Sign In
  • WisBar News
    September 21, 2017

    A ‘Higher Calling:’ State Bar Welcomes 56 New Members

    They come from as far away as China, Brazil, and Dallas and Denver. They are 56 new Wisconsin lawyers, more than prepared to start the next phase of their careers.
    The oath

    Justice Shirley Abrahamson administers the Attorney's Oath during one of two ceremonies.

    Sept. 21, 2017 – Yu Zhuang has traveled a long way to become a Wisconsin lawyer.

    Originally from China, she worked for more than 10 years as a computer engineer in the U.S. It was after her daughter was born that she began a new path for herself - in law.

    She graduated from Vermont Law School in 2014 and relocated with her husband to Wisconsin. Zhuang has now passed two separate bar exams: Wisconsin’s and the exam for New York and New Jersey. “This is my third swearing-in,” she said.

    Yu Zhuang

    Yu Zhuang signs the Supreme Court Roll book, the last step in becoming a Wisconsin lawyer. For more photos, visit the photo album on Facebook.

    On Sept. 19, 56 new Wisconsin lawyers took the oath to become members of the State Bar. They include 47 who passed the bar exam – about 69 percent of those who took it in July passed, said Jacquelynn Rothstein, director of the Board of Bar Examiners. They are also lawyers who have practiced more than five years in states other than Wisconsin, and graduates of the U.W. and Marquette University law schools.

    Casey Jaspen-Tappy

    Casey Jaspen-Tappy of Iron Mountain, Michigan, watches the ceremony with her 9-month-old son, Augustine. For more photos, visit the photo album on Facebook.

    They were welcomed to the State Bar of Wisconsin by Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Pat Roggensack and given advice by Justice Michael Gableman, who urged them to become involved in their communities. “You will meet people who will enrich your lives,” he said.

    Justice Gableman also told them to find ways to innovate – to start new programs or improve existing ones. “If you can do that, you will make yourself invaluable,” he said.

    A ‘Higher Calling’

    “Give your time to those who need it,” said State Bar President Paul Swanson, speaking to the admittees at the ceremony. “You have a higher calling.”

    The group includes Holly Ryan and Ashley Ryan of Middleton, sisters and best friends. They are graduates of St. Thomas Law School in Minneapolis, and both began and ended law school together. “We got to be around each other during finals when no one else wanted to be around us,” Ashley said. “It was helpful to be able to study together.”

    Holly and Ashley Ryan

    Sisters Holly and Ashley Ryan stand and smile toward the audience after taking the Attorney's Oath. For more photos, visit the photo album on Facebook.

    Holly is doing criminal defense, with Ashley headed into business and corporate law. Together, they are the first lawyers in their family. Holly, the younger sister, decided to become a lawyer before Ashley did. “I got her to take some legal classes with me, and she loved them too,” Holly said.

    Talita Bornholdt, originally from Brazil, came to Wisconsin with her husband when he was transferred to Janesville for his work. An attorney in Brazil, she looked for ways to become an attorney in Wisconsin and discovered the LLM program at UW-Madison. “It is the best thing that I’ve done since I’ve arrived here,” Bornholdt said.

    The bar exam is tough, she said – considering that only 14 percent of those born outside the U.S. passed the exam last year. While she has a strong background in English, learning U.S. legal terms was a challenge.

    Talita Bornholdt

    Talita Bornholdt points to her name on the list of new Wisconsin Lawyers at a reception following the ceremony. For more photos, visit the photo album on Facebook.

    She is looking for a position in business or immigration law. “I’m very excited to see what the future has for me,” she said.

    Sylvan Jaspen wanted to be a lawyer “for as long as we can remember,” says her sister, Casey Jaspen-Tappy. From Iron Mountain, Michigan, Jaspen attended Cardozo School of Law in New York City and will practice in Milwaukee as a public defender. Their father is also an attorney – and growing up, conversations at home did not shy away from political topics. “That’s what we’ve been raised to know,” Casey said.

    Maura Cook

    Maura Cook, left, with her mother Beth Cook, points to the list of names of new Wisconsin lawyers. For more photos, visit the photo album on Facebook.

    Maura Cook will practice in trusts and estates with Husch Blackwell in Milwaukee and is a graduate of the University of Iowa law school. She chose the career of law – following in the footsteps of her father, Jeff Cook, an attorney in Davenport, Iowa. A statement from her father helped her decide.

    “He said, as an attorney, you spend your whole life solving other people’s problems,” Maura said, “which I think is a great way to spend your career.”

    Welcome to these New Wisconsin Lawyers

    Griselda Aldrete, Milwaukee

    Shawn James Anderson, Minneapolis

    Joshua Michael Andreasen, Reedsburg

    Mark David Austin, Eau Claire

    Andrew John Bloomberg, Madison

    Talita Bornholdt, Janesville

    Abby Scott Busler, Green Bay

    Alexander Stephen Colwell, Mt. Vernon, Illinois

    Maura E. Cook, Milwaukee

    Brett Lee Copeland, Kenosha

    Julie A. Dadoun, Blue River

    Jakob E. Feltham, Madison

    Jon Finch, Milwaukee

    Taylor Fritsch, Madison

    Sean Garrigan, Madison

    Stevin Sunny George, Dallas

    Rikaela Greane, Madison

    Eric Hagen, Shorewood

    Nathan J. Heim, Green Bay

    Hayley Hetherington, Fitchburg

    William Hotchkiss, Beloit

    Ami Hutchinson, Madison

    Sylvan Jaspen, Milwaukee

    Timothy M. Joyce, Minneapolis

    Matthew Kaplan, Milwaukee

    Ezra Kramer, Denver

    Paloma Kennedy, Fitchburg

    Shannon Lins, Madison


    Kristin McGaver, Milwaukee

    Lynne McMullen, River Falls

    Austin J. Milks, Janesville

    Dallas Montano, Menomonee Falls

    Alexandria Neal, Milwaukee

    Benjamin J. Nicolet, Minneapolis

    Miranda M. Nolan, Wausau

    Fred Richardson III, Chicago

    Deborah M. Richter, Park Falls

    Melissa A. Ridgway, West Allis

    Ryan Riebe, De Pere

    Sarah E. Rieger, Milwaukee

    Amanda Christine Risch, Brookfield

    Andrew John Rosenberg, Racine

    Adam Roundy, Green Bay

    Mark T. Rudy, Milwaukee

    Ashley A. Ryan, Madison

    Holly M. Ryan, Madison

    Madeline Schlederer, Milwaukee

    Aaron J. Sidman, De Pere

    Benjamin E. Streckert, Wausau

    Colleen A. Taylor, Madison

    Susan Czarnecki VenRooy, Altoona

    Edward D. Wallace, Milwaukee

    Aaron D. Wegner, Madison

    Justine Belytschko Wegner, Madison

    Benjamin Harold Wright, Milwaukee

    Yu Zhuang, Madison




Join the conversation! Log in to leave a comment.

News & Pubs Search

Format: MM/DD/YYYY