Charles Hanson

State Bar of Wisconsin

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Back to State Bar 2013 Election Officer Candidates.

Charles E Hanson

Candidate for State Bar President-elect

Charles E. Hanson

Hale, Skemp, Hanson, Skemp & Sleik, La Crosse

Email: com ceh haleskemp haleskemp ceh com


I am honored to be nominated as a candidate for State Bar of Wisconsin President-elect. I want to share with you some of my background and my perspective as a candidate.

Since 1973, I have been a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin. As you can see from my resume below, I have practiced both criminal law as a military lawyer, and primarily civil law in private practice. I have served the La Crosse County Bar Association and the State Bar in various capacities, and I have served on the Board of Governors for the last four years. Much of my volunteer time, however, is spent working with and leading a variety of community volunteer organizations. These include four sister-city groups, Freedom Honor Flight- which brings WW II veterans to Washington, D.C., The Brain Game early childhood development project, Junior Achievement, and Rotary. These experiences have taught me what it takes to motivate and collaborate with volunteers across Wisconsin, and will help me serve you well as the next State Bar President.

I appreciate the good work being done to serve the Bar by volunteer lawyers. I will build on the progress that has been made focusing on improving the practice of law, providing excellent member benefits, fighting the unauthorized practice of law, promoting public confidence in our court system, and enhancing the public image of our profession.

Working towards these goals requires improved communication with and participation by our membership. We are diverse in background, practice needs, and experience. I will work to improve communication between the various elements of the Bar so the diverse needs and various goals of the Bar Sections and Divisions are better understood by everyone. We also must work harder to ensure our members understand the good work that is being done on their behalf by the State Bar, including the many benefits and resources that are available to improve our individual law practices.

We must better assist our members in meeting the challenge of practicing in an increasingly competitive and technological environment. I want to see our State Bar, together with other bar associations, identify significant trends affecting the practice of law, and publicize to our members examples of the best ideas and new innovations to improve our practices.

The key to our mission of improving the administration of justice is a fair and impartial judiciary. The public's confidence in our judiciary has been shaken, largely due to the politicization of judicial elections. These elections were intended by the framers of our Constitution to be non-partisan. I believe the State Bar can play an important role in helping to carefully examine this issue from all perspectives and make recommendations to benefit the public.

The problem of the unauthorized practice of law has not been sufficiently addressed. I will appoint a task force to carefully examine this issue and explore what other states have done to protect the public.

We all know there are under-served members of the public without the means to access legal services. I will work to promote the delivery of pro-bono and modest-means services. This would also include examining how we can better help members of our military reserve units called to combat and their families, who do not have the same legal support resources as active duty military personnel.

Wisconsin lawyers put their clients first and work tirelessly to seek justice for them. As lawyers, we also have a proud heritage of service to others through volunteer activities in our local communities. We can improve our public image by more effectively communicating this positive story. With your support, I will use the office of the State Bar President to promote the good work you do for your clients and communities.

The State Bar of Wisconsin has a talented membership, whose experience and expertise is under-utilized. Through my experience working with volunteers, both within the Bar and in community organizations, I know volunteers must be asked, listened to, and valued. We face important issues. To meet the challenges facing our profession, we need the help of all of our members, young and old, in public and private practice, both within and outside of the State of Wisconsin. We are fortunate to have an excellent professional staff, but the success of the State Bar in realizing its mission rests with lawyers willing to volunteer their time and talent.

I ask for your support. If elected, I will work with you. I will seek your counsel and your participation to promote respect for the legal profession and improve the practice of law. Thank you for your consideration.


Hale, Skemp, Hanson, Skemp & Sleik (partner 1979 to present)

  • Civil Litigation, Worker's Compensation, and ADR

Captain, United States Air Force (1973- 1977)

  • Chief of Military Justice, March Air Force Base, Riverside, CA (1973-1975)
  • Staff Judge Advocate, Taipei Air Station, Taiwan (1975-1977)

University of Wisconsin Law School, J.D. (1973, Honors Graduate)

St. Olaf College, B. A. (1970, Honors Graduate)

Professional Memberships and Activities

State Bar of Wisconsin: (1973 to present)

  • Membership Relations and Benefit Committee
  • Litigation Section
  • General Practice Section
  • Senior Lawyers Division

Board of Governors, State Bar of Wisconsin (2009 to present)

  • Governance Committee
  • Executive Committee
  • Policy Committee
  • Board Liaison to Board of Bar Examiners Review Committee
  • Board Liaison to Litigation Section

La Crosse County Bar Association (President, 1998 - 1999)

  • Established on-going annual CLE Seminar

Wisconsin Association for Justice

Wisconsin Association of Worker's Compensation Attorneys

  • President (2007)
  • Corporate Secretary (2008- 2011)
  • Founding Board Member (2002 to 2011)

