District 11 Governor Johanna Kirk, in front of The Alley restaurant in Ashland,
led the way as we traveled nearly 900 miles through the Northwoods this
summer meeting with members.
Working from home for much of the last 17 months has had its benefits. I have proved to my wife, who is also working from home, that I’m really not that bad to have around. And, our new golden retriever has loved the attention afforded her between virtual meetings, phone calls, and responding to a never-ending flow of email. But for me, not being in the office, and more importantly not interacting in person with members and colleagues, has had significant drawbacks. Quite honestly, I have missed the interaction and the value of listening and learning directly from those I serve and work with.
That is why since July, I’ve gotten back on the road, traveling the state, while taking appropriate health precautions along the way.
As your executive director, I am a firm believer that the State Bar of Wisconsin should not just expect our members to always come to us; we need to get to where our members live and work, too.
Over the summer, my travels have taken me from Superior to Kenosha and many points between. I’ve met with individual State Bar members and leaders and groups of members. I’ve particularly enjoyed connecting with each of our newest board members, all while checking out some of Wisconsin’s best diners!
In one week in August, I traveled with Christopher Shattuck, our law practice assistance program manager, nearly 900 miles in three days, connecting with members in nine separate meetings in six communities in central and northern Wisconsin. A big thanks to Johanna Kirk, our District 11 governor for her help in organizing our trip and whose territory we traveled through.
My travels have allowed me to hear and see firsthand about the issues and challenges of practicing in rural and northern Wisconsin and that meaningful access to justice in much of our state is in true crisis. However, I also learned there is plenty of legal work to be had and much opportunity to establish a thriving practice in some of our state’s most spectacular landscapes and communities.
I also had the chance to talk with members about the value of State Bar membership; we want you to learn about and take advantage of the programs, products, and services you’ve invested your dues dollars in. We don’t take a single member anywhere for granted.
As long as conditions allow (both pandemic and weather), I will continue to visit around the state. Spending time with members energizes me. I am particularly looking forward to joining our Tri-County Bar members (Oneida, Forest and Vilas counties) for the annual Deer Hunt dinner at the White Stag. It will be an opportunity to reconnect with members and friends, while enjoying a classic supper club meal. Along the way, I hope to see many of you to further connect, listen, and learn. After all, your practice is our purpose.
» Cite this article: 94 Wis. Law. 9 (October 2021).