Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Annette Ziegler provided an update on court operations as pandemic-related restrictions lift throughout the state and recognized Milwaukee County Chief Judge Mary Triggiano’s leadership during the Milwaukee Bar Association’s 2021 annual meeting.
Ziegler was the featured speaker at the virtual event on Tuesday evening. She thanked the bar for its support of the courts during the pandemic, noting the MBA’s donation of laptops early on to help court staff work remotely.
Ziegler: In-person proceedings resume in all counties
All 72 Wisconsin counties have resumed in-person proceedings and jury trials, according to an update Ziegler said she received from Director of State Courts Judge Randy Koschnick. By last week, Milwaukee County had 25 courtrooms open in-person at four locations.
“Our challenges are not over, but we’re well on our way back to normal court activity levels and the trend is really promising,” Ziegler said.
Triggiano receives public service award
Ziegler also highlighted Milwaukee County Chief Judge Mary Triggiano’s leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Triggiano issued the first administrative order regarding pandemic court operations on March 14, 2020, a week before the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued its first temporary order regarding in-person proceedings. At the time, Triggiano was one month into her job as chief judge of the First Judicial District.
“Much work remains, but Chief Judge Triggiano has lived up to the challenge so far, and frankly, I’m grateful she’s here to chart the course,” Ziegler. “Thanks a lot, Chief Judge Triggiano.”
The MBA gave Triggiano its E. Michael McCann Distinguished Public Service Award for her leadership throughout the past year. Other judges and lawyers also thanked her for bringing people together to get through an unprecedented time.
“It has been grueling, hard work,” said Chief Judge Pamela Pepper of the Eastern District of Wisconsin. “She has done it all with extreme good grace and composure. I cannot think of anyone better suited to lead the court through this extraordinary time.”
Triggiano said she was grateful for the honor and accepted it on behalf of everyone who’s worked hard throughout the pandemic to keep the wheels of the criminal-justice system turning.
“Never in our lifetime have our principles of partnership and collaboration, of compassion and kindness and equality been as critical as they have been in the past 15 months,” Triggiano said.
Leverson honored, new MBA officers sworn in
The MBA also presented a Lifetime Achievement award to Len Leverson, partner and one of the founders of the Milwaukee bankruptcy firm Leverson Lucey & Metz. Retired Judge Margaret Dee McGarity, who served on the Eastern District bankruptcy court, commended Leverson’s excellent, interesting writing and his commitment to the legal community.
The virtual meeting also marked the beginning of the new MBA officers’ terms. Triggiano swore in Maggie Cook of Godfrey & Kahn as president, Milwaukee County Judge Ellen Brostrom as president-elect, Emil Ovbiagele of OVB Law & Consulting as vice president, and Olivia Kelley of DeWitt Law Firm and Avery Mayne of Walny Legal Group as new board members. Cook announced the MBA’s first large in-person event is scheduled for Aug. 19.Follow @WLJReporter