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  • WisBar News
    October 02, 2015

    A Night of Celebration: 42 New Fellows Inducted into the Fellows of the Wisconsin Law Foundation

    Shannon Green

    2015 Wisconsin Law Foundation Fellows

    New Fellows pose for a photo in front of the wall of names. The Wisconsin Law Foundation inducted 42 new Fellows at a celebration this week.

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

    Oct. 2, 2015 – It was a night of celebration and a night of remembrance, as 42 new Fellows were inducted into the Fellows of the Wisconsin Law Foundation at a dinner Sept. 30 in Madison.

    “It’s joyous to have all of you folks together to help us do the right thing for the right people. You inspire us, you help us grow, you put wind under our wings. Thank you,” said Mark Pennow to the Fellows at the dinner. Pennow is the president of the Foundation’s board of directors.

    The Fellows of the Wisconsin Law Foundation are lawyers recognized by their peers and join by invitation as a result of their service to the profession, to their communities, and to justice.

    The event was made possible through the generous support of the Senior Lawyers Division, Pennow said.

    The event was touched with sadness at the unexpected passing Sept. 21 of Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice N. Patrick Crooks, who served for many years on the Foundation’s board of directors and who, according to his son, loved the Foundation because it embodied everything he loved about the field of law.

    2015 Class of Fellows Inducted

    For 2015, 42 new lawyers were inducted as Fellows of the Fellows of the Wisconsin Law Foundation. Fellows are elected by the Fellows Board of Trustees. The program recognizes members of the profession who are known by their peers for high professional achievements and outstanding contributions to the advancement and improvement of the administration of justice in Wisconsin.

    Jon Axelrod, president of the Fellows Board of Trustees, welcomed the 2015 Class of Fellows, noting the character traits that this group represents. They donate their time, he said, “to make Wisconsin a better place.”

    Barbara Crabb with husband Ted

    U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb with her husband, Ted. Judge Crabb was presented with the 2015 Charles L. Goldberg Distinguished Service Award for her longtime service to the profession.

    Goldberg Award

    The event celebrated the ongoing career of U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb, the 2015 winner of the Wisconsin Law Foundation Charles L. Goldberg Distinguished Service Award, given for a lifetime of service to the profession and the community.

    It is an award not given lightly, said Pennow.

    “We give this award to people whose careers have embodied the truth of the practice of law … people who have done their best and brightest work while toiling among us.”

    To be the recipient of the award was a “total shock” to Judge Crabb.

    “It’s an award for doing what I have absolutely loved doing since 1971,” she said. “I just feel so privileged to have had the opportunity to do what I do. The job is made even better by the kind of people that I work with. I couldn’t ask for better colleagues. I couldn’t ask for better people in the whole courthouse. I very much appreciate the award. Thank you.”

    Lessons from a Wise Woman

    The featured speaker was Pamela Pepper, judge for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, who confessed with good humor that she was “a little intimidated” to speak in front of such a prestigious audience.

    But there are lessons everyone should think about when practicing law, she said, regardless of the position held or the number of years in practice.

    These are lessons Judge Pepper learned from her mother that she remembers even today, including this: “If you can’t say something nice about somebody, don’t say anything at all.”

    That lesson is highly relevant to lawyers, Judge Pepper said.

    “There’s a way to represent your client zealously and enthusiastically and still respect both your opposing counsel and your opponent,” she said. “There is a way to avoid ad hominem attacks, there is a way to avoid name calling and invective hurling. There is a way to be able to strongly present your position and still say, ‘but I understand why the other side is saying what the other side is saying.’”

    Ann Walsh Bradley and Pamela Pepper

    Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley (left) with U.S. District Judge Pamela Pepper. Judge Pepper was the featured speaker of the evening.

    Judge Pepper also offered another lesson: “Your talent should speak for itself. Your skills should speak for themselves. To the extent that we as attorneys believe that we are talented, we are intelligent, we are capable, we’ve got to let that speak for itself,” Judge Pepper said.

    And another lesson: But for the grace of God, go I.

    “No matter what our position, no matter what our fight, if life had gone just slightly differently, we might be sitting in a different chair, in the losing person’s chair, in the victim’s chair, in our client’s chair, not understanding what’s going on, not understanding the rules.” Remember this, she said.

