Career Planning

As younger lawyers enter the profession, how do they collaborate and communicate effectively with older generations, who may collaborate differently? What are the current trends, challenges, and opportunities for solo and small firms in the practice management and technology space?  These are some of the questions that co-host Emil Ovbiagele and Joe Forward (guest host) explore with guests Erin Ogden and Brent Hoeft. This is the second episode in a two-parter focused on solo and small firms, recorded from
Continue Reading Episode 14 (Part 2): Solo & Small Firms – Generational Differences and Technology and Practice Management

First, read my article about goals published by the State Bar of Wisconsin. Back already? Great! I’ve convinced you that goals matter. They help guide priorities. They provide freedom, catalysts, and momentum. So, let’s get started.

What makes a good goal? I’m sure you’ve heard of SMART goals, but I encourage you to take SMARTIES.

S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Actionable
R – Relevant
T – Time Bound
I – Intrinsic
E – Extra
S –
Continue Reading Go Goals, Go! 

In this episode, recorded at the 2023 Wisconsin Solo & Small Firm Conference (WSSFC), co-host Emil Obviagele and guest host Joe Forward speak with Jessica Kramer, a small firm owner based in Madison, and Aiden Tharp, a solo practitioner in Hudson.

Kramer was a co-chair of the conference’s substantive law track, and Tharp was a co-chair of the work-life balance/ethics track. The conference theme? Working across different generations of clients, lawyers, and judges. The guests discuss this theme and
Continue Reading Episode 14 (Part 1): Solo & Small Firm Practice in Wisconsin

Perhaps you’ve seen the meme that tells us that we all have the same number of hours in our day as Beyonce, and look at all that she has accomplished so get going. Clever, but the meme doesn’t include that she doesn’t wake up in the morning and say, “Hmm, what am I going to do today?” And she doesn’t do it alone. What does she have? Plans and people. Guess what? So can you.

We all have stories
Continue Reading The Lies We Tell Ourselves

In Episode 13 of the Bottom Up Podcast, produced by the State Bar of Wisconsin, co-hosts Emil Ovbiagele and Kristen Hardy talk with Karina O’Brien, an attorney at Kostner, Koslo & Brovold LLC in Arcadia, Wisconsin. The topic? Rural practice in Wisconsin. The challenges. The opportunities. The shortage of attorneys in rural Wisconsin.
A 2014 U.W. Law School graduate, Karina grew up in Arcadia, located 45 miles south of Eau Claire. She didn’t think she would return to her
Continue Reading Episode 13: Rural Law Practice with Karina O’Brien

Milwaukee-based attorney Christa Wittenberg, a 2012 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, never thought she would ever work for a law firm. But plans change.
Now after 9 years with O’Neil, Cannon, Hollman, Dejong & Laing S.C., Wittenberg was recently elected to serve on the firm’s 3-person Board of Directors. In the firm’s 50-year history, she is the first woman to serve in that role. In addition to her commercial litigation practice, Wittenberg will help the firm
Continue Reading Episode 12: Navigating New Opportunities with Confidence: Christa Wittenberg

Fresh off a one-year term as president of the State Bar of Wisconsin, family and elder law attorney Margaret Hickey, of Milwaukee, discusses the importance of leadership, including service to a State Bar membership of more than 25,000 attorneys. Co-hosts Emil Ovbiagele and Kristen Hardy engage Hickey – the fourth consecutive woman to serve as president – in discussions about the role of State Bar leaders, including the State Bar’s Board of Governors, and how leaders tackle issues important
Continue Reading Episode 11: Leading the Legal Profession with Margaret Hickey

For many recent law school grads, today is the day to sit for the dreaded bar exam. When non-lawyers ask me about the experience, they usually end up with a pained expression and tell me how glad they are to not have to do that themselves. Now that I have distance from the experience, it’s easy enough for me to say “Oh, it wasn’t so bad”—but while I was facing the prospect of sitting for it, I wasn’t quite
Continue Reading The Bar Exam, As In Life

[Erin here: This is the second of two lessons from Carter, our outstanding high school administrative assistant. He keeps winning Gold at Wisconsin State Forensics so we think we all can learn something from him.!]

If you are reading this then I like to think that you enjoyed the first part of this two-part blog post, and you want to hear more about the rules that I think are a must to being a great public speaker. Before reading
Continue Reading Public Speaking: An Ability Worth Working For (Episode 2)

When Makda Fessahaye was age 28, and only five years out of law school, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers appointed her as the top administrator of the Division of Adult Institutions at the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. That was in 2019. “You go for it because when else do you get a gubernatorial appointment,” Fessahaye said. She went on to become the chief human resources officer for the city of Milwaukee, and now serves as associate vice chancellor and chief
Continue Reading Episode 10: Building Relationships and Community with Makda Fessahaye

Picture this: You are standing in a school classroom, in front of a group of ten or eleven people. You’re about to finish a speech you had been giving for the past three months. You take a deep breath, you’re done. You go out into the lobby area of a school and wait to hear if you will win gold at State Forensics. Your results come back; you have won gold. All your hard work has paid off.

Continue Reading Public Speaking: An Ability Worth Working For (Episode I)

The judge is the most important role in having a fair and efficient legal system. Properly performed, it requires intelligence, compassion, savvy and patience. All of those attributes may (or may not) deteriorate with age. So, should there be a mandatory retirement age for judges, like there is for airline pilots?

The issue is highlighted most recently by the case of 95-year-old Judge Pauline Newman, the oldest active federal judge in the nation. She is famous (infamous?) for having
Continue Reading Age Isn’t Just a Number When It Comes to Mandatory Judicial Retirement

This question was posed by the State Bar of Wisconsin on its social media today, and because I am on deadline and should be writing about [things that are my actual work] and instead I am procrastinating, I responded with a small treatise. But it’s a topic I think is worthy of more exploration, particularly as new graduates get sworn in (thank you diploma privilege) and start working. There will be growing pains. I am 14 years
Continue Reading “When did you feel like you really ‘became’ a lawyer?”

In Episode 9 of the Bottom Up Podcast, produced by the State Bar of Wisconsin, co-hosts Kristen Hardy and Emil Ovbiagele speak with Milwaukee-based attorney Nate Cade, who wakes up at exactly 4:06 a.m. every morning to start his routine. A heavy-hitting litigator who often works on high-profile cases, Cade spent the first 17 years of his career at a large law firm, honing his craft as a trial lawyer and making his own opportunities. One day, about a
Continue Reading Episode 9: Nate Cade on Extreme Ownership, from Big Law to Solo Practice

Are you a public defender or prosecutor? A judge? A Wisconsin resident? Thinking about criminal law as a career? The State Bar of Wisconsin’s Advocacy Team is advocating for you. In Episode 8 of Bottom Up, a WisLawNOW podcast produced by the State Bar of Wisconsin, guest host Joe Forward speaks with three members of the State Bar’s Advocacy Team – Cale Battles, Lynne Davis, and Devin Martin – about the advocacy work they are doing to increase funding
Continue Reading Episode 8: Advocating for the Criminal Justice System

Milwaukee attorney Larry Whitley went straight from law school to an in-house counsel position, working on billion dollar deals in real estate right out the gate. In the latest episode of the Bottom Up Podcast, produced by the State Bar of Wisconsin, co-hosts Kristen Hardy and Emil Ovbiagele chat with Whitley about his journey. “There’s no wrong path, just your path,” Whitley says. The Rufus King High School and Marquette University Law School graduate – a former Milwaukee Bucks
Continue Reading Episode 7: The Road Less Traveled with In-House Counsel, Larry Whitley