March 15, 2017 – Recognized by their peers and colleagues, these judges, lawyers, law firms, and law students are honored for making a difference in Wisconsin and the world.
Join the State Bar in honoring these award recipients at the Member Recognition Celebration at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 15, at the State Bar 2017 Annual Meeting & Conference.
The event is free, and all State Bar members and their friends and families are invited to celebrate these individuals at the Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort in Wisconsin Dells.
Read more about our honorees in coming editions of InsideTrack.
Those being honored at the celebration include:
Lifetime Jurist: Hon. Donald R. Zuidmulder, Brown County Circuit Court
Hon. Zuidmulder is the recipient of the 2016 State Bar of Wisconsin Bench and Bar Committee Lifetime Jurist Award for his contributions throughout his career to tirelessly improve the legal profession and the administration of justice for the benefit of the citizens of Brown County and of Wisconsin.
The award acknowledges the contributions of a jurist who has served more than one full term as a circuit court judge and has demonstrated outstanding, long-term judicial excellence and leadership toward improving the quality of justice.
Judge of the Year: Hon. Frederick C. Rosa, Milwaukee County Circuit Court
Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Frederick Rosa is the Judge of the Year Award recipient, for extraordinary service, hard work, and leadership to the citizens of Milwaukee County. Read more about Hon. Rosa and his efforts with the Milwaukee County Gun Court in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The award recognizes an outstanding circuit court judge who has improved the judicial system during the past year by his or her leadership in advancing the quality of justice, judicial education, or innovative programs.
The Lifetime Jurist and Judge of the Year awards are presented by the Bench and Bar Committee.
Gordon Sinykin Award of Excellence: Emily I. Lonergan, Gimbel Reilly Guerin & Brown LLP, Milwaukee; and Amy Ferguson, O'Melia, Schiek & McEldowney S.C., Rhinelander
This year, there are two recipients of the Gordon Sinykin Award of Excellence: Emily I. Lonergan and Amy Ferguson.
Lonergan volunteers her time as the chair of the High School Mock Trial Program and serves as a member of the State Bar’s Public Education Committee.
Ferguson is co-chair of the New Lawyer Challenges Committee, which recently launched the Greater Wisconsin Initiative Bus Tour to bring new lawyers and their significant others on a tour to better understand the benefits of living and practicing in rural communities. She also serves on the Young Lawyers Division board of directors and previously served on the Local Bar Relations Committee.
This award is presented by the Wisconsin Law Foundation.The Foundation’s Gordon Sinykin Award of Excellence recognizes a lawyer, law firm, or group of lawyers for their work on an individual law-related education or public service project.
Government Lawyers Division Service Award: Gwendolyn Cooley, Wisconsin Department of Justice, Madison
This new award recognizes a Government Lawyers Division (GLD) member involved in State Bar leadership, who assists other government attorneys, has made a difference in the legal profession, and is involved in activities that increase the public’s respect for government lawyers.
The first winner of this award is Gwendolyn Cooley, assistant attorney general with the Wisconsin Department of Justice. Cooley prosecutes antitrust cases, including a current case in which she convinced 40 other states and the District of Columbia to join her action. She is very active in the leadership of the American Bar Association; initiated and coordinates Madison “Lean in Lunches” which bring together area female attorneys for brainstorming sessions; and her local and national activities consistently increase the public’s respect for government lawyers.
Young Lawyers Division Outstanding Mentor Award: Rochelle Johnson Bent, Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee Inc., Milwaukee
The first recipient of this new award from the Young Lawyers Division, Rochelle Johnson always makes herself available to newer attorneys and staff members for mentoring and training. She firmly believes that, irrespective of age or years of experience, everyone has valuable insight to offer and ways to grow and learn.
This award is presented by the Young Lawyers Division.
Young Lawyers Division Outstanding Young Lawyer: John G. Walsh, Axley, Madison
John G. Walsh is the recipient of the Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year. Walsh has made an impressive impact on the legal profession and his community as an attorney and volunteer.
This award is given to a young lawyer who has made an impact in his or her practice area, in service to the State Bar of Wisconsin, and in service to the community.
This award is presented by the Young Lawyers Division.
Hon. Charles Dunn Author Award: Hon. Thomas J. Walsh, Brown County Circuit Court
The winner of the Hon. Charles Dunn Author Award is Hon. Thomas J. Walsh, for his article, “In the Crosshairs: Heroin’s Impact on Wisconsin’s Criminal Justice System,” Wisconsin Lawyer, January 2016. Written from the unique perspective of a circuit judge presiding in a treatment court, the article takes the reader deep inside the intersection of an epidemic of heroin abuse and its devastating effect on Wisconsin’s criminal justice system.
The award, presented by the Communications Committee, recognizes writing excellence in a Wisconsin Lawyer article.
Hotline Attorney of the Year: Kent Schlienger, Neider and Boucher, Madison
The Lawyer Hotline Attorney of the Year Award goes to Madison attorney Kent Schlienger. The award is presented to an individual or group that has shown dedication to building a team of attorney volunteers, responding to client questions, and being available for difficult or out-of-the-ordinary queries for an extended period of time.
This award is presented by the Lawyer Referral and Information Service.
Pro Bono Attorney of the Year: Douglas Klingberg, Wisconsin Judicare Inc., Wausau
The Pro Bono Attorney of the Year is awarded to Douglas Klingberg, for his outstanding volunteer contributions in expanding access to justice for low-income residents in northern Wisconsin. As a volunteer with Wisconsin Judicare over the last five years, Klingberg has opened more than 550 cases and helped more than 1,200 people across the northern 33 counties of Wisconsin.
