President’s Message—My View Forward

WDC Journal Edition: Winter 2012
By: Rollin E. Krafft, President, Wisconsin Defense Counsel

It is truly an honor to serve as President of Wisconsin Defense Counsel. I have worked with many of you over the years and have always been impressed with your knowledge, skills, and abilities.

We have added some very talented defense practitioners to the WDC Board, including my colleague, Amy Goyette, Spencer Davczyk from Wausau, Fred Strampe from Milwaukee, and Michael Happe from Eau Claire.

I would like to lay out my goals for Wisconsin Defense Counsel in the coming year.

Legislation—Depending upon the outcome of the November elections, we may be in a position to pass collateral source legislation which would provide the defense the opportunity to admit into evidence amounts actually accepted by health care providers for medical services. I would like to thank Andy Cook of Hamilton Consulting for his leadership in this area, as well as Past Presidents Bryce Tolefree and Mike Gill. We have also had the benefit of President-Elect Art Simpson’s informed viewpoint concerning potential legislation.

Membership—Sadly, the demographics of the WDC are, present company included, skewing old and membership numbers are declining. There continues to be the problem of attracting young lawyers to insurance defense practices. Additionally, many accomplished insurance defense practitioners have abandoned their insurance practice because they no longer view it as professionally or economically rewarding. We need to search for ways to identify civil defense practitioners who are not members of the organization and invite them to become members.

I would like to see more non-insurance civil defense practitioners become members. I fear that many non-insurance civil defense practitioners avoid WDC because of a perception that we are simply insurance lawyers and there is a substantial risk that their hourly rates would be subject to gravitational downward pull were they to become members. Notwithstanding the challenges of increasing or at least maintaining current membership levels, we must continue to identify and invite to membership non-members who are in civil defense practices.

Seminars—During the time I have served on the Board we have done a great job providing seminars at desirable locations featuring accomplished practitioners providing know-how to attendees. I would like to thank past Program Chair and current Treasurer, Kara Burgos, for her fine work last year. I am excited that my dear friend, Jeffrey Leavell, will serve as Program Chair this year. I expect Jeff to put together great seminars with interesting speakers and topics. I look forward to seeing many of you at our Winter Conference on December 7, 2012 at the Milwaukee Marriott.

Sponsors—I would like to thank our 2012 sponsors for their generous support:

Brown and Jones Reporting, Inc.
CED Investigative Technologies
Exponent, Inc.
Proulx Professional Research, Inc.
Safety Engineering Associates, Inc.
SEA, Ltd.
Skogen Engineering
Stellpflug Law, SC
Visual Advantage, Inc.
West Bend Mutual Insurance Co.

I welcome your input and look forward to serving you as President of Wisconsin Defense Counsel.