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Public interest lawyer breaks 10-year streak of male bar presidents

For the first time in a decade, the State Bar of Wisconsin’s next president will be a woman.

The State Bar announced Friday that Milwaukee public-interest lawyer Jill Kastner of Legal Action of Wisconsin will be the next bar president. She will serve as president-elect starting July 1 and serve as president starting July 1, 2019.

She defeated Milwaukee solo practitioner Randall Nash by 963 votes. Kastner took 3,080 votes, and Nash took 2,117 votes.

Kastner, who earned her law degree from the University of California’s Los Angeles School of Law in 2000, will be the first female bar president in 10 years.

The last female State Bar president was Diane Diehl,  a lawyer out of Milwaukee who held the position from 2008 to 2009.

In other races, Starlyn Tourtillot, a lawyer out of Keshena and employee of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin’s Legal Services Department was elected to a two-year term as secretary. She defeated the Madison attorney Makda Fessahaye  of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections with 2,829 votes to 2,046.

Also, Margo Kirchner of Wisconsin Justice Initiative Inc. will be the bar’s new Judicial Council representative. She defeated Mauston-based attorney John Orton of Curran, Hollenbeck & Orton by by 2,773 votes to 2,285.

Seventeen lawyers were also elected to two-year terms as district representatives on the Board of Governors, which is the bar’s 52-member policy-making body:

  • Karen Bauer of the Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee Inc.
  • Milwaukee attorney Andrew Beilfuss, Quarles & Brady in Milwaukee
  • Brittany Grayson of the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office
  • Elizabeth Miles of Milwaukee-based Davis & Kuelthau
  • Krista LaFave Rosolino of Milwaukee-based Warshafsky, Rotter, Tarnoff & Bloch
  • Sheboygan attorney Mary Lynne Donohue
  • Jesse Blocher of Habush Habush & Rottier in Waukesha
  • Timothy Kay, Brookfield-based Kay & Kay Law Firm
  • Joel Skinner of Hudson-based Skinner and Associates
  • Madison attorney Kathleen Chung
  • Jeff A. Goldman of DeWitt Ross & Stevens in Madison
  • Patricia Epstein Putney of Madison-based Bell Moore & Richter
  • Laura Skilton Verhoff of Madison-based Stafford Rosenbaum
  • Chuck Stertz of the Outagamie County District Attorney’s Office in Appleton
  • Jane Bucher of the State Public Defenders Office in Monroe
  • Sherry Coley of Davis & Kuelthau in Green Bay
  • Amanda Ley of the State Public Defenders Office in Wausau

About Erika Strebel,

Erika Strebel is the law beat reporter for the Wisconsin Law Journal and a law school student at UW-Madison. She can be reached at 414-225-1825.

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