In just a few days, we will gather at The Pfister Hotel for a day of engaging CLEs, inspiring award presentations, highlights from the year, and a bit of socializing between the bench and bar. Please join us on Monday, April 16th for the sixteenth Annual Meeting of the Eastern District of Wisconsin Bar Association.
Following a welcome and State of the Court address from Chief Judge William C. Griesbach, the CLE programming will begin with a not-to-be-missed Plenary Session featuring the three attorneys who argued the Wisconsin partisan gerrymandering case before the Supreme Court of the United States. Erin E. Murphy, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Paul M. Smith, Vice President for Litigation and Strategy at the Campaign Legal Center, and Misha Tseytlin, Wisconsin Solicitor General, will provide an insider’s look at Gill v. Whitford in a panel discussion moderated by WUWM’s Mitch Teich.
The choose-your-own-adventure portion of the morning offers programs for civil, criminal, and bankruptcy practitioners. The bankruptcy track will focus on professionals’ fees and consider best practices and ethical considerations. The civil track will offer guidance on preserving issues for appeal in the Seventh Circuit. The criminal track will highlight electronic surveillance litigation, including a discussion of Carpenter v. United States, argued before the Supreme Court in November 2017. We are fortunate to have a member of the bench participating in each of the programs.
During the Annual Luncheon, we will shine a spotlight on the worthy recipients of the Judge Myron L Gordon Lifetime Achievement Award, Judge Robert W. Warren Public Service Award, Judge Dale E. Ihlenfeldt Bankruptcy Award, and Nathan A. Fishbach Founder’s Award. In this newsletter, you’ll read just how meaningful this recognition is to the award recipients. On Monday, you’ll be inspired by the awards presentation.
The Annual Luncheon includes a bit of fun – we’ll recognize the student and attorney winners of the Terence T. Evans Humor and Creativity in Law Competition. Who will take home the traveling trophy? Will Past-President Matt O’Neill appear in costume? You can read the winning submissions in this newsletter, which will give you some hints.
Join us for three CLE credits of timely and engaging content and a rewarding luncheon. The EDWBA member price of $125, with discounted prices available for students and government / special interest members, is a bargain.
I look forward to seeing you on April 16th at the Pfister.
Julie P. Wilson
EDWBA 2018 Award Spotlight
At next week’s annual meeting, one highlight is when we recognize outstanding individuals for their service, achievements and contributions to the practice of law in the Eastern District of Wisconsin. Below, find out what the Eastern District, and the awards, mean to this year’s deserving recipients.
Judge Myron L. Gordon Lifetime Achievement Award:
“I have great respect for the quality of the judges and court personnel in the Eastern District, as well as the capability and cordiality of practitioners. In addition, I have appreciated several fine programs of the EDWBA for lawyers and the public. It is a tremendous honor to be selected to receive this award.” – Attorney James H. Hall, Jr., Hall, Burce & Olson, S.C.
