Candidate for President-elect
Margaret Wrenn Hickey
Becker, Hickey & Poster, S.C.
It is hard to imagine a more challenging year than 2020 for attorneys. We had to re-evaluate how we practice law from signing legal documents to court appearances and managing law offices remotely. As a litigator and managing partner, I faced these challenges and was able to overcome them with the help of the State Bar’s resources. If elected President Elect, my goals would include providing support to all attorneys, providing targeted support to young attorneys, and continuing to address racial inequities, diversity and inclusion, and access to justice. My experience qualifies me to do this work and I hope that you will vote for me as President Elect.
Practicing law in a new environment. The Bar provided resources to attorneys working remotely and advocated for us to be essential workers. The Bar provided free seminars on the ethics of working from home and protecting client confidentiality, education on how to Zoom, and quickly disseminated rapidly changing Supreme Court rules. This enabled us to keep practicing efficiently. These changes may be leveraged in the future to make courts more efficient, to permit attorneys to practice in counties farther away, and could alleviate the shortage of attorneys in rural areas. My work on the Board of Governors (2005-15, 2018-present) shows my commitment to this work, which I would continue, if elected.
Supporting young/new attorneys. Graduating into a recession during a pandemic is daunting. It can take more than a decade for a graduate to make up the career effects from graduating into a recession. We need to fully support newer attorneys who are facing these challenges. That may mean reduced fees, reduced or free CLE, advocating for debt forgiveness, mentoring, or office management help. This support will keep our profession relevant and robust with new talent. Since about 2007, I have been on the Leadership Development Committee, on the Mentoring subcommittee. I have also taught numerous courses to young attorneys including the basics of Elder and Family and Title 19 basics at the Elder Law Workshop, of which I was an original organizer. Supporting young attorneys is a passion of mine.
Diversity and Inclusion efforts. Our Bar must reflect the diversity of the general population and must include the views of all attorneys. Since 2014, I have served on the Bar’s Diversity and Inclusion Oversight Committee. My work has focused on educational programs on intrinsic bias, cultural competence and related issues. The Bar has a master plan on diversity and inclusion and our strategic priorities include diversity and inclusion. We need to put actions behind the words and push hard for these goals to be reality. This means working with the law schools to retain talent and supporting young attorneys of all backgrounds so that they want to be active members. I support the Bar efforts and would work to push forward the goals stated at https://www.wisbar.org/aboutus/diversity/Pages/Racial-Equity.aspx.
Social Justice and Access to Justice. Bar leaders issued a statement on the importance of social and racial justice issues in light of the recent violence in our society. We need to and can do more. We could have panels of attorneys ready and willing to help those who have been arrested during protests, or provide a summary of rights upon arrest on our website. The Bar has started some work on this including addressing the inequity of disparate incarceration in our state. As President Elect I would continue this work as an important priority.
In addition, the pandemic has laid bare the inequities in access to justice. Legal aid agencies are overwhelmed with work on evictions, job loss, and access to public benefits. The Bar must help with volunteer attorneys, funds, and access to legal information. My service on the Board of Directors of Legal Aid of Milwaukee (2004-2014) and Wisconsin Equal Justice Fund (2014-) and my work at Milwaukee Justice Center clinic at the courthouse demonstrate my commitment to these issues, which would be a priority as President Elect.
My work with the Family Law Section since 1994, the Elder Law Section since 1996 and on the Board of Governors since 2005 show my commitment to giving back to the profession. I have served as Chair of the Board and Chair of Finance and Executive Committee. I have the experience needed to serve as President Elect. I also have the passion to move the Bar forward to serve all attorneys, support young attorneys, promote our efforts on diversity and inclusion and bolster our efforts in social justice and access to justice.
Born and raised in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. One of six children in a rowdy family. Married to Robert Wrenn and we have four children and four grandchildren, two dogs, and a cat.
Law School: J.D., University of Wisconsin Law School - 1986 cum Laude, ranked in top 10%; award for highest average in second-year class.
