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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    June 01, 2018


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    “I saw in Dick, kindness and toughness, confidence and humility. It would take me decades to realize that those pairs were the bedrock of great leadership.”

    Dick Cates

    – James Comey, former FBI Director, speaking about the late Richard “Dick” Cates, a renowned Madison trial lawyer who advised the Congressional committee that voted to impeach President Richard Nixon in 1974.

    In his new book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership, Comey notes that, as a young lawyer in New York, he worked with Cates on an insurance case in Madison.

    Dick Cates in 1999. Photo: John Maniaci – Wisconsin State Journal

    Out There

    Play-Doh: Not the Best Material for Shoplifters


    In Massachusetts, a shoplifter used Play-Doh to cover anti-theft devices on products he was trying to steal at Walmart. When it didn’t work (the theft alarm still triggered), the suspect fled the scene but left behind traces of Play-Doh, preserving a clear fingerprint.

    Five months later, the fingerprint matched those in a national database and police charged one Dennis Jackson. By that time, he was in jail for other crimes.

    Source:; Legally Weird

    Tech Tip

    Did You Hear ‘Laurel’ or ‘Yanny’?

    sound wave

    A great social media debate of 2018 (similar to the dress-color debate of 2015) focuses on whether the word “Yanny” or “Laurel” is heard in an audio clip. People listening to the exact same clip disagree on what they heard.

    Several aspects of the trending debate on social media prompted thoughts about applications in the legal field.

    First, this adds to the debate of the reliability of witness recall testimony. If something as simple as an audio recording can lead to different answers, shouldn’t that affect the reliability of witness testimony?

    Second, the debate has gone viral on social media, prompting the question: How can lawyers use a social media marketing strategy to make a campaign go viral and generate free advertising?

    Third, think about the different perspectives people have after viewing content. It’s important to constantly take a self-inventory of how you present yourself and your law firm. Don’t be afraid to embrace change and adapt to meet the shifting needs of your clients and the market.

    Source: Christopher C. Shattuck, Practice Management Advisor (Practice 411), State Bar of Wisconsin

    Good Idea

    Mandatory Technology CLE?


    The North Carolina State Bar wants its state supreme court to change continuing legal education rules to mandate that lawyers annually receive one hour of CLE devoted to technology training.

    If it passes, North Carolina will be the second state to do so. In Florida, lawyers are required to earn three hours of technology CLE every three years.

    “The change sends an important message: that lawyers need to understand how technology is affecting the delivery of legal services,” Andrew M. Perlman, dean of Suffolk University School of Law in Boston, told Bloomberg Law. Perlman chairs the American Bar Association’s Center for Innovation.

    Wisconsin lawyers may earn up to six hours of CLE on practice management and technology issues, but it is not a requirement.

    Ellen Murphy, who teaches professional responsibility at Wake Forest School of Law, told Bloomberg Law that requiring technology CLE is a good idea, so long as it is the right type of technology training.

    “There are obvious categories of tools in which lawyers need training, including billing, e-filing, and calendaring,” she said. “What is needed more, to comply with the rules governing lawyers, is an understanding of how these tools work.”

    Source: Bloomberg Law

    By the Numbers



    – The number of bankruptcy filings nationwide for the 12-month period ending on March 31, 2018. The number marks a 1.8 percent decrease in filings from the previous year and continues the national trend of reduced bankruptcy filings since topping 1.5 million in 2010.

    Source: U.S. Courts News

    On the Radar

    Decision Expected in Gerrymandering Case

    Wisconsin puzzle

    The U.S. Supreme Court typically reserves its highest-profile cases for release at the end of June each term.

    Gill v. Whitford, the Wisconsin-based gerrymandering case, will most certainly be among those this term.

    The nation’s high court is expected to decide whether redistricting maps that Republican lawmakers drew in 2011 violated the U.S. Constitution.

    A special three-judge panel previously ruled (2-1) that Wisconsin’s redistricting plan was an impermissible partisan gerrymander, concluding the maps “systematically dilute[d] the voting strength of Democratic voters and intentionally burdened their representation rights.”

    Either way, a decision is likely to have a nationwide impact on the 2018 November election cycle and beyond, particularly in Wisconsin. The redistricting process occurs every 10 years, after the federal census. The Wisconsin Legislature draws the voter maps. In the last cycle, Republicans controlled the redistricting process.

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