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Incoming President's Message

Heath Straka, WAJ President

To say I’m lucky would be an understatement.  My legal career started when I was fortunate enough to land a job as a clerk under Mike Riley, Lee Atterbury and Mike Luebke by way of a conversation with a high school teacher.  Still a clerk, I followed Luebke who had joined Bob Gingras and John Cates. Fast forward 18 years, and I’ve had the opportunity to work with and now join several other stalwarts of our profession.  I’ve been lucky to be basically with one firm the entire time. I'm a partner at Gingras, Cates & Wachs (formerly Gingras, Cates & Luebke), and have been with a version of the firm since law school. Keep Reading

Collaborate for Justice
By: Benjamin S. Wagner, WAJ President

Mentor (Noun) [men-tawr]
1. a wise and trusted counselor or teacher.
2. an influential senior sponsor or supporter.

Collaborate (Verb)[kuh-lab-uh-reyt]
1. to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor

Community (Noun)[ kə-ˈmyü-nə-tē]
1. a unified body of individuals

--All derived from Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2017.

As Trial Lawyers, we embrace the power of advocacy and seek a greater mastery of courtroom skill and presentation. We must, however, always aspire to be more than that. Obtaining justice for our clients requires that we seek to understand not only their legal claims, but how to seek justice as they define it. Keep Reading

The Power of Advocacy
By: Benjamin S. Wagner, WAJ President

1.   Advocacy (Noun) \ˈad-və-kə-sē\

Advocacy is an activity by an individual or group which aims to influence decisions within political, economic, and social systems and institutions. Advocacy can include many activities that a person or organization undertakes including media campaigns, public speaking, commissioning and publishing research or conducting exit poll or the filing of an amicus brief.  Advocacy – Wikipedia

We are trial lawyers. We are the protectors and guardians of our civil justice system.  We are the ultimate advocates for our individual clients in the courtroom. Keep Reading

The 7th Amendment: A Gift From our Nation's Founders

 By: Benjamin S. Wagner, WAJ President

Last December marked the 225th anniversary of the Bill of Rights. The first ten amendments, added to our Constitution to protect individual rights and liberties, were ratified on December 15, 1791.

Among the provisions included in the Bill of Rights is the right to a civil jury trial afforded by the 7th Amendment. The key promise of the 7th Amendment is that “the right of trial by jury shall be preserved.”  We must heed these wise words today. Keep Reading

Champions and Guardians of the
Seventh Amendment
By: Benjamin S. Wagner, WAJ President

It is a tremendous honor and privilege to begin serving as President of Wisconsin’s trial lawyer association.

As trial lawyers, we empathize with people who need our help.  When we see a vulnerable person in need, we instinctively commit to use our hearts, minds and the 7th amendment to achieve justice for them.  As we know, the 7thAmendment guarantees a jury trial in civil cases.  Together, with our state constitution, we declare that this right should be inviolate.

We are the champions and guardians of the Seventh Amendment. It is our most powerful tool and a pillar of our democracy. Keep Reading