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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    June 01, 2003

    Legal News and Trends

    Wisconsin Lawyer
    Vol. 76, No. 6, June 2003

    Legal   News & Trends

    Wisconsin Law Foundation funds supreme court video

    Visitors to the Capitol can view "Enduring Values in Changing Times," a 12-minute video shown in the supreme court hearing room describing the history of the law in Wisconsin and the key role the supreme court has played in the state's history.

    All seven current justices appear on the video, which addresses judicial independence, describes the processes of the supreme court and court of appeals, and explains the importance of oral arguments and the process of drafting judicial opinions.

    "The supreme court hearing room has an important story to share about our legal history and the heritage of our society," said Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson. "Its murals describe the sources of Wisconsin law while the marble busts and the portraits of past chief justices help connect us to people that have shaped this court - and the law of the state - over the last 150 years. The video will help us give voice to our rich legal history and to educate the public about the court's role as leader of the third branch of government."

    The video, which promotes judicial education and celebrates the 150th anniversary of the supreme court, is made possible by a grant from the Wisconsin Law Foundation. The foundation, a nonprofit corporation, has supported such projects as the High School Mock Trial Tournament and the Youth for Justice Program. For more information about the foundation, contact John Daugherty at the State Bar at (800) 444-9404, ext. 6038, or

    Wisconsin bar exam rescoring did not change pass rates

    The Wisconsin Board of Bar Examiners (BBE) reports that, while 35 Wisconsin bar examinees were affected by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) announcement of a "clerical error" that necessitated recalculation of all 20,204 law students who took the bar exam nationally last February, no pass/fail RATES changed in Wisconsin.

    The error resulted from a "keying error" during the scoring process done in Iowa under the NCBE's auspices that did not credit a correct answer on a multiple-choice question.

    Record-breaking bankruptcy filings continue

    The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts reported that the number of bankruptcies rose 7.1 percent in the 12-month period ending March 31, 2003, breaking records for business and personal filings.

    Nationally, business bankruptcies dropped 5.8 percent from the previous 12-month period, with 37,548 companies filing. Personal bankruptcies totaled 1.57 million, up 7.4 percent from 1.46 million in the same 12-month period.

    During the same 12-month period in Wisconsin, business bankruptcies dropped slightly in the eastern district from 235 to 217 and rose from 518 to 639 in the western district. Personal bankruptcies increased statewide from 14,653 to 17,514 in the eastern district and 7,229 to 8,129 in the western district.

    Filings per authorized judgeship have risen from 2,965 to 4,973 in the 12-month period ending March 31, 2003. No new bankruptcy judgeships have been created since 1992. A pending bankruptcy reform bill, S. 1061, would authorize 36 new judge-ships in 22 judicial districts. View the entire bill at

    Nominations sought for 2003 Marygold Melli Achievement Award

    When you think of Wisconsin women who have significantly advanced the interests of women, the legal profession, justice, and society as a whole, does anyone immediately come to mind? The Legal Association for Women invites you to nominate that individual for the 2003 Marygold Melli Achievement Award.

    Presented annually since 1994, the award honors Wisconsin women who have made significant contributions to women in the law by advancing the interests of women in the legal profession, promoting improvements in the administration of justice, promoting equality and social justice for all people, or improving relations between the legal profession and the public.

    The award honors Marygold Melli, professor emerita at the U.W. Law School, who managed a distinguished career at the school while writing prolifically, performing extensive community and professional service, and raising four children.

    Previous award recipients are: Ruth B. Doyle, Atty. Mary Lou Munts, Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, Hon. Barbara Crabb, Atty. Diane Greenley, Prof. June Weisberger, Prof. Louise Trubek, Atty. Susan Steingass, Atty. Pamela Barker, and Atty. Eunice Gibson.

    For a nomination form, contact Nancy Wettersten at (608) 252-9388 or The deadline for nominations is Aug. 15.

    Milwaukee Bar memorial service honors founder

    Milwaukee Bar Association Memorial

    Milwaukee Bar Association Memorial Service presenters (from left): Daniel D. Blinka, MBA president-elect; Dean Joseph Kearney, Marquette University Law School; Mary Richards, Association of Women Lawyers president; C. James Riester, MBA Memorials Committee member; and Thomas L. Shriner, MBA Memorials

    When the Milwaukee Bar Association (MBA) held its 39th annual memorial service this May, event founder Lester J. Dencker was missing. For 38 years Dencker organized the tribute to deceased Milwaukee Bar members. Last year he announced he would step down as the MBA Memorials presenter, a position he held since 1964. Dencker passed away in October at the age of 88.

    According to long-time friend Atty. James Riester, "Lestersincerely believed that members who died during the past year should be publicly remembered through a memorial service. Since the annual service began, more than 1,500 Milwaukee Metro area members have been remembered."

    More than 90 attorneys and judges attended this year's ceremony at the Milwaukee County Courthouse to remember 55 colleagues who passed away since May 2002. "To our knowledge, the MBA is the only major bar association to annually present a memorial service," says Riester.

    Visit to read more about this event and its founder.

    Eastern District Bar holds annual meeting in Milwaukee

    All State Bar members are invited to attend the Eastern District of Wisconsin Bar Association's (EDWBA) first annual luncheon awards and CLE program on June 18 in Milwaukee. (See In The News)

    "The Eastern District of Wisconsin: The E-District" CLE program, from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., will be in the Federal Building. Topics include electronic litigation, electronic discovery, and E-Ethics.

    Luncheon speaker U.S. District Judge J.P. Stadtmueller will present "3 Months, 144 Witnesses & 911 Exhibits: What You Always Wanted to Know About an E-Trial," at noon at the Pfister Hotel.

    The CLE program and luncheon is $45 for EDWBA members; $85 for nonmembers. Lunch only is $40. Annual EDWBA membership dues are $40. The program has been submitted for 3.0 CLE credits.

    For more information, visit or contact Tia Torhorst at (414) 274-6760 or

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