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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    May 01, 2006

    President's Message

    As the school and fiscal year wind down, it's time to take stock of our accomplishments, and then take a deep breath before building up for the next year by spending time with our most important "clients" - our families.

    Wisconsin LawyerWisconsin Lawyer
    Vol. 79, No. 5, May 2006

    Winding Down, Building Up

    As the school and fiscal year wind down, it's time to take stock of our accomplishments, and then take a deep breath before building up for the next year by spending time with our most important "clients" - our families.

    D. Michael Guerin

    by D. Michael Guerin

    "The presidency is temporary - but the family is permanent." - Yvonne de Gaulle, wife of French President Charles de Gaulle

    As we all prepare for longer days, warmer temperatures, and greener grass, we are in the winding down phase - winding down our "to do" lists, winding down the school year, and winding down our responsibilities to the Bar, including my year as your president. In a few short months, I will refocus my attention on my law practice, my golf game, and my family - not necessarily in that order.

    Throughout this year, I have attempted to use this column to emphasize what's good about being a lawyer. More than once I have spoken of volunteerism, because I truly believe one of the best things about being attorneys is our ability to volunteer, to help support each other in our practices, and to provide a good living for our families.

    Our organization is based on the generous volunteer time given by our members. For those who have given unselfishly to the Bar, I thank you.

    As attorney Rex Ewald reminded me, there are also a number of volunteer opportunities for nonlawyers that have a great impact on our profession. These nonlawyer volunteers are the citizens who serve on entities such as the Board of Bar Examiners and the Office of Lawyer Regulation, and the public members who serve on our own State Bar Board of Governors and on various Bar committees. The Wisconsin Supreme Court fills many of these positions, and recently Chief Justice Abrahamson asked for people to step forward and volunteer for these important positions. As leaders within your community, try to identify individuals who have an interest in strengthening our profession and encourage them to step forward. For more information, contact Cornelia Clark, Clerk of the Supreme Court, at, or visit the supreme court Web site at

    Winding Down Our "To Do" List

    The leadership of the State Bar recognized some years ago that the Bar needed to provide our members with some specialized services. You may have heard those services referred to as the "three-legged stool" of service programs. The first two "legs" - the Ethics Hotline and the Wisconsin Lawyers Assistance Program (WisLAP) - have been around for some time. Well, the two-legged stool is no longer teetering; we are pleased to have added to the State Bar staff a law office management advisor to build on the great work already done for our Law Office Management Assistance Program (LOMAP).

    Since January, new advisor Nerino Petro has been working with our members to provide information and support related to diverse areas of law office management, including technology, business planning, personnel, facilities and operations management, and more. Most of the questions that Petro has received to date have focused on law office technology and trust accounting; however, he has fielded inquiries about other areas, including "of counsel" agreements.

    Members also are using the LOMAP hotline and the practice management electronic list, Practice 411. The elist enables members to share information, ask questions, and connect with a panel of experts when tackling the business and technology aspects of their practices. This service is open to any State Bar member - no section or committee membership is required for LOMAP services. Visit the Law Practice Management area on WisBar,, regularly for links to new LOMAP material and to subscribe to Practice411,

    Looking Forward

    On May 17, Gov. Jim Doyle will sign a public proclamation announcing "Life Planning Week," May 22-26, during which time the State Bar will strive to educate the public about the importance of preparing for future health needs and to encourage Wisconsin residents to take the steps necessary to protect themselves and their loved ones. In addition, I am pleased to announce that A Gift to Your Family: Planning Ahead for Future Health Needs - one of our best public resources for end of life decisions - also is available in Spanish. As attorneys who are serving a more diverse clientele and facing language barriers firsthand, it is important to recognize that our clients, regardless of their national origin, are entitled to dignity and to assistance in their native language.

    As June approaches, many families are anticipating proms, graduations, and the end of the school year. Rather than waiting for the last second before school starts again in the fall, take the time now to schedule family vacations and just plain old family "Brady Bunch" time. We are finished with tax season, and summer events are filling our calendars, but don't forget to schedule in your most important personal "clients" - your family.

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