Board of Governors District Elections 2014

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Candidates for Board of Governors

The following names were submitted by nomination petition for election to the Board of Governors.

District 2 (five vacancies)

  • John A. Birdsall, Birdsall Offices S.C., Milwaukee, U.W. 1989 [Statement]
  • Andrew J. Chevrez, Milwaukee, U.W. 1994 [Statement]
  • Jill M. Kastner, Legal Action of Wisconsin Inc. Milwaukee, UCLA 2000 [Statement]
  • Randy L. Nash, O'Neil, Cannon, Hollman, DeJong & Laing S.C., Milwaukee, U.W. 1979 [Statement]
  • Joseph M. Russell, von Briesen & Roper S.C., Milwaukee, Northwestern University 2003 [Statement]
  • Amy E. Wochos, Milwaukee County Courthouse, Milwaukee, U.W. 1996 [Statement]
  • Nicholas C. Zales, Zales Law Office, Milwaukee, Marquette 1989 [Statement]

District 4 (one vacancy)

  • Jeffrey R. Wisnicky, Kewaunee County Corporation Counsel, Kewaunee, Northern Illinois University 2003 [Statement]

District 6 (two vacancies)

  • Daniel P. Fay, Oakton Avenue Law Office S.C., Pewaukee, Marquette 1977 [Statement]
  • Kimberly K. Haines, Waukesha County Corporation Counsel, Waukesha, Marquette 1990 [Statement]
  • Sarah A. Ponath, Law Offices of Sarah A Ponath LLC, Brookfield, Marquette 2007 [Statement]

District 8 (one vacancy)

  • Daniel P. Gustafson, Weld, Riley, Prenn & Ricci S.C., Eau Claire, U.W. 1996 [Statement]
  • Nicholas A. Heike, Ruder Ware LLSC, Eau Claire, Drake University 2006 [Statement]
  • Deanne M. Koll, Bakke Norman S.C., Menomonie, William Mitchell 2006 [Statement]
  • Lauren O. Otto, Otto Law Firm LLC, Eau Claire, William Mitchell 2009 [Statement]
  • Heather M. Wolske, Eau Claire County Corporation Counsel, Eau Claire, Hamline University 2007 [Statement]

District 9 (four vacancies)

  • Catherine Dorl, State Public Defenders Office, Madison, U.W. 1994 [Statement]
  • Anthony J. Gray, Institute for Global Ethics, Madison, U.W. 2007 [Statement]
  • Christopher E. Rogers, Habush Habush & Rottier S.C., Madison, U.W. 1995 [Statement]
  • James S. Thiel, Thiel, Vu & Associates, Madison, U.W. 1973 [Statement]
  • Laura Skilton Verhoff, Stafford Rosenbaum LLP, Madison, U.W. 1997 [Statement]

District 10 (one vacancy)

  • Thomas P. Schwaba, Schwaba & Sparks LLP, Marinette, Loyola University of Chicago 1972 [Statement]

District 12 (one vacancy)

  • Kelly J. Mattingly, State Public Defenders Office, Janesville, U.W. 1985 [Statement]

District 14 (one vacancy)

  • Byron B. Conway, Habush Habush & Rottier S.C., Green Bay, Marquette 2002 [Statement]

District 16 (one vacancy)

  • John E. Danner, Harrold, Scrobell & Danner S.C., Minocqua, University of Iowa 1979 [Statement]

More about the candidates...

John A. BirdsallJohn A. Birdsall of Milwaukee. University of Wisconsin-Madison, B.A. with Honors 1986. University of Wisconsin-Madison, J.D. 1989. Birdsall Law Offices S.C., Milwaukee and Green Bay. Member: State Bar of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Bar Association, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Rotary Club of Wisconsin. Volunteer Attorney: Milwaukee Rescue Mission. Past President: Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Former Chair: State Bar of Wisconsin Criminal Law Section.


Andrew J. ChevrezAndrew J. Chevrez of Milwaukee. University of Wisconsin-Madison, J.D. 1994. Solo practitioner. Member: State Bar of Wisconsin, State Bar Board of Governors, District 2 Governor (2013-14), (2004-06), Executive Committee (2004-05), Wisconsin Hispanic Lawyers Association liaison to the BOG (2001-04). State Bar Consumer Information and Protection Committee (1996-2004), Vice Chairperson (2002-2004), Unauthorized Practice of Law Policy Committee (2005-13), Chairperson (2011-13), Local Bar Relations Committee (1999-2001), Multidisciplinary Practice Commission (2001-03), State Bar Diversity Task Force (2013). Wisconsin Hispanic Lawyers Association, President (1996-97), Treasurer (1995-96), Milwaukee Bar Association, Director (2000-03), MBA Community Relations Committee (2000-04). Fluent in Spanish.


Byron B. ConwayByron B. Conway of Green Bay. Marquette University, J.D. 2002. Habush Habush & Rottier S.C.®, Green Bay. State Bar Board of Governors District 14 Representative 2013-present, President Brown County Bar Association 201112, President Brown County Young Lawyers Association 2010, Brown County Bar Association Executive Committee 2009-12. Member State Bar Convention and Entertainment Committee 2002-05, American Bar Association, State Bar of Wisconsin, Brown County Bar Association, Robert J. Parins American Inn of Court.


