It has been my honor and privilege to serve as the State Bar of Wisconsin’s executive director now for five years. With the late-1980s hit by Timbuk 3 in mind, it seems like a good time to take a moment, step back, and reflect on what we have accomplished together.
Through a team effort by our elected and volunteer members and State Bar staff, we have worked hard to be good stewards of your money, while adding value to your membership.
I am proud to say that the State Bar is in strong financial shape. We live within our means, with operational expenses never exceeding revenues in any given year. We continually take a hard look at expenses and keep our budgets balanced with an eye on long-term financial sustainability.
We have built a strong partnership with the state’s judiciary, including the Wisconsin Supreme Court and court-related agencies.
We have elevated our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility efforts. There is a long way to go, but by being intentional and deliberative, we are making progress.
On the legislative front, we have invested in developing a stronger grassroots effort to ensure member voices are heard in the halls of government. High-quality continuing legal education, designed to help you succeed in your practice, continues to be a primary focus of our work; and we have strengthened support for our sections in providing services and programs specific to practice areas.
Thanks to your generosity, the Wisconsin Law Foundation, our charitable arm, has experienced dramatic growth in support for worthy causes across the state. Every year, the Foundation has had greater influence in funding charitable and educational programs that promote state residents’ comprehension of the law, improve the administration of justice, or provide law-related public services.
During the pandemic, we did not tread water; we kept our mission and work moving forward while working to keep our volunteer members and staff safe. Space limits me in listing all we have accomplished, but know that we will continue to bring value to your membership by offering nationally recognized programs, services, and products to help you succeed in your practice.
So, what will the future look like? What changes will occur in how law is practiced, and what will we do to support our members in not only surviving but thriving in this environment? What role and effect will people who are not lawyers have in legal-services delivery? How will we ensure that all individuals in the legal profession are full and equal members and participants not only within the State Bar but also in law firms and the broader legal community?
Whatever the future brings, know that your State Bar will be here for you and your practice, helping to lead the way. Our fundamental role will continue to be focused on helping you grow your practice and position you to best serve clients and the public in a fair and equitable justice system. This is our journey. So, grab your sunglasses, and together, let’s keep moving forward.
» Cite this article: 95 Wis. Law. 4 (July/August 2022).