The State Bar of Wisconsin’s leadership has accomplished much during another challenging pandemic year, and yet there is so much more to do! My term as president ends in June, and I suspect all my predecessors felt similarly as their presidential years ended. But this unsettled feeling is necessary. It is the type of anxiety that will keep me from resting on my laurels; instead, I will assist the new leaders in moving forward with our urgent priorities.
Cheryl Daniels, U.W. Law 1985, is president of the State Bar of Wisconsin. She is now retired in Madison after a career in government, with 35 years as program counsel, administrative law judge, and assistant legal counsel at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection.
Although the most urgent need, to weave diversity, equity, inclusion, and access (DEIA) into all our programs, has been given a boost, action on our petition to the Wisconsin Supreme Court to ensure that DEIA continuing legal education is generally given credit-worthy status will not come until fall. In the meantime, the task force studying the prospect of DEIA CLE as a mandatory requirement for Wisconsin lawyers will review the mountain of information gathered by the CLE Committee on this issue. Under the leadership of attorney Andrew Chevrez, the Implementation Oversight Committee for the State Bar’s 2018 Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan has made several recommendations to update the plan. Now it’s up to a special committee to update the plan this summer, using recommendations from the 2018 plan and the 2022 Racial Justice Task Force Report, so the amended plan can be brought before the Board of Governors at its September meeting and used to train leaders throughout the State Bar.
The Board of Governors also approved the Greater Wisconsin Initiative Report, and thus it is time for other attorneys to step up to bring its recommendations to fruition. Lawyers should work, locally or regionally and with local bar associations, chambers of commerce, local government leaders, and interested local residents, to attract not only more lawyers but also new residents generally to all areas of the state. This work goes hand-in-hand with DEIA efforts because, as the country’s population continues to diversify, the vitality of Wisconsin will depend on having people of all backgrounds residing and contributing to communities throughout the state.
Finally, the Board of Governors voted to support the goals outlined in the Task Force on Wisconsin Lawyer Well-Being Report and pledged to facilitate gatherings of all interested legal organizations that wish to share their work of fostering well-being, including best practices and challenges faced in their endeavors. To that end, we are asking entities that participated in the task force to continue sending representatives to regular meetings, invite other interested lawyers to join in the work, and participate in an electronic list for communicating and sharing ideas between meetings. A resource page on the State Bar’s website will be available as soon as possible.
I am proud that our hardworking volunteers and leaders wrapped up several important task forces and issued reports. Now is the time for all members, including me as I become Past-president and pass the gavel to incoming President Margaret Hickey, to make these reports the reality of the State Bar. So once more, my colleagues, forward!
The most urgent need, to weave diversity, equity, inclusion, and access (DEIA) into all our programs, has been given a boost.
» Cite this article: 95 Wis. Law. 4 (June 2022).