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  • WisBar News
    September 08, 2015

    WL Sneak Peek: Conditional Use Permits, Family Feuds, and Exclusive Venue

    Do any of these topics pique your interest: conditional use permits; mediating estate and probate disputes; exclusive venue in corporate litigation? How about getting civil trial experience, compensation for indigent defense, or marketing tactics for small firms? These topics and more anchor the September Wisconsin Lawyer.

    September 2015 Wisconsin Lawyer magazineSept. 8, 2015 – Does your client want to use land in a way that is not authorized as a matter of right? Or is your client the neighbor who is trying to stop this use of land? Whatever side you “land” on, the September Wisconsin Lawyer has the skinny.

    In her cover article, “Conditional Use Permits: Strategies for Local Zoning Proceedings,” Madison attorney Mary Beth Peranteau discusses the legal underpinnings of conditional use permits (CUPs) and how to maximize clients’ chances of obtaining or defeating one.

    “This article provides an overview of the standards for the issuance of a CUP, distilled from sometimes conflicting Wisconsin case law,” writes Peranteau in her article. Look for the handy sidebar chart with step-by-step strategies for CUP applicants and opponents, based on the specific stage of the proceeding.

    Mediating Estate and Probate Disputes; Exclusive Venue Provisions

    Attorneys Eido Walney and Kelly Dancy pick up where Peranteau leaves off, moving from feuding neighbors to feuding families in “Family Feuds: Mediating Estate and Probate Disputes,” offering advice in this delicate area.

    The authors note that the use of mediation to resolve probate, trust, and estate disputes “is growing exponentially” at a time when the boomer generation is “poised to make the largest intergenerational transfer of wealth ever seen in the United States.”

    This means lawyers are in a position to assist with the resolution of inheritance disputes, and mediation is an efficient option with the potential to “preserve family relationships by avoiding the emotional damage that can result from litigation.”

    Attorneys Brian House (Minnesota 1993) and Andrew Wronski (Minnesota 1994) shift gears to deliver “Exclusive Venues: Litigating on a Corporation’s Home Turf.”

    The authors discuss how exclusive venue provisions in charters or bylaws help corporate boards and their counsel reduce the time and dollar costs of complex lawsuits by restricting the number of forums in which such disputes may be litigated.

    “While this movement toward exclusive-form provisions has largely been a Delaware phenomenon, the arguments in favor of such provisions are equally strong for companies incorporated in Wisconsin,” the authors write in the article.

    Other Insights and Columns

    As I See It column: Milwaukee lawyer John Birdsall, in “Low Assigned Counsel Compensation Shortchanges Justice,” advocates for an increased compensation rate for Wisconsin attorneys who take criminal or delinquency cases by assignment from the Office of the State Public Defender, noting Wisconsin has the lowest rate in the country.

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    Fewer cases are going to trial and that means young lawyers are no longer getting the experience they need for future litigation. Young lawyers should proactively seek mentoring opportunities and do some self-learning to help build that experience, says Jesse Blocher.

    101 column: In “Earn Your Stripes, Part 1: How to Get Civil Trial Experience,” attorneys Jesse Blocher, Michael Cerjak, and Andrew Wier advise young lawyers aiming for trial experience in an era where trials are hard to come by.

    “This article introduces the problem of increasingly infrequent trials and explores how lawyers new to civil practice can obtain trial experience, while next month’s article explains how new lawyers can succeed in trying cases …,” the authors write.

    Ethics column: Confused about the steps you must take to place advanced fee payments into business accounts? In “Stick to the Rules When Using Alternate Advanced Fee Procedure,” attorney Dean Dietrich – chair of the State Bar Professional Ethics Committee – explains the rules and procedures to follow in this area.

    Marketing column: Are you a small firm looking for new marketing tactics? Attorney Larry Bodine’s article, “9 New Marketing Tactics for Small Firms to Attract Clients,” informs lawyers on trending strategies, from the cutting edge to the tried-and-true.

    Technology column: According to a recent survey, private practice lawyers in Wisconsin work approximately 47 hours per week, and many probably work these hours while sitting at their desks. In “So You Want To … Improve Your Work Space,” State Bar Practice Management Advisor Tison Rhine” explains how investing in your work space can improve your productivity, and makes some recommendations to get started.

    Final Thought: Have you read Go Set a Watchman, a Harper Lee novel that was recently “discovered” and published this year? It reveals a much different Atticus Finch than the one readers adored and respected in To Kill a Mockingbird, released in 1960. In “Go Easy on ‘Old Atticus,’” former State Bar President John Skilton illustrates how a belief in the letter and spirit of the law can overcome deeply flawed beliefs.

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