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    Passing the Gavel

    State Bar presidents are among the hundreds of members who volunteer their services each year to help the organization support members, the legal system, and the public.

    Larry J. Martin

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    No member-led organization can sustain itself without dedicated individuals who step up to unselfishly give of their time, talents, and treasure in service to others. Volunteer leadership is fundamental to an organization’s ability to not only survive but to thrive and grow.

    Larry J. Martinorg lmartin wisbar Larry J. Martin is the executive director for the State Bar of Wisconsin.

    For the State Bar of Wisconsin, more than 650 members each year are elected to or volunteer for leadership positions on committees, in sections and divisions, and in the organization’s governance. Collectively, they shape our work and direct our efforts as we fulfill our unique mission in service to the profession, the court, and the public. We are truly a member-driven organization.

    By the time you read this, you will have elected the newest individual who will lead our efforts as a future State Bar president. Since the organization became an integrated state bar in 1956, 64 members have taken on this vital role. The individuals have been an eclectic mix, but all have served with a common purpose to advocate not only for the betterment of the profession but also for the rule of law and for furthering justice in Wisconsin. Each in their own way has had a profound effect. They are the lions of the profession.

    Some members may be aware of presidents only for the speeches they give, the columns they write, or the events they attend. I have had the privilege of seeing up close a level of commitment, dedication, and service that is both remarkable and inspiring. We ask much of our presidents. Beyond the hours – nearly a second full-time (and uncompensated) job – we entrust them to guide us through the turbulent issues of the day. There are endless meetings, late-night calls, and the demand to lead with a vision beyond what immediately faces us. We ask them to do it all in the context of a profession that is seeing unparalleled change and disruption.

    Tom Basting (center) passes the gavel.

    Tom Basting (center) passes the gavel.

    All presidents have left their mark and moved us forward. And many continue to serve beyond their tenure, for example by taking leadership roles in the Wisconsin Law Foundation or the Senior Lawyers Division or serving as a judge, president of the National Conference of Bar Presidents, or treasurer of the American Bar Association. Collectively, former presidents are one of our greatest resources.

    They have taken time away from practice and family to give of themselves to a profession they love. They have honored us and made us proud.

    Our past presidents will gather once again this summer, in Green Bay on June 12. As is their tradition, they will pass the president’s gavel from person to person until our newest leader receives it. Attorney Jill Kastner will raise her hand and before Wisconsin’s chief justice and Kastner’s colleagues, family, and friends, she will pledge tofoster high ideals and integrity among the legal profession, promote public education of the legal system, and aid the Wisconsin Supreme Court in the administration of justice. With this, a tradition of service, dedication, and commitment to you, our members, will continue.

    Join Us!

    Please join us in welcoming incoming president Jill Kastner at her swearing-in ceremony during the State Bar’s 2019 Annual Meeting & Conference. All are welcome. You do not need to register for the AMC.

    What: Swearing In of President Jill Kastner
    When: Wednesday, June 12, 4:30 - 6 p.m.
    Where: Ballroom A, Hyatt Regency Convention Center, Green Bay

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