2017 WAJ Winter Seminar & Annual Meeting


WAJ Winter Seminar & Annual Meeting
December 15th & 16th

The Pfister Hotel, Milwaukee


Mitnik Brings Don't Eat the Bruises to WAJ's Winter Seminar!

Keith Mitnik is the author of Trial Guides’ bestselling book, DON’T EAT THE BRUISES:  How to Foil Their Plans to Spoil Your Case; And is a frequent keynote speaker at seminars for trial lawyers across America.

He is also known for the popular audio tape series Winning at the Beginning:  The Untapped Power of Voir Dire, Opening and Beyond.

Keith is Senior Trial Counsel for Morgan & Morgan. In that role, he is in trial nearly every month.  He has had more than 20 verdicts of over a million dollars in the last 10 years.  He has been a commentator on many national television broadcasts and has been interviewed by Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes.  Keith is recognized for creating and teaching systems that simply work – For any lawyer, in any case.



Approved CLE for 2017 Winter Seminar: 

  • Wisconsin: 10.5 CLE Credits, Including 3.5 Ethics Credit (7.0 CLE on Friday)
  • Minnesota: 6.0 CLE Credits, Including 2.75 Ethics Credit
  • Wisconsin Paralegal Association: 6 CLE Credits, Including 3.0 Ethics Credit

Click here to download a Registration Form that you mail to WAJ.


Friday Schedule:

Friday, December 15th:

7:30 - 8:30 AM
Registration & Breakfast Buffet
WAJ New Lawyers Breakfast Meeting

8:30 - 8:45 AM: WAJ Annual Meeting  
Paralegal of the Year Award: Elaine Jensen, Axley Brynelson, LLP 


8:45 - 9:45 am - Opening Session


Keith Mitnik is Senior Trial Counsel for Morgan & Morgan and author of Trial Guides’ bestselling book, DON’T EAT THE BRUISES:  How to Foil Their Plans to Spoil Your Case.


Keith Mitnik will share the heart and soul of his best selling book "Don't Eat The Bruises" - How to Foil Their Plans To Spoil Your Case

It's all about making sure the defense does not take a few case blemishes and turn them into a reason to discard the fruits of justice. He has developed systems that simply work.

Session 1 Voir Dire - Eliminating Bias

The worst "bruise" of all is jury bias. Often there are not enough peremptory challenges to deal with bias during jury selection. The solution is to master challenges for cause. It starts with a simple analogy to educate honest jurors on how subtle bias can have a profound impact on the most honest person. Then questions are crafted, based on the law, to establish grounds for cause challenges on those jurors who are biased as to aspects of your case.

9:45 to 10:00 am Break

10:00 to 10:30 am  - Handling the TBI Case 

Bruce H. Stern is a shareholder and member of the Accident & Personal Injury  Group of Stark & Stark, where he concentrates his practice in the area of traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries and wrongful death. Presently, Mr. Stern is Vice-President of the American Association for Justice. 

Synopsis: Persons who sustain mild traumatic brain injuries often have no objective signs of injury. Persons often do not lose consciousness. Standard diagnostic tests such as MRI and CT are usually normal. Neurological examination is normal. The presentation will help the attendee identify clients who did sustain a mTBi, what expert witnesses should be retained  and how to cross-examine defense experts. The presentation will provide strategies in presenting these cases to a jury.


10:30 to 11:30: Cybersecurity and Law Firms in 2017

Kevin Martin, Martin Law Offices and Bob Marx, River Run

Synopsis: Attorneys are ethically bound to maintain competence and confidentiality. The application of these rules in light of current technology is challenging and multifaceted. Wisconsin Formal Ethics Opinion EF-15-01 provides that a “lawyer may use cloud computing as long as the lawyer uses reasonable efforts to adequately address the risks associated with it” and that “lawyers act competently to protect client information and confidentiality as well as to protect the lawyer’s ability to reliably access and provide information relevant to a client’s matter when needed.” The presenters, a managing partner of a law firm and a cybersecurity expert, will discuss an attorney’s obligations relative to cybersecurity and provide practice tips for how to meet those obligations. 

Attorney Kevin R. Martin  Kevin is the founder of Martin Law Office, S.C., a plaintiff’s personal injury law firm in Oak Creek, WI. He began his career as a Registered Nurse specializing in cardiovascular, medical surgical and burns intensive care. Kevin is a graduate of Marquette University Law School, a member of the Wisconsin Association for Justice and American Board of Trial Advocates, and named in Best Lawyers in America, AV- Preeminent Rated and Wisconsin Super Lawyers. 

