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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    May 01, 2017


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    And Then There Were Nine

    Neil Gorsuch

    On April 17, 2017, President Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch heard his first three cases as the newest justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

    With Justice Gorsuch on board, the court moved to full strength after 14 months as an eight-justice court. Justice Gorsuch previously served as a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

    Tony Mauro, a reporter for The National Law Journal, had some early observations:

    “Gorsuch seemed up on the minutiae of all three cases – two on civil procedure and one on standing. He turned out to be a persistent questioner, engaging Kirkland & Ellis lawyer Christopher Landau in a lengthy discussion about standards of review and the need to follow the ‘plain language’ of a federal statute.

    “It was the kind of discussion that may have been common in his last job as one of three judges on an appeals court panel, but went longer than most Supreme Court colloquies.”

    On the Radar

    Tax Break for Bumblebees


    If you like honey and wax, good news. Wisconsin lawmakers have proposed a bill that would give all beekeepers a sales tax exemption on the equipment they need to run the beekeeping business.

    Currently, only the large beekeepers – those with 50 or more hives – get the tax exemption. The mid- and smaller-sized beekeepers do not get the exemption.

    But bee populations are down in Wisconsin, 30 to 50 percent, according to one report. Lawmakers think the expanded sales tax exemption would help bee populations grow.

    “Historically the rate of loss of bees over the winter used to be around 10-15 percent. So when we’re seeing rates that are twice that high, that’s a cause of concern and clearly there’s something going on,” an entomology professor at U.W.-Madison told Wisconsin Public Radio. WL

    Tech Tip

    Estate Planning Toolbox: Password Managers


    We’ve recommended that attorneys use a password manager, like LastPass or 1Password, for some time now. The ability to automatically create, recall, and manage good, nonduplicative passwords, as well as store other valuable data (like credit card, bank account, driver’s license, and life insurance policy information), is good for both security and convenience. 

    Hopefully, you have considered these benefits for you, your family, and your practice. But, what about your clients? 

    “Encouraging your clients to use such a tool should also become your new standard, especially if you do estate planning,” says Tison Rhine, State Bar practice management advisor.

    “These days, almost everyone has more online accounts than they can remember, and as difficult as it is to remember our own user names and passwords, it’s an even bigger pain to access the accounts of someone else when they are no longer available,” says Rhine. 

    So, encourage you’re clients to use a password manager, and make sure they provide their personal representatives with a way to access their accounts. And, while you’re at it, make sure your own personal representative, family member(s), and successor attorney have access to your appropriate account information, too.

    Good Idea

    Predictions for the Future of Legal Innovation

    Work group discussion

    The CEO of Integreon, which provides legal outsourcing services through 14 delivery centers across the world, including the United States, recently made 10 predictions about the future of legal innovation.  Here’s one:

    “We will see increased innovation as law firms become more diverse in their demographics, largely resulting from the increasing diversity of their hiring pools.”

    Studies have shown that more diverse organizations often out-innovate their less diverse peers and are generally more successful in expanding market share and entering new markets. This will become a crucial advantage for firms in our ever-globalizing economy.

    Source: The Global Legal Post

    PS: Nominate a 2017 Wisconsin Legal Innovator!

    Through the “That’s a Fine Idea: Legal Innovation Wisconsin” initiative, the State Bar of Wisconsin is asking the legal community to help it tell the story of legal innovation.

    Tell us about the people and ideas that are changing Wisconsin’s legal landscape.

    Learn more or find the nomination form at The deadline for nominations is June 30, 2017.

    Court Beat

    Roggensack Elected to Second Term as Chief Justice

    Pat Roggensack

    Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Patience Roggensack was elected to a second two-year term last month by fellow justices. She was first elected to serve as chief justice in 2015 following enactment of a constitutional amendment that allows supreme court justices to select the chief justice for a two-year term.

    In a statement released by the court, Chief Justice Roggensack said, “It is a privilege to serve the court system as the Chief Justice and to work with Wisconsin Court of Appeals and Circuit Court judges and their staff. I will maintain my open-door policy to all who wish to discuss the administration of Wisconsin courts.”


    “As a former refugee child, I never thought that I’d become an attorney.”

    Kashoua Kristy Yang

    – Kashoua Kristy Yang, who became the first Hmong-American judge in Wisconsin and the second Hmong-American judge (first woman) in the United States when elected to the Milwaukee County Circuit Court in April.

    Yang, 36, immigrated to the United States with her family at the age of six after growing up in a refugee camp in Thailand. She graduated from U.W. Law School in 2009. “I went to law school with the intention of helping people, and then I realized the role I needed to be in is that of a judge,” Yang says.

    Read Yang’s reflections on her campaign in this month’s Final Thought column.

    Source: NBC News

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