Candidate for Judicial Council Representative
Joseph M. Russell
Von Briesen & Roper SC, Milwaukee
Email: com jrussell vonbriesen vonbriesen jrussell com
I thank the nominating committee for this opportunity to serve on the Judicial Council and I thank the State Bar for considering my candidacy.
This past year I had the honor of defending a “John Doe” special prosecutor in a federal lawsuit that alleged the John Doe proceeding he was appointed to lead violated the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights. This lawsuit, as well as other actions related to the same John Doe proceeding now pending before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, generated a great deal of public interest because it related to Wisconsin’s 2011-2012 Senate and Gubernatorial recall elections. It also raised a great number of questions – from lawyers and non-lawyers alike – as to how a John Doe proceeding is conducted and whether its use should continue. If elected to the Judicial Council, I will work to address these questions in order that Wisconsin’s residents – as well as outside observers and the media – may have faith that future John Doe proceedings are fair and legitimate criminal proceedings. In addition, I will work to improve the public’s understanding of the state court system as a whole. If the public does not understand its court system and its procedures, it cannot have confidence that the courts promote the fair and speedy determination of litigation upon its merits.
Practice: Joe Russell is a shareholder in the Milwaukee office of von Briesen & Roper, s.c., where he focuses his practice on commercial litigation and risk management. Prior to joining von Briesen, Joe was a partner in the Chicago office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP.
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 of Wisconsin’s Ethics Committee. He also serves as chair of the Milwaukee Bar Association’s Government Law Section.
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. 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 (1993-1995).
Community Activities: Joe serves on the Board of Directors of The Parenting Network, a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote positive parenting practices and to prevent child abuse.
Family: Joe and his wife, Heather, have three children and live in Mequon.