Candidate for State Bar President-elect
Kevin J. Lyons
Davis & Kuelthau SC, Milwaukee
Email: com klyons dkattorneys dkattorneys klyons com
Better Together is the essence of the multiple purposes our Supreme Court established for the State Bar of Wisconsin. If elected I will work to make us all better together through education and member services. When we become better lawyers, we better serve our clients be they individuals, business, or governments.
The future of the practice of law will be effected by factors including demography, technology, and new competitors. As baby boom lawyers leave the practice, their replacements are coming from smaller law school classes, many of whose members graduate with a diploma and substantial debt. Technology has changed how lawyers learn, practice, get business, and handle the business part of the law practice. Providers of legal forms suggest through their ads that starting a business is an exercise in filling out forms without legal advice. Since being nominated, I have asked government, in-house, and private attorneys for their most difficult career challenges and their thoughts about how WisBar can help. I will continue that work and incorporate that effort into the strategic planning process of the State Bar. I will also work with Bar staff to include these topics in the curriculum of the Business School for Lawyers, and in section and division programs as well.
Bar sections can help make us better together. For example, during my time on the ADR and Construction Section Boards, we did a full day program with one-half day of construction law for ADR lawyers and one-half day of ADR law for construction lawyers. That program was well-received and provides a model for joint section programs. Since then the Construction Section has expanded its programs to include industry professionals. Sections now provide excellent programs for members which joint programs complement. For example a joint program topic might be what business lawyers need to know from government regulators and what government regulators need to know from business lawyers. Members of the Nonresident Lawyers Division (NRLD) can give perspectives that they have because they practice out of state. Members of the Young Lawyers Division (YLD) and members of the Senior Lawyers Division (SLD) can share practice problems and solutions.
We are better together when we pool resources to help one another. The Law Office Management Assistance Program (LOMAP), the Wisconsin Lawyers Assistance Program (WisLAP), and the Ethics Hotline address business, health, and ethics issues. We educate one another through Pinnacle programs like Books Unbound and our practice manuals. We come together when we work for adequate funding for our courts and when we support the Diversity Task Force and the Access to Justice Commission, and seek help from minority and specialty bar associations. To continue these programs on sound, economic footing, I will work with staff to increase the percentage of revenues that the State Bar receives from its business activities, rather than from dues.
In sum, when we continue our member programs and plan for future challenges, when we educate one another and the public about the law and its practice, we become better together. And Better Together means better service for clients and a better system of law for the people of Wisconsin.
Kevin helps private and public sector clients with environmental, construction and land use, commercial, and contract matters. He has handled cases in federal and state courts and before federal, state, and local administrative agencies including OSHA, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and local councils, boards, and commissions.
As an alternative to litigation, Kevin has mediated and arbitrated dozens of commercial, construction, and environmental disputes. Parties have included individuals, public and private businesses, governments, insurance companies, and professions including architects and engineers. Disputes have involved construction above and below ground; houses and commercial buildings; business contracts; insurance; environmental liability, remediation, and damages; and evidence and substantive and procedural law.
Kevin has worked with businesses ranging from family owned to Fortune 500 companies, and with a number of public agencies.
- Appellate Practice
- Construction Industry
- Environmental Law
- Mediation and Arbitration
- J.D., University of Wisconsin Law School
- B.A., University of Notre Dame
- State Bar Treasurer
- Admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court; Circuit Courts of Appeal for the District of Columbia, 2nd Circuit, and 7th Circuit; Federal District Courts of the Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin; and Wisconsin Supreme Court and all Wisconsin State Courts
- State Bar of Wisconsin, Member, Policy Committee for the Board of Governors
- State Bar of Wisconsin, Member, Board of Governors; Past Chair, Construction and Public Contract Law Section; Past Chair, Alternative Dispute Resolution Section; Past Chair, Section Leaders Council
- Member, American and Seventh Circuit Bar Associations
- Best Lawyers® in America - Arbitration and Mediation, Environmental Law, Construction Law, Litigation-Construction, Litigation-Environmental (2006-2015)
- Best Lawyers® in America - Milwaukee, Arbitration "Lawyer of the Year" (2015)
- M Magazine, Leading Lawyers (2014)
- Best Lawyers® in America - Milwaukee, Litigation - Construction "Lawyer of the Year" (2014)
- Listed as M Magazine Best Lawyers (2013)
- Best Lawyers® in America - Milwaukee, Construction "Lawyer of the Year" (2013)
- Martindale Hubbell AV® Peer Review Rated
- Wisconsin Super Lawyer (2005, 2009-2014)
- Teacher-Mediator and Judge, Marquette University Law School Mediation Program
- Guest Lecturer, UW-Madison Law School General Practice Course
Published Articles / Presentations
- Presented "U.S. Environmental Law" to Australian Barristers' (April 2014)
- "Views of ADR: Client, Advocate, Mediator, and Arbitrator," State Bar of Wisconsin CLE, November 2009, Speaker
- Frequent lecturer on construction law topics, organized 2008 Wisconsin Bar daylong joint Construction Law - ADR program, including claims and dispute resolutions
- Author, “Post-Trial Motions” chapter of “Wis. Bar Trial Book”
- Lectured on civil litigation, criminal litigation, mental health law, and law for dentists at the University of Wisconsin Law School and Marquette University Dental School
- Handling a First Environmental Case
- Organized (and presented at) 27 speaker environmental law conferences, Vail, CO