Bob Marx: Before joining River Run, Bob owned and operated 3 companies where he was intimately involved with the implementation and maintenance of Information technologies. He practically grew up with the IT industry. He knows and understands the struggles of ownership and management of small and medium size enterprises, and is well-versed in most of what today’s company leaders face in the IT space. Bob is a graduate of the University of Michigan’s College of Architecture and Urban planning. He is a licensed Broadcast and IT engineer. Today, Bob manages River Run Computer’s consulting and applications support department, specializing in: Strategic Planning, ERP Systems, Cloud technologies and Microsoft’s Office 365, and Cybersecurity.


11:30 am to 12:00 pm: Understanding Trips and Falls Among Older Adults

Alvaro D. Taveira, PhD, CSP, CPE,Professor & Chair, Department of Occupational & Environmental Safety & Health, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

Professor Taveira is the Chair of the Department of Occupational & Environmental Safety & Health at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.  He is a Certified Safety Professional (CSP), and a Certified Professional Ergonomist (CPE). Professor Taveira holds a PhD in Industrial Engineering with an emphasis in Human Factors/Ergonomics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He holds a MS degree in Industrial Engineering, with an emphasis in Ergonomics/Product Design, and a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering.  He has over twenty five years of professional practice in the fields of Safety and Human Factors/Ergonomics as a college professor, researcher, and consultant.  His experience includes projects in multiple work environments including manufacturing, agriculture, mining, retailing, steel production, railroading, office settings, and in the consumer products arena.  Professor Taveira has over 60 peer reviewed publications and has made multiple presentations at national and international conferences.  His academic experience comprises teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in Human Factors/Ergonomics, Behavioral Aspects of Accident Prevention, Product Safety, and in a number of safety related courses.  He is a member of the American Society of Safety Engineers, and of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

Synopsis:  A review of typical scenarios and common causal factors involved in trips and falls incidents. A discussion on precautionary actions to control falls, including applicable standards, guidelines and best practices.


Lunch 12:00 to 1:00 pm:  Special Guest Presenters: 2018 WI Supreme Court Candidates


1:00 - 2:00 pm:  Keith Mitnik


Keith Mitnik is Senior Trial Counsel for Morgan & Morgan and author of Trial Guides’ bestselling book, DON’T EAT THE BRUISES:  How to Foil Their Plans to Spoil Your Case.


Keith Mitnik will share the heart and soul of his best selling book "Don't Eat The Bruises" - How to Foil Their Plans To Spoil Your Case

It's all about making sure the defense does not take a few case blemishes and turn them into a reason to discard the fruits of justice. He has developed systems that simply work.

Session 2 Opening Statement - Making Sure You Are Ahead After Both Sides Are Done

Once an unbiased jury is empaneled, it is of utmost importance to win the opening phase. Feelings about who's right and wrong begin to solidify at this moment. The essence of this part of the system is recognizing it is not good enough to pat yourself on the back after your opening statement is delivered, it is only good enough if you are still patting yourself on the back after the defense delivers its opening. Keith will share the steps for designing an opening that assures you're ahead after the other side sits down.

The end result from these two sessions is to be winning at the all important beginning.


2:00 - 2:15 Break

2:15 to 4:15 pm:  What's Going on with Dog Bite Cases?  Current Issues of Liability, Eroding Insurance Coverage, Effects of Statutory Changes and Trial Strategy  

Synopsis: Dog bite cases are presenting increasingly complex issues for trial lawyers.  Insurers are limiting or denying coverage for dog bite injuries. Strict liability and double damages have been statutorily narrowed. Insurers are vigorously defending these cases with novel liability defenses.  Once you prove liability, many trial strategy questions remain. This presentation will provide the latest on these issues, and offer some practical advice on how best to represent your client who has been injured by a dog. 

Presenters: Kristin M. Cafferty, Habush Habush & Rottier SC & Mark Young, Mark Young Law Offices

Kristin M. Cafferty was born and raised in Wisconsin. She graduated from Marquette University, earning a B.S. in 1991 and a J.D. in 1994. Ms. Cafferty is Past-President of the Racine County Bar Association, and has been elected to the Board of Governors of the Wisconsin Association for Justice. She has been appointed by the Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court to serve on the District 15 Committee of the Office of Lawyer Regulation. Ms. Cafferty’s trial experience and appellate work, including argument before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, have earned her recognition as a Civil Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. She is admitted to practice before the State of Wisconsin, the United States District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin, and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. Her practice includes personal injury claims, automobile accidents, dog bite claims, slip & fall claims, vaccine related claims, and wrongful death claims.

