Category Archives: Legal Professionals

Wisconsin Law Journal Names Unsung Heroes

I’m very honored to have been selected as one of the winners of the Wisconsin Law Journal’s Unsung Heroes award. The awards were presented at a luncheon at the Italian Community Center in Milwaukee last Friday.
The award I received was in the Law Library staff category. WLJ also recognized award winners in seven other categories – Court Staff, Human Resources, Information Technology, Law Firm Administrators, Legal Secretaries, Paralegals, and Additional Unsung Heroes.
For more photos of the event, see the WLJ Flickr page.

Nominated as WLJ Unsung Hero

I’m very honored to share that I’ve been nominated for a Wisconsin Law Journal’s 2008 Unsung Heroes award. The program recognizes outstanding work by “behind the scenes” personnel in the Wisconsin legal community.
The other two nominees in the Law Library Staff category are Diane L. Duffey of Habush Habush & Rottier, S.C. and Jane B. Moberg of Michael Best & Friedrich LLP. I’m definitely in good company. Other categories include Secretary, Paralegal, Administrator, Human Resources, IT Specialists, Marketers, and Court Staff. See the press release for the full list of nominees.
A celebration luncheon will be held November 14 at Milwaukee’s Italian Community Center. For registration and directions to the luncheon site, see the WLJ website.
This year’s honorees will be featured in the Unsung Heroes issue of the Wisconsin Law Journal, to be published November 17, 2008.

ABA Survey Show Attorneys Prefer Low-Tech, Free Services

The ABA Journal reports some interesting findings from the latest annual Legal Technology Survey Report. In general, the survey indicates that lawyers are slow to adopt cutting-edge technology.

For all the hype–at conferences, on the Internet, and in this publication and others–about how Web 2.0 technologies are changing the way lawyers practice, the bulk of the profession is only now on the verge of beginning to use those tools in their daily professional lives…
If the history of technology in the legal profession is any guide, most lawyers will eventually understand the utility of today’s latest technology as well as any of today’s college students do. And they’ll come to that understanding about the same time as those college students make partner.


The survey… shows that websites and e-mail newsletters are still the digital way that most at

Nominate Legal Support Staff for 2008 Unsung Heroes Award

Once again, it’s time to nominate your favorite legal support staff for the Wisconsin Law Journal’s Unsung Heroes award.
From the Web site:

Lawyers in Wisconsin do terrific work. But where would they be without the members of their support staff who, behind the scenes, quietly make it all happen?
In the fast-paced, demanding legal profession, it takes a team of hard-working, dedicated individuals to get the job done. Everyone does their part in ensuring the firm’s success — and the success of its clients. That’s why the Wisconsin Law Journal is honored to host its third-annual event for our “Unsung Heroes” of the state’s legal community.
Please join us on November 14 at Milwaukee’s Italian Community Center as we host the “Unsung Heroes” whose efforts are essential to helping law firms and courts run efficiently.
We’ll recognize several categories, including: Secretary, Paralegal, Law Librarian, Administrator, Human Resources, IT Specialists, Marketers, and Court Staff. Registration: 11:30 a.m. Lunch: noon Award presentation to follow lunch

Wisconsin Diploma Privilege Suit Granted Class Action Status

Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb granted class action status to a lawsuit challenging Wisconsin’s policy of allowing in-state law graduates to become lawyers without passing the bar exam.

Anyone who applies to practice law in Wisconsin within 30 days of graduating from a law school outside the state can join the lawsuit.
Wisconsin allows graduates from its two law schools to become lawyers immediately if they meet certain requirements. It’s the last state in the nation with the so-called diploma privilege.


Twitter and the Legal Profession

There has been a lot of discussion lately about Twitter and its applications for the legal profession. Twitter is a free micro-blog service in which people answer the question “What are you doing?” in 140 characters or less.
Although many have questioned whether such a tool could have any practical application at all, for better or worse, some enterprising individuals have indeed applied it in legal settings. Here’s a sample of some of the ways in which Twitter is being used:

  • Networking with clients & colleagues
    From Real Lawyers Have Blogs:

    You can benefit from Twitter in three ways, that I see today. First, a way to socially network with people, some of which networking may lead to work, speaking engagements, and the like. Two, a means to amplify your message, i.e., spreading what you what you may be blogging, writing, or speaking on. Three, if you blog, you are going to get news from other bloggers whose content you may want to reference in your blog or work.

    For more on using Twitter as a marketing & communications tool, check out Steve Matthews’ Law Firm Web Strategy.