Judge Robert W. Warren Public Service Award:
“What an honor. The list of prior recipients of the Robert W. Warren Public Service Award reads like a who's-who of my role-models in law and public service. I can only attribute finding myself in such company to the great team of lawyers and other staff at the ACLU and the brilliant and generous cooperating lawyers who have worked with us on many important civil rights cases over the years.” – Attorney Laurence J. Dupuis, ACLU of Wisconsin
Judge Dale E. Ihlenfeldt Bankruptcy Award: (posthumously awarded)
“Phil had an unusual combination of specialty areas: he had been practicing bankruptcy law for 20 years, and also holds an LLM in Taxation from NYU. And this knowledge was infinitely valuable to the bankruptcy community. Phil was always willing to provide advice, commentary and encouragement to lawyers dealing with tax and bankruptcy issues in their practices by answering questions on the BICR listserv, and presenting CLE courses and articles in various newsletters. He did so with a warmth and openness that endeared him to all of us. If he knew about this award, he would likely be embarrassed. He didn’t need external validation – he only wanted to share what he knew and help his colleagues.” – Karen Bauer, Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee
Nathan A. Fishbach Founder’s Award:
“I was privileged to have known Nathan Fishbach and I considered him a friend. He was a mortal man who left us way too soon. This award represents many of the things Nathan stood for and it gives those attributes in which he believed immortality. This award has set a standard to strive for in supporting the lawyers and judges of the Eastern District of Wisconsin. I am humbled and honored that I am being recognized as someone that fosters the bench and bar relationship with energy and enthusiasm.” – Michael C. Williams, Chief Deputy Clerk of Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin
2018 Evans Writing Competition Winners
The Eastern District of Wisconsin Bar Association is pleased to announce the winners of this year’s Terence T. Evans Humor and Creativity in Law Competition. The judging panel enjoyed reading through the record number of submissions received this year. In the student category, Tyler Jochman, a 1L studying at Marquette University Law School, was selected as the winner with his Star Wars themed entry. Gary Ballesteros of Rockwell Automation won the attorney category for his Cocktail Party Lawyer blog. Both winning entries may be found here:
Profile: Judge Brett H. Ludwig by Dorothy H. Dey, Esserlaw, LLC
An even temperament and a keen but humble mind are critical attributes for successful judges in our lives, and the lives of our clients. After spending time observing the Honorable Brett H. Ludwig on the bench, and having a chance to speak with him about his time as a lawyer and now as a Bankruptcy Judge, it seems this newest appointment fills that bill with ease.
Judge Ludwig came from the world of corporate and reinsurance litigation. So why leave the hustle and bustle of a successful complex corporate litigation practice to become a bankruptcy judge? Judge Ludwig became interested in this position after 20+ years in litigation, most recently as a partner with the law firm of Foley & Lardner, with young children who needed him more involved in their daily lives and who sought a different environment for his own professional life. He spoke at some length with some of the current and former bankruptcy judges before applying to “the best position you could have in the federal judicial system,” as one former bankruptcy judge put it. As with all new endeavors, Judge Ludwig had to put in the time and effort to become familiar with not only the Bankruptcy Code but the procedures of both the United States Bankruptcy Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin.
Judge Ludwig noted that there were a few very impressive things that differed from his private practice. He is most impressed with the amount of cooperation and respect shown among the lawyers of practicing before him and the efforts of all involved in any issue to reach an amicable resolution out of court, whether the attorney represents the Trustee, the Debtor or a Creditor. In complex corporate litigation practice, this may not be the norm even where it should be.
A piece of advice to attorneys from Judge Ludwig– deadlines are important but not necessarily inflexible, especially where they do not impact the Court’s calendar – but if you are not going to meet a deadline, ask for a reasonable extension before the deadline expires. He notes that judges were practicing attorneys at one time or another and are aware that sometimes life interferes with a deadline. Try to get an agreement with other counsel and then present it to the Court before the deadline expires. If you can’t get an agreement, get your motion filed timely and be specific on the reasons why you need the extension and be reasonable in the amount of the extension requested.
Judge Ludwig’s caseload has been building since he took the bench earlier this year. He currently has a 40% allocation of time to the Western District. His Eastern District caseload also continues to build. Judge Ludwig is fortunate to be assisted by two seasoned, intelligent law clerks and a great judicial assistant. It is the quality of the support staff, as well as the Clerks of Court’s staff that have helped ease the transition from private practice to the bench and upon whom the Judge is able to rely without question.
2017 Pro Bono Recognition Luncheon
On October 19th the U.S. Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, together with the Eastern District of Wisconsin Bar Association, recognized attorneys for their pro bono service. Attorneys receiving recognition included those who have taken a pro bono appointment from the court, volunteer for the Federal Legal Assistance Program, and volunteer at the Bankruptcy Help Desk.