Mark S. Young is a personal injury trial lawyer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  For 40+ years he has handled and tried  hundreds of injury cases for the plaintiff.  Former President of the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates and  board certified in Civil Trial Advocacy by the National board of Trial Advocacy, he has written, taught and lectured on issues of civil trial litigation for more than 35 years.


Friday, December 15th Paralegal Track

Paralegals will attend general sessions until 2:15

2:15 to 3:15: Medicare: Liability and No-Fault Cases- From Open to Close

Presenters: Heidi Gangler and Hannah Heil from Bremer & Trollop Law Offices.

Synopsis: With the new rules imposed by Medicare in 2016, is your firm protecting your client from surprise Medicare no-fault and liability demands? Understanding how to manage both the liability and no-fault cases are key to your success.  Learn how to take control of these two types of Medicare cases so there are no longer any surprises.



3:15 to 4:15:  Round-table Discussion - Paralegal Best Practices


Angelique Imm, Beaver Dam
Elizabeth Cooney, Milwaukee

Paralegal Section Chairs




Saturday Schedule:

Saturday, December 16, 2017

8:00- 9:00 AM
Registration & Breakfast Buffet


9:00- 12:00 PM:  ETHICS SESSION - Duties to Whom?


Synopsis: Duties to Whom? A review of your ethical duties to your client and others and how to balance them.  (3.5 Ethics Credit)

Timothy J. Pierce, State Bar of Wisconsin ethics counsel, Madison.

Dean R. Dietrich, Ruder Ware, Wausau, chairs the State Bar Professional Ethics Committee.



Presidents' Reception & Dinner

Friday, December 15, 2017
The Pfister Hotel, Milwaukee


$25.00- Reception Only Ticket (6:30 pm)
$75.00- Dinner Ticket (7:30 pm)


 Event Dress Code:

  • The dress code for WAJ’s meetings (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) are business casual, coat and tie are discouraged.
  • Dress for the Friday night Presidents’ Dinner is business (not formal), i.e., business suit, sports coat and tie for men, and business attire or evening dress for women.

Place a Tribute Ad in the Presidents' Dinner Program!

Display your/your company’s ad and pay tribute to our special
guests and award winners and personally congratulate one or
all of the recipients.
Select the ad size you would like to reserve for your

personal greeting or ad in the Tribute Book.

Take a look at the 2016 Tribute Book

Include your own personalized message!

  • Logo Inserted    $50    
  • 1/6 Page Ad      $100
  • 1/3 Page Ad      $250
  • 1/2 Page Ad      $350
  • Full Page Ad      $500   

Thank you Presidents' Dinner Sponsors


Wisconsin Association for Justice 
Cordially Invites you to an Evening of Celebration!


2017 Presidents' Dinner & Reception
Friday, December 15th at The Pfister Hotel, Milwaukee
Reception:  6:30 pm  
Dinner: 7:30 pm

Outgoing President
Benjamin S. Wagner
Habush Habush & Rottier
Incoming President
Heath P. Straka
Gingras, Cates & Wachs



2017 President's Award Honoree
Christine Bremer Muggli
Bremer & Trollop Law Offices


Robert L. Habush 
Trial Lawyer of the Year Award 


Allan M. Foeckler
Cannon & Dunphy
Timothy J. Andringa
Cramer, Multhauf & Hammes, LLP

Outstanding Young Trial Lawyer Award Honoree

Brian F. Laule, 
Bye, Goff & Rohde Ltd. 

Paralegal of the Year Award Honoree
Honored on Friday, December 15th 
during Conference Opening at 8:30 a.m. 
Elaine Jensen
Axley Brynelson, LLP 




Hotel Information:
The Pfister Hotel
424 E Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Reservations: To reserve your lodging, contact the hotel at 414-935-5942. 
Reference the Wisconsin Association for Justice Block.  
Room Rates: 
$180 King or two Queens per night; 

Pfister King Suite (upgrade option): $259 per night.
Reservation Deadline: November 15th, 2017


Become a Winter Conference Sponsor


Synergy Settlement Services

Skogen Engineering Group, Inc.

Garrison Financial Settlement Services

Premier Settlement Services, Inc.

Preferred Capital Funding

Pat Thomas Medical Illustration


SMP Advance Funding
Haibeck & Associates Legal Nurse

Oasis Financial
Feel Good Inc.
Cancellation Policy

Cancellation & Substitution Policy

Attendee substitutions may be made at any time and are encouraged when the original registrant cannot attend. If you must cancel or reschedule, please notify us at least three (3) business days (or 72 hours) prior to the program to receive a refund less a $15 service charge. Cancellations made less than 3 business days prior to the program will incur the full registration cost.  


At the Door Registrations will incur a $20 late fee.