John E. DannerJohn E. Danner of Minocqua. University of Iowa College of Law, J.D. 1979. Loras College, B.A. 1972. Shareholder, Harrold, Scrobell & Danner S.C. Board of Governors, State Bar of Wisconsin, 2012-present. Oneida County Court Commissioner. Office of Lawyer Regulation District 16 Investigatory Committee, 1996-2007. Director, Wisconsin Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company, 1998-present. Board of Governors Strategic Planning Committee, 2012-present; Board of Governors Judicial Election Steering Committee, 2013-present


Catherine J. Dorl is the Trial Division Director for the Wisconsin State Public Defender (SPD). In this position, Catherine leads the efforts of SPD trial division staff representing clients in courtrooms throughout Wisconsin. Catherine started with the SPD 19 years ago as an assistant state public defender. She was subsequently promoted to management positions, including the Regional Attorney Manager for the Madison Trial region. She was promoted to Trial Division Director in 2011.

Catherine is on the board of the State Bar’s Criminal Law Section and is a frequent speaker at the SPD’s annual conference and trial skills academy. She previously served as a board member of the Wisconsin Association of Treatment Court Professionals. She has participated in many Dane County justice system committees, including as a member of treatment court teams in Drug Court and OWI Court. Born and raised in Madison, Catherine graduated from U.W. Madison in 1991 with a degree in Political Science and Spanish. She graduated from the U.W. Law School in 1995.

Catherine J. Dorl Campaign Statement

I am honored for the opportunity to represent the attorneys of District 9 on the State Bar’s Board of Governors. I am currently on the board of the State Bar’s Criminal Law Section. My involvement in this section inspires me to increase my role in the State Bar, specifically as your representative on the Board of Governors.

In my 19 years with the State Public Defender’s Office, I have found great satisfaction working directly with indigent clients and litigating all types of criminal cases. In my current role as Trial Division Director, I have shifted to working on policy and operational issues. As your representative on the Board of Governors, I will draw heavily on my perspective as a government attorney, as well as my experience working with solo practitioners and other private attorneys.

I believe that public service is honorable, and that being a lawyer is a responsibility. I care deeply about access to justice and the public’s trust and confidence in the judicial system. Differing opinions and diverse ideas promote a productive dialogue on the issues that come before the Board of Governors. Progress is achievable through coalition building, listening and patience.

I ask that you consider my candidacy to be your representative on the Board of Governors. Thank you.


Daniel P. FayDaniel P. Fay of Pewaukee. I graduated from Marquette University Law School in 1977. I have practiced law in Waukesha County since 1977. I have served on the Fee Arbitration Panel for over twenty-five (25) years. I have been co-chairman of the State Bar’s Lawyer’s Assistance Committee. I am also a past board member of the Wisconsin Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Association, as well as numerous community groups.

Daniel P. Fay Campaign Statement

I am running for the Board of Governors because Waukesha County and my fellow lawyers in Waukesha County have been very good to me and my family. I strongly believe that a lawyer has an obligation to be a good steward to his community of lawyers. I am running for the Board of Governors to show my willingness to fulfill my obligations to my colleagues and my community.

All lawyers are faced with challenges in their practice and as a result of their practice. The State Bar is dedicated to the challenges that all lawyers face. My only promise is to look at those challenges and “do the best that I can with the resources of the State Bar.”


Anthony J. GrayAnthony J. Gray is the President & CEO of the Institute for Global Ethics in Madison, Wis., (, an independent, nonsectarian, nonpartisan, global think-tank dedicated to promoting ethical action in a global context.

Attorney Gray has recently been appointed a Distinguished Scholar at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, a transdisciplinary research institute at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Anthony is also an attorney, speaker, and counselor. Prior to his current roles, Anthony served as the global compliance officer and chief ethics & compliance official for a multi-national aerospace company and provided executive legal counsel to international corporations in multiple disciplines and industries.

Anthony served as a Judicial Intern for Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. He’s admitted to the practice of law in the states of Wisconsin, Connecticut, New York, and the District of Columbia. Admitted to the Federal District Courts in the Western District of Wisconsin, the Southern District of New York, the Eastern District of New York, and the District of Connecticut.

Anthony is married with two children. He received a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School, an M.A.R. in Ethics from Yale University, and a B.G.S. from the University of Connecticut.

Anthony Gray Campaign Statement

During my years of service to the State Bar of Wisconsin, I’ve had the pleasure of serving in a unique constellation of roles. I attended the U.W. Law School, then practiced on the East Coast, and have now returned to Madison to raise my young family. During each of these phases of my career I’ve remained active in the State Bar of Wisconsin.

This geographic diversity has allowed me to serve The State Bar of Wisconsin in a number of interesting capacities. These include serving on the Board of the Nonresident Lawyers Division, President-elect of the Nonresident Lawyers Division, President of the Nonresident Lawyers Division, the State Bar of Wisconsin Board of Governors “BOG”, the Executive Committee of the BOG, and both the Governance and Strategic Planning committees of the BOG.

