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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    December 01, 2017


    Got a nugget to share? Send us your ideas for interesting facts, trends, tips, or other bits and bytes.

    On the Radar

    Indiana Law School Creates Diversity Pipeline

    law school diversity

    The American Bar Association is partnering with the Indiana University Law School on a three-year pilot project to create a pipeline into the law “for students whose backgrounds are traditionally underrepresented in the legal profession.”

    Backed by a $250,000 ABA grant, the Pathway to the Law online program at Indiana’s McKinney School of Law will allow undergraduate students, through scholarships, to take 10 credits of law-related courses as part of their undergraduate degree.

    Source: American Bar Association

    By the Numbers


    The total number of cases the Wisconsin Supreme Court resolved by opinion in the 2016-17 term, according to statistics the court released in September. Of those, 27 were civil cases, 28 were criminal cases, 30 were attorney discipline cases, and one was a bar admission case. In the 2015-16 term, the court resolved 106 cases by opinion.

    For an in-depth look at some of the court’s most significant decisions during the 2016-17 term, please see “Top 10 Recent Wisconsin Supreme Court Decisions” elsewhere in this issue.

    Good Idea

    Get to Know Blockchain Technology

    blockchain connections

    You may be unfamiliar with the term “blockchain.” According to an article on LinkedIn Pulse, “blockchain is a technology that means you can buy, sell, and transact with a stranger and know that you aren’t going to get ripped off.”

    For example, you can buy a house from a stranger because the county recorder of deeds keeps records of real estate ownership. Bank records evidence the ability to purchase the house. In both cases, parties to the transaction rely on the trusted intermediary.

    But do we have trusted intermediaries for other purchases – like diamonds?

    “What if there was a way to instantly look up the ownership, history and quality of the diamond and to know that the answer I got back was 100% true? That’s what blockchain can provide, an instant way for me to trust the stranger I’m buying it from,” wrote Mike Bullock, senior general manager at Datacom, in LinkedIn Pulse.

    “There are millions of things that aren’t tracked by central trusted registers, so there is clearly a gap in the market for a way to track other items.”

    What about the possibility of registers that store information about contracts, or intellectual property? Will this change how lawyers look at the “intent of the parties” or who filed first? Lawyers must understand blockchain because clients will be asking.

    But here’s another reason. A panel at the conference of the International Legal Technology Association agreed that blockchain technology “might be the most important addition to the legal infrastructure since William the Conqueror gave rise to common law.”

    Source: LinkedIn Pulse; Above the Law; Forbes

    Out There

    A Holiday Sixth Amendment

    Santa thief

    Stop me if you’ve heard this one.

    Santa Claus had already visited the home of a prominent attorney when a burglar broke in and stole the gifts that Santa had left for the lawyer and his family. But before the burglar escaped, the police arrived.

    The burglar confessed but said he could not be arrested or charged. The police officer asked why. “Because the law states that I’m entitled to the presents of an attorney,” the burglar explained.


    From the Archives

    40 Years Ago: New Careers in the Law

    State Bar of Wisconsin Certified Paralegal logo

    In 1977, paralegal and legal assistant positions were considered new careers in law, and bar associations were beginning to discuss how to seek recognition of paraprofessionals.

    The December 1977 issue of Wisconsin Bar Bulletin, predecessor to Wisconsin Lawyer magazine, noted that the ABA had created an accreditation protocol for educational programs preparing legal assistants, but no state bars had done so.

    Flash forward to today, and the State Bar is set to launch a voluntary State Bar of Wisconsin Paralegal Certification Program in early 2018. The program will recognize paralegals who have attained qualified educational or work experience.

    Tech Tip

    Charging Stations Promote Harmony

    airport charger

    Do you compete for access to phone or tablet chargers? Can’t find your charger? Is someone using the preferred power outlet? Do you find it annoying and time consuming to charge all your devices one at a time? Would you like to provide a charging station in your office for clients?

    Multi-port charging stations can mitigate competition. With multiple USB ports, you can charge several devices while using one power outlet. Multi-port charging stations are also available for vehicles and desktops.

    You can find a wide variety of charging stations online for less than $50.

    Source: 50 Tips in 50 Minutes, 2017 Wisconsin Solo and Small Firm Conference

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