A Brief History of the Wisconsin Association for Justice

WWII had just ended when the Wisconsin Association for Justice was first organized in 1946. Even then there were threats facing trial attorneys nationwide and here in Wisconsin. Originally founded as the National Association of Claimants' Compensation Attorneys (NACCA), the state chapter was organized in 1957 as NACCA of Wisconsin.  N. Paley Phillips of Milwaukee was installed as the first president. 

Following a national trend, the group changed its name in the early 1970's the Wisconsin Academy of Trial Lawyers (WATL).  In late 2007, WATL members voted to change the name once more to the Wisconsin Association for Justice (WAJ) to better reflect our mission of fighting for a fair and equitable justice system.

WAJ is Wisconsin's largest voluntary bar organization. In addition to preserving access to the civil justice system, one of WAJ's principal objectives is promoting the legal education of our members for the betterment of the trial bar profession; and to preserve Wisconsin's civil justice system by working with any government entity to advocate for the legal rights of all Wisconsin citizens.

WAJ Mission Statement

The Mission of the Wisconsin Association for Justice is to promote a fair and effective justice system – one that ensures justice for all, not just a privileged few. The Association supports the work of attorneys to ensure any person harmed due to work place injury or injured by the misconduct or negligence of others can have a fair day in court, even when taking on the most powerful interests.

The Association strives to achieve and maintain the highest standards of professional ethics and competency while educating and training in the art of advocacy. The Association and its members are dedicated to benefiting communities across Wisconsin through local events and charitable giving. WAJ may offer assistance and cooperation to other organizations and persons in furtherance of these objects.

The Wisconsin Association for Justice was founded in 1957. As the largest statewide voluntary bar association, its mission is ensuring a fair and effective judicial system and the protection of the Constitutional right to a civil jury trial.


Amendment VII:  Jury Trial in Civil Lawsuits
Passed by Congress September 25, 1789. Ratified December 15, 1791. The first 10 amendments form the Bill of Rights

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

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