The award, presented by the Legal Assistance Committee, recognizes outstanding pro bono service.
Pro Bono Organization of the Year: Merchant & Gould, Madison
The Pro Bono Organization of the Year is awarded to the Madison office of Merchant & Gould, for its outstanding service in providing pro bono legal representation of Michael Kingsley in a series of lengthy proceedings that originated in the Western District of Wisconsin and wound its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Merchant & Gould’s exceptional efforts not only ensured that Mr. Kingsley’s claims were fully presented to the courts, but also resulted in the development of pretrial-detainee law throughout the country. Merchant & Gould’s team included Joel Graham, Stephen Howe, Edward Pardon, Paige Stradley, Jeffrey Ward, Wendy Ward, and Emily Wessels.
This pro bono award is presented by the Legal Assistance Committee.
Public Education Volunteer of the Year: Elizabeth Nevitt, Nevitt Law Office, Pickett
The award for Public Education Volunteer of the Year goes to Elizabeth Nevitt, who has coordinated the High School Mock Trial regional competition in Appleton since 1997.
This award honors an attorney who has demonstrated excellence in promoting and supporting statewide efforts to educate the public, encourage understanding of and respect for the legal system, and foster appreciation of the rights and responsibilities of all persons under the law.
This award is presented by the Public Education Committee.
Jack DeWitt WisLAP Volunteer Award: U.W. Law Student Wellness Coalition
Members of the U.W. Law Student Wellness Coalition, with faculty and staff advisors, include:
Left side, bottom to top: Patrick Shirley, Jill Johnson, Stephanie Johnson, Will Kramer; middle, bottom to top: Kira Visser, Jen Bizzotto, Dana Roth, John Lightfield; right, bottom to top: Dean Margaret Raymond, Adriana Aristeiguieta Dean, Prof. Megan McDermott, and Matt Coker.
The Jack DeWitt WisLAP Volunteer Award honors a lawyer, judge, or group who provides confidential, meaningful assistance, educational outreach or other volunteer service through the Wisconsin Lawyers Assistance (WisLAP) program. The coalition, a new student group in 2016-17, was chosen as the award recipient for their vision, energy, and commitment to helping their peers achieve health and wellness at the U.W. Law School.
This award is presented by the Wisconsin Lawyer Assistance Program Committee.
Dan Tuchscherer Outstanding Public Interest Law Attorney: Harold A. Menendez, Legal Action of Wisconsin Inc., Madison
This award recognizes a lawyer who demonstrates a selfless, lifetime commitment to working in the public interest, both inside and outside the field of law. The award is given to Harold A. Menendez, who has served as a staff attorney at Legal Action of Wisconsin for more than 30 years, where he has mentored public interest attorneys across the state and demonstrated a lifelong commitment to standing up for those who are the most disadvantaged.
Ryan Klesh Public Interest Legal Worker Award: Samantha Yee, Administrative Coordinator, Milwaukee Justice Center
Samantha Yee of Milwaukee is the recipient of the Ryan Klesh Public Interest Legal Worker Award, which recognizes an individual who captures the essence of Ryan Klesh's selflessness, work ethic, and humor in working to seek justice for our low-income neighbors, family, or friends.
In her role, Yee supervises the intake of 10,000 clients each year; maintains the calendars for 450 undergraduate student, law student, and attorney volunteers; and helps plan and execute the center’s annual “Run for Justice” fundraiser.
Outstanding Public Interest Law Student Awards: Anthony Moore and Brianna Meyer
An Army veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005, Anthony Moore volunteered while attending U.W. Law School for the Veterans Law Center, Wills for Heroes, and the Indian Wills Caravan. He hopes to work as a prosecutor.
Brianna Meyer, Marquette University Law School, volunteers with the law school’s Public Interest Law group and served as executive vice president of the group’s main fundraising event. Meyer is headed into private practice, but will continue her involvement in public interest law.
These public interest awards are presented by the Public Interest Law Section.
Nonresident Lawyers Division Founder's Award: Skip Durocher, Minneapolis
Skip Durocher is a partner in the Minneapolis office of the international law firm Dorsey & Whitney LLP. Durocher is the 2017 winner of the Founder’s Award, presented by the Nonresident Lawyers Division. The award recognizes a nonresident member who has brought positive change to the division and has actively participated in State Bar activities for many years.
Senior Lawyers Division Leonard L. Loeb Award: Martin Greenberg, Milwaukee
The award recognizes the work of a senior lawyer whose outstanding leadership has advanced the fundamental goals of the legal system. Martin “Marty” Greenberg, an adjunct professor at Marquette University Law School since 1973, is the impetus behind the school's sports law curriculum. He is recognized for his commitment to the practice and teaching of law, as well as his strong commitment to his community.
This award is presented by the Senior Lawyers Division.
Join Us at the Annual Meeting & Conference in June in Wisconsin Dells
Don’t miss in-depth CLE programming and a chance to network with judges, lawyers, legal staff, and other legal professionals at the 2017 Annual Meeting & Conference, June 15-16, at Glacier Canyon Lodge at the Wilderness, Wisconsin Dells.
Register now to earn up to 13 CLE and 4 EPR credits from dozens of CLE sessions, hear two plenary speakers, visit the Legal Expo, cheer on your colleagues at the Member Recognition Celebration, join the networking luncheons, celebrate at the Presidential Swearing-in Ceremony, and enjoy the Western BBQ All-Conference Bash.
Save more than 10 percent when you register by the early-bird deadline of May 15. New to AMC? First-time attendees save an additional $100 off the registration fee.
Find out more.