What's in a Name?

WDC Journal Edition: Winter 2008
By: Robert J. Lauer, President, Civil Trial Counsel of Wisconsin

On October 14, 2008, I sent a broadcast e-mail to all CTCW members explaining that the CTCW board unanimously approved changing the name of our organization to "Wisconsin Defense Counsel - Defending Individuals and Businesses in Civil Litigation." The change was made to implement part of a strategic plan that focuses on raising the profile of the organization in Wisconsin and developing more business opportunities for our members. The name change will become effective January 1, 2009, but I am asking each of you to immediately promote the new name in your respective practices.

Moving from "Civil Trial Counsel of Wisconsin" to "Wisconsin Defense Counsel" alone does not really change anything. Is there anyone out there who did not grow a bit weary of hearing about "change" this election year, irrespective of which political party was professing to institute the change that would presumably represent something different from the past? Change, simply for the sake of change, is not worth much. The real goal of change at WDC is to focus on what we do well as trial attorneys and to use that skilled service in an effort to introduce our members to other opportunities in the business community.

WDC is about to embark upon a campaign where we pursue alliances with other associations in an effort to develop new networking opportunities and additional sources of work for our members. We will all need to take a more active role in order to successfully complete this goal and broaden our existing base. Certainly, the need for full involvement continues for our traditional work in presenting seminar topics and authoring articles for the Wisconsin Civil Trial Journal. In addition, please consider offering to write articles and make presentations to the associations in the business community that WDC plans to partner with in 2009.

Speaking of positive change, I want to briefly mention my recent trip to New Orleans for the annual DRI Meeting on October 22-25. I was one of several board members who attended the meeting to represent CTCW at the national conference. In attending various sessions and speaking with lawyers from across the country, it became abundantly clear that all of us face the same challenges and share the same concerns in the everyday practice of law. Sharing ideas about how to solve those problems, and hearing of the many successes of others in doing so, was very beneficial.

This same body of knowledge exists within our membership. As part of the positive change occurring here, let's work to discuss the problems that affect all of us. We are planning to include topics in our 2009 seminars that address some of our common challenges, in addition to the presentations that focus on traditional legal issues.

In planning for 2009, please be sure to mark your calendars for our Spring Conference at the American Club in Kohler, Wisconsin on April 23-24. The 2009 Annual Conference will be held next year in Milwaukee at the Intercontinental Hotel on August 13-14. Apart from our usual program, we are planning a group outing to a Milwaukee Brewers baseball game against the Houston Astros at the close of the conference on August 14. Please be sure to plan ahead so that you can attend both of the 2009 meetings. In the meantime, if you have questions or concerns about our organization, please call or e-mail me at your convenience.