Now that I’ve returned home to Wisconsin, I would very much like to continue my service to the legal profession and the lawyers in District 9 specifically. I would be very grateful if you would consider supporting me as your District 9 BOG representative.


Daniel P. GustafsonDaniel P. Gustafson of Eau Claire. Shareholder, Weld, Riley, Prenn & Ricci, S.C. – Eau Claire office. J.D. cum laude, University of Wisconsin Law School, 1996; M.S., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1991; B.A., Lawrence University, 1985. Member, American Bar Association, State Bar of Wisconsin (Environmental and Public Utilities Sections), Eau Claire County Bar Association, Electric Cooperative Bar Association. Member, Legal Assistance Committee, 2002-08; Chair, 2004-05. Director, Energy & Telecommunications (Public Utilities) Section, 2009-present; Chair, 2011-12. Section Leaders’ Council, 2011-12. Selected by peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America, for Energy Law (2011-14), Environmental Law (2011-14), and Environmental Litigation (2012-14). AV Preeminent (4.9/5.0) Peer Review Rating by Martindale-Hubbell.

Daniel P. Gustafson Campaign Statement

Dunn, Eau Claire, Pierce and St. Croix County Attorneys:

I respectfully request your vote to serve as the District 8 Representative to the State Bar’s Board of Governors. Although I am relatively new to Eau Claire, and still getting to know many of the attorneys practicing in District 8, I have almost 18 years of experience in private practice with law firms in Milwaukee and Madison and have been active in the leadership of the State Bar for a number of years.

From 2002 to 2008, I was a member of the Bar’s Legal Assistance Committee – the standing committee that develops and monitors programs to expand support for the delivery of civil legal services to low-income and disadvantaged Wisconsin residents – and served as its Chair in 2004-2005. For the past five years, I have been a Director of the Bar’s Energy & Telecommunications Law Section (recently renamed the Public Utilities Section), and chaired the Section in 2011-2012, during which time I also served on the Bar’s Section Leaders’ Council.

My practice consists primarily of business, local government and administrative law, specializing in the areas of environmental, energy and telecommunications law.

I look forward to meeting all of my District 8 colleagues, and if elected to serve on the BOG, will strive to keep you informed of issues facing the State Bar, and to represent your interests in all of the BOG’s deliberations and decisions. Please feel free to com dgustafson wrpr contact me directly with your questions or concerns.

Thanks in advance for your support,


Kimberly K. HainesKimberly K. Haines of Waukesha. Marquette University, J.D. 1990. Assistant Corporation Counsel, Waukesha County Corporation, Counsel 2012-present. Kimberly K. Haines, J.D., S.C., Delafield 1999-2012. AV Rating, 2010. Admitted to practice in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. Member: State Bar of Wisconsin, Waukesha County Bar Association. Member of Waukesha County Bar Association Real Estate Section 2003-present, Probate and Estate Planning Section 2007-present, Juvenile Law Section, 2011-present and Municipal Law Section 2013-present. Board Governor of District 6, Board of Governors of State Bar of Wisconsin, 2009-13. Former Board of Governors’ Liaison to Law Office Management and Real Property, Probate and Trust Sections of State Bar of Wisconsin.

Chair of Challenges to the Profession Board of Governors’ Committee. "The New Normal: The Challenges Facing the Legal Profession," July 2011, Board of Governors' Challenges to the Profession Committee, State Bar of Wisconsin, published report contributor. 2011 Presidential Award, State Bar of Wisconsin, granted for efforts in furthering the goals of the State Bar and the President.

Board Member: Stillwaters Cancer Support Services. Former Board Member of Kettle Moraine School District and President of Kettle Moraine Education Foundation.

Kimberly K. Haines Campaign Statement

I desire to be re-elected to serve on the Board of Governors for two core reasons: 1. to continue the crucial work that commenced during my terms on the Board of Governors from 2009-2013; and 2. to further transition my Board involvement from the perspective of solo and small firm practitioner to government lawyer.

During my terms, the Board of Governors has advanced new initiatives. Past president, Jim Boll, created working committees for the Board of Governors. I served as Chair of the Challenges to the Profession Board Committee and member of the Advancement Committee. In 2011-2012, I served on the Strategic Planning Committee where I was involved with the complete reorganization of its role and method of operation, as well as, the creation of new goals to advance the organization. Two unresolved key issues that were introduced during my tenure on the BOG are the effect of members opting out of mailings from the State Bar, and the need to develop and implement a business plan by the State Bar. I strongly support both of these issues as means to sustain the organization by reducing needless expenses while instituting a sound course of action to ensure longevity.

After twenty-two years in private practice, I joined the Waukesha County Corporation Counsel in December, 2012. Now that I have experienced both diverse career paths, this transition has been a great opportunity for me to understand how to provide better benefits and services for both government lawyers and solo and small firm practitioners. The Government Lawyers Division has a very different perspective of the State Bar’s role than the private bar of solo and small firm attorneys, and it is imperative that the State Bar be relevant, useful, purposeful and functional to all sectors of attorneys.

