Have You Considered Practicing ‘Up North’?
In “Thinking About a Move to a Rural Practice?,” attorney Amanda Bergman spoke about her experience after she moved from an urban position to a rural practice (WisBar InsideTrack, Aug. 17, 2016). The work in her new position in Wausau isn’t all that different from her work in Milwaukee. The difference, she said, is in the wider geographical region that her clients are from. That, and the chance to take a more active role in cases “sooner than you might if you are a junior associate at a large firm.” For her, the move was definitely worth it.
Reader Response: If you’re a new lawyer still struggling to find that first job in the legal field, give this some serious consideration. Many of the rural counties north of Highway 29 will be facing a shortage of attorneys in the not-too-distant future. As Amanda notes in her article, many of the attorneys in those counties have been around for more than 20 years, and a number of them are preparing their exit strategies from the profession as they approach retirement.
New lawyers will often focus on finding high-paying jobs in the big cities, due to the large debt loads they’re coming out of law school with. However, as they’re finding out, those jobs are now few and far between, and many new lawyers end up taking jobs in other professions just to pay the bills while awaiting their big break into the legal field. Wouldn’t you rather start putting your skills into practice now? The opportunities (and need) for lawyers are greater in the outstate areas, and many of those opportunities (public defender, Judicare, etc.) include means for reducing your student debts.
And no, you don’t have to wear red flannel to live and work here – but it will keep you warmer in the winter.
Hon. Kenneth L. Kutz
Burnett County Circuit Court, Siren
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Things to Know When Renting a Car
Busy lawyers who travel may be accustomed to renting cars. But be honest, do you really read the fine print of that rental car contract? What about clients? How would you advise a client with questions related to rental cars? Probably, those questions come after the fact, when an accident involving a rental car has occurred, writes Joe Forward in “Rental Car Law: Considerations Before You Hit the Open Road” (WisBar InsideTrack, July 20, 2016). A reader posted a comment.
Reader Response: Extremely useful information from start to finish. We rent cars for our personal, and frequent, out-of-state trips. On occasion, we’ve rented overseas. I will keep this article with me every time I’m using a rental car (which includes next week). Thank you.
Milwaukee Braves Fans Have Long Memories
Fifty years ago, in summer 1966, the Wisconsin Supreme Court decided (4-3) an antitrust case that allowed the Milwaukee Braves to relocate to Atlanta. In “Why Milwaukee Lost the Braves: Perspectives on Law and Culture a Half-Century Later” (WisBar InsideTrack, July 6, 2016), former Marquette Law Professor J. Gordon Hylton told this baseball story, which drew reader comments.
Reader Response: There should be a follow up article on how the Pilots of Seattle came to Milwaukee, to become the Brewers. I understand the legal battle there (Washington) cited heavily from the Milwaukee court experience, and if memory serves correctly, was not a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy used to finally obtain the desired movement to Milwaukee?
John V. Kitzke
Kitzke & Associates S.C., Grafton
Reader Response: This is probably not the place to debate all of the reasons for the Braves departure, but I think the professor could have summed it up in one word. Money. That the Braves fans were tired gives the franchise a pass, and the fans a black eye. Rumors were rife with the Braves’ anticipated move as soon as Lou Perini sold the franchise. Note the Braves’ attendance was over 1 million in 1961, the last season before the sale. This may not have been record setting, but it was as well as most franchises were doing at the time. Whatever the reasons, it was a lesson for all fans. The “boys of summer” were really insurance executives on the make. Not that I am still bitter.
What Stereotypes Make Your Skin Crawl?
In what surely must be one of the most commented upon articles in Wisconsin Lawyer history, Deanne Koll’s Final Thought column, “Please Don’t Hug Me” (Wisconsin Lawyer, June 2016), takes the cake. Not only was it a hot topic during social events at the State Bar’s annual meeting and convention this summer, but it garnered 21 letters to Koll (six from men) and lit up Facebook with a reach of nearly 13,000 people, 82 likes, 34 shares, and 14 comments and multiple replies. Not bad for a 500-word- limit column.
Koll wrote, “I’m generally a pretty fun-loving person. I love to laugh, I love to joke, and I love to indulge in a few libations. However, I am also a lawyer, a professional, and a mother to two young girls. The interplay between all these things creates a dynamic that is sometimes misunderstood in my male-dominated work environment.” Her short list of skin crawly things include: 1) don’t hug me; 2) don’t call me “young lady”; 3) don’t question my dedication to work, just because I have a family; and 4) don’t refer to every strong-minded woman lawyer as a b*tch.
We asked readers to tell us what stereotypes make your skin crawl. You didn’t disappoint. Excerpts of a few of your responses follow.
Reader Letter to Author: You’ve illustrated quite well how even seemingly small, daily interactions can serve to demean women. And then when we complain about them, we’re b*tchy, uptight, or can’t take a joke. I not only get unwanted hugs far too often, but I also notice that clients and other lawyers will direct their comments to other men in the room during meetings, rather than to me. I could go on – it’s rarely one huge issue, but more a conglomeration of tiny infractions that leave me (and other women) feeling frustrated and undermined.
Reader Letter to Author (male): Thanks for your thoughtful and insightful article. Your suggestions are spot-on, and help elevate the practice and the profession.
Reader Letter to Author: It was so refreshing to read your article – it was like you took the words right out of my mouth. I office share with two other sole practitioner women who also have young children. They too loved your article. Thank you for writing it and getting it out there for others to read. Hopefully people will heed your words and think twice before calling me “young lady” or “honey.” And I also hope that it helps other attorneys realize that having a family and young children actually probably makes me a better family law attorney and guardian ad litem – and they should embrace that and welcome it!
Reader Letter to Author (male): Having seen what you wrote about in both Wisconsin and Oregon, it’s great to see you capture it so well. Keep fighting the good fight! Hopefully one day there’s no fight to fight.
Reader Letter to Author: A few of my own additional “can’t stand it’s”: don’t call me honey-sweetie-dear. Don’t assume I’m the secretary or the paralegal when I walk in the room. Don’t assume I’ll plan a social outing or buy the birthday card when I happen to be the only woman in the room. Don’t ask me when pregnant if I “plan to go back to work” unless you’d ask my husband the same question (which you wouldn’t). I thought academia and especially in the public sector would be better and “surprise” I’m still in misogyny-land. I just wanted to say: Thank you for saying it out loud!
Reader Letter to Author (male): Congrats on your “final thought.” I think it is fair to say, given the legal profession, also congrats on your courage and for putting so much out there. I hope you are getting many thank you’s and that many are also from other men. None of this is funny; none of this is trivial; none of this is about being overly sensitive.
Trending these days are programs on diversity with a racial theme; racial equity training. I believe these programs are necessary and invaluable. The bar needs very much to have training on sexism in the professional ranks. To all who pronounce times have changed, I believe the proper response is yes and for the good but with a huge caveat. More work needs to be done. Maybe a future bar convention will significantly address the issues you identify with a keynote speaker and panels. Bravo to you.
[Editor’s Note: Be sure to see “Did You Just Call Me Sweetheart” in this month’s Briefly column, reporting on the ABA’s amended model ethics rule prohibiting offensive language or conduct by lawyers in various settings, which includes male lawyers’ use of terms like “honey” or “sweetheart” to address women lawyers.]