that a consortium of judges and lawyers worked together on the rate paid to private bar attorneys who take on public defender cases.

    Joe Forwardorg jforward wisbar Joe Forward, Saint Louis Univ. School of Law 2010, is a legal writer for the State Bar of Wisconsin, Madison. He can be reached by org jforward wisbar email or by phone at (608) 250-6161.

    An increase, from $40 to $70, is included in the proposed state budget that is moving toward finality. “This is not the first time that an increase has been discussed and contemplated, but this is the first time that such a concerted effort was put together to advance this important initiative,” Director Koschnick said.

    Director Koschnick noted that the Joint Finance Committee also approved funding for additional assistant district attorney positions and increased county support payments to offset the increased rate of $100 per hour for lawyers appointed by the courts.

    The changes will help ensure parties are well-represented, that individual liberty interests are protected, and cases are processed in a timely manner, he said.

    Koschnick said his office has implemented initiatives to ensure that judges attend high quality judicial education programs that will help them stay well-informed on changes in the law. And he noted that the state supreme court has approved a pilot program to bring e-filing to the appellate courts, just as the circuit courts now use e-filing.

    After Koschnick’s appearance, the board dove into its final meeting of the fiscal year with outgoing board chair Odalo Ohiku presiding. A new board will reconvene in September.

    Chuck Stertz

    Dist. 10 Gov. Chuck Stertz discusses a petition that would allow permanent revocation of a law license for attorney misconduct. The board delayed discussion and action until the next fiscal year.

    Board Postpones Discussion/Action on Proposal on Permanent Revocation

    The board voted to postpone discussion and action on a pending petition that would allow an attorney’s law license to be permanently revoked as a disciplinary measure.

    The proposal is included within a petition (19-10) that an OLR Process Review Committee, established by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, has submitted to the court.

    Currently, a lawyer whose law license is “revoked” may petition the Supreme Court for reinstatement after five years. The petition would allow permanent revocation of an attorney’s law license, with no opportunity for reinstatement.

    In previous board meetings, governors raised arguments on both sides. Some argued that reinstatement should always be possible. Others said egregious cases could merit permanent revocation. Today, the board extended the time for its consideration.

    Dean Dietrich, chair of the State Bar’s Professional Ethics Committee, will prepare an issue brief on permanent revocation before the board revisits the issue in the next fiscal year. The supreme court is not expected to consider the petition until the fall.

    alt text

    Members of the board convened in Green Bay for the State Bar's 2019 Annual Meeting and Conference.

    Board Supports $5 Client Protection Fund Fee Increase

    The board voted to support an increase to the fee that lawyers pay to the Wisconsin Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection (Client Protection Fund), established in 1981 to compensate clients who have suffered financial loss due to attorney misconduct.

    The Client Protection Fund Committee will file a petition to the Wisconsin Supreme Court to increase the fee by $5, to $25 annually. Currently, lawyers pay an annual $20 fee. The current fee of $20, assessed by the Wisconsin Supreme Court and collected by the State Bar of Wisconsin with annual dues statements, has not changed since 2013.

    At the last board meeting in April, Client Protection Fund Committee Chair Steve Chiquoine informed the board that the committee reviewed financials from 2013 to the present and found that in four of the past six years, claims were deferred for payment due to insufficient available funds. He urged the board to support the increase.

    In 2017, for instance, $300,000 in approved claims were deferred for payment to clients. The fund has experienced an increase in the number of larger recoverable approved claims, and a fee increase is required in order to fulfill the fund’s mission, he said.

    Odalo Ohiku, Chris Rogers, and Jill Kastner

    From left, Board Chair Odalo Ohiku presides over the board meeting while outgoing State Bar President Christopher Rogers and incoming State Bar President Jill Kastner participate.

    Committee on Resolution of Fee Disputes

    The board voted to reestablish a Committee on Resolution of Fee Disputes to oversee the State Bar’s Fee Arbitration Program, a service to the public and attorneys in Wisconsin. The program provides an affordable and efficient way for lawyers and clients to resolve disputes over attorney’s fees with the help of trained, volunteer arbitrators.

    The committee meets as needed to address issues such as arbitrator training, program rules, procedures, and member and public outreach. The Arbitration Program processes about 200 arbitration requests per year on disputes ranging from $1,500 to $200,000.

    However, since 2013, an informal advisory group was ensuring oversight and governance of the Arbitration Program and the committee was officially dissolved in 2018. The board voted to reestablish the formal committee to improve the State Bar’s ability to oversee and govern the Arbitration Program under established rules.

    alt text

    Board members Jim Marshall and Susan Miller chat during a break at the Board of Governors meeting in Green Bay.

    Board Approves Board Chair for FY 2020

    The board unanimously approved Dist. 2 Gov. Kori Ashley (Milwaukee) as the chairperson of the board for fiscal year 2020 (July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020).

    The Chairperson of the Board of Governors Committee recommended Ashley, an attorney with Legal Action of Wisconsin. Ashley has been a member of the board since 2017 and is also member of the Wisconsin Association of African American Lawyers.

    Kevin Lonergan

    Kevin Lonergan gives the board a report on the Wisconsin Law Foundation, the charitable arm of the State Bar.

    Board Elects Six Members to Executive Committee

    The board approved six nominations to the State Bar’s Executive Committee for fiscal year 2020: Dist. 4 Gov. Mary Lynne Donohue (Sheboygan); Nonresident Lawyers Division representative Erik Guenther (Las Vegas); Dist. 2 Gov. Amy Wochos (Milwaukee); Dist. 10 Gov. Charles Stertz (Appleton); Dist. 2 Gov. Brittany Grayson (Milwaukee); and Dist. 13 Gov. Robert Barrington (Juneau).

    The Executive Committee is 14-member body that exercises all the powers and performs the duties of the Board of Governors between meetings.

    alt text

    Dist. 6 Gov. Jesse Blocher provides insight at the board meeting.

    Other Business

    • The board approved the Construction & Public Contract Law Section’s request to amend the section’s bylaws.

    • The board approved the Nonresident Lawyers Division’s request to update and/or change the division’s bylaws.

    • The board reappointed two State Bar representatives to the Wisconsin Access to Justice Commission, Dist. 11 Gov. Howard Bichler (Cumberland) and the Hon. Richard Sankovitz (Milwaukee). Both of their terms expired in March 2019.

    • The board reelected two State Bar of Wisconsin delegates to the ABA House of Delegates, James Casey (Washington, D.C.) and Elise Libbey (Waukesha). Libbey will serve as the State Bar’s young lawyer representative.

    • The board approved State Bar President Christopher Rogers’s four appointees to the Wisconsin Trust Account Foundation Board: Eric Andrews (Milwaukee); Joshua Kindkeppel (Madison); Deanne Koll (New Richmond); and Mr. Glenn Dahl (Madison). Andrews and Kindkeppel are reappointments.

    Upon request, interested members may obtain a copy of the minutes of each meeting of the Board of Governors. For more information, contact State Bar Executive Coordinator Jan Marks by org jmarks wisbar email or by phone at (608) 250-6106.




Server Name