Diversity Equity & Inclusion

In this episode of the Bottom Up podcast, produced by the State Bar of Wiscondsin, co-hosts Emil Ovbiagele and Kristen Hardy discuss their experiences as young lawyers and the importance of law clerkships. They are joined by first-year associate Kate Goodhart and summer law clerk Dan Underwood, who share their perspectives.   The conversation covers what employers look for in a good clerk, the importance of mentorship, and the value of doing impactful work. The hosts and guests also share
Continue Reading Bottom Up Episode 20: Making the Most of Summer Law Clerkships, Tips for First Year Associates

Love is love, but estate planning for the LGBTQ+ community can be more complex than it should be. While significant strides have been made towards equality, there are still legal nuances to consider to ensure your wishes are respected and your loved ones are protected.
This blog post will explore some key elements of LGBTQ+ estate planning and the language that can empower you to build a secure future for yourself and your family.
Why is Estate Planning Important
Continue Reading Estate Planning for the LGBTQ+ Community

Episode 19 of the Bottom Up Podcast, produced by the State Bar of Wisconsin, features a discussion on lawyer wellness, stress, and sleep deprivation, focusing on the unique stressors legal professionals face. Amber Ault — who manages the State Bar’s Wisconsin Lawyers Assistance Program (WisLAP) and has extensive experience in the fields of therapy, sociology, and social work — shares insights and tips for reducing stress and improving sleep habits. Communications Director Joe Forward hosts the discussion, which also
Continue Reading Bottom Up Episode 19: Stress, Sleep Deprivation, and Lawyer Wellness with Amber Ault

Attorney Tom Watson, the featured guest in the latest episode of the Bottom Up Podcast produced by the State Bar of Wisconsin, knows what it means to reinvent yourself.

Tom started his career in broadcast radio. He interviewed big names like Bill Clinton, Jesse Jackson, entertainer Red Skelton, and others. At age 37, Tom enrolled in law school. He’s now the CEO and president of Wisconsin Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company (WILMIC).

From radio to public relations, from family law
Continue Reading Episode 18: The Parade of Horribles in Legal Malpractice Claims with WILMIC CEO Tom Watson

For the past several years, Wisconsin has ranked near the top of the country for racial disparity in nearly every category related to the juvenile justice system.1

State and national trends also support that there is a particular group of youth of color that are uniquely susceptible to involvement in the juvenile justice system: those who have a disability. Nationally, children with disabilities are removed from school and referred to and involved in the juvenile justice system at
Continue Reading Interrupting the School to Prison Pipeline at the Intersection of Race and Disability

Ever heard of imposter syndrome? In this episode of the Bottom Up podcast, produced by the State Bar of Wisconsin, co-host Emil Ovbiagele and guest host Joe Forward interview Samantha Huddleston Baker, a partner at OVB Law and Consulting S.C. in Milwaukee. They discuss impostor syndrome and carving out paths in the early years of a legal career.

Samantha shares her background and journey to law school, as well as her experience joining the law firm and overcoming impostor
Continue Reading Bottom Up Episode 17: Overcoming Imposter Syndrome with Samantha Huddleston Baker

In her Business Law Blog article, “The DEI Conundrum for Companies,” Nadelle Grossman explored both obstacles and opportunities that companies face in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts.

In this article, I expand that discussion, noting and commenting on ways that law firms can establish or build upon their DEI efforts to overcome challenges they may have.

Mary E. Purdy, Marquette 2024, is interested in practicing in corporate and business law.

Uncertainty in
Continue Reading The DEI Landscape in Law Firms

Simply defined, human trafficking is the exploitation of human beings for someone else’s gain, according to Erika Petty, executive director at Milwaukee-based Lotus Legal Clinic, a nonprofit that provides free legal services exclusively to victims of human trafficking.

As you’ll discover in Episode 16 of the Bottom Up podcast, produced by the State Bar of Wisconsin, while human trafficking can be simply defined, the complexity of the issue spans the nation and the globe, and hits home right here
Continue Reading Bottom Up Episode 16: Helping Victims of Human Trafficking, a Hidden Crime, with Erika Petty

In 1963, Frank Gimbel was just three years out of law school when he became an assistant U.S. attorney, serving five years before switching to defense counsel. Gimbel’s career as a trial lawyer, spanning six decades, has been chronicled extensively, with many awards to his name.

But the early days were no walk in the park. Gimbel worked as a tax return preparer, a clothes salesman, and held other side jobs to keep food on the table. These experiences
Continue Reading Bottom Up Episode 15: Hustle, Humility, and 63 years in Law Practice with Litigator Frank Gimbel

Dec. 7, 2023 – More than 40 lawyers gathered at the Italian Community Center in Milwaukee for the State Bar of Wisconsin’s 2023 Diversity Counsel Program on Monday, Dec. 4.

The State Bar of Wisconsin’s Diversity and Inclusion Oversight Committee organized the program, emceed by Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Kori Ashley.

Launched by the State Bar in 2004, the Diversity Counsel Program was modeled after the original American Bar Association Minority Counsel Demonstration Program.

Originally designed to increase
Continue Reading Diversity Counsel Program: ‘There’s a Space for You Here’

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

Companies are facing competing pressures in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts. On the one hand, many companies identify the economic and institutional benefits of having a diverse workforce that reflects the different views, experiences, and ideas of their constituents. On the other hand, companies worry about being attacked for engaging in discriminatory practices.

In his recent article in this blog, Clyde Tinnen reviewed the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Students for Fair Admissions, Inc.
Continue Reading The DEI Conundrum for Companies

It’s easy to take for granted that the documents and accounts we use every day reflect our true conception of ourselves – knowing that we’ll see the right name or gender identity listed on things like our driver’s license, birth certificates, Social Security information, and passports – and all of the many, many other things that flow from one or more of those documents: voter registration, insurance information, bank accounts, credit cards, and more.

For a growing number of
Continue Reading No More ‘Deadnames:’ Petitioning for Name and Gender Marker ID Changes in Wisconsin

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

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