Award-winning writer, actor, and TV personality, Mo Rocca (left) closed the 2015 Annual Meeting & Conference with a funny and engaging Q&A, moderated by Tom Watson (right).
June 30, 2015 – Award-winning writer, actor, and TV personality Mo Rocca closed out the State Bar of Wisconsin’s 2015 Annual Meeting and Conference (AMC) with a bang last Friday, delivering his quirky insight on entertainment, news, and offbeat topics.
Currently a correspondent on CBS Sunday Morning, Rocca’s Q&A with moderator Tom Watson provided an entertaining end to an AMC packed with learning, networking, meetings, awards, and social events. More than 300 people attended this year’s AMC at the Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva, with a lively hall of helpful exhibitors.
Rocca talked about his experiences interviewing dynamic or difficult celebrities, window washers on New York City skyscrapers, hockey great Bobby Orr, and grandparents through a show he created and hosts, My Grandmother’s Ravioli on Cooking Channel.
“Grandparents are at a place in their lives where they don’t care what anybody thinks of them, which is a place we all want to be,” joked Rocca, who travels the country seeking family recipes and stories from grandparents. “It’s inspiring to be around that energy.”
Mo Rocca shares a laugh with moderator Tom Watson during his closing Q&A.
He spouted fun facts about Wisconsin – Two Rivers is home to the ice cream sundae, Bloomer is the jump-roping capital of the world -- and took issue with any suggestion that Wisconsin is part of the nation’s “fly-over zone.”
“Any state that gave us both Joe McCarthy and Liberace is far more interesting than anyplace I’ve ever lived,” said Rocca, who lives in New York City.
He talked about TV hosts, including Johnny Carson, David Letterman, Jay Leno, and Jon Stewart, who is ending his run on the Daily Show, a satirical news show on Comedy Central. Rocca was a regular correspondent on the Daily Show from 1998 to 2003.
“The feat that [Jon Stewart] achieved is how to have a real point of view that is funny at the same time,” said Rocca, who won the ABA’s Silver Gavel Award in 2013 for a feature-length documentary film entitled, Electoral Dysfunction. “I don’t think it’s coincidental that the show started to rise at the same time as cable news.
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 email or by phone at (608) 250-6161.
“The whole idea of 24-hour cable was to dig deeper and explore more issues. But by some weird counterintuitive force, it seems that all that time is spent on fewer and fewer topics discussed in a more superficial way. The [Daily Show] had a lot to poke fun at.”
Guests tested Rocca’s knowledge on capital cities, correctly noting the capital cities of Tanzania, Guyana, and Barbados. “I confess the Caribbean countries are my weak spot, but with global warming, those countries may be under water soon,” Rocca joked.
Thanks to AMC sponsors
- Wisconsin Law Foundation
- Wisconsin Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company
- Business Law Section, State Bar of Wisconsin
- Habush Habush & Rottier S.C.
- Senior Lawyers Division, State Bar of Wisconsin
- Family Law Section, State Bar of Wisconsin
- Steinhilber, Swanson, Mares, Marone & McDermott
- Institute for Global Ethics
- Godfrey & Kahn S.C.
- Hupy & Abraham S.C.
- WIPFLi, CPAs and Consultants
- Litigation Section, State Bar of Wisconsin
- Construction & Public Contract Law Section, State Bar of Wisconsin
- Quarles & Brady LLP
- Ruder Ware
- Bakke Norman S.C.
- Calewarts, Duffy, Gagan & Erdman
- Becker, Hickey & Poster S.C.
- Davis & Kuelthau S.C.
- Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C.
- Hurley Burish & Stanton S.C.
- Textnet Digital Court Reporting
- Gimbel Reilly Guerin & Brown LLP
- Brennan Steil S.C.
- Thomson Reuters
- Stahmer Law Firm
- Dispute Resolution Section, State Bar of Wisconsin
- Health Law Section, State Bar of Wisconsin
- Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Section, State Bar of Wisconsin
- Small Firm & General Practice Section, State Bar of Wisconsin
AMC in the Books
Rocca’s funny and engaging Q&A capped an AMC event that started with an inspirational talk by public interest lawyer Bryan Stevenson, executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Alabama and author of the bestselling book, Just Mercy.
Prior to the AMC, Madison attorney Ralph Cagle was sworn-in as the 60th president of the State Bar of Wisconsin. His term starts on July 1.
The AMC was also the location of the 2015 Member Recognition Celebration to honor volunteers and pro bono efforts. Many conference-goers and their families also attended “A Night in Havana” party to network and socialize with friends and colleagues.
During the day, attendees could earn up to 11 CLE credits (6.5 EPR) through sessions covering various topics. From the Affordable Care Act to Indian Law, from Like-Kind Exchanges to IRS attacks, these sessions drew lawyers from many practice areas.
Don’t forget: The State Bar’s 2016 Annual Meeting and Conference will be held June 16-17, 2016, in Green Bay. Mark your calendar and see you there!
Reminder for attendees: Selected sessions of the AMC were recorded and will be webcasted at a later date. All attended will be able to access webcasts for free. So if you missed a session, check the State Bar’s webcast calendar for upcoming replays.