Bachelor of Arts: Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 8/82. Summa cum Laude. G.P.A. 3.9/4.0.
Foreign Studies: Marquette-in-Madrid Study Center, Madrid, Spain, semester of study and travel (1/81-6/81). A.F.S. student to Colombia, South America (1/77-1/78). Spanish speaker.
Shareholder: Becker, Hickey & Poster, S.C. (formerly known as Becker & Hickey, S.C. (8/91 - present). Trial practice with emphasis in divorce, custody and family law disputes, marital property agreements, estate and lifeplanning, elder law, and medical assistance divestment planning.
Associate: Charne, Clancy & Taitelman s.c., (8/89 - 7/91). Litigation practice in mid-size firm handling all aspects of family law, personal injury, immigration law and general trial work.
Associate: Gibbs, Roper, Loots & Williams (6/86 - 7/89). Practice in mid-size firm handling trials and all phases of trial preparation in personal injury, commercial, bankruptcy and securities law, with exposure to practice in corporate, estate planning, immigration, unemployment.
Activities and Honors:
Women in the Law, Honoree 2011
Super Lawyers, named in all issues in Elder Law. Named in top 25 women lawyers in Wisconsin in multiple issues. Named as one of the top 10 lawyers in Wisconsin in 2012.
Best Lawyers in America, named in Family and Elder Law.
Fellow, American Bar Foundation.
Fellow, Wisconsin Law Foundation.
Public Member, Child Support Advisory Committee, State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (2001-2002)
Public Member, Joint Legislative Council Special Committee on Child Custody, Support and Visitation Laws (1994-5).
MYLA/LAW Volunteer Lawyers Project Award for Outstanding Service 1987. Outstanding Academic Achievement Award, University of Wisconsin Law School, 1986.
Duane Mowry Award, 1985, highest-ranking student in second year law school class, University of Wisconsin Law School.
West Publishing Hornbook Award, highest average in second year law school class, University of Wisconsin LawSchool.
University of Wisconsin Law School Honor Roll, fall and spring semesters, 1985.
Phi Beta Kappa.
Lawyering Skills Program: Member of panel that taught "Divorce Proceedings," February 2004, University of Wisconsin Law School, Madison, Wisconsin.
Lawyering Skills Program: Member of panel that taught "Managing the Early Years of Practice," March 2005, University of Wisconsin Law School, Madison, Wisconsin.
Over 120 speeches given to attorneys and the public on legal issues including State Bar CLE, community groups, caregivers groups, hospital staff and professional groups. The following national speeches:
Family Law Annual Meeting, Divorce for the Senior Citizen or Disabled Person, American Bar Association 2005 Annual Meeting, speakers J. DuCanto, M. Hickey, August 2005.
Cohabitation Concerns in Family Law. American Academy of Matrimonial Attorneys Midwinter meeting, March 2011.
Participating in Divorce Negotiations When Your Client Has Special Needs, 2019 NAELA Summit, speakers M. Hickey and E. Rosner, November 2019, Washington D.C.
"Medicaid Divestment," Becker, Barbara J. and Hickey, Margaret W., Attorney's Desk Reference Chapter, State Bar of Wis. CLE Books, 1994-2009.
Law in the 50 States, M. Hickey, reporter for Wisconsin to the ABA Family Law Section on family law cases and statutes (1996-2002).
How to Save Income Taxes in Divorce Cases, Becker, Barbara J. and Schulz, Margaret H., 12 Wis. J. Fam. Law 41, July 1992.
"COBRA: Lifeline to Health Insurance," American Journal of Family Law, Vol. 3, No. 3 at 181 (Fall 1989), M. Schulz and B. Becker.
"HSS 80: New Rules for Child Support Obligations," M. Hickey, 68 Wis. Law. 14 (April 1995).
"New Methods Proposed to Collect Child Support Arrears May Violate Due Process and Could Be Counterproductive,” M. Hickey, 17 Wis. J. Fam. L. 3 (July 1997).
