Wisconsin Lawyer: Letters:

State Bar of Wisconsin

Sign In
    Wisconsin LawyerWisconsin Lawyer

News & Pubs Search



    Donna JonesDavid Walther

    Share This:

    Wisconsin LawyerWisconsin Lawyer
    Vol. 79, No. 9, September 2006


    Letters to the editor: The Wisconsin Lawyer publishes as many letters in each issue as space permits. Please limit letters to 500 words; letters may be edited for length and clarity. Letters should address the issues, and not be a personal attack on others. Letters endorsing political candidates cannot be accepted. Please mail letters to "Letters to the Editor," Wisconsin Lawyer, P.O. Box 7158, Madison, WI 53707-7158, fax them to (608) 257-4343, or email them.

    Honoring James H. Schlender Sr.

    The State Bar of Wisconsin lost an outstanding member when James H. Schlender Sr. passed away in 2005. Schlender and I were U.W. Law School classmates and friends. He was the very first recipient of the Wisconsin Law Foundation Belle Case LaFollette Award. The Wisconsin Legislature passed Senate Joint Resolution 74 in his honor in 2005. He was a member of the Lynx clan of the Lac Courte Oreilles band of the Lake Superior Chippewa Indians and had been a tribal attorney. He served on the State Bar Indian Law Section board and on the law school's "Friends of L.E.O." Scholarship Fund Steering Committee.

    For 20 years Schlender also served as the chief executive officer of the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC). Some will recall the late 1980s Chippewa spearfishing controversy that involved significant federal Indian law litigation. The GLIFWC, which grew out of the litigation, is an agency "committed to the implementation of off-reservation treaty rights on behalf of 11 member Ojibwe tribes." As CEO, Schlender implemented spearing seasons, drafted tribal code, interpreted case law, negotiated with governmental agencies, and worked in Washington, D.C., on resource appropriation legislation.

    When I was working for the Wisconsin Supreme Court I realized that the spearfishing controversy was drawing national attention to Indian law, a subject that was unfamiliar to most Wisconsin attorneys. As a member of the Committee for Participation of Women in the Law, I recommended and cochaired a mid-year convention CLE program on Indian law. This successful program became the catalyst for creating the Indian Law Section. I also was on the Board of Governors and felt this section was necessary because Wisconsin has 11 federally recognized tribes.

    Schlender and I shared a mutual respect for our respective roles that grew out of the Chippewa spearfishing controversy. I last saw Jim at the 2005 Bench Bar Convention when I looked in on the Indian Law Section CLE program. Jim mentioned that it was too bad younger and newer attorneys did not know the history of the Indian Law Section. His comment stayed with me as I attended the Professional Ethics Committee and Nonresident Lawyers Division board CLE program. I went back and told Jim that I could share that history after their program break. He introduced me. In sharing the history, I emphasized that attendees could research federal court decisions, media coverage, and State Bar records.

    This year's Annual Convention was different without Jim but I know he would have greeted me with his warm smile and big hug. We would have liked that Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson was a presenter at the 2006 Indian Law Section CLE program. And, we would have recalled that the Chief Justice also was one of the many who attended that first CLE program on Indian law. Shakespeare said, "I am wealthy in my friends." And, so it is for me. James H. Schlender Sr. was a fine lawyer, administrator, and State Bar member who also was a gem of a friend.

    Donna M. Jones
    President-elect, Nonresident Lawyers Division
    Austell, Ga.

    Expand Diploma Privilege

    Steve Levine's idea of expanding the diploma privilege to any graduate of, presumably, an ABA-accredited law school is an idea whose time should come. (See Dianne Molvig, Open to Debate, 79 Wis. Law. 6 (July 2006).) The bar exam is nothing but a hoop to jump through for anyone able to successfully pursue a course at an accredited law school. An enormous amount of money is spent on bar review courses, which basically do nothing but train a person on how to take an exam. Far better to use those resources in practical, hands-on training for how to be a lawyer. A mentorship program, practice courses in law school, and perhaps seminars on the peculiarity of Wisconsin law for out-of-state graduates, would better assure the public of competent representation.

    David L. Walther
    Santa Fe, N.M.