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  • WisBar News
    June 22, 2018

    AMC: Painter, O’Rourke, Rogers, Cutler, Wood, Fire Alarms, Fun

    Ricahrd Painter

    Former Chief White House Ethics Lawyer Richard Painter.

    Visit the State Bar’s Facebook page for more photos of this event.

    June 22, 2018 – The State Bar of Wisconsin’s 2018 Annual Meeting and Conference (AMC) in Lake Geneva was so hot fire alarms rang out yesterday as the rain came down outside, slightly delaying packed sessions. But the lawyers didn’t seem to mind.

    The delay was a small hiccup to an otherwise monster line-up of events and speakers, including former White House Ethics Counsel Richard Painter, political satirist P.J. O’Rourke, and Chief Judge Diane Wood of the Seventh Circuit Court Appeals.

    Big names like former Missouri Bar President Dana Tippin Cutler, author William Domnarski, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser, and a whole cast of other characters blew the roof off this year’s event.

    O’Rourke got straight to politics on day one. He talked about what’s driving the current American political system. “At the root of it is angry, populist, nationalist, sentiment. And we are not alone in having that go on. It’s not just America,” said O’Rourke in a post-talk interview. All post-talk interviews will be featured in InsideTrack and social media.

    O’Rourke, in his witty and literary way, may have irked some folks on both sides of the political aisle. That’s what he does. But he knows his stuff, and glimmering through the satire are diamonds of knowledge on history, politics, economics, and global affairs.

    “It was Adam Smith who said for human prosperity you need three things: peace, easy taxes, and a reasonable distribution of justice,” O’Rourke said.

    PJ O'Rourke

    Political reporter and satirist, P.J. O'Rourke.

    Visit the State Bar’s Facebook page for more photos of this event.

    “If you think about that, we don’t have peace in the world, we don’t have easy taxes, and we have certain problems with the rule of law, nothing to do with lawyers or the court system in America. It’s really our regulatory agencies.”

    Richard Painter, a law professor at the University of Minnesota Law School and a candidate for a Minnesota seat in Congress, closed with a riveting discussion squarely on the executive branch, conflicts of interest, and the emoluments clause.

    “If you own stock in Goldman Sachs, you cannot go to the Treasury Department and make decisions that affect the investment banking industry,” he said.

    A federal statute, 18 U.S.C § 208, makes such conflicts a crime. It doesn’t apply to the President and the Vice President, but previous office holders have generally followed it because, as Painter said, “it doesn’t make sense if the boss is not following the rules.”

    Good Day Sunshine

    It rained for a good portion of the two-day AMC, but the attendees, vendors, and speakers swirled about without much concern. It was all happening inside. Yes, there were fun, games, and networking, but there was also serious learning going on.

    implicit bias panel

    Courageous Collaboration with Dana Tippin Cutler. From left: Former Missouri Bar President  Dana Tippin Cutler, Milwaukee Circuit Court Judge Carl Ashley, attorney Margaret Hickey, and attorney Eric Andrews.

    Visit the State Bar’s Facebook page for more photos of this event.

    Former State Bar President Dana Tippin Cutler got real in an honest conversation about diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, providing advice and guidance on how to have hard conversations on implicit bias and how to identify micro-aggression.

    It’s called Courageous Collaboration. “It’s all hinged on honest, authentic conversation, and gracious space, a place where different viewpoints will be welcome, even the unpopular ones, so we can work through them toward a meaningful solution,” she said.

    William Domnarski and Diane Wood

    William Domnarski and Seventh Circuit Appeals Court Chief Judge Diane Wood.

    Visit the State Bar’s Facebook page for more photos of this event.

    Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Diane Wood also dropped some knowledge for attorneys to use in their practices, and much more. William Domnarski, who writes about the federal judiciary, elicited great information in a sit-down discussion with Chief Judge Wood, including information on the practice of oral argument.

    “I find oral argument very useful, even if it doesn’t change my bottom line,” Chief Judge Wood said. “It will sharpen my understanding of the facts of the case. It will make me better understand each side’s responses.”

    Later on day one, a panel of current and former politicians joined a discussion on the importance of getting more lawyers into elected positions in state and local government.

    Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said the law degree is an asset. “It gives you a confidence and a competence to navigate the system,” he said.

    Former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser also took part, as did Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) and Rep. Cody Horlacher (R-Mukwonago), providing stories and advice from their own experiences in politics.

    Kathryn Foster

    Judge Kathryn Foster at the Member Recognition Celebration.

    Visit the State Bar’s Facebook page for more photos of this event.

    Don’t forget about the “meeting” part of the Annual Meeting and Conference. The State Bar’s Board of Governors took a major step forward on mass and disparate incarceration, adopting policy positions that may help drive change and reform.

    Outgoing State Bar President Paul Swanson also passed the gavel to incoming President Christopher Rogers, who outlined his plans for the coming year, and a host of pro bono and other lawyers were recognized at the Member Recognition Ceremony.

    dancing couple at AMC

    A couple dances to the music at the All-Conference Party.

    Visit the State Bar’s Facebook page for more photos of this event.

    This is just a snippet of the events that took place at this year’s AMC, which will take place in Green Bay next year. If you attended, don’t forget that selected CLE sessions will be made available via webcast for a limited time, as part of the registration cost.

    Check the State Bar Marketplace for session dates and times. Check out the State Bar Facebook page for photos of all the events, including the all-conference party.

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