Another vital concern is how to better assist new lawyers in the practice areas that they choose to pursue. Throughout my career, I have had many wonderful mentors and now wish to “pay it forward.” Having been a small business owner, private practice attorney and government lawyer, I will advocate helping new attorneys be equipped with the tools they need to be successful professionally and personally.

Please vote for me for District 6 Governor in April.


Nicholas A. HeikeNicholas A. Heike is an attorney with Ruder Ware LLSC in Eau Claire. He has been a member of the State Bar since 2006. Nick is also a member of the Eau Claire Bar Association and Tri-County Bar Association, where he was the past treasurer. Upon leaving his hometown of Mondovi, Wis., he received his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his law degree from Drake University, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Drake Journal of Agricultural Law. Nick’s community involvement, among other things, includes serving on the boards of Habitat for Humanity and United Way Emerging Leaders Advisory Council. He also enjoys volunteering at the local Free Legal Clinic to provide advice to those of limited means. Nick lives in Eau Claire with his wife, Sara, where he enjoys all activities that involve being outdoors, including snowshoeing, skiing, golf, fishing, and hunting.


Jill M. KastnerJill M. Kastner of Glendale. Staff Attorney at Legal Action of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. UCLA School of Law, Order of the Coif, 2000. UW-Oshkosh, summa cum laude, 1997. State Bar of Wisconsin: Board of Governors, 2011 to present; Executive Committee, 2011-12, 2013-14; Young Lawyers Division President, 2009-12 (progressive term); YLD Board 2006-12. American Bar Association (ABA) Young Lawyers Division: District Representative for Wisconsin and Minnesota, 2008-10; FEMA Disaster Legal Services for WI and MN, 2008-10; ABA YLD Communications Director, 2010-11; Editor of The Affiliate publication, 2009-10. Milwaukee Young Lawyers Association (MYLA): President 2008-11 (progressive term). Association for Women Lawyers: Community Service Committee, 2006-09, 2013 to present. North Shore Presbyterian Church: Deacon, 2008 to present.


Deanne M. KollDeanne M. Koll of Menomonie/New Richmond.

B.S. 2003, magna cum laude, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
J.D. 2006, cum laude, William Mitchell College of Law
Admitted to State Bar of Wisconsin, 2006
Admitted to State Bar of Minnesota, 2008
Attorney and Shareholder, Bakke Norman, S.C., Menomonie and New Richmond, Wisconsin

State Bar of Wisconsin: Treasurer, Young Lawyers Division (2009-current); Board Member, Young Lawyers Division (2007-09); Member, Bench and Bar Committee (2010-12); Member, Annual Meeting & Conference Committee (2013-14)

Volunteer/Associations: Board Member, Central St. Croix Chamber of Commerce (2012-current); Founding Member, Menomonie Young Professionals (2007-08); Graduate, Leadership Menomonie (2007); Member, St. Croix Valley Homebuilders Association (2011-12); Member, St. Croix Valley Bar Association (2006-current); Associate Member, Tri-County Bar Association (2012-current); Teen Court Judge, Dunn County Teen Court (2012);

Awards: Rising Star, Super Lawyers Magazine (2010-current); Up & Coming Lawyer, Wisconsin Law Journal (2009)

Publications: Co-Author, Leveraging All Knowledge In Real Estate Disputes, Real Estate Litigation Newsletter, American Bar Association (Spring 2011, Vol. 9, No.2); Co-Editor, Actions Affecting the Family, Wisconsin Attorneys Desk Reference, State Bar of Wisconsin (2006-current); Author, There’s More to Law than Lawyering, Law Practice Today, American Bar Association (May 2012)


Kelly J. MattinglyKelly J. Mattingly is an Attorney Manager in the State Public Defender’s Trial Office in Janesville. In addition to handling a challenging caseload, he supervises attorneys, investigators and support staff who provide services to clients in Rock, Green and Lafayette Counties. Kelly attended the University of Wisconsin Law School, earning his J.D. in 1985. He then joined the State Public Defender’s Office as an assistant state public defender, and in 2000, Kelly was promoted to his current position. An active member of the State Bar of Wisconsin and the Rock County Bar Association, Kelly also served on the Rock County Bench and Bar Committee from 2004-2012. In 2006, Kelly was appointed by the Director of State Courts to serve on the committee with the assignment of drafting the statutes and rules necessary to implement electronic filing in the circuit courts. Additionally, Kelly serves on Rock County’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Council and on its Drug Court Team.

Kelly Mattingly Campaign Statement

I ask you for the opportunity to represent the attorneys of District 12 on the State Bar’s Board of Governors. District 12 comprises Grant, Green, Lafayette, Rock and Iowa Counties, which feature great diversity in terms of population and geography. As your Board of Governors representative, my aim is to represent ALL attorneys of District 12 and to bring forward your issues and ideas.

I have nearly 30 years of experience working with the attorneys, judges, and court personnel in the area. For the past 14 years, I have served as a local attorney manager in the State Public Defender’s Janesville Region. Previously, I was an assistant state public defender in the Janesville Region for 15 years. I have been active in the Rock County Bar Association. With this track record of local experience, I can bring the perspective of the attorneys in the district, including government attorneys, solo practitioners and attorneys connected to area firms, to the Board of Governors.

