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Diel tries to improve legal access for poor

Access to legal representation for more poor people in Wisconsin is something attorney Diane S. Diel is working toward.

During her tenure as State Bar of Wisconsin President, the Milwaukee family lawyer championed for and advanced a plan to create an Access to Justice Commission which is devising ways to increase the number of people who can afford an attorney.

Diel has advocated for public funding of judicial elections in an effort to maintain impartiality and also appeared before the Legislature in support of a raise for private bar attorneys who take State Public Defender cases.

But even though the Wausau-native rotated out of her term as past president with the bar this year, Diel’s solo practice and related obligations keep her busy.

She is on the board of directors of the Collaborative Family Law Council of Wisconsin and an active member in the local chapter of the Association for Women Lawyers.

Luckily, Diel took a few moments to shift her focus on this week’s Asked & Answered.

Wisconsin Law Journal: If you could develop one CLE course for credit, what would it be about?

Diane S. Diel: Pragmatic problem solving. It would have to cross technology with common sense.

WLJ: What can you spend hours doing that isn’t law-related?

Diel: Reading fiction, which for the most part isn’t law-related.

WLJ: What is your favorite website and why?

Diel: Any of the free translation websites, world clock and currency conversion sites. I’m getting ready for travel!

WLJ: Which actor would play you in a movie and why?

Diel: Angelina Jolie. She looks just like me, right?

WLJ: What is one thing attorneys should know that they won’t learn in law school?

Diel: The satisfaction that comes from helping create a workable resolution to a difficult situation.

WLJ: What is the first concert you went to?

Diel: Concert? I grew up in Wausau. It was likely the municipal orchestra.

WLJ: If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would it be and why?

Diel: Elena Kagen. What an exciting new job she has, I’d just love the experience right now.

WLJ: What is the hardest thing to tell a client?

Diel: Your child will be allowed to move out of town. You can become a part-time parent.

WLJ: What is the one luxury item you cannot live without?

Diel: My new iPod. All my favorite tunes in one place.

WLJ: If you could change one thing about Wisconsin’s legal system, what would it be?

Diel: Can we find a way to do away with attack ads in judicial campaigns?

Jack Zemlicka can be reached at

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