I have accepted the invitation of the Nomination Committee to run for President of the Wisconsin State Bar and am running because I feel inspired to give back to the public for the many opportunities my legal career has provided to me.
My biography on the preceding page details my experience and highlights some of the ways in which I have endeavored to make a positive influence on our profession. For example, during the past three years, I have served as President of the Fellows of the Wisconsin Law Foundation. Through hard work, we were able to substantially increase the money raised for the charitable work of the Foundation, as well as increase diversity among the Fellows. Earlier in my career, I had the great pleasure of serving the Wisconsin legal community as a member of several committees and boards.
The State Bar can more than ever be a progressive force to make our civil and criminal justice system more fair, our judiciary more independent, and our profession more skilled in serving the needs of the public.
My Platform for State Bar President includes:
Persuade the Legislature and Wisconsin Supreme Court to provide law clerks for all Circuit Judges similar to the way that law clerks are provided to Supreme Court Justices and Court of Appeals Judges. Since most trial court decisions are not appealed, it is essential that Circuit Judges have the necessary resources to assist them in the decision-making process.
Encourage law school graduates to practice in underserved areas of Wisconsin by providing money to forgive student loans for practice in such areas.
Propose a constitutional amendment to enable attorneys with at least 25 years of experience to be eligible to become "Senior Circuit Judges" by appointment. Senior Circuit Judges would be specially assigned to complex cases and serve in counties with significant case backlogs.
Appoint a study committee to determine whether the civility rules in SCR 62.02(1)(b) should be made mandatory and enforceable by OLR. Currently, such rules are aspirational only. SCR 62.02(1)(b) provides:
[L]awyers... shall... [be] civil in their dealings with one another and with the public and conduct all court and court-related proceedings, whether written or oral, including discovery proceedings, with civility and respect for each of the participants.
Propose that CLE credit be awarded for mentor programs in the same way that CLE credit is now awarded for pro bono representation. The commitment of experienced attorneys to mentor new attorneys is important to the growth of our profession and should be promoted.
Appoint a study committee to address declining law school enrollment and the resulting decline in State Bar membership.
Develop a survey to asses how the State Bar can better serve its members. By way of example, is our organization meeting the needs of solo practitioners, lawyers with less than five years of practice, government lawyers, non-profit, and in-house and general counsel attorneys?
I am excited about the prospect of taking on these challenges. If I am fortunate enough to be elected President of the State Bar, I will work tirelessly on your behalf.