Here’s What You May Have Missed
Not connecting with us online? This month we highlight readers’ comments posted to online articles. Let’s hear what you have to say. Post comments to WisBar News, InsideTrack, and Wisconsin Lawyer articles or respond to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter posts. Or simply email the editors at email@example.com.
Mandatory Retirement for Judges Coming?
In December, State Bar legal writer Joe Forward wrote about a proposal being floated by a Wisconsin lawmaker to impose a mandatory retirement age of 75 on judges, including justices of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. In the article, he wrote about the potential impacts with reactions from the bench. (See “Legislator’s Proposal Could Force Wisconsin Judges Into Retirement at Age 75,” WisBar InsideTrack, Dec. 17, 2014.) As you might expect, readers were vocal and their reactions were mixed. Here are a few representative responses.
Facebook: To me, it appears to be a solution in search of a problem. Judges are elected every six years. If a judge or candidate is incapable of fulfilling the duties of the office because of age (or any other reason) the electorate is responsible for not electing that person.
Atty. R. Michael Waterman
Mudge, Porter, Lundeen & Seguin SC, Hudson
InsideTrack: Completely agree on the judge retirement. The public shouldn’t be electing them in the first place!
Atty. Neil E. Hamilton
InsideTrack: I don’t know about anyone else, but why would someone more than 75 years old want to work 55 hours a week or possibly more. Driving at night is even a chore after age 69. The U.S. Supreme Court has limousines to take the justices to work. I don’t see a county board paying for this.
There are many other reasons to set a retirement age besides vision, mental acuity and physical fitness. Also, who in the present set-up would be responsible for evaluating the mental health of an aging judge?
In my county, the average age of the county board is approaching 75, this means that there are individuals more than 85-years-old making decisions. Experience is a great anchor for rational decisions, however not every experience leads to wisdom, which is nothing more than aged common sense.
Seventy is a good age to retire. If an individual wants to put their legal skills to work, there are are hundreds of part-time opportunities to spread their wisdom and knowledge. Just my 25 cents (its 2014 with inflation).
Atty. John A. Evans
Law Offices of John A. Evans, Oconto
Top 10 Recent Wisconsin Federal Court Decisions
In this article (Wisconsin Lawyer, December 2014), author Michael B. Brennan looked at 10 significant Wisconsin federal court decisions interpreting Wisconsin law in 2014, which encompassed common-law claims and statutory interpretations. A reader weighed in.
WL Online: How does Wolf v. Walker that struck down Wisconsin’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage not make this list? Looks like the only issues that are important are business and financial interests.
Atty. David Gault
Dane County Corporation Counsel, Madison
That’s a Fine Idea! Wisconsin Legal Innovators 2014
The November 2014 Wisconsin Lawyer highlighted several movers and shakers and discussed what drove them to put new ideas to work to solve problems and improve the delivery of legal services to their clients and communities. Watch for the call for next year’s nominations in spring 2015.
Facebook: Amazing and inspiring programs – congratulations to everyone! And thanks to the Wisconsin Lawyer for finding and sharing their stories!
Atty. Kathryn Bullon
Deerhaven Consulting Services, Sombra, Ontario, Canada
Pro Bono Spotlight: Kimberly Lawton
Kimberly Lawton moved to Ashland several years ago to start her own practice. Now she’s making a difference by accepting low-income clients and helping to develop a free legal clinic, among other things, as revealed in “Kimberly Lawton Helping on the Shores of Lake Superior” (WisBar InsideTrack, Dec. 3, 2014).
InsideTrack: Beautiful article and interview! Kimberly and Ron Stauske have had a great “partnership,” and I know from personal experience that he is a very kind and thoughtful mentor. I am glad that you two found each other and helped start and continue the legal-medical partnership. I think I can speak for the whole local bar in this instance that we are all glad you are here!
Atty. Julia Veenendaal
Veenendaal Law Office LLC, Ashland
InsideTrack: I work with Attorney Lawton in our local bar. She cares about her clients. She even cares about the ones that don’t care about her. She is selfless while being passionate for her clients’ individual liberties and rights. Even though she is a savvy business person, she does not let the almighty dollar control her passion for law and justice. Our profession needs more attorneys like her.
Atty. Joe Rafferty Jr.
Rafferty Criminal Defense LLC, Ashland
Internet Advertising: What is Permissible and What is Not?
Wisconsin lawyers who are considering participating in an Internet-based lead generation service must comply with ethics rules on advertising. In this article (WisBar InsideTrack, Dec. 3, 2014), State Bar Assistant Ethics Counsel Aviva Kaiser explains considerations for compliance in this gray area. A reader weighed in.
InsideTrack: This is a wonderful, but useless, analysis of our archaic marketing rules. I have been practicing law since 1995 and continue to be mystified by the ethics rules and their implementation. Here are the facts:
1) Nonlawyers will take our work away from us, not because they are better or cheaper, but because we will let them.
2) Our profession is ruled by people who last billed a client in the 1980s or earlier, if ever.
3) Consequently, those people are clueless about modern client retention. They view the world through the eyes of people who have a guaranteed government job with a big salary. (They are so clueless that they will giggle at that comment – they honestly think they are underpaid.) So they don’t care that mediation has eroded their part of the profession, and wonder about our concerns regarding nonlawyers taking away our business.
4) No law firm larger than 10 lawyers will ever be challenged for unethical marketing. All complaints will be against solos and very small firms because they will simply roll over rather than fight.
I feel like I should hire a scribe to copy this comment to illuminated parchment and submit it by horseman.
Atty. John Zwolanek
Main Street Law Office, Waunakee