Because of the geography and number of counties in District 12, communication and collaboration are important. My approach is to have an open line of communication: I need to hear your voices and opinions and, in turn, I would like to share what I am hearing and seeing. The justice system has embraced collaboration, and I see the value of collaboration in my involvement with Rock County’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Council and Drug Court Team.

I am a long time resident of Rock County, having moved here after graduating from law school in 1985. My wife, Terri, and I put down roots and raised our three children in Janesville. In my free time, I enjoy training for and competing in triathlons of varying distances.

Please consider my candidacy as you vote for your Board of Governors’ representative. Thank you.


Randy L. NashRandy L. Nash of Milwaukee. Wisconsin Law School, J.D. 1979. Partner at O'Neil, Cannon, Hollman, DeJong & Laing S.C. in Milwaukee. Member of the American, Wisconsin and Milwaukee Bar Associations. Past Member and Chair of the Media-Law Relations Committee and the Professionalism Committee of the State Bar. Past Member of the Wisconsin Assistance to Lawyers Committee. He frequently represents businesses and individuals in litigation. He served for five years as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Marquette University Law School teaching trial advocacy, wrote a chapter in the Contract Law in State Bar of Wisconsin book, and annual supplements. He has been certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy as a Civil Trial Specialist, is a Fellow in Litigation Counsel of America, and has been named one of Wisconsin's top 100 litigation lawyers by the American Society of Legal Advocates. He volunteers for the Milwaukee Justice Center.

Randy Nash Campaign Statement

I have been an active member of the State Bar of Wisconsin since 1979. While much has changed since then, lawyers expect and even anticipate change. The organized Bar is very important to the practice of law. The organized bar helps us see beyond our day-to-day efforts at practicing law. It binds us together. The Bar's first priority should be service to its members and then to the broader public. We should advise the legislature and government and be advocates for our clients. We should consider and protect constitutional and civil rights. The Bar should engage in additional efforts to inform and educate lawyers, present better, more economical continuing legal education and try to better address the needs of all of the Bar's membership. While the Bar faces significant financial pressures, it still needs to promote understanding and collegiality among the membership. Our word should be our bond at all times. The organized Bar should promote professionalism, care and integrity. We should seek to be respected in the community, with the desire to leave a true legacy to the next generation of lawyers. I have been active in the Professionalism Committee of the State Bar, and believe it should be reinstated.


Lauren O. OttoLauren O. Otto has been practicing law since 2009 and is the sole owner of Otto Law Office, LLC in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. She is a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin and the Eau Claire County Bar Association, and focuses her practice in the areas of Family Law and Criminal Defense. Attorney Otto is a graduate of Luther College (BA) and William Mitchell College of Law (JD), where she graduated in the top 26% of her class. First licensed in Minnesota in 2009, Attorney Otto obtained her Wisconsin license in 2010 and has been practicing in Eau Claire and surrounding areas ever since. Prior to founding Otto Law Office, Attorney Otto was a judicial clerk for the Honorable Kristine R. DeMay in Brainerd, Minn. During her career, Attorney Otto was also an associate at the Cray, Asher and Raihle (formerly Cray and Asher) Law Office in Chippewa Falls, Wis., and held a Special Prosecutor position at the Chippewa County District Attorney’s office. Outside of the legal profession, Attorney Otto is a proud member of the Altoona Lions Club, where she will serve on the board as a director starting in July 2014.


Sarah A. PonathSarah A. Ponath is running for reelection to the Board of Governors for the State Bar. As a current Governor, she has been a member of the Local Bar Committee, the Strategic Planning committee, and is currently a member of the Executive Committee and the Policy Committee.

In addition to serving the members of the State Bar of Wisconsin, primarily representing Waukesha County constituents, Ms. Ponath also serves on the board of directors for the Waukesha County Bar Association and currently serves as Secretary/Treasurer. She also serves as the section chair for the Criminal Law Section and has been a leader in modernizing communications within the local bar, serves as the Editor of the WCBA newsletter and organizes the annual Brewers outing.

In the community, she is also a member of the Greater Brookfield Chamber of Commerce and a community ambassador for the Menomonee Falls Chamber of Commerce. She is also highly involved with the Waukesha County chapter of the Wisconsin Alumni Association, as an alumna of the University of Wisconsin Madison (BA ’88). Her law degree is from Marquette University Law School (JD ’07) and holds a certificate in Sports Law from the National Sports Law Institute.

Sarah A. Ponath Campaign Statement

Attorney Sarah Ponath is running for reelection to the Board of Governors for the State Bar. As a current Governor, she has been a member of the Local Bar Committee, the Strategic Planning committee, and is currently a member of the Executive Committee and the Policy Committee.

She is an alumna of the University of Wisconsin Madison (BA ’88), with a degree in Economics with a Math emphasis. Her law degree is from Marquette University Law School (JD ’07) and holds a certificate in Sports Law from the National Sports Law Institute.

Prior to law school, Ms. Ponath had a lengthy career in the field of credit and collections. She continued her full-time career while attending law school as a part-time evening student.

