The publication of this column in the Wisconsin Lawyer will find us in the last few weeks of 2014. It will also find me beginning the second half of my term as your State Bar president. A few reflections on the past and wishes for the future seem to be apropos.
com rrgagan cdgelaw Robert R. Gagan, Marquette 2000, is a partner at Calewarts, Duffy, Gagan & Erdman, Green Bay, where he practices primarily in civil litigation and municipal law.
The first six months of my term have been both humbling and gratifying. I continue to be humbled by the tremendous amount of effort expended by our members in their volunteer efforts on behalf of all of us. Be it Mock Trial, WisLAP, pro bono legal services, or any of the other volunteer efforts that are quietly undertaken with little or no fanfare, their volunteer efforts reflect positively upon all of us. My recognized efforts as your State Bar president pale in comparison.
Simultaneously serving as State Bar president and maintaining a law practice would be impossible without all of the staff at the State Bar. From George Brown on down to the most recently hired employee, they strive to make me well versed on the issues and cognizant of my responsibilities as your president. In doing so, they make me look smarter than I am – always a humbling thought.
I am more gratified than ever that I chose to be a lawyer. The lawyers and judges I have had an opportunity to meet in my travels throughout the state and at other venues make me realize that we truly are a diverse group melded together by a common bond – we’re lawyers. One of my favorite paintings is a rendition of John Trumbull’s famous 1819 portrait of the presentation of the draft Declaration of Independence to Congress – the rendition containing only silhouettes for the lawyers who signed it. The presence of so many silhouettes visually drives home the impact of our profession upon our country and the world.
Every lawyer has a story and every lawyer is a story.
My travels these past six months continually remind me that every lawyer has a story and every lawyer is a story. Many of our stories are funny and many are poignant, sometimes both at once. We Irish love to hear stories almost as much as we love telling them, and I have thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the nonlawyer activities of so many of our members. Getting to know many of you better has been one of the more enjoyable aspects of serving as your State Bar president.
And so we approach 2015 and all it holds for us. For me it will mean the last six months of my term, a bittersweet thought tempered by the anticipation of once again having a normal schedule and resuming my full-time practice with my patient and understanding partners. I hope to meet more of you in the upcoming months while also renewing some old acquaintances. Please don’t hesitate to introduce yourself at any of the upcoming State Bar functions; I will try to do the same. Finally, wherever New Year’s Day finds you, safe travels and a healthy, happy and prosperous 2015.