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Day 3: State Bar of Wisconsin Annual Meeting and Conference in Milwaukee

By: Steve Schuster, [email protected]//June 16, 2023//

Day 3: State Bar of Wisconsin Annual Meeting and Conference in Milwaukee

By: Steve Schuster, [email protected]//June 16, 2023//

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By Steve Schuster

[email protected]

The third day of the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Annual Meeting and Conference in Milwaukee began with an opening plenary session on ethics.

The session “Survivor 2023: The Law Firm Challenge” featured attorneys who roleplayed a hypothetical scenario and the audience voted if the hypothetical case should be referred to the Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR).

Participants this morning included the new State Bar of Wisconsin President Dean Dietrich and the new Milwaukee Bar Association President Emil Ovbiagele.

Also participating this morning, Timothy Samuelson director of OLR and Annie Jay, Dane County District Attorney.

Full list of participants below.

Friday morning’s conversation included quotes from Charles Dickens,  what bad lawyer ads (searchable on YouTube) mean for professional responsibility, comments about cage fighting, and former President Abraham Lincoln’s wrestling career.

After the morning plenary, several CLE sessions were held on topic ranging from ethical billing and Russian sanctions to short-term rentals and mediation.

The closing plenary addressed resilient employees know how to handle stress without burning out.  The Milwaukee annual meeting and conference ended around 12:30 p.m. Friday.

The State Bar of Wisconsin will be hosting other meetings in Green Bay and Madison. For additional information, please click here.

As previously reported by The Wisconsin Law Journal, the second day of the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Annual Meeting and Conference in Milwaukee began with an opening plenary session on cancel culture Thursday.

Panelists Thursday discussed how when someone reads a newspaper article they disagree with, some readers just cancel their newspaper subscription. Disagree with a judge’s decision? Just file a petition for his or her removal. It’s a whole new “cancel culture” world, panelists pointed out.

“One viewpoint praises the phenomenon for holding the ‘canceled’ accountable and protecting oppressed groups from offensive speech, while another viewpoint criticizes the movement for suppressing freedom of speech and operating as a disproportionate sanction mechanism,” the State Bar wrote ahead of Thursday’s discussion.

During an afternoon Continuing Legal Education (CLE) session Thursday on appellate advocacy, jurists across state and federal courts provided advice on lessons learned from other attorneys’ mistakes.

The panel’s moderator Mark A. Cameli with Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren SC, Milwaukee​ asked what’s “the secret sauce” to an effective brief.

In response, Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Jill J. Karofsky said that those who are good at oral arguments can also be good legal writers and recommended the book ‘Thinking Like a Writer.’

During the panel discussion on mediation Thursday, audience member Donald J. Wall said, “the important thing to remember is that if you are mandated or ordered to participate in mediation you must go, but if you are not ordered to do so as Judge Brennan indicated, you can ask. You can ask confidentially to be a part of the mediation process. So the other side doesn’t know. The other side might think I got ordered to do so.”

Judge Lisa S. Neubauer, Wisconsin Court of Appeals District II, pointed out the typically the Appeals Court “flies under the radar” and is a “modest, error correcting Court.”

Neubauer also said there are elements that are fundamental to every appeal.

  • What is the standard of review?
  • Were errors preserved?
  • Were issues raised below?
  • Is there a harmless error issue?

Karofsky initially introduced herself to the audience as the junior justice on the Court, noting that in six weeks Justice-elect Janet Protasiewicz will be the newest addition to Wisconsin’s highest court.

“The hazing has begun,” Karofsky said, jokingly. Protasiewicz “has been told she has to get coffee every morning,” she added.

“One of the fundamental mistakes that we see. … People put facts in (briefs) that we don’t care about,” said Neubauer.

When discussing effective oral arguments, Karofsky made a joke, “I think it takes a lot of courage to get up in front of the Wisconsin Supreme Court at 9:45 a.m. … you are in front of 7 of the most highly overly caffeinated justices on the planet.”

Throughout the day Thursday there were a number of CLE sessions on topics ranging from Mediation and Marcy’s law to civility and criminal law.

Thursday’s events concluded with an awards celebration with Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Annette Kingsland Ziegler.

Day Two Video:

As previously reported by the Wisconsin law Journal, Wednesday the State Bar of Wisconsin kicked off its annual meeting and conference at The Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee.

New State Bar President Dean Dietrich was sworn in Wednesday afternoon.

Earlier in the day Wednesday at a Board of Governors’ Awards Luncheon, Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Patience Roggensack spoke.

After Wednesday’s luncheon, a Board of Governors’ Meeting was held and Director of State Courts Judge Randy Koschnick spoke on a number of topics including, District Attorney and Public Defender salaries, Wisconsin Department of Justice’s crime labs budget, and cybersecurity.

Only 31 minutes into the Board of Governors’ meeting, a motion passed to move into closed session after the judge’s speech concluded.

A number of CLE sessions were held Wednesday, including: document management and retention, winning the war on talent, and Cybersecurity for law firms.

Day One video:



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