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Outstanding Young Lawyer Award

The Young Lawyers Division (YLD) is for State Bar members under 36 years old or in their first five years of practice. The YLD provides leadership training and networking opportunities. It also encourages its members to be active in the State Bar, local and specialty bar associations, and communities. YLD presents the Outstanding Young Lawyer Award and Outstanding Mentor Award.

The Outstanding Young Lawyer Award pays tribute to a young lawyer who has made an impact in his or her practice area, in service to the State Bar of Wisconsin, and in service to the community.

​​Tatiana Shirasaki

Tatiana “Tati” Shirasaki is this year’s’ recipient. Nominated by her friend and fellow public defender Vanessa Avila, Vanessa said that she could not “speak enough” about the intelligent, passionate, and hardworking person that Tati is. But it’s clear that even without Vanessa’s glowing nomination that Tati’s actions speak for themselves.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tati joined the Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office in Fond Du Lac. At a time when many employees transitioned to working at home and many courts closed their doors, Tati kept showing up to zealously advocate for her clients. She attends court hearings in person and goes to jail for bail and jail hearings. Fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, and English, Tati has also made it her mission to ensure Hispanic clients have access to SPD forms in Spanish and can understand the legal process in their native language.

Tati is also passionate about inspiring underrepresented students to apply to law school. She volunteers as a judge for the State Bar of Wisconsin Mock Trial Competition, and it’s not uncommon for her to offer students her contact information if they’re considering a career in law – a generous thing to do, considering her busy schedule. When asked in a 2019 interview with Wisconsin Lawyer magazine​, “What do you do in your free time?”, Tati joked, “Ha! What is free time?!”

All joking aside, Tati is an evident leader who lives by a mantra of “service above self.” A graduate of the G. Lane Wane Leadership Academy, Tati continues to push herself to develop new skills and expand her network so that she can help others. She’s active on the Mayville school board and with her local Rotary Club, and she serves as a board member of the Economic Justice Institute at the University of Wisconsin Law School. She’s also a talented photographer; sometimes, her legal and artistic skills collide, as she takes business headshots for other attorneys who work in the public service field.

In closing, Vanessa said that Tati “only outdoes herself in the personal sphere, where she is an even better friend, wife, and mother.”

Watch the presentation of the Outstanding Young Lawyer Award