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  • Press Release
    October 31, 2017

    That's a Fine Idea! State Bar Reveals 2017 Top Legal Innovators

    NEWS RELEASE                                                                                                                                   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                              NOV. 1, 2017           

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

    That’s a Fine Idea! State Bar Reveals 2017 Top Legal Innovators


    Madison, WI For the fourth 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 ten attorneys as legal innovators, including one lifetime-award winner.

          • William (Byll) Hess: Lifetime Innovator Award Winner for Adopting Law Office Technology Hess of Mosinee has been at the forefront of developing software and hardware that assists lawyers in helping run their practices, including providing shared, low-cost law research to small and solo firms that couldn’t afford it. He helped create the State Bar’s program that provides law office management assistance, now known as Practice411.
          • Cristina Bordé, Maria de Arteaga, and Yvonne Geerts: Helping Wrongfully Convicted Latinos Bordé, Geerts, and de Arteaga noticed the exoneration rate for Latino inmates was disproportionately low compared to that for African American and non-Latino white inmates. Why was that? What could be done? Those questions spurred creation of the Wisconsin Latino Exoneration Project, an initiative of the Wisconsin Innocence Project at the U.W. Law School.
          • Judges Valarie Hill, Phil Chavez, and Derek Mosley: Improving Municipal Court Accessibility  Milwaukee Municipal Court judges Mosley, Hill, and Chavez devised a plan to help reduce the number of people who skipped their court dates by holding walk-in Warrant Withdrawal Wednesdays at the courthouse and in the community. People were able to take care of municipal warrants, driver’s license suspensions or vehicle registration suspensions – with no fear of being arrested or forced to pay outstanding fines on the spot.
          • Brian Potts: Inventing LegalBoard
            Madison Attorney Brian Potts invented LegalBoard, which has keys for inserting symbols, footnotes, comments, legal phrases, and more with just a quick keystroke, saving time and frustration when typing legal briefs. He rolled out LegalBoard at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show early this year and says he says he’s now “sold thousands” to lawyers nationwide.
          • Seth Dizard and Nick DeSiato: Resolving Nuisance Properties 

    Private lawyer Seth Dizard and municipal lawyer Nick DeSiato struck on the idea of using receiverships to deal with foreclosed or nuisance properties in Milwaukee. Their public-private partnership has helped to improve neighborhoods by using the law to help to transfer ownership of dilapidated properties to people who keep them occupied and in good repair.

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