"Trials and Tribulations," M. Hickey, author of column for the Elder Law News, published quarterly until 2004 by Elder Law Section of the State Bar of Wisconsin.
"Estate Planning," chapter by Hickey, Margaret W. and Hogue, Mary M., Advising Older Clients, Vol. II, State Bar of Wis. CLE Books, 1998, with updates through 2011.
"Administrative Enforcement: A New Tool to Collect Support Arrears," M. Hickey, 71 Wis. Law. 12 (December 1998).
"Making a Maintenance Judgment Stick," M. Hickey, 21 Wis. J. Fam. L. 2 (April 2001).
"Legislature Looking at Child Support Changes," M. Hickey, 21 Wis. J. Fam. L. 4 (October 2001).
"Estate Planning for Cohabitants," M. Hickey, 22 J. Am. Acad. of Matrim. Law. 1 (2009).
"Is Support Different in High Income Cases? A Discussion of Ladwig and Chen," Wisconsin Journal of Family Law, 2010.
"Twelve Tax Tips for the Well-Prepared Divorce Attorney," M. Hickey and D. Lefebvre, 34 Wis. J. Fam. L. 3 (October 2015)
Affiliations and Board Involvement:
State Bar of Wisconsin Board of Governors, Governor elected for District 2 (Milwaukee area) 2005-07, 2007-2009, Chair, 2006-07, Treasurer 2009-11, 2011-13, 2013-15, 2018-20, served on Executive Committee, Finance Committee, Strategic Planning Committee, Leadership Development Committee, Diversity and Inclusion Oversight Committee and other committees.
State Bar of Wisconsin, Section Leaders Council, Chair 2012-14 (Chair)
American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers; fellow, 1999-present, Secretary of the Wisconsin Chapter 2003, Treasurer 2004, President-Elect 2005, President 2006-07
Milwaukee Bar Association Board of Directors (1999- 2006; Vice President 2002-03, President- Elect 2003-4, President 2004-05, Past President 2005-6)
American Bar Association (prior member Family law, Taxation and Real Property, Probate and Trust Law sections)
National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (member 1993- present) President Wisconsin Chapter (2012) Vice Chair 2011-12, Board Member of Wisconsin Chapter, Award for "Outstanding Member" (2013), (Board Member 2008-present, Chair 2012-13)
State Bar of Wisconsin (Member in good standing and member of Elder Law, Family Law Sections)
Director, Family Law Section Board of Directors of the State Bar of Wisconsin (1995- 2004, Co- Chair Legislation Committee 1996, Secretary 1999-00, Treasurer 2000-01, Vice Chair 001-02, Chair 2002-03), Second term 2017-2020 and reelected.
Director, Elder Law Section Board of Directors of the State Bar of Wisconsin (1996-2000, Program Chair 1997-98, Chair 1998-99, Advisor 2000-present, Treasurer 2015-present). Second term as Treasurer, 2017-20 and reelected.
Milwaukee Bar Association (Committee Member Legal Services for the Indigent 1987-88, Lawyer Referral Service 1987-89, Committee Member Professionalism Committee 1993-95, Vice Chair Elder Law Section 1996-99)
Diplomat, American College of Family Trial Lawyers (2017 – present) Fellow, American Bar Foundation
Fellow, State Bar of Wisconsin
Director, Milwaukee Bar Foundation Board of Directors (2005- 2012) Association of Trial Lawyers of America (member 1986-92) Association for Women Lawyers (member 1988-present)
Inns of Court, Leander Foley chapter, Barrister (1999-2007) Collaborative Family Law Council of Wisconsin (2003-present) Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee (Director 2004-14)
Wisconsin Equal Justice Foundation Board Member (2014-present), President Elect (2020)
Trustee, Village of Shorewood (2006-11)
Aurora Family Service of Milwaukee (Director 1999-2010, Secretary 2005-06, Vice President 2006-07, President 2007-09)
Rosalie Manor (Director 1989-97, Treasurer 1991, President 1992-95)
WUWM Community Advisory Board member (2004-present, Chair 2008-10)