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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    February 01, 2013

    President's Message: All for You!

    A significant benefit of State Bar involvement is meeting, communicating with, and learning from attorneys.

    Kevin G. Klein

    I have earlier addressed the importance of communication associated with the State Bar. I noted increased communications among governors, and among division, section, and committee members. Though you might assume these communications are common, the level or extent can fluctuate greatly. If you think about it, the Board of Governors regularly meets five times per year; however, this does not tell us what contacts may exist in each interim. The fact that governors “represent” groups or districts does not tell us what contact the governors may have with members, local bar leaders, or their own local bar associations.

    There are three points to be made here. First, take the opportunity to communicate with your governor. Do not assume your governor has heard all there is to know, from someone else. Only through this contact will you be represented. Otherwise, your governor may simply be promoting personal opinions or ideas, which you may not agree with.

    Kevin G. KleinKevin G. Klein, U.W. 1981, maintains a solo practice in Phillips.

    Second, what this discussion ultimately boils down to is the subject of leadership. Who do you look to as a Bar leader? Is it the president of your local bar; or the person you know has had Bar involvement for many years; or the person that is active with law related issues at your local level? As State Bar president, I have the advantage of all of this experience, but also the advantage of substantial input from many sources on almost a daily basis. Leaders welcome input, and leaders welcome the development of future leaders.

    Which brings us to our third point. One of the most significant benefits of State Bar involvement is the meeting of fellow attorneys and communications with them outside of Bar involvement. Sure, we all have involvement at a local level with other attorneys, and judges, and local leaders. But what an advantage to be able to call someone you know to assist you with your practice, to help you excel at what you do. Perhaps you need input regarding an agency, or for a distant city, or regarding a court in a rural community. Perhaps you need an expert witness in a particular type of case. Your local attorneys may want to implement a protocol that has been tried elsewhere. You may have a simple question that you just have not been able to answer. You may have a case to refer. The more creative you are, and the more you communicate, the greater the advantage.

    “What this discussion ultimately boils down to is the subject of leadership. Who do you look to as a Bar leader?”

    The State Bar certainly promotes communication through the availability of section participation, and through electronic lists. I am promoting State Bar efforts to increase leadership communications, and leadership development statewide. So as you read this, I hope you do not interpret the content as only for the current leaders at any level. In the bigger picture, what we do on a daily basis promotes the profession and serves the public. That work is helped significantly if you know more practitioners, and you gain more knowledge through communications. Consider becoming a Bar leader at whatever level, and gain that enrichment.

    Facing an unfamiliar issue? Turn to the Lawyer-to-Lawyer Directory, online at The directory includes nearly 450 lawyers willing to share their knowledge with other lawyers through brief phone conversations.

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