Her experience and expertise in the area of collections and business administration is the foundation of finding cost-effective options to address legal issues and administrative concerns of the State Bar.

Her natural leadership and effective communication skills have been an asset to the Board of Governors and the various committees of which she has served. She takes an analytical approach to the issues before the Board of Governors to determine whether to support a particular petition, staying focused on the needs of her constituents and the diversity of practitioners from Waukesha County. Her network includes community leaders, courthouse administrators, and members of the judiciary.

Her candidacy is endorsed by members of the board of directors of the Waukesha County Bar Association, the judiciary, and former governors. Please vote in favor of her reelection to a second term with the Board of Governors. Thank you for your consideration.


Christopher E. RogersChristopher E. Rogers, Waunakee. University of Wisconsin-Madison, J.D. 1995. Environmental Law Journal, note and comment editor 1995. Borgelt, Powell, Peterson & Frauen, 1995-98. Corneille Law Group, 1998. Habush Habush & Rottier S.C.® 1999–present (Shareholder 2004; Chair, Office Management Committee, 2012). Admitted: United States District Court, Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin. Member: American Bar Association, State Bar of Wisconsin, Dane County Bar Association, and American Association for Justice. Executive Committee Board of Governors, State Bar of Wisconsin. Board of Directors, Wisconsin Association for Justice. Committee Member, State Bar of Wisconsin Continuing Legal Education, State Bar of Wisconsin Strategic Planning, State Bar Liaison Litigation Section and State Bar Liaison Bench/Bar. Past member: Walworth, Racine, Kenosha and Milwaukee County Bar Associations; Waunakee Youth Sports, coach 2008-11. Named Super Lawyer® 2010–13 and Top 25: Madison Super Lawyers®, 2012. Prior to law school, Chris Rogers worked in a variety of positions in the field of disability rights. He worked extensively with people with disabilities in the areas of community integration, employment and job training, and was part of a local and state task force regarding disability advocacy. Chris is married to a school teacher and has three children.

Christopher E. Rogers Campaign Statement

I am writing to ask you for your vote and continued support as your representative to the Board of Governors. The mission of the State Bar of Wisconsin is to “Improve the Administration of Justice and its delivery of legal services and to promote the professional interests of Wisconsin lawyers.” As a member of the Board of Governors this past year, I have worked hard to focus on this mission.

Over the last year, I have been active in the following areas of the State Bar:

  • Elected, Board of Governors Executive Committee
  • Named, State Bar Liaison, Litigation Committee
  • Named, State Bar Liaison, Bench Bar Committee
  • Member, Continuing Legal Education Committee
  • Member, State Bar Strategic Planning Committee

As your Board of Governors representative, I have worked hard to increase communication and understanding between the State Bar and its members. I have also strived to ensure the State Bar is more efficient overall. It is important for members to understand the role of the State Bar and to understand what it offers each individual lawyer. Equally as important is to make certain that District 9 members have a means to voice their concerns and opinions. I will continue to work to increase the awareness and use of the State Bar in all of our daily practices, and to be a voice for District 9.

If anyone has any questions regarding my candidacy, I urge you to contact me. I can be reached at (608) 255-6663 or at com crogers habush habush crogers com. I would be honored and very appreciative for the opportunity to continue my work on the Board of Governors for District 9.


Joseph M. RussellJoseph M. Russell is a shareholder in the Milwaukee office of von Briesen & Roper s.c., where he focuses his practice on complex commercial litigation and risk management. Education: Georgetown University, B.A. (1993); Trinity College, University of Dublin, M.Phil (1996); University of Wisconsin, M.A. (1997); Northwestern University School of Law, J.D. (2003). Bar Activities: Joe serves on the State Bar’s Ethics Committee. He also serves as chair of the Milwaukee Bar Association’s Government Law Section and is a member of the Milwaukee Bar Association’s Fee Arbitration Committee. Pro Bono Activities: Joe served as class counsel for over 4,000 individuals who resided in state-funded institutions for mental disease who now have the opportunity to move into and receive services in community-based housing (Williams v. Quinn, N.D. Illinois). He was the recipient of the Access Living 2012 “Lead On!” Award for representing individuals with mental illness. Other Legal Experience: U.S. Department of Justice, Constitutional & Specialized Torts (1993-95). Community Activities: Board of Directors, The Parenting Network, a non-profit agency whose mission is to strengthen parenting and to prevent child abuse. Joe and his wife, Heather, have three young children and a six-month old black lab.

Joseph M. Russell Campaign Statement

I consider myself lucky to be a Milwaukee lawyer and would be honored to represent other Milwaukee lawyers on the Board of Governors during the upcoming term.

Being a lawyer is tough. It’s no secret that lawyers are more likely to battle depression, anxiety and substance abuse than members of most other professions. And it has become tougher for lawyers – both emotionally and economically – over the last few years, especially for young lawyers. Law school debt, unemployment and underemployment are taking a toll on an entire generation of Wisconsin lawyers. The report released by a State Bar Special Task Force this past November – “Challenges Facing New Lawyers” – amply illustrates the crisis.

