The Wisconsin State Bar has chosen a new executive director.
The Board of Governors on Friday voted to approve a committee recommendation that Larry Martin, who is currently the bar’s associate executive director, fill the top staff position at the bar.
The current holder of that position, George Brown, announced last May that he would be retiring June 30. The bar tapped the national recruiting firm Young Mayden, based in Nashville, Tenn., and Charlotte N.C., to help a committee formed last year narrow the pool of applicants.
Martin was one of seven candidates the committee interviewed and one of 19 top candidates considered for the position. The committee received more than 60 legitimate applications, said Governor Chris Rogers, who led the 12-person committee charged with vetting candidates. The committee included Bar President Fran Deisinger, President-Elect Paul Swanson and Past President Ralph Cagle.
“We were very thorough and met many great candidates but we unanimously felt that Larry was by far our best candidate, and we are very confident he is going to be a great leader and change agent for our organization going forward,” said Deisinger.
At least 75 percent of the committee members had to be behind the candidate before that person could be presented to the board. The board went into closed session at last week’s meeting, where the committee explained how it had narrowed down the candidate pool and why Martin was the committee’s choice.
“He was a candidate that clearly understood the challenges that are facing the bar going forward,” said Rogers. “The challenges are many. Despite the fact that he has been here, he was really seen as a potential change agent to address some of the problems going forward that the whole board and the whole State Bar may be facing, including in this building because there’s always a need for change and fresh eyes.”
Next, the bar will negotiate a contract with Martin and lay out a transition plan for him to take Brown’s place in June.
Martin has been the bar’s associate executive director for two years and worked for the bar since 2011, when he was hired as its member services director.
Previously, he had been the executive director of the Wisconsin Library Association, senior adviser and director of external relations to Gov. Jim Doyle, and an executive assistant at the Department of Regulation and Licensing, which is now known as the Department of Safety and Professional Services.Follow @erikastrebel