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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    June 01, 2016

    President's Message
    Shine Brightly

    President Ralph Cagle encourages the State Bar and its members to continue as beacons for each other and the legal profession.

    Ralph M. Cagle

    Friends and Fellow Lawyers:

    This is my last “president’s message.” Fran Deisinger will be sworn in as our 61st State Bar of Wisconsin president on June 15 and will take office on July 1. I know Fran’s leadership capabilities and his writing skills. You will be well served by both. In my monthly messages, I tried to highlight some broader aspects of the practice of law and occasionally offer a personal comment. I hope you found some merit there.

    Ralph CagleRalph Cagle, U.W. 1974, is of counsel to Hurley, Burish & Stanton, S.C., Madison, practicing principally in professional responsibility law and serving as a mediator. He is also an emeritus clinical professor at the U.W. Law School.

    Here is where I need to say thank you, knowing I may fail to thank some for whom thanks are much in order. But, they are the ones most likely to charitably forgive my failures.

    Thank you to all who voted for and worked for my election as State Bar president. This has been a singular honor for me, which never would have happened but for your kind support.

    Thank you to all those I worked with this year. The State Bar works through a latticework of committees, sections, and divisions populated by smart and generous volunteers. The Bar staff brings energy, commitment, and professional competence to the service our association performs for our members.

    Thank you to our Board of Governors. You serve as the voice of our profession’s values and aspirations. You are the best assurance that our bar association focuses attention on our members’ best interests.

    Thank you to the lawyers I got to know or reconnect with throughout Wisconsin. Traveling Wisconsin is a joyful journey and for me was always enhanced by it ending with lawyers gathered for discussion, learning, or fellowship.

    Thank you to Bob Gagan, my predecessor, for affording the opportunity to learn about being a bar president and modeling gracious and encouraging leadership. Thank you to Fran Deisinger, my successor, for all your hard work, support, and wise counsel. I hope to repay my debt to you in your presidential year.

    The State Bar works through a latticework of committees, sections, and divisions populated by smart and generous volunteers.

    Thank you to Executive Director George Brown for your support and assistance in this fast-paced year. Bar presidents who precede me echo my feelings of gratitude to you. We all admire your long and dedicated service to the well-being of our members.

    Thank you to my wife, Tonia, for your constant encouragement and for sharing much of this journey with me on so many occasions. Every event we attended together was illuminated by your charm and effervescence. I delight in serving as your escort.

    Looking forward, I hope to remain engaged in those issues and events that will shape our profession’s future. Changes in technology, communications, culture, and economics require that lawyers anticipate, innovate, and be nimble in how they practice law and deliver legal services. As we urge our members to innovate, we, as a bar association, must also be prepared to realign our own programs, operating assumptions, organizational structures, and practices to best position ourselves to serve the evolving needs of our members into a rapidly changing future. Our future can be bright, but only as bright as we are wise in adapting to its realities.

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