As a District 2 Board of Governors representative, I would seek to implement many of the recommendations made by the State Bar’s Special Task Force to assist those lawyers who are struggling. These include discounting rates for CLEs, developing more mentoring and apprenticeship opportunities, offering practice management and business training, enhancing lawyer referral services, and leveraging technology to assist new and solo practitioners who lack the resources they would otherwise have at law firms, in house, or in the public sector.

Improving the future prospects of the Bar’s newest lawyers will strengthen the Bar as a whole. The legal profession continues to change – rapidly – and we all face new challenges to our practice as a result. But unless we make efforts to support the most vulnerable members of our profession, we jeopardize the future success of the Bar itself.

Thank you for considering my candidacy.


Thomas P. SchwabaThomas P. Schwaba is a partner in the firm of Schwaba & Sparks LLP in Marinette, Wis. He received his B.A. degree from Marquette University in Milwaukee and his J.D. degree from Loyola University Law School in Chicago. He is licensed to practice law in Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois, and has an active civil litigation practice throughout Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. He has lectured to the Litigation Section of the State Bar of Wisconsin and has taught Political Science at UW-Marinette. He is a member of the Wisconsin Association of Justice, the Michigan Association of Justice, and the American Association of Justice. He is an active member of the State Bar of Wisconsin and has been a Governor since July 2012. He is married and has five adult children.


Jim ThielJim (James S.) Thiel of Madison. University of Wisconsin, J.D. 1973. Member Dane County Bar Association, State Bar of Wisconsin, Government Lawyers Division, Construction and Public Contract Law Section Board, Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Section, Senior Lawyers Division. Member Board of Governors 2009-13, Finance Committee, 2009-10, Strategic Planning Committee, 2010-13. Regular reporter of Board of Governors’ meetings for District 9, Dane County lawyers. Term limited June 2013. Retired long-time General Counsel of Wisconsin DOT. Continue as Chair, Legal Resources Group, Transportation Research Board of The National Academies.

Jim Thiel Campaign Statement

JIM (James S.) THIEL for the Board of Governors for District 9, Dane County. If elected I would like to join with other likeminded Board members in support of a voluntary bar with improved member services. I would help build (1) a more effective Board, (2) a State Bar that is agile and willing to address current issues challenging the legal system, and (3) a State Bar that is more responsive to all its members. The Supreme Court charges the Board to manage and direct the affairs and activities of the State Bar. For the most part, in my view, the Board fails to fulfill that role. Why? Because it is a part-time Board with significant turnover. It has limited knowledge of how the State Bar works and what it is doing. The Board only meets five times a year. The Board lacks adequate notice or any meaningful opportunity to affect many important State Bar management and financial decisions. And as a mandatory membership organization, the State Bar itself is just not as transparent and responsive to its Officers, its Executive Committee, its Board of Governors or its captive dues payers as it should be. I would like to help change that and have time to devote to the effort. I will also candidly and regularly report on the happenings at the meetings of the Board as I have in the past.


Laura Skilton VerhoffLaura Skilton Verhoff Madison, Wis. Partner, Stafford Rosenbaum LLP. Practice Areas: estate and trust planning and administration and litigation, including probate litigation, insurance litigation, warranty defense, creditor-side collection and creditor-side bankruptcy and foreclosure. Recognitions: Named Best Lawyers' 2013 Madison Litigation – Trusts & Estates "Lawyer of the Year;" Included in The Best Lawyers in America since 2012; Wisconsin Rising Star estate planning & probate (2006, 2010) and business litigation (2007, 2008). Professional: U.W. Law School, J.D. 1997. Stafford Rosenbaum LLP, Madison, 1997-present. Adjunct Professor, U.W. Law School-Introduction to Estate Planning, 2009-present. Madison Metropolitan School District, Special Education Teacher, LaFollette High School, 1992-94. Member: ABA, SBW, DCBA. State Bar of Wisconsin: Board of Governors (2012-present); Executive Committee (2013-present); Policy Committee, Member (2012-present), Vice-Chair (2013-present); Judicial Election Steering Committee, Member (2013-present); Task Force on Bar/Section Relations, Member (2013-present); State Bar LRIS Committee, Member (2010-present), BOG Liaison (2013-present); Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section, BOG Liaison (2013-present). Member, DCBA Courthouse Committee, 2007-09. Board Member and Fundraising Chair, Wisconsin Equal Justice Fund, Inc., 2011-present. Board Member, Stafford Rosenbaum Board of Directors, 2010-present. Personal: Married, Timothy R. Verhoff. Three children, J.H. (14), Annika (12) and Theo (8).

Laura Skilton Verhoff Campaign Statement

I have enjoyed serving District Nine over the last two years. Thank you for electing me and trusting me to do so.

The Board is made up of an interesting mix of personalities and perspectives, which often leads to spirited and thoughtful discussion. Over the last two years, in addition to governance issues, the Board of Governors has begun work to address issues such as challenges facing new lawyers and issues related to judicial elections. I would very much appreciate the opportunity to see these and other important issues through for another two years.