    “Maybe it doesn’t change the arguments we make, but maybe it changes the way we make them. Maybe it doesn’t change the questions we ask, but maybe it changes the tone in which we ask them,” Judge Pepper said.

    And there are two sayings that she remembers each day.

    “I have a saying that I put on my bench and what I remember in the middle of the fray. I look down at it and I remind myself: ‘We have two ears and one mouth that we can listen twice as much as we hear.’”

    “And I have another one that says, ‘Kindness is the beginning of wisdom.’”

    Those are the two things that she reminds herself of, over and over again, even on days when it doesn’t work.

    “I’m honored to be a Wisconsin lawyer, I’m honored to have practiced law in Wisconsin among you for the last 20 years. I’ve been lucky enough. I was an Illinois lawyer before that …” Judge Pepper said with a laugh.

    Farewell and Thank You to a Great Friend

    The Foundation honored two of its outgoing board members for their years of dedicated service to the Foundation. The occasion was touched with sadness, however, by the loss of one of them last week: Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice N. Patrick Crooks.

    Fellow honoree, former Justice Jon Wilcox, worked with Justice Crooks for many years.

    alt text

    Attorney Michael P. Crooks speaks about his father, the late Justice N. Patrick Crooks of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

    “He was a great friend of mine,” he said. “We served together on the board of trustees of the Wisconsin Law Foundation.”

    Representing his father at the dinner, attorney Michael Crooks accepted the award for his father, who was honored for his service with and dedication to the Foundation.

    “He loved this organization so much,” Crooks said. “It was everything to him that embodied what it meant to be a lawyer, what it meant to be a judge, what it mean to be actually involved in the law because it promoted the law and it taught people about the law, which was essentially what he was about. He loved the law, he loved justice, he loved fairness, he loved equity.”

    “This organization embodied everything he loved about the law,” Crooks said.

    Justice Crooks made many contributions to the advancement and administration of justice in Wisconsin, Axelrod added.

    “Justice Crooks followed one principle, and that’s to deliver the utmost fairness to all parties before the court and to be completely independent in his decision making,” Axelrod said. “As Fellows, we should strive to ensure that those standards are met in our everyday activities.

    “Justice Crooks – Pat – we miss you.”

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

    Welcome the following Wisconsin Law Foundation Fellows:

    Robert J. Asti, Cedarburg

    Ann I. Brandau, La Crosse

    Hon. Richard S. Brown, Waukesha

    Scott J. Campbell, Milwaukee

    James J. Casey Jr., Washington, D.C.

    Andrew J. Chevrez, Milwaukee

    Hon. Charles N. Clevert Jr., Milwaukee

    Sherry Coley, Green Bay

    Susan Lynn Collins, Madison

    Paul E. Conrad, Locust Grove, Va.

    Byron B. Conway, Green Bay

    Hon. Barbara B. Crabb, Madison

    Patricia N. Engel, Brookfield

    Patricia M. Hanz, Milwaukee

    Stephen P. Hurley, Madison

    Karen D. Julian, Madison

    Aviva Meridian Kaiser, Madison

    Charles M. Kernats, Madison

    Debra E. Kuper, East Greenwich, R.I.

    Beth J. Kushner, Milwaukee

    Kevin Lonergan, Appleton

    Ginger L. Murray, Madison

    Randall L. Nash, Milwaukee

    Kathy L. Nusslock, Milwaukee

    Timothy Joseph O'Brien, New Richmond

    Kevin J. Palmersheim, Middleton

    Mark G. Petri, Mequon

    Nelson W. Phillips III, Milwaukee

    Bradley William Raaths, Madison

    Timothy J. Radelet, Madison

    Israel Ramon, Milwaukee

    Joseph A. Ranney III, Madison

    James C. Reiher, Waukesha

    Blaine Rusy Renfert, Madison

    Daniel F. Rinzel, Mount Vernon, Va.

    Linda Roberson, Madison

    Megan A. Senatori, Madison

    Keith R. Stachowiak, Milwaukee

    Charles Stertz, Appleton

    James D. Sweet, Madison

    Amy Elizabeth Wochos, Milwaukee

    Lynette M. Zigman, Milwaukee

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