  • Live Coverage from the Courtroom – From journalists:
    From the ABA Journal:

    Reporter Ron Sylvester is covering the trial of defendant Theodore Burnett [accused in the contract killing of a pregnant 14-year-old girl] for the Wichita Eagle, but he’s also submitting updates to Twitter, described as “a service for friends, family, and co-workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?”

  • Live Coverage from the Courtroom – From Jurors:
    From Proof & Hearsay

    Matthew Wheeler, a blogger who got called for jury duty, was red-faced when his site got more hits than normal earlier this week.
    Wheeler was breaking the monotony of jury service by Twitter posting with interesting observations such as: “Public wi-fi in the courthouse kinda blows. Actually, it really blows.”
    Well, he was selected for the pool of potential jurors who will hear the first lead paint injury case to go to trial. It’s the mother of all trials, at least in terms of its six weeks estimated length.
    “Still sitting for jury duty crap. Hating it immensely. Plz don’t pick me. Plz don’t pick me,” Wheeler wrote just before 4 p.m. on Monday.

    If you’re interested in the uses of Twitter in the courtroom, I highly recommend Anne Reed’s Deliberations.

80% of Legal Professionals Suffer from Information Overload, But You Don’t Have to be One of Them

A new study by LexisNexis reveals that 70% of American white collar workers suffer from information overload. That number rises to 80% among legal professionals.
Other findings for legal professionals include:

  • 90% of legal professionals agree that not being able to access the right information at the right time is a huge time-waster
  • 70% say they spend a lot of time sifting through irrelevant information.
  • Nearly 50% say that research takes up so much of their time that they occasionally omit billing clients for this work.

This survey has generated some comment around the blawgosphere.

  • Robert Ambrogi considers the effect of blogs:

    Yes, blogs can add to information overload, but they can also alleviate it by helping lawyers monitor and sift what is important in their fields. Like technology of all sorts, blogs can be either a blessing or a curse, depending on how you use them.

  • Jason the Content Librarian suggests that law librarians can help lawyers cope:

    Law librarians are ideally suited to help individuals and organizations deal with information overload. Training attorneys in personal information management, participating in knowledge management programs, and participating on intranet teams are natural roles for librarians. These areas can greatly alleviate information overload and influence the bottom line of their firms.

    I wholeheartedly agree with both Robert and Jason. Technology is both a blessing and a curse for information overload. In recent years, the growth of new Web content has been practically exponential. A 2007 estimate put the size of the Web at 15 to 30 billion pages. The blogosphere alone is estimated at 70 million blogs. Taken as a whole, that’s enough to overwhelm anyone.
    But, fortunately, technology also gives us the tools to selectively choose which information we receive. Through RSS, you can subscribe to only those sources which interest you, be they blogs, newspapers, court documents, SEC filings, etc. With tools such as FeedRinse, you can even limit your RSS feeds further by filtering by keyword. Or if RSS isn’t for you, you can have RSS feeds delivered via email with tools like RSSFWD.
    While, yes, the amount of available information is indeed staggering, it need not be overwhelming if you’re smart about locating it. Librarians know this – and like Jason said, we can work with you to develop smarter information gathering techniques. Just ask us.
    So, am I suffering from information overload? No way. Bring it on – the more the better.

Diploma Privilege Lawsuit Reinstated

A lawsuit questioning Wisconsin’s diploma privilege was reinstated on Tuesday by the Seventh Circuit, reports JS Online.
From the article:

U.S. District Judge John Shabaz dismissed the lawsuit last year. The rule exempting University of Wisconsin and Marquette University law graduates from taking the exam does not violate the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, he said.
But the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled Tuesday that Shabaz erred when he did not rule first on whether to certify the case as a class-action lawsuit. The court sent the case back to Shabaz for additional proceedings.

Historical Photos – Wisconsin Law

Have you seen the collection of photos that the Library of Congress has recently posted to Flickr? There are some pretty amazing photos, including a series of color photos from WWII era.
It got me curious about whether there were any interesting Wisconsin photos. I didn’t find much from the Library of Congress collection, but then I remember that the Wisconsin Historical Society also maintains a large online photo collection. Here are a couple that caught my eye.

The State’s First All-Woman Law Firm, 1945
Eight-foot Tall Lawyer, 1944
The Law Office, 1894

Update 1/31/08: Robert Ambrogi over at Legal Blog Watch was intrigued by the photo of Clifford Thompson, the eight-foot tall lawyer and did a bit of research.