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  • WisBar News
    October 20, 2016

    Humility, Integrity, Service: 65 Fellows Inducted to Wisconsin Law Foundation

    Humility, integrity, and service are the messages to lawyers and judges who attended a night of celebration as 65 new Fellows were inducted into the Fellows of the Wisconsin Law Foundation in Milwaukee.

    Shannon Green

    40 New Fellows

    New Fellows were inducted into the Fellows of the Wisconsin Law Foundation at a reception and dinner in Milwaukee.

    Oct. 20, 2016 – Humility over hubris. Honesty, integrity, professionalism, and service to the community. Those were the messages to lawyers and judges Oct. 18 in Milwaukee as 65 new Fellows were inducted into the Fellows of the Wisconsin Law Foundation.

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

    Distinguished Lifetime Service

    The celebration honored the two recipients of the 2016 Wisconsin Law Foundation’s Charles L. Goldberg Distinguished Service Award, John Skilton and Hon. Ness Flores. The award is given for a lifetime of service to the profession and the community.

    John Skilton at the podium

    Described by colleagues as a highly respected litigation attorney and dedicated servant to the profession and the community, John Skilton is a recipient of the 2016 Wisconsin Law Foundation’s Charles L. Goldberg Distinguished Service Award.

    “I was blessed,” said John Skilton of early mentors who taught him that honesty, integrity, and professionalism are necessary traits for lawyers. “If you have those, you are going to succeed as a lawyer,” Skilton said. Read more about John Skilton.

    Hon. Flores, a former circuit court judge and a pioneer in crafting Wisconsin’s migrant farmworker laws, also accomplished a lifetime of service to various community and legal organizations. He spoke of his past, including a secret: Educated at Baylor Law School in Waco, Texas, he failed the first time he took the Wisconsin Bar Exam.

    But the person who helped him pass on his second try was none other than Charles Goldberg. “It’s ironic that here I am accepting an award named after my old mentor,” Hon. Flores said. Read more about Hon. Ness Flores.

    Ness Flores with family

    Hon. Ness Flores, front left, pictured here with his family members, is a former circuit court judge and a pioneer in crafting Wisconsin’s migrant farmworker laws. He is a recipient of the 2016 Wisconsin Law Foundation’s Charles L. Goldberg Distinguished Service Award.

    Hubris and Humility

    Attorney Dean Strang, a trial lawyer at Strang Bradley, LLC, as well as a lecturer and author, was a featured speaker at the event.

    Strang served five years as Wisconsin’s first Federal Defender and has argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, five federal circuits, and the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

    Shannon Green is communications writer for the State Bar of Wisconsin, Madison. She can be reached by email or by phone at (608) 250-6135.

    He recently gained international attention as defense counsel in the trial of Steven Avery, accused and later convicted of murder. The Avery story was featured in Making a Murderer, a documentary series on Netflix.

    Strang spoke about the justice system, and about the possibility – even probability – of errors or omissions that lead to defendants sentenced to the death penalty or life in prison on wrongful convictions.

    Impoverishment ensnares people disproportionately into involvement in the courts, he said. More than 80 percent of defendants are unable to afford a lawyer. “The poverty of hope infects much of our criminal justice system,” he said.

    Strang urged lawyers and judges to acknowledge that no case is free of errors and mistakes, even after a jury trial and conviction. The belief that all the details in a case are correct to prove a defendant guilty without question is hubris. “I see daily more hubris than humility,” Strang said.

    Lawyers, judges, and police should keep the value of humility, because errors do exist. “We (prosecutors and defense attorneys) could be wrong in the end,” Strang said.

    Dean Strang at the Podium

    Featured speaker Dean Strang spoke of the necessity of humility for judges and lawyers.

    Such errors can lead to wrongly convicted defendants. The stakes are high, he noted, with more than 2,500 facing the death penalty in the U.S.

    Even more people – around 49,000 – face the “social death” of a life prison sentence without parole, which, Strang says, “consigns a person to a hopeless existence forever.”

    When those are the stakes, it is important that lawyers maintain proper humility – the idea that details could be wrong.

