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Propane tank blazes at law school construction site

A propane tank reportedly caught fire on the site of the new Marquette University Law School about 4 p.m. this afternoon. Brigid O’Brien Miller, director of communications for Marquette University confirmed that as of 5 p.m. the fire was still burning, but was contained. However, she said officials were unsure of the cause of the blaze. Four people were on ...

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Court considers questions about foreign legal consultants

The Wisconsin Supreme Court acknowledges that the practice of law is becoming more global, but it is not quite ready to give legal professionals from other countries the power to advise clients in the state. A petition by the Board of Bar Examiners calls for creation of Supreme Court Rule 40.056 which would allow lawyers from other countries to consult ...

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2009 MBA poll favors Abrahamson

A recent poll issued to the more than 2,350 members of the Milwaukee Bar Association asked the question of whether judicial candidates were qualified for the jobs they were seeking. Despite the fact that Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson was unable to appear at a candidate forum hosted by the MBA on Feb. 4, more than 90 percent of the ...

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Fundraising gap widens in Supreme Court race

Money may not be everything, but it certainly counts for something, especially when it comes to campaign fundraising in a state Supreme Court race. Through the first month of 2009, Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson has raised almost 20 times more money than her opponent, Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Randy R. Koschnick. According to pre-primary finance reports filed by ...

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Spring temps favor Judges Night

What a difference one year makes. Last year, attorneys and judges forged on through heavy snow to attend the Milwaukee Bar Association’s annual Judges Night event. Last Tuesday, many arrived amid spring-like temperatures not even bothering to don top coats. Nearly 400 people turned out to mingle in the Grain Exchange room in the Mackie Building. Members of the judiciary ...

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LegalTech offers hot tech products and services

Boston — The economy didn’t slow down the scene at LegalTech 2009 in New York, although it did seem to alter the sales pitch. Vendors and service providers pitched themselves as cost-effective and budget-friendly, or adopted an as-needed, pay-as-you go sales plan. The following are some services and products that caught our eye. Deadlines on Demand: Avoid malpractice California-based CompuLaw’s ...

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High court to consider attorney-client privilege

Faced with an order in federal court to turn over a document that an attorney believes is protected by the attorney-client privilege, an attorney has only two choices. He can turn it over; or he can refuse (and accept whatever sanctions the court may impose). Reise v. Board of Regents of University of Wisconsin System, 957 F.2d 293, 295 (7th ...

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Doyle appoints Rothstein to bench

Milwaukee County will lose a long-time prosecutor, but it will gain a new judge this March. Gov. Jim Doyle recently appointed assistant district attorney Stephanie G. Rothstein to succeed John Franke, who resigned at the end of 2008 to join Milwaukee law firm Gass Weber Mullins LLC. Rothstein has been a prosecutor in Milwaukee since graduating from Marquette University Law ...

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Workers’ comp is exclusive remedy for injury

An auto mechanic injured at work cannot sue a co-employee under the exception to the Workers’ Compensation Act for negligent operation of a motor vehicle. But the Feb. 10 opinion by the Wisconsin Court of Appeals denying tort remedies questions the proper standard for workplace injuries to mechanics set forth by the state Supreme Court in McNeil v. Hansen, 2007 ...

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Three battle for Branch 15 bench

All three candidates for the vacant Branch 15 seat in Milwaukee County Circuit Court claim to have the necessary credentials for the job. But prosecutors Ronald S. Dague and Daniel J. Gabler and attorney Jonathan D. Watts have different ideas as to which experiences qualify someone to sit on the bench in the largest court system in the state. The ...

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Attorneys spar over court’s retaliation ruling

Boston — The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision permitting a worker who was fired after answering questions during an internal sex harassment inquiry to pursue a Title VII claim has the defense and plaintiffs’ bars divided over its impact. While some employment attorneys say the ruling will protect workers from being penalized for speaking out, others say it could hurt ...

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Doyle appoints Congdon to Waukesha County bench

It took a congratulatory lunch on a Friday afternoon for attorney Richard A. Congdon to realize how much he is going to miss practicing law. After 34 years as a lawyer, including the last 27 at Congdon, Walden, Schuster & Vaklyes, S.C., he was appointed to succeed Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Mark S. Gempeler, who retired on Dec. 2. ...

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BOG member concerned about president-elect

A member of the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Board of Governors is questioning the conduct and motives of President-elect Douglas W. Kammer. In an e-mail sent to Executive Director George S. Brown on Jan. 26, board member Thomas Heine suggested that Kammer’s active lobbying for a voluntary bar is a conflict of interest and inconsistent with the duties of an ...

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No Abrahamson at second forum

Her day job got in the way of Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson’s scheduled appearance at her second public debate against Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Randy R. Koschnick. Abrahamson cancelled her Feb. 4 appearance at a judicial election forum hosted by the Milwaukee Bar Association because the date conflicted with oral arguments at the Supreme Court. Milwaukee County District ...

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Judge Adelman rejects drug guidelines

Since the U.S. Supreme Court decided Kimbrough v. U.S., 128 S.Ct. 558 (2007), defense attorneys have been free to argue for, and district courts to impose, below-guideline sentences for crack cocaine offenses, on the ground that the guidelines are excessive. A Jan. 24 opinion by Judge Lynn Adelman has now opened the door for the same argument with respect to ...

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Your blog and firm Web site: Keep them separate

Boston – For lawyers, a blog is an invaluable tool for marketing, networking and getting the word out about you and your firm. But according to Kevin O’Keefe, president of LexBlog and author of “Real Lawyers Have Blogs,” a common mistake made by blogging attorneys is embedding the blog into their firm’s Web site – which could cost them credibility ...

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Defendant needs reason for substitution

If you want to substitute for another attorney a week before trial, and get more time to prepare, you need a reason. Otherwise, the court will ask how it can employ a balancing test, with nothing to balance on your side. Facing trial in Walworth County for six counts of sexual assault, Anthony L. Prineas moved a week before trial ...

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Judge delays sick-leave law

A Milwaukee County judge Friday delayed the start of Milwaukee’s enforcement of a sick-leave law until the court rules on a lawsuit challenging the legality of the ordinance. “This is not a very difficult call today,” Judge Thomas Cooper said before ordering the injunction. “This is such a big deal to everybody that we better do it right from the ...

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Court clarifies community caretaker capacity

The subjective motivations of a police officer are but one factor courts should consider when deciding whether he was acting in a community caretaker capacity. That Jan. 29 holding by the Wisconsin Supreme Court limits language in some Court of Appeals cases that suggested an officer could not legally act in that capacity, unless it was “totally divorced” from investigating ...

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Statutory history part of statute’s plain meaning

Off the top of your head, can you describe the difference between “statutory history” and “legislative history”? Statutory history refers to prior statutes governing the same subject matter, and how the applicable statute has changed over the years. Legislative history refers to any extrinsic source that may shed light on what the Legislature intended by the language it used. The ...

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UIM recovery limited to covered autos (72412)

A son cannot recover underinsured motorist (UIM) benefits under his father’s business auto policy, where the car he was injured in was not listed as a covered auto under the policy. Onalaska attorney Lee J. Fehr, who represented the insurer, praised the decision as good for consumers. Noting that the father consciously chose to list only one vehicle he owned ...

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