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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    September 09, 2019

    President's Message
    What Does the State Bar Do for Me?

    The answer is: It depends. Do you know what services and programs the State Bar provides to members? Do you use them?

    Jill M. Kastner

    It’s been a fabulous first month. Being sworn in as president in Green Bay was the single greatest moment of my professional life. My first official event was the Diversity Clerkship Reception, where I had the privilege of providing awards to law students and participating firms. It was a great event for one of the State Bar’s long-standing programs that delivers a real and tangible benefit for the students and firms that participate. While events like this are a wonderful, if small, part of the job, I know the real work is behind the scenes developing and implementing programs that provide value to members.

    Jill M. KastnerJill M. Kastner, UCLA School of Law 2000, practices in civil poverty law to ensure housing stability for veterans at Legal Action of Wisconsin Inc., Milwaukee.

    This coming year, the State Bar is redoubling its efforts to provide high-quality programs and benefits to members where they live and work. Why? Because whenever I meet with a group of lawyers, I inevitably get asked some variation of the question: What does the State Bar do for me? We’re working hard to ensure all Wisconsin lawyers have an answer to that question. Lawyers who use Fastcase for research, call the Ethics Hotline, participate in the diversity clerkship program, or attend the Wisconsin Solo & Small Firm Conference offered in October can answer the question. They are already plugged into benefits provided by the State Bar. But what about everyone else?

    For many, it could be the Practice411 program. This program is dedicated to increasing knowledge and competitive advantage for those in private practice – particularly solos and small firms. This past year, Practice411 presented continuing legal education programs in 14 different counties on topics including succession planning, cybersecurity, insurance, practice management tips, and safeguarding client files. Later this month, Practice411 will provide free CLE to members in Green Lake (Sept. 23), Juneau (Sept. 24), Vernon (Sept. 25), Grant (Sept. 26), and Green counties (Sept. 27). Keep your eye out for more opportunities that may come to your community. For individual consultations, contact Law Practice Assistance Manager Christopher Shattuck at (800) 957-4670) or

    Practice411 is just one of the State Bar’s many member services, and it’s focused on solo and small firms – not public-interest lawyers like me. So if you’re not in private practice, what does the State Bar do for you?

    Well, for me, it provides high-quality CLE, leadership training, networking opportunities, and a forum to advocate for my fellow lawyers. When I see a gap in services, I make it known and work to create a program to fill that gap.

    How does the State Bar benefit you? That depends on whether you take advantage of the programs and other benefits provided as a benefit of membership. (You can see a list of benefits at It also depends on what you do when you see a gap in services. You can let me or other State Bar leadership know. Or, better yet, you can get involved in a section, division, or committee to develop a program to fill that gap.

    Web Xtra

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    State Bar President Jill Kastner envisions a year moving forward to bridge the justice gap, among other priorities.

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