    And when those are the stakes, “it may be time to rethink clemency.” An executive branch of government – either a governor or the U.S. president – who makes it a policy never to consider clemency, never acknowledging the humility that admits that mistakes can occur, “insults the dignity of the office,” Strang said.

    “I don’t offer answers,” he said. “I am just asking questions.”

    The Fellows of the Wisconsin Law Foundation

    The Fellows 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. New Fellows are elected by the Fellows Board of Trustees.

    Eric Andrews Points to his name

    Eric Andrew points to his name on the list of the new Fellows, after he was inducted into the Fellows of the Wisconsin Law Foundation.

    The program supports the mission of the Wisconsin Law Foundation, the State Bar of Wisconsin’s charitable and educational organization that promotes public understanding of the law, improvement of the administration of justice and other law-related public service through funding of innovative and creative programs that improve the vision of the American justice system.

    Hon. Louis Butler Jr., president of the Fellows of the Wisconsin Law Foundation, said the Fellows program has seen tremendous growth in recent years

    Visit the State Bar’s Facebook page for more photos of this event, or go directly to the album.

    Welcome to the following Wisconsin Law Foundation Fellows:

    Eric L. Andrews, Milwaukee

    Amanda K. Ashley, Westminster, Colorado

    Colleen D. Ball, Milwaukee

    Karen Marie Bauer, Milwaukee

    Darrell W. Behnke, Madison

    Ryan Anthony Blay, Madison

    Daniel D. Blinka, Milwaukee

    Bernard J. Bobber, Mequon

    Truscenialyn Brooks, Madison

    Kathleen A. Brost, Neenah

    Kathryn M. Bullon, Sombra, Canada

    Katherine L. Charlton, Milwaukee

    Christine Davies D'Angelo, Waukesha

    Thomas M. Domer, Milwaukee

    Timothy D. Edwards, Madison

    Brandon J. Evans, Marquette, Michigan

    Edward A. Fallone, Milwaukee

    Noah Alexandre Fenceroy, Milwaukee

    John W. Galanis, Milwaukee

    Martin P. Gagne, Milwaukee

    Jeff Goldman, Madison

    Erik R. Guenther, Kenosha

    Kimberly K. Haines, Waukesha

    Christopher G. Hanewicz, Madison

    Patricia A. Hintz, Milwaukee

    Eric E. Hobbs, Milwaukee

    Christopher B. Hughes, Madison

    Daniel A. Idzikowski, Madison

    Jesse S. Ishikawa, Madison

    Ann S. Jacobs, Milwaukee

    Dera L. Johnsen-Tracy, Madison

    Mark Todd Johnson, Fitchburg

    Kathryn A. Keppel, Milwaukee

    Maureen L. Kinney, La Crosse

    Charles D. Koehler, Appleton

    Dean P. Laing, Milwaukee

    Lisa M. Lawless, Milwaukee

    Craig A. Mastantuono, Milwaukee

    Michael P. May, Madison

    Susan K. Miller, Waupaca

    Steven L. Nelson, Milwaukee

    Daniel A. O'Callaghan, Madison

    Thomas M. Olejniczak, Green Bay

    Carmen M. Ortiz-Babilonia, Milwaukee

    John R. Orton, Mauston

    Robert A. Peterson, Madison

    Justice David T. Prosser, Jr., Madison

    Margaret Raymond, Madison

    Joseph M. Rivas, Milwaukee

    Christopher Earl Rogers, Madison

    Anne E. Ross, Madison

    Matthew D. Rowe, Wausau

    Charles S. Sara, Madison

    Paul M. Schmidt, Madison

    Michael S. Siddall, Appleton

    Rebecca Rapp, Madison

    Dean Arthur Strang, Madison

    Robert B. Teuber, Milwaukee

    Laura Skilton Verhoff, Madison

    Anne Taylor Wadsack, Madison

    David M. Werwie, Saint Paul, Minnesota

    Janice K. Wexler, Middleton

    Nicholas C. Zales, Milwaukee

    Jessica A. Zolp, Milwaukee

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