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  • WisBar News
    May 08, 2018

    Sneak Peek: Challenging the Status Quo, Contesting Property Taxes, and More

    Tired of hearing, "But we've always done it this way!" Learn how to challenge the status quo and put that bromide to rest in the May Wisconsin Lawyer. Disagree with your property tax assessment? Here's how to contest it.

    May 2018 Wisconsin Lawyer magazineMay 8, 2018 – “But we’ve always done it this way!” could be the slogan of many law firms. Learn how to tackle such status-quo thinking to become more efficient and prepare for the future of law. Want to contest your property tax assessment. Here’s how to do that, too.

    Get Rid of Status Quo Thinking … You Can Do It!

    How can law firms drive greater operational efficiency and prepare for the future of law? One thing is certain, the desire to challenge the status quo must start at the top. In “12 Ways to Challenge the Status Quo,” Chris Cartrett gives you a map to help change your thinking. He describes the perils of sticking with the status quo and explains why not changing is such an attractive option. He then gives 12 examples of status quo thinking in law firms and suggests how to counter these comfortable but ultimately risky patterns.

    How do you cultivate innovation in a traditionally risk-adverse legal profession? Where do you begin? Start by asking, “Why?” Last year’s Wisconsin Legal Innovators did just that. Read their stories in a sidebar that also calls for nominations for the 2018 Wisconsin Legal Innovators.

    Want to Dispute a Property Tax Assessment?

    Local boards of review are perhaps unfamiliar to many Wisconsin residents, but they play a vital role in ensuring that property taxes are assessed fairly and equitably, providing real estate owners with a process to contest a property tax assessment. In “Boards of Review: How to Contest Property Taxes,” Michelle Drea describes the duties of boards of review and the statutory process for challenging property assessments. She also discusses a recent Wisconsin Supreme Court opinion that found unconstitutional part of the assessment process.

    Raising the Stakes of a Noncitizen’s Criminal Conviction

    Because a noncitizen’s plea of guilty or no contest to certain offenses may result in deportation, the exclusion from admission to the United States, or the denial of naturalization, circuit courts must give an immigration warning to every defendant at the plea hearing. In “The Immigration Consequence of a Plea,” Davorin Odrcic explains to succeed in withdrawing a plea, noncitizen defendants not given the correct warning must prove they were unaware of the immigration-related consequences of conviction. This can be tricky, but Odrcic provides strategies for helping such defendants.

    Other Columns

    • 10 Questions: In “Changing Cultures and Conversations,” Puerto Rico native Jair Alvarez champions diversity in the legal profession with the goal to find solutions to societal issues, particularly in the justice system.

    • Technology: In “Social Media: Who’s Got Your Data?,” Aviva Kaiser and Christopher Shattuck say data available on Facebook and Google make clear that lawyers must take great care to safeguard client information.

    • Solutions: In “4 Types of Challenging Clients,” Australian lawyer Chris Hargreaves says lawyers worldwide experience challenging clients. Read how he addresses them.

    • Managing Risk: In “What Is Malpractice ‘Tail’ Coverage?,” Tom Watson explains tail coverage is an endorsement on the policy already in place; there is no such thing as a “tail policy.” He covers this and other basics of malpractice insurance.

    • Reflections: In “Document Review ‘Team’? I’m It,” Deanna Koll, in her usual droll fashion, says if you want to practice law in an underserved location, be prepared to be a one-person team and problem-solver.

    • Ethics: Distinguishing between clients and former clients is vital to avoid conflicts of interest and confidentiality. But in “When Is a Client a ‘Former Client’?,” Dean Dietrich writes there is no magic formula.

    • Final Thought: In “Vel Phillips: A Legacy Writ Large,” Steven DeVougas remembers Vel Phillips as inspiring lawyers to boldly lead and serve, to do more and become more.

    Check out the May Wisconsin Lawyer.

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