Jan. 16, 2019 – Personal stories, phone calls, and emails can make the difference when seeking reform in the justice system, says Devin Martin, the new State Bar of Wisconsin grassroots outreach coordinator.
The stories are those that accompany the issue of the low hourly rate paid to private bar attorneys who take public defender cases – last changed 23 years ago. “We know there are likely clients sitting in jail, waiting in limbo for weeks without an attorney,” said Martin. “And that there are counties that must tap into their public funds because attorneys can’t afford to work at the public defender rate.”
That’s an important aspect of his job: to gather those stories that demonstrate the need for reform in the criminal justice system.
His position is a new one at the State Bar, to further legislative and policy agendas set by the State Bar Board of Governors and the leadership of the practice sections and divisions.
Meet Devin Martin, the State Bar of Wisconsin's new grassroots outreach coordinator. Reach him at email@example.com or at (608) 250-6145.
Martin has spent the better part of the past decade as a grassroots advocacy coordinator in Louisiana. He’s learned how to build political power and run campaigns for change. Martin is working in particular on several issues for criminal justice reform, including raising the $40 private bar rate, reform in the bail bond system, expungement reform, and returning 17-year-olds to the juvenile justice system, as well as other Board of Governors’ policy positions.
Martin’s task is also to establish and enhance relationships among State Bar members and their elected officials, increasing members’ knowledge of the legislative process, lobbying, and communication of strategic policy. The goal is to create an effective outreach program that advances the mission of the State Bar and its policy priorities.
Amplifying the Legal Community’s Voice
In order to make reform happen, it’s going to take the active involvement of our members to engage with lawmakers, Martin said. “We have two amazing lobbyists at the State Bar, but they are just two people. We have thousands of members.”
Shannon Green is communications writer for the State Bar of Wisconsin, Madison. She can be reached by email or by phone at (608) 250-6135.
Effecting change, he says, requires more than simply voting on an issue and setting an agenda. “To get it done, we need our members to be actively engaged. They are a critical part of the process. It is my task to amplify their voices so they can be heard more easily,” Martin said.
“We need to show lawmakers how these issues impact them and the constituents in their communities. It’s about showing the real impact these issues have on all of us,” he said.
His efforts include making it easier for members to tell their stories, make phone calls, and write letters to the editor in newspapers – to be heard by lawmakers and the general public.
“When we all work together, we can effect positive change,” he said.
To reach Devin, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (608) 250-6145.
Advocating for Justice in Wisconsin: The State Bar’s 2019 Grassroots Advocacy Priorities
Criminal justice reform is a hot-topic, bi-partisan national issue, and the Wisconsin legislature is no exception.
Join us for a kickoff meeting, discussion, and meet and greet discussing the State Bar’s legislative agenda. Lawmakers and the public need to hear from you on why these issues are a priority:
- increasing the pay rate for private bar attorneys appointed to public defender cases;
- reforming expungement laws;
- ensuring just and equitable bail and pre-trial reform; and
- returning 17-year-olds to juvenile justice court.
- Rep. Evan Goyke (D – Milwaukee)
- Sen. Van Wanggaard (R – Racine/Kenosha)
- Rep. David Crowley (D – Milwaukee)
- State Bar of Wisconsin staff
5:45-7:45 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019
Program begins at 6 p.m.
Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown LLP
330 East Kilbourn Ave.
Please RSVP to Devin Martin at email@example.com or call (608) 712-5509.
Stay Informed on State Bar Policy Positions
To stay informed about the State Bar membership policy positions, visit these pages on WisBar.org:
Have a Say in State Bar Policy Positions
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