Work-Life Balance

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

The immeasurable benefits of a healthy work-life balance are well known. Engaging with outside organizations, taking time for personal interests and hobbies, spending time with family and friends, exercising, gardening, caring for pets, traveling – all of these are ways in which we can help our bodies, minds, and souls stay fresh for our law practices and our clients. Additionally, we can learn a lot from our out-of-office activities that help us as attorneys.

In my working life, I
Continue Reading March Madness: How Basketball Can Help You Be a Better Attorney

Watching the lawyers involved in numerous high-profile trials, from the various Trump cases to the Michigan mother of the school shooter, causes me to wonder: just how much do these lawyers actually believe what they’re advocating?

The practice of law can be highly disingenuous. As a friend of mine once put it: “Sometimes I feel like a prostitute where I’m assuming a position in exchange for a fee.”

Being a lawyer brings innumerable variations on this theme, some more
Continue Reading Law as a Career

There was much buzz today about an article in the Cut (a lifestyle website from Vox Media/New York Magazine) – “The Day I Put $50,000 in a Shoe Box and Handed It To A Stranger.” Charlotte Cowles, the Cut’s financial advice columnist, discussed in embarrassing detail how she fell victim to what she termed a “cruel and violating [scam] but one painfully obvious in retrospect.” Cowles did not believe she could ever be a victim—she did not fit any
Continue Reading When Dumb Scams Happen To Smart People

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

Behavior activation is a branch of psychology focusing on how one’s environment shapes their actions and their mental health. By deliberately practicing certain behaviors, you can activate an emotional state. Go for one of the positive ones because that can lead to virtuous cycles. The opposite leads to vicious cycles, and ain’t nobody got time for that. By simply acting, you actually start finding yourself in the situation that leads to the desired feeling – including one of feeling
Continue Reading Do; be. Do; be. Do.

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! 

Nov. 1, 2023 – Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Annette Ziegler used her third State of the Judiciary address on Nov. 1 to highlight ongoing concerns with judicial security and statewide mental health.

For the second straight year, Ziegler began her address, which took place at the 2023 Annual Meeting of the Wisconsin Judicial Conference, by discussing the ongoing threat to judicial security.

In last year’s address, Chief Justice Ziegler used the murder of Juneau County Circuit Court Judge
Continue Reading State of the Judiciary: Chief Justice Ziegler Again Highlights Judicial Security

A big lie is that we just need more discipline. “If you really wanted to get stuff done, you would. You simply have to be (more) disciplined. No pain, no gain. Just do it!” We’ve all heard it from all sides, including our inner voices. Yeah, and if it were that easy, we’d all have our to-do lists done, be at our goal weight, and have all sorts of medals and trophies displayed to be admired.

But the truth
Continue Reading Be Disciplined About Not Needing Discipline 

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

[Continuing our theme from last week.]

Another lie is that we can multitask. We’ve all done it; we’ve tried to do two things at once. Reading email while on a phone call, filing documents during a webinar, direct messaging while writing a memo. We think “Look how busy I am! And I got two things done at once!” But what we forget is that it comes at a cost. Studies have shown that found it takes 23 minutes
Continue Reading Hidden Stress of Multitasking

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