Solo Small Firm & General Practice Section | State Bar of Wisconsin

The Solo Small Firm & General Practice Section’s central purpose is to enhance the quality of practice for the solo and small firm lawyer, as well as the lawyer who has interests beyond the bounds of a single professional practice area. The section sponsors CLE seminars, produces CLE seminars, and publishes a newsletter.​​​

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Solo Small Firm & General Practice Section | State Bar of Wisconsin Blogs

Latest from Solo Small Firm & General Practice Section | State Bar of Wisconsin

As the size of farm operations grow, farm ownership structures become more complicated. What a client refers to as “the farm” may mean any number of separate business entities and assets with differing ownership. The farm succession plan may involve buy-sell agreements, tenant-in-common agreements, trusts, and estate plans of various asset owners. Each change in “the farm” may impact one or more of the various pieces of the overall farm picture. Forest or Trees? Farm clients tend to be less worried about these “technical” distinctions in ownership – focusing on the farm as a whole – rather than its interrelated…
Solving financial problems that farming families undergo requires not only all the skills possessed by good insolvency lawyers, but also a deep understanding of agricultural business and production. Farmers facing financial troubles are different from most other debtors. Helping a farm business is difficult, and perhaps impossible, without understanding the various factors and challenges that are unique to a family farm. Perhaps foremost among those is the concept that farming is not just a business, but a way of life. While this may be true for some other businesses as well, this belief and culture is most dominant in family…
There is a popular country music song released a couple of years ago by singer Tim McGraw named “Humble and Kind.” If you have never heard it, I urge you to go onto the internet and listen to it. You may be wondering what this song has to do with farm business planning. ‘Neohumility’ In her article, “Neohumility/Humility and Business Leadership: Do they belong together?” Professor Pareena Lawrence examines the commonly accepted and newly emerging ideas of effective leadership, specifically the quality of humility. Troy R. Schneider, U.W. 1998, is a partner with Twohig, Rietbrock,
Jan. 17, 2018 — Contracting the size of the operation, or downsizing, is often a valuable tactic for businesses in financial trouble. Farms are no different from other businesses in this respect. Selling nonproductive or low productive assets to reduce debt can be the difference between success and failure going forward. Sometimes advance planning can permit a farmer to dispose of such assets before filing a bankruptcy, but much more often, these asset dispositions take place later. The farmer, and even his or her attorney, may have waited until absolutely necessary to consult with reorganization counsel. The farmer may be…
Many attorneys write numerous marital property agreements prior to (or sometimes after) marriage that seek to determine the parties’ economic relationship under Wisconsin’s marital property law. Such marital property agreements are especially important for attorneys who work with farm families wishing to transfer their farms to committed successors. A Need to Educate Today, farms operate with high dollar-value assets, a large debt load, and small net profits. For this reason – and sometimes also for tax reasons – most farm transfers are based primarily on the transfer of “earned equity” to the successors by gift or bargain sale, rather than a sale at…
Farmers and agribusiness are required to follow the revised implements of husbandry or face high fines for overweight or improperly marked equipment. Roberta A. Heckes, Marquette 1999, is a solo practitioner in Adell and Neillsville, primarily serving agriculture and the transportation industry. She also has an active appellate practice. Historically, Wisconsin agricultural equipment operators have operated farm equipment on the highways in a safe and responsible manner. From 2008-2012, accidents involving farm equipment resulted in 16 fatalities (0.62 percent); 314 injuries (0.21 percent); 511 property damage incidents (0.12 percent). Recently, the legislature saw a need to revise the definition…
Making decisions about how to distribute an estate that a client has spent a lifetime accumulating is difficult. When that estate includes a family business in which only some family members are involved, those decisions are more complicated. When that business is a family farm, a business that tends to be heavy on high value but illiquid assets (substantial acres of lands, expensive machinery and equipment, and large numbers of livestock), low on cash flow, and saturated in the sentiment of potentially multiple generations’ worth of blood, sweat, and tears, those decisions can be overwhelming. Bridget Finke, U.W. 2000,…
While some like to say there are too many lawyers in the United States, the fact is only two percent of small law practices are in rural areas, leaving many of the 20 percent of Americans in rural areas without legal help. But those attorneys who are practicing in rural areas are uniquely situated to affect the future of agriculture worldwide, according to an article in a recent of the Drake Journal of Agricultural Law. The journal focuses on contemporary issues in international and domestic agricultural law, and dedicates its spring issue to topics discussed at the Annual American
Farmland preservation laws have existed in Wisconsin since 1981. Wisconsin’s program, offered through the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection, encourages farmland preservation by providing tax credits to eligible farmland owners. The laws pertaining to the program are fairly straight-forward as to how to claim the credit. However, few attorneys take the time to understand the program. Claiming a Tax Credit In order to claim the tax credit, a landowner must be eligible to claim the credit. To be eligible, a landowner must be a Wisconsin resident for the entire tax year, must have eligible farm land,…
The Solo/Small Firm & General Practice Section is sponsoring a new blog to assist attorneys with clients who are farmers, work in the agricultural industry, or live in rural areas. Our new Agricultural Law & Rural Practice Blog provides legal information unique to attorneys who serve these clients. Our blog articles will offer pertinent, valuable, educational, and unbiased information. Find out more in the first Agricultural Law & Rural Practice Blog article, published by the State Bar of Wisconsin Solo/Small Firm & General Practice Section.…