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  • WisBar News
    December 09, 2013

    Sneak Peek: Mock Trial Stories and Top State and Federal Court Decisions Anchor December Wisconsin Lawyer

    December 2013 Wisconsin LawyerDec. 9, 2013 – For 30 years, the Wisconsin State Mock Trial Tournament has helped students develop critical thinking and public speaking skills. Read several success stories in the December Wisconsin Lawyer, available online and in mail boxes soon.

    In his article, “Mock Trial. Real Leaders,” State Bar of Wisconsin Legal Writer Joe Forward tells several anecdotes from the program’s 30-year history – stories from lawyers and judges who participated in mock trial and note the positive impact it had on their careers. The article also highlights mock trial teachers and lawyer-coaches who have influenced countless students.

    From Rhinelander High School to Salam School in Milwaukee, from Judge Kelly Thimm to criminal lawyer Amy Ferguson (the subject of our cover photo), tales of those who participated illustrate the important role that mock trial plays in the lives of high school students.

    “We had judges telling us, and other teams too, that we were more prepared than some lawyers they see in their own courtrooms,” Ferguson says in the article. “This is a really great thing to hear as a high school student, and something you remember for the rest of your life.”

    Forward notes that the State Bar will host the 2014 National Mock Trial Tournament in Madison May 8-10, 2014. Competitors are state championship teams from across the country, and the State Bar is still seeking donations to fund the venues and special events that will ensure a successful National Mock Trial Tournament.

    Top Court Decisions

    Switching gears, two well-known Milwaukee litigators discuss what they believe are the top 17 state and federal court cases impacting the development of the law.

    Attorney Beth Ermatinger Hanan hits the “Top 9 Recent Wisconsin Supreme Court Decisions,” including an interesting surrogacy case of first impression. Also, don’t miss Hanan’s webXtra video, where Hanan provides other useful insight about the cases.

    Attorney Michael Brennan highlights the “Top 8 Wisconsin Federal Court Decisions,” including two right-to-privacy decisions. Brennan notes that federal court interpretations, though not binding on Wisconsin courts, “still affect how Wisconsin law develops and how it is argued, including in cases pending in Wisconsin state courts.”

    Making Encryption Easy

    Attention solo and small firm practitioners: Are you your own IT professional? Don’t know how to secure data to ensure your clients’ information is protected? John Simek and David Ries have you covered in a 101 column titled, “Encryption Made Simple.”

    “Fortunately, many easy-to-use encryption methods currently are available,” they write, noting that encryption is a process used to protect data on computer or other devices and data sent over Internet connections. “Most attorneys will need technical assistance to install and set up encryption, but using encryption is generally easy after that.”

    Job Interviews Under the ADA: Two Perspectives

    Lawyer Jimmy Anderson contributes his perspective on the job interview process for individuals with physical or other disabilities, referencing the Americans with Disabilities Act in, “Job Interviews and the ADA: Addressing the Elephant in the Wheelchair.”

    In 2010, in his second year of law school at U.W., the vehicle in which Anderson was riding was struck by a drunk driver, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down. He tells disabled job seekers to “own their disability” during the interview.

    “Although a covered entity is allowed to make pre-employment inquiries into the ability of an applicant to perform job-related functions, an interviewer may be hesitant to ask those questions,” Anderson writes. “Leaving these questions unanswered, however, will not help you get hired.”

    Brookfield labor and employment lawyer Marna Tess-Mattner adds to Anderson’s perspective with thoughts on the interview process from the employer’s perspective.

    What Else is Inside?

    • A “Marketing” column from Jenna Weber, a business development coordinator at SVA Professionals in Madison. Weber discusses “Six Steps to Structuring a Referral Program,” noting that many studies show the importance of referrals.

    • Tom Watson’s “Managing Risk” column. In it, the lawyer and vice president at Wisconsin Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company highlights “What to Do With Client Files” after a matter is resolved, and how long to keep them.

    Read the December Wisconsin Lawyer online now

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