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Lawyers weigh in with their 2014 personal, professional resolutions

resolutionsAre you struggling with procrastination? That elusive work-life balance? Want to reconnect with the community? Or make time to get away?

If so, you’re not alone. Attorneys from around the state, and beyond, shared the following resolutions for themselves, their firms and/or the legal community in general. Read on for inspiration for your own 2014 goals.

“My resolution for 2014 is to ‘my organize thoughts better’ before speaking, so that I do not cringe when I read the transcript later of what I failed to adequately communicate.

“My wish for 2014 is for the Wisconsin Supreme Court to communicate thoughts better among themselves so that I do not cringe when a nonlawyer asks me what I think of some of their past internal ‘communications.’”

Kevin Palmersheim
shareholder and managing attorney at Haley Palmersheim SC, Middleton

“Some of my work-life balance goals for 2014: Have dinner as a family at least five nights a week; enforce the no-digital-devices-at-the-table rule; use 5 to 6:30 a.m. as time for myself at least three days a week; and read at least one nonlegal book every month.”

Elisabeth Shea
legislative attorney with the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau, Madison

 “When someone commits a crime, it affects not only society in general, but also the person’s loved ones. Our job is to defend the accused but an equally important role is to help with the issues that impact the family. Our firm must remember our commitment to assist the families in their time of need.

“On a broader level, I hope to instill this philosophy to younger lawyers and remind them of this responsibility.”

Donna Kuchler
partner at Kuchler & Cotton SC, Waukesha

“My youngest will be 2 years old, so it is time to go camping more often. Professionally, I would like to try more cases. As for my firm, we really need a new website.”

Gina Meierbachtol
attorney at Corneille Law Group LLC, Green Bay

“I wish our profession would take serious action to remedy the poor fit between the adversarial, court-focused dispute resolution tools we learn in law school and the predictable multidisciplinary needs of children and families during the normal human transitions associated with divorce and nonmarital relationship breakups.

“All benefit when divorce lawyers work closely with mental health and financial professionals on teams that consider the needs of every member of the family system rather than delivering scorched earth litigation and courthouse-steps coerced settlements.”

Pauline Tesler
UW law graduate and director of the Integrative Law Institute at Commonweal, Mill Valley, Calif.

“In both 2012 and 2013, I resolved to go swimming in Lake Michigan at least once during the year. It’s an easy thing to do, but also easy to not do with our busy lives and with Wisconsin’s short summers. In both 2012 and 2013, I did make it into the big lake and those swims became fun summer memories. In 2014, I resolve to again swim in Lake Michigan. I’m already looking forward to hitting the cold lake water on a hot summer day.”

Tim Kiefer
attorney at Kiefer Law Office LLC, Madison

 “My personal resolution is to be in today. Remember the simple things, the little treasures I get every day, such as a sincere thank you from a client, the sun shining, a smile from a stranger or a hug from someone I care about.

“My firm resolution is working as a team, especially during difficult times. Instead of looking at a situation and stating, ‘I am not assigned to this case,’ we must work as a team. And that starts with the approach of the leader, me.

“And my legal community resolution is to utilize the resources and knowledge of our peer attorneys and mentor the new attorneys that join our bar associations. We are all in this stressful profession together. Let’s choose to help each other out when we can!”

Tricia Nell
president of the Brown County Bar Association and attorney at Tricia Nell Law Office SC, Green Bay

“I resolve to:

1. Make a fresh pot of coffee, if I happen to drink the last cup.

2. Seek out a pro bono opportunity and stick with it until the end of the matter.

3. Take my assistant (law clerk, support staff) out for lunch or coffee.

4. Make civility a priority in all my interactions, both legal and nonlegal.

5. Give opposing counsel the benefit of the doubt when presented with a request for an extension, postponement or other accommodation.

6. Laugh when given the option of laughing, crying or groaning.

7. Take advantage of teaching and mentorship opportunities; share that knowledge and wisdom.

8. Ask for help when I need it and lend a hand when asked.

9. Be short-winded, unless I am practicing in front of the mirror.

10. Keep my New Year’s resolutions!”

Joshua Kindkeppel

attorney at Eustice, Laffey, Sebranek & Auby SC, Sun Prairie

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