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  • Press Release
    November 03, 2016

    That's a Fine Idea! State Bar Reveals 2016 Top Legal Innovators

    NOV.3, 2016

    Kristen Durst
    (608) 250-6025
    (608 630-0432 (cell)


    That's a Fine Idea! State Bar Reveals 2016
     Top Legal Innovators

    Madison, WI For the third year, the State Bar of Wisconsin is honoring the state’s top legal innovators through the organization’s “That’s a Fine Idea: Legal Innovation Wisconsin” initiative.

    This year the State Bar honors five attorneys as legal innovators, including one lifetime-award winner.


    • Colleen Ball: Lifetime Innovator Award Winner for improving access to justice
      Ball, a State Public Defender appellate attorney, channels her passion for access to justice into helping pro se parties navigate the appeals process and to finding ways to make appellate practice more efficient for lawyers. She has coordinated the pro bono program of the State Bar’s Appellate Practice Section since 1998 and last year created an online Appellate Help Desk to assist pro se litigants with civil cases in the Wisconsin Court of Appeals.


          • Sam Owens: Equalizing Claimants in Discrimination Actions
            Owens created his own interactive web application,, to help people with viable discrimination claims file a timely complaint with the appropriate agency. Because delays can torpedo a claim, he built a system to efficiently obtain the data needed to quickly turn around and file a complaint on behalf of clients.
          • Sam Strauss and Mary Turke: Building a Virtual Firm in the Cloud
            Strauss and Turke are partners in a virtual law practice that is as much a technology start-up as it is a law firm. Their cloud-based firm engages seasoned attorneys in several states on a project basis, either as contract attorneys hired to handle a specific case or as collaborators in class actions. Turke is physically located in Madison and Strauss is in Seattle.


          • William Caraher: Adopting ROSS Artificial Intelligence

    Caraher, chief information officer at von Briesen & Roper s.c., early on recognized artificial intelligence as a game-changing technology. Caraher was first in line to beta test the ROSS Intelligence tool as a research platform for bankruptcy law, delivering better results faster, which leads to better client service.


          • Rebecca Scheller: Inspiring Diversity in the Legal Profession

    Scheller, UW Law School’s assistant dean for admissions and financial aid, and her team set about to inspire change, giving college undergraduates from groups that are historically underrepresented in the legal profession a taste of the law school experience by creating the James E. Jones Jr. Pre-Law Scholars Program.

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