If attorney Keith A. Findley had the chance, he wouldn’t mind a happy-go-lucky lifestyle, at least for 24 hours.
After all, for the vast majority of his career, the University of Wisconsin Law School Clinical Professor has worked to defend those accused or convicted of serious crimes.
He spent seven years as an Assistant State Public Defender, after which he joined the Frank J. Remington Center at the law school and co-founded the Wisconsin Innocence Project in 1998.
The number of postconviction and appellate cases Findley has worked on numbers in the hundreds at the state and federal levels, including the United States Supreme Court.
He is the current President of the Innocence Network, which is an international affiliation of 61 innocence projects from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.
Findley applied his worldly views to this week’s Asked & Answered.
Wisconsin Law Journal: If you could develop one CLE course for credit, what would it be about?
Keith A. Findley: Right now, a session about understanding both the power and limitations of forensic science evidence, especially the limitations of so many of the traditional forensic sciences that are not scientifically validated.
WLJ: What can you spend hours doing that isn’t law-related?
Findley: Biking, hiking, and woodworking.
WLJ: What is your favorite website and why?
Findley: The Wisconsin State Public Defender’s blog,
On Point, written by Bill Tyroler – www.wisconsinappeals.net. It provides up-to-date summaries of appellate decisions in Wisconsin and the Seventh Circuit with trenchant analysis and commentary.
WLJ: Which actor would play you in a movie and why?
Findley: Maybe Tom Hanks. I can’t say why.
WLJ: What is one thing attorneys should know that they won’t learn in law school?
WLJ: What is the first concert you went to?
Findley: I really can’t recall, but it was probably the Wichita (Kansas) Symph-ony, because that’s the kind of concert my parents took me to when I was young.
WLJ: If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would it be and why?
Findley: My son, David. He is a recent college graduate who is taking time off to explore the world, kayak and raft whitewater rivers, and lead a care-free and largely money-free life. I wouldn’t want to live that life forever, but for a day it would be great.
WLJ: In three words or less describe your legal career?
Findley: Surprising, liberating, fulfilling.
WLJ: What is the one luxury item you cannot live without?
Findley: My iPhone
WLJ: If you were State Bar President for a day and could make one permanent change to the profession, what would it be?
Findley: Lobby for increased resources for both indigent criminal defense services; increase the pay rate and expand eligibility for public defender services and prosecutors, because both are essential to reliable fact-finding in the criminal justice system.
Jack Zemlicka can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.