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  • Wisconsin Lawyer
    September 01, 2014

    Editor's Note
    A Focus on Children’s Legal Issues

    Chances are you have a child, know a child, work with a child, or were a child yourself, but you may not know just how vulnerable children are when facing legal issues or when thrust into the justice system.

    superhero kidEven if your law practice does not involve contact with children and their legal issues, you have undoubtedly come in contact with children, either in your own family, your extended family, or through friends and colleagues. We all know the significant impact legal issues and determinations can have on children and their families.

    This issue of Wisconsin Lawyer focuses on children in the legal system. We could not possibly cover all the legal issues facing children. The topics we chose are varied, pertinent, and timely; pulled from media headlines, the courts, and other legal developments.

    Author Tyler Wilkinson looks at two recent Wisconsin Supreme Court decisions that highlight potential difficulties of making medical decisions for children; Emily Dudak Taylor discusses how immigration laws, including those surrounding surrogacy, affect children’s path to U.S. citizenship. Tanner Kilander showcases teenagers’ struggle to make it on their own when aging out of the foster care system without family or resources, and Gretchen Viney explains the process attorneys need to take – with caution – when seeking a guardianship for a minor under Wis. Stat. chapter 54.

    Michelle A. LeikerMichelle A. Leiker, Marquette 1997, is assistant general counsel at the Wisconsin Medical Society and is a member of the State Bar Communications Committee.

    Gretchen VineyGretchen Viney, U.W. 1978, is a clinical professor and director of the Lawyering Skills Program at U.W. Law School and a member of the State Bar Communications Committee.

    For many children, the new academic year has just begun. Four authors examine topics related to children in school: Steve Porter explains students’ constitutional rights; Bill Brown looks at bullying – how schools, parents, and communities are fighting back; Faith Kohler outlines the rights of special needs students to a free and appropriate education; and Jeff Spitzer-Resnick examines the power of school districts to discipline students and discusses how the inappropriate or discriminatory use of discipline fuels what has become known as the school-to-prison pipeline.

    Last, our Final Thought author, Mike Lueder, urges readers to take a pro bono matter to help a child. He did. The case he handled in Children’s Court was, he says, the most professionally and personally satisfying case of his 27 years in practice, primarily in civil litigation.

    We welcome your feedback, and we invite you to continue the dialog on these important topics. Please like, share, or post comments to these articles online.

    As members of the editorial advisory board, we’re always on the lookout for thought-provoking subjects, articles, and columns. Please contact the editors at to discuss your ideas for potential articles and themes for future issues.

    We hope you enjoy this special issue.

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