President's Message

WDC Journal Edition: Spring 2015
By: Kara M. Burgos, President, Wisconsin Defense Counsel

In my first Message to you, I discussed my goal this year: as President of WDC, I hoped to obtain member input to make WDC one of the best state defense organizations in the country. Our first steps have been taken. We issued a Membership Research Study in early January to seek answers to topics that concern the organization’s viability and productivity in the defense community. Many of you responded with input and suggestions. We hope to continue this dialogue and more importantly, implement some of your valuable suggestions.

One of the changes that we are looking at as a governing Board is to provide webcasts of our conference programming and/or additional content programming. Many of our members enjoy our thrice yearly seminars but some are just unable to commit to the time/distance logistics of our chosen locations. It is hoped we can employ cost-effective methods to provide members with continuing education on a remote basis.

Many of you also commented in our survey on the topics of the seminars. Several members wanted more insurance related topics, either coverage related or in-house based. Program Chairs for WDC are the hardest working members of our group. They continually strive to provide relevant topics and dynamic speakers—a hard task indeed. If you have a topic in which you are interested, please contact myself, the Program Chair, or a member of the Board. Even better, are you an “expert” on a specific area of the law? If so, you would be the best person to present to our members. Consider it time well spent!

Several of you also commented on the continually changing nature of the insurance defense industry— how the “business of law” is taking over the practice of law. This is a recurring conversation heard not only throughout our meetings and seminars but over Listservs and Blogs. We are not the only state organization to feel the crunch. These conversations need to keep occurring. In the past, we have had Counsel Panel Meetings at our Seminars which have addressed some of these very issues. Those have fallen by the wayside for most insurers. Is this a result of more cost-cutting measures? We need to keep the conversations on the table and encourage our defense practitioners and claims counsel/representatives to engage fully in this discussion. It is the insured customers who will ultimately pay the price if the business of law forces good lawyers out of the picture.

Last, but not at all least, you have likely now seen advertised in all of the literature for the Spring Seminar our first “Spring Time Action Drive.” Why? As a Board, we have made a decision to give back to our communities. Most all of us are actively engaged in our communities, whether through service on non-profit Boards, children’s events, or other volunteer events ... but what if we each did a little more? That was the driving force behind our action. It takes so little time to make a difference in another person’s life. I hope you take a few minutes to contribute and also encourage your office to match your contribution. Together we CAN make a difference.

Kara M. Burgos, a New York native, holds a Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, from Saint Bonaventure University and a Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Marquette University. She is a member of the Wisconsin State Bar and both districts of the federal system. Kara, a partner with Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd., joined the firm in 1995. She is a member of the La Crosse County Bar Association, serving as secretary 1997-1998, and is the current President of the Wisconsin Defense Counsel. She is the President of the Board of Directors for Bethany St. Joseph’s Corporation, La Crosse, Wisconsin.

In 2000, Kara was selected, by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, to serve on the Special Preliminary Review Panel for the Office of Lawyer Regulation. This panel investigates ethical complaints against lawyers. Kara was the Panel’s Chairperson in 2007 until her term expired. She is current Chair of District 5 of the Office of Lawyer Regulation. Kara is Court Commissioner for La Crosse County Circuit Court Judge Ramona A. Gonzalez. Judge Gonzalez appointed her November, 2006. Previously, she was appointed Court Commissioner by Judge Dennis G. Montabon.

Kara works extensively with plaintiffs and defendants in many different areas including family, civil, and business law, as well as working with the mentally ill, developmentally disabled, and elderly populations. She has authored several briefs to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals and published several articles in scholarly journals. She was voted by her peers across the State as a “Rising Star” in a national publication in 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2011.