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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    April 03, 2024

    Your State Bar
    New Maps Bring New Challenges and Opportunities

    Wisconsin has new legislative maps. Now is the time to reach out to candidates running in your districts and let them know about issues that matter to you as lawyer constituents.

    Larry J. Martin

    In 2024, election season, like spring, is arriving early. As campaigns begin in earnest, they will take place under new legislative district maps for Wisconsin’s State Assembly and State Senate.

    Larry J. MartinLarry J. Martin is the executive director for the State Bar of Wisconsin.

    Regardless of partisan leanings, or opinions on how these maps came about, one thing is for certain. Come January 2025, the odds are that the new Wisconsin Legislature, and its makeup, will look very different than today’s.

    With this new dynamic come both challenges and opportunities for the legal profession and the issues and legislative priorities about which the State Bar of Wisconsin advocates​.

    Without knowing the outcome of a single race, we know that both the Senate and the Assembly will be made up of many new members. With retirements, individuals running for higher office, incumbents now running against each other in the same district, and incumbents who might inevitably get defeated, there may be a record level of turnover.

    So many new faces means that lawyers, as constituents, might need to develop new relationships with elected officials. Regardless of political party, candidates must know and rely on subject-matter experts who live and work in their districts. Once elected, new legislators will turn to folks they know and trust back home to help them better understand the potential effects of proposed legislation.

    Relationship building starts now, before the election, as candidates campaign for votes and reach out to learn about the issues and concerns that matter most to voters. Now is the time to establish a relationship. Contact candidates and help educate them on topics that are vital to you.

    For the last several election cycles, fewer attorneys have run, from both major political parties, for legislative seats. That means there are fewer individuals serving who are professionally trained to understand the legal effects proposed legislation will have. Like other professions, lawyers bring unique skills to understanding new laws’ effects. That there are fewer lawyer-legislators reinforces the value and importance of ensuring that elected officials have lawyer-constituents in their districts to whom they can turn for counsel.

    Regardless of the political outcome, a new legislature might mean opportunities for bipartisan support for key issues long sought by the State Bar. If we work now in educating candidates, next year we may be able to achieve meaningful expungement and bail reforms, make significant investments in civil legal aid, and promote juvenile justice reform by moving 17-year-old offenders to juvenile court jurisdiction.

    But this won’t happen without your engagement. Democracy is not a spectator sport. Get involved now. Start building your relationships today with the individuals who might represent you. Then, after the election, use your voice and expertise to help guide creation of good public policy.

    Learn More

    To learn more about the State Bar of Wisconsin’s public policy positions and how you can engage in our grassroots advocacy program, visit

    Keep current on legislative updates by subscribing to Rotunda Report, the State Bar of Wisconsin’ biweekly Government Relations newsletter.

    » Cite this article: 97 Wis. Law. 6 (April 2024).

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