During my time with the Board of Governors, I have also served on various committees for the State Bar, such as the Executive Committee, the Policy Committee and the LRIS Committee. I also serve on the Judicial Election Task Force and the Task Force for Strengthening Section and Board of Governors Relations. I am the liaison to the Real Property Probate and Trust Section and the LRIS Committee. I have enjoyed the experience very much and, as a result, have taken the opportunity to participate in other State Bar volunteer commitments as they have become available.

I encourage you to contact me at any time with comments, concerns and suggestions related to the State Bar.

Thank you for your consideration.


Jeffrey R. Wisnicky of Kewaunee. Northern Illinois University College of Law, J.D. 2003. Kewaunee County Corporation Counsel / Assistant District Attorney. Member: State Bar of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Association of Corporation Counsels, Kewaunee County Bar Association. Previously served as President of Kewaunee Area Scholarships Inc. and Board Member of the Violence Intervention Project of Kewaunee County.


Amy E. WochosAmy E. Wochos of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Education: University of Wisconsin - Madison, B.A. (1991) with honors, J.D. (1996) cum laude. Practice: Legal Counsel – Courts, Milwaukee County, currently in the Probate Division (2011-present), previously in the Milwaukee Justice Center (2007-11); Piper & Schmidt (1996-2007). Professional Activities: State Bar of Wisconsin: Board of Governors, 2007-12 (chair of Board Policy Committee, 2011-12), Executive Committee, 2007-08; Client Protection Fund Committee, 2008-present (currently chair); Representative to the Judicial Council (2013-present); Young Lawyers Division (YLD), president, 2006-07, YLD board member, 1998-2008; Convention Committee, 2007-08. American Bar Association: House of Delegates, 2003-04, YLD Member Service team, 2002-03, YLD Public Service team, 2003-04, YLD Professional Development team, 2004-05, YLD Meetings Coordinator, 2005-06. Milwaukee Bar Association: Legal Services to the Indigent Committee, 2007-present; Milwaukee Justice Center Steering Committee, 2007-present. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee: Lecturer, Political Science Department (Law and Society, Constitutional Law), 2003-12.

Amy E. Wochos Campaign Statement

After a two-year absence from the Board of Governors, I am asking my colleagues in District 2 to elect me for another two-year term. I have been active in the State Bar throughout my career, which includes 10 years on the YLD Board and 5 years on the Board of Governors. During my last term, I was the chair of the Board of Governors’ Public Policy Committee, wherein I spearheaded our work in reviewing, analyzing the current need for, and revising a quarter of the public policy positions of the State Bar. I was honored to receive a President’s Award from then-President Jim Brennan for this effort.

In my daily professional life, as an attorney for the Milwaukee County Clerk of Courts, I work daily with attorneys, judges, commissioners, elected officials, and the public regarding policies, procedures, statutes, and rules. I believe bringing this courthouse perspective is useful to the Board of Governors as it debates the effects of its decisions. I would be honored to serve.


Heather M. WolskeHeather M. Wolske of Hudson. Hamline University School of Law, J.D. 2007. Currently employed as an Assistant Corporation Counsel for Eau Claire County since December 2012. Previously employed as an Assistant Corporation Counsel for St. Croix County from 2008 to 2012. Member of the St. Croix Valley Bar Association (SCVBA), the Eau Claire County Bar Association (ECCBA), the Wisconsin Child Support Enforcement Agency (WCSEA), and the Wisconsin Association of County Corporation Counsel (WACCC).

Heather M. Wolske Campaign Statement

If elected to the Board of Governors for the State Bar of Wisconsin, I hope to address the following issues: reduce the amount of paper mailings to attorneys from the State Bar for Continuing Legal Education courses and instead utilize email notifications or other online communication through the use of websites and social media; increase the availability of live Continuing Legal Education courses to the western part of the state; and assist local bar associations with items needed to continue to offer free legal clinics.


Nicholas C. ZalesNicholas C. Zales of Milwaukee. Marquette University, J.D. 1989. Zales Law Office. Admitted to practice in Wisconsin in 1989, the U.S.D.C. (E.D. Wis.) in 1989 and the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in December 1998.

Professional Memberships and Publications: Board of Governors, Dist. II (Milwaukee County): 1995-97, 2002-04, 2004-05, 2007-11 & 2012-14. BOG Policy Committee (2012-13), BOG Governance Committee (2013-14). Communications Committee (2011-14); Finance Committee Chair (2009-10). Strategic Planning Committee: (2009-10). State Bar President’s Award (2010). BOG Chair Nominating Committee (2009). Professionalism Committee (2005-06); Election Policies Committee (1996-97); Judicial Independence Committee (1993-94). Board of Governors Liaison to the IRR and Agricultural/Agribusiness Law Sections (2008-09); Communications Committee (2004-05; 2012-13); Appellate Practice Section (2002-04; 2013-14) and the Insurance for Members Committee. (2003-04). Member: Appellate Practice Section (2002-14); Family Law Section (2011-14). Author: Eleven book reviews for the Wisconsin Lawyer™ magazine (1996-2013); Sixteen feature In Chambers interview articles on Wisconsin Court of Appeals judges and Supreme Court Justices for De Novo, the newsletter of the Appellate Practice Section. WisTAF Board of Directors (2010-16); Wisconsin Judicial Council (2010-11).

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