American Bar Association (1979 to present) American Association for Justice (1983 to present) National Trial Lawyers

Wisconsin Bar Foundation

Honors and Awards

  • Phi Beta Kappa, St. Olaf College, 1970
  • Order of Coif, University of Wisconsin Law School, 1973
  • Air Force Commendation Medal, 1975
  • Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, 1977
  • Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow
  • La Crosse Area Rotary Four-Way Test Award
  • Elected Fellow of the Wisconsin Law Foundation, 2006 to present
  • Elected Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, 2007 to present
  • Cambridge Who's Who in America (2008) See
  • Super Lawyer designation by peers from 2008 to present
  • Wisconsin Law Foundation Charles L. Goldberg Distinguished Service Award
  • AV rated by Martindale Hubbell

Civic Activities

Rotary International

  • District Governor (2011-2012), Established District-wide Ethics Education Project, Established District Leadership Academy
  • Founding President, Rotary District 250 Charitable Trust
  • Team Leader, Rotary Friendship Exchange to Santos, Brazil (2012)
  • Group Study Exchange Leader to Mexico (1990)

Rotary Club of La Crosse

  • Member (1979 to present)
  • President (1993- 1994)
  • Founded the La Crosse Rotary Foundation, Inc. in 1983; serving as President from 1983 - 1989. This Foundation has raised thousands of dollars, providing support to a wide variety of projects in western Wisconsin.
  • Rotary English Resource Room for Luoyang, China (2001-2002)
  • International Wheelchair Project - Provided 240 wheelchairs to Dubna, Russia.

Special rotary and Community Projects

  • Chairman, Operation Afghan School Kids Project (2007-2009)
    Lead the effort to provide school supplies to remote areas of Eastern Afghanistan in conjunction with the 173rd Airborne Brigade, United States Army.
  • Chairman, La Crosse Kids Committee (1999 to present)
    Chaired the committee that created The Brain Game book which teaches parents how to enhance early childhood brain development. Now 70,000 copies in print. See
  • Co-Chair of the Kids Coulee Project (1993-1995)
    Mobilized over 3,000 community volunteers to construct an innovative children's playground at Myrick Park in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
  • Chairman, Hands-Across-The-Heartlands (1991-1992)
    Led the task force coordinating 5,000 volunteers and utilizing all major grocery stores and churches within a 50-mile radius of La Crosse as collection sites, to collect, organize, and prepare for shipment 400,000 lbs. of food, clothing, and medicine.

Freedom Honor Flight, Inc.

  • Founding President (2008 - 2011)
    Coordinated local agencies and volunteers of western Wisconsin to honor and to enable WW II Veterans to travel to the WW II Memorial in Washington, D.C. at no cost to the veterans.See

Riverside International Friendship Gardens, Inc.

  • Founding President (2004 to present)
    Initiated and led the efforts to create the Riverside International Friendship Gardens at Riverside Park, La Crosse, WI., created to reflect the community's appreciation of the diverse cultures with ties to La Crosse. See

Sister-City Relationships

  • La Crosse-Dubna (Russia) Friendship Assn. (Founding President)
    • Represented the Mayor of La Crosse in official delegations.
    • Helped establish a new university in Dubna, the International
    • University of Nature, Society, and Man.
    • Led Numerous official delegations to Dubna, Russia.
    • Established the Rotary Club of Dubna, Russia chartered in 1993.
  • La Crosse-Luoyang (China) Friendship Assn. (Founding President)
    • Represented the Mayor of La Crosse in official delegations Organized and led official sister-city delegations to Luoyang, 1997 and 2002.
    • Helped establish the teacher exchange program which provided two full-time Chinese teachers to the La Crosse School District resulting in expansion of Chinese language classes to over 175 students. Promoted the establishment of exchange programs in the fields of medicine, government, and higher education.
  • La Crosse-Bantry (Ireland) Friendship Assn. (Founding President)
  • La Crosse-Ferde (Norway) Friendship Assn. (Founding President)
  • La Crosse International Committee (Founding Board Member (1991 - 2009); President (1997-2001)

Other Civic Involvement

  • La Crosse Symphony Orchestra
  • Downtown Project Management Team (1993- 2005)
  • Viterbo University Board of Advisors (1990- 1996)
  • La Crosse Lutheran Hospital Board of Trustees (1984 -1990) President (1989-1990) United Coulee Region (1998- 2004)
  • Coordinator for Naturalization Ceremony for new citizens in western Wisconsin


Married to Cheryl; two adult children, Major Eric Hanson, JAG, United States Army; and Major Matthew Hanson, Fighter Pilot, United States Air Force, and four grandchildren, Evan, Linnea, Emma, and Joshua.

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