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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    July 01, 2003

    Inside the Bar

    Panels commemorating the Bar's first 125 years are on exhibit through 2003 in the Bar Center rotunda.

    George Brown

    Wisconsin Lawyer
    Vol. 76, No. 7, July 2003

    Bar's History on Exhibit

    Panels commemorating the Bar's first 125 years are on exhibit through 2003 in the Bar Center rotunda.

    by George C. Brown,
    State Bar executive director

    George BrownYou will find the State Bar Center rotunda a little crowded. Until the end of December, 12 nine-foot-tall panels celebrating the State Bar's 125-year history will fill the main reception area with colorful images and explanations of important events and people from throughout the Bar's first century and a quarter.

    Each panel represents an important theme in the history and development of the organized bar in Wisconsin. As you enter the Bar Center from the parking lot and look to your left, you are greeted by a life-size photograph of Chief Justice Edward Ryan underscored with his seminal statement for the founding of a statewide association of lawyers in 1878, "The bar, as a body, can only have the influence which properly belongs to it, on professional subjects, through an organization by which it can speak with one voice." Lower on the introductory panel, is an enlarged copy of the signatures of the founding members at that first meeting on Jan. 9, 1878, names also famous in Wisconsin history, such as Orsamus Cole, A.A. Jackson, Samuel Hastings, Burr Jones, and Moses Strong, who served as president for the Bar's first 15 years.

    Additional panels highlight organized bar activities first enumerated by Chief Justice Ryan in his 1878 founding speech that continue to be important today: improving admission standards, enhancing competence, establishing high standards of conduct, and shaping the law through legislation. Other panels commemorate aspects of the practice and the organized bar that have developed since Ryan's initial speech, including improving the business of the practice of law, creating the mandatory bar, increasing the bar association's effectiveness, and serving the public.

    Attendees of this year's annual convention will recognize these panels, which were displayed at the convention center. As part of the yearlong celebration of the Bar's first 125 years, this museum-quality exhibit also displays the talents of State Bar staff. Communications director Joyce Hastings, Wisconsin Lawyer associate editor Karlé Lester, and senior graphic designer Tod Florey concepted, wrote, and designed the panels based upon their research and that of public affairs director Dan Rossmiller, marketing manager Scott Robillard, and designer Jean Anderson.

    On your left as you exit the Bar Center toward the main parking lot, you will notice the display's final panel. Titled "Facing Forward," the panel repeats Justice Ryan's founding statement above a statement by 2002-03 State Bar President Patricia Ballman about the organized Bar's importance today. The irony, of course, is that Justice Ryan, who twice opposed the admission of women to practice before the supreme court, now flanks the entrance to the building of the association he helped found along with the association's third woman president.

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