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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    March 01, 2013


    Got a nugget to share? "Briefly" is compiled by State Bar legal writer Joe Forward. Send your ideas for interesting facts, trends, tips, or other bits and bytes to Designer Ben Oehmen provides comic relief.

    From the Archives: It Begins with James Doty

    In 1820, James Doty joined the first white explorers of northern and western Wisconsin. The expedition changed Doty’s life.

    In 1823, his new fame helped him gain appointment as Wisconsin’s first judge. Doty created the state’s legal beginnings: he built a court system from nothing, fought to establish the law’s authority over frontiersmen who had little use for government, and created Wisconsin’s first court records. 

    Doty’s enduring sympathy for Indian rights, acquired during the expedition, cost him his judgeship in 1832. But Doty was far from idle after that. He became a Wisconsin territorial governor and congressman, made Madison the state capital, and authored the first dictionary of the Sioux language.

    Source: Jay Ranney, Madison lawyer and legal historian

    By the Numbers: 1,245,205

    The approximate number of active lawyers in the United States at the end of 2012. That’s about 1 lawyer for every 253 people, at a U.S. population of more than 315 million.

    Wisconsin is home to about 1.2% of the nation’s lawyers, with 15,364 active lawyers practicing in-state. That’s 1 lawyer for every 373 people, at a Wisconsin population of 5.73 million people.

    The state with the most lawyers? New York at 163,798. Fewest? North Dakota at 1,546.

    Source: ABA, National Lawyer Population by State

    beer bottle

    Quotable: “This is the sort of product that matters to consumers.”

    William J. Baer, head of the U.S. Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. The product? Beer.

    The Justice Department last month sued to block Anheuser Busch InBev’s $20.1 billion bid to buy Grupo Modelo, which makes Corona and holds a 7% share in the U.S. beer market.

    The Justice Department fears the deal would give the Budweiser-Bud Light maker too much power to raise beer prices. Reportedly, the takeover would give Anheuser-InBev 46% of the U.S. beer market. The complaint states that allowing Anheuser InBev’s acquisition could facilitate coordinated pricing between Anheuser InBev and the next largest brewer, MillerCoors.

    Uncle Wally says the best tasting beer is kept on the 2nd last step of the basement stairs. Any higher and it’s too warm, any lower and it hurts his back to pick it up. Cheers! 

    Graduation cap

    Good Ideas: Clearing the Bar (Exam, That Is)

    Wyoming recently became the 13th state to adopt a Uniform Bar Examination (UBE), which allows lawyers to transfer bar exam scores to other states that administer the UBE.

    Other states adopting the UBE are Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Utah, and Washington.

    Jacquelynn Rothstein, director of the Wisconsin Board of Bar Examiners, says the BBE may explore whether to adopt a Wisconsin UBE in the future.

    Law students are calling it the “U-BER.”  

    Out There: Domestic Drones: A New Privacy Issue?

    The U.S. foreign policy on drones is the source of much news. But use of drones domestically may set up future court challenges based on privacy concerns.

    DroneDrones generally are used to spy on terrorists in other countries USA Today reported in January that 348 drones were approved to fly in the United States. Some states have introduced bills regulating the federal government’s use of drones in their states’ air space, or to at least require a warrant before gathering evidence. As of late February, no bills were introduced in Wisconsin.

    A February Time magazine article said the FAA Modernization and Reform Act orders the FAA to establish drone testing ranges and “fast-track requests for permission to use drones and figure out a scheme for their integration into U.S. airspace by 2015.”

    “Until actual legislation is passed, it won’t be completely clear what information the government can and cannot gather using drones,” says Time writer Lev Grossman.

    Meanwhile, a group called “No Drones Wisconsin” is working to submit a draft ordinance that would proclaim Madison a “No Drone Zone.”

    Tech Tip: Hackers: Simple Steps to Protect Your Computer

    Computers at the U.S. Sentencing Commission, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal were hacked in January.

    LockThese incidents beg the question: Is your law firm’s computer network fully protected from hackers?

    Here’s a tip from Nerino Petro, State Bar of Wisconsin practice management advisor: Make sure that your antivirus, malware, and firewall software is up to date. Run the ShieldsUp test from the Gibson Research Corp. website to identify potential breaches in your firewall and/or router. If you are running firewall software on your desktops, consider adding a gateway firewall device to your network (such as from or or upgrading your router to one that includes a hardware firewall such as a NETGEAR ProSafe.

    Unlike software firewalls that run on your desktop and don’t react until the bad guy is already inside your network, these additional firewall systems work to prevent anyone from getting into your network in the first place.

    Oh, and if your password is PASSWORD, consider changing that as well.

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