Introduction to Stephen Dries - Clerk of Courts by Barbara Fritschel, U.S. Courthouse Librarian
Stephen C. Dries started as Clerk of the Court for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District
of Wisconsin on May 1, 2017. He has an undergraduate degree in history from Georgetown and his J.D. is from University of Wisconsin Law School. Continuing his education for his new position, he is currently taking a program on court administration from Michigan State University. In his legal career, he has previously worked as a corporate attorney at Jenner and Block, LLC (Chicago), as a law clerk for Judge Diane Sykes, and most recently spent the last fourteen years clerking for Judge William Griesbach.
As a former law clerk, Steve brings unique insight to the clerk’s office as to what judges see as important, and what administrative details judges do not need to handle. It also presents some challenges as he changes from working closely with one judge to now working with eleven judges. Human relations and budget matters are new challenges for Steve, since his experience as a law clerk did not expose him to this side of court administration. As a law clerk, he did not always realize the extent of the work of the clerk’s office. However, his experience in chambers has led him to create the Clerk’s Corner newsletter, highlighting the many people and projects in the clerk’s office. In the most recent issue, Steve highlighted and complemented the many people who assisted in moving Judge Pamela Pepper’s chambers so that she was up and running within a matter of hours, with minimal disruption.
In the next three to five years, Steve hopes to develop a proactive, responsive spending system, setting budget priorities and ensuring there is not an excess of funds at the end of the year. He is looking forward to having the entire clerk’s office staff working more closely with the bar - the clerk’s office staff is helpful and caring and have many years of experience. They can help demystify federal court practice to attorneys who do not frequently practice in federal court. They also understand that helping attorneys with docketing questions ultimately helps the judges. Steve recently participated in the Eastern District’s Orientation for New Attorneys and hopes more attorneys will consider taking pro bono or criminal assignments. He also participated in Doors Open. He encourages the bar to reach out to the clerk’s office with questions as the staff are here to help.
In his spare time, Steve, who is married to Cari, engages in a variety of outdoor sports such as fishing, golf, basketball, and football. He also enjoys spending time with his son Luke, whom he describes as the “energizer bunny.”
New Brown Bag Lunch Series
This past November the Eastern District of Wisconsin Bar Association kicked off a brown bag lunch series. Each lunch gives members the opportunity to dine with a judge in a small group setting. The lunches are held in a historic conference room in the courthouse. The first lunch featured Magistrate Judge David Jones who led a lively conversation. In February, Chief Bankruptcy Judge Susan Kelley reflected on her career on the bench. Two additional lunches are scheduled: Magistrate Judge William Duffin on April 24 and Bankruptcy Judge Beth Hanan on May 16. Watch for the emails. Space for both is limited to 15.
MULS Federal Practice Society – Introducing Law Students to the Eastern District by Nate Oesch (3L) and Logan Wood (2L), Marquette University Law School
Capitalizing on the law school’s proximity to the federal courthouse, the Marquette Law School Federal Practice Society was formed to introduce law students to the unique features of federal practice, as well as the judges, attorneys and other actors who make up the Eastern District of Wisconsin Bar. The Federal Practice Society was the byproduct of a desire to build upon an existing partnership between Marquette Law School and the Eastern District of Wisconsin Bar Association, which sponsors various programs for law students, including a tour of the federal courthouse and lunch with the magistrate judges.
The Federal Practice Society is open to all law students and has two primary goals. First, it provides law students with various opportunities to meet and engage with members of the legal community who practice in federal court. Second, it provides law students with firsthand experience of the somewhat unique practice in federal court.
You may have recently met or mingled with a few brave members of the Federal Practice Society at this fall’s Evening at the Courthouse event. The group hosted a federal practitioner panel at the law school in the fall semester, and welcomed Magistrate Judge David Jones just a few weeks ago. The group is always looking for more opportunities to get involved with members of the EDWBA, so if you have a suggestion for an event or are interested in learning more about their members, please do not hesitate to contact Nate Oesch, firstname.lastname@example.org or Logan Wood, email@example.com.