Attorneys Making a Difference
By Jeff Pitman, WAJ President
Members of the Wisconsin Association for Justice (WAJ) are leaders in their communities. Members volunteer their time for school boards and committees, Boy and Girl Scouts, sports, non-profit boards and many other worthy pursuits. We make our communities safer and better places to live and raise a family.
Creating positive change in the courtroom is not enough. For example, attorneys start foundations that target safety issues like distributing bike helmets to children or making playgrounds safer. For years, Habush, Habush & Rottier has provided bike helmets. One attorney, Joel Feldman, lost his 21-year-old daughter, Casey, when a distracted driver struck and killed her while she was crossing a street on her way to work. Joel and his wife, Dianne Anderson, founded End Distracted Driving (EndDD) to prevent more senseless deaths and injuries from distracted driving. EndDD has enlisted other trial lawyers, including some from Wisconsin, to speak at schools and with community groups about distracted driving, which killed more than 3,000 people in 2011 and injured another 387,000.
Collectively attorneys have started organizations to respond to tragedies. After September 11, 2001, attorneys established Trial Lawyers Care, a non-profit program, where attorneys volunteered to represent individuals and families to receive compensation through the Victims Compensation Fund. More than 1,100 lawyers volunteered from every state, six Canadian Provinces, as well as England, Mexico, and Australia. The group counseled 4,000 families and provided pro bono representation to more than 1,700 families who applied for federal financial help.
Additional pro bono groups have been established after natural disasters, like Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy or when horrific events occur like the Newtown Connecticut shootings or the I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis. In every instance attorneys give of their time and expertise to help people hurt through no fault of their own - what trial lawyers across the country do every day.
While the courtroom is the main focus of most trial attorneys, many attorneys do much more them represent injured people, they are engaged in numerous community activities. Members of WAJ are active assets to their communities. They serve on church, business and civic organizations’ boards, coach youth sports, volunteer at hospice, coach high school and college Moot Court teams, work in animal shelters, and serve in local government.
WAJ members are part of the community that makes a difference in the lives of children, families and people in need.
Click here to read more about WAJ members making a difference.
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.