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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    August 01, 2012

    President's Message: Your Participation - A Key

    Participate in your local bar to help shape our profession and improve State Bar service to members through direct, in-depth communication.

    Kevin G. Klein

    Wisconsin LawyerWisconsin Lawyer
    Vol. 85, No. 8, August 2012


    Kevin G. KleinEach day can, and should, be looked at as a day for improvement. What was accomplished today that was not accomplished yesterday? Did you secure a new job? Complete a large project? Revamp your office? Dispose of a major case? Donate some legal services? Or perhaps just clear off that last corner of your desk? Think of what you did; what you would like to accomplish tomorrow; how you can do things better.

    Then think of what can help you move forward on these tasks. What would allow you to work more efficiently, or finish the day earlier? There are really two ways of trying to address these improvements, and the State Bar is doing both.

    First, the Bar conducts member surveys to obtain information for analysis. Please take the opportunity to respond. The Bar has thought through the survey inquiries, and will use analyzed results to address future benefits and services.

    But as we all know, survey questions cannot address everything, surveys cannot reach everyone, and survey results are often beneficial "only in the eyes of the beholder." These are not reasons to ignore survey requests. However, if 60 percent of those responding think the Bar is doing a good job on subject A; is that good or poor, and, what should be done to raise that number? If subject B is identified as one of 20 member concerns; how does that compare in importance to the other 19 concerns, and is the Bar in a position to actually address the concern in an efficient and useful way?

    So, second, we are moving forward with the process of gaining input from you, the members. How? Through member-to-member contact, and through the local bar structure that is right there in your backyard. This process was actually begun years ago by me and Past President Jim Boll. We sensed the need for input from members to balance the Bar’s "more internal" analysis. I understand you are more likely to participate in member-to-member contact, and the process gives you the opportunity to be more detailed and explanatory than any survey ever could.

    As State Bar president, I certainly understand the concept of leadership. But bar leadership occurs at every level and in every facet of bar operations. Leadership can be a topic all its own, but I include a brief discussion here because you can lead at your local bar level and indirectly as your local bar officers work with the State Bar. The message is that we are all members and the State Bar exists to serve all of us. Communicate at your local level, and see what you can do to improve and shape our profession.

    I too will be doing my part as your president. I will be scheduling local bar visits to promote member-to-member contact, and I will be working with the State Bar to see that directors and staff also work with your local bars to promote your ideas, address your concerns, and foster your involvement. Member-to-member contact can also be accomplished by the Insurance and Member Benefits Committee scheduling a member visit to your local bar.

    I am promoting the importance of each of you as members, and the importance of your local bar. Start there: participate. This will assist you personally in your practice. It will allow your local bar to be that information/communication conduit I have been speaking about. Then, ramp it up. Encourage your local bar to take advantage of the opportunities I have outlined. Give the State Bar real and useful information to work with. Make improvement happen. Have a great summer!

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