Outgoing CTCW President's Message

WDC Journal Edition: December 2001
By: Bill Wick - Nash, Spindler, Grimstad & McCracken LLP

It seems impossible that over a year has passed since I was given the opportunity of being president of Civil Trial Counsel of Wisconsin. It has been an interesting experience and the next year or two are also certain to bring significant changes in CTCW. At the annual convention, Pat Brennan assumed the responsibilities of president and I believe he will face a significant challenge.

This summer our executive director, Jim Hough, advised us that he and his partners made a decision to focus on the lobbying function of their business and to transition out of association management. This will impact significantly on CTCW. The association management functions performed by Mr. Hough and his organization include conference planning, newsletter coordination, bookkeeping, data entry, and many other administrative tasks. Mr. Hough recommended that CTCW work with Public Affairs Strategies, Inc., an organization with which Mr. Hough had worked previously. Mr. Hough offered to continue his duties as executive director and lobbyist. In May, the Board authorized a sub-contract with Public Affairs Strategies Inc. but deferred permanent action until January 2002. In discussions with Mr. Hough concerning the duties he had performed for CTCW, my sense was that the board of directors was surprised at the extent of the time Mr. Hough spent on lobbying activities as well as association management functions. The CTCW board of directors is presently assessing the role of our organization in both lobbying activities and association management since both are important to defense trial lawyers. We need to determine the extent of our involvement in the legislative process in addition to the need for management service. This is a major issue that is being addressed by or new officers.

The other area of development in the last year is the board's expressed desire to upgrade the quality of the CTCW publications. Our goal is to produce a periodic publication of journal quality articles. Whether this can be realized is being assessed. In order to accomplish this, we need a qualified editor assisted by a capable editorial board. Our goal is to have a publication that will be respected by justices, judges, and practicing attorneys as scholarly and insightful.

At this point, I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to thank all of the individuals who have helped CTCW function effectively throughout the past year. Jim Hough, our executive director, has been a guiding force to this organization for many years. The work of Jim and his staff is greatly appreciated. CTCW has always been known for its outstanding continuing legal education programs. The program chairman, Bernie McCartan, has done an excellent job presenting seminars with timely topics and quality speakers. The Amicus committee headed by Jim Naugler has done an excellent job. No organization can function without capable people on its board of directors and I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of them. Pat Brennan and Wayne Maffei have been particularly active in assisting this year. It is difficult to single out individuals and there are many people who have contributed to the newsletter sections and in many other ways. To all of you, thank you for your assistance.