2019 WAJ Presidents' Dinner & Reception
Fri, December 6, 2019
5:30 PM - 9:00 PM CT
Online Registration for this event is Closed. Register onsite at the Pfister or call WAJ at (608) 206-0406 and ask for Bryan.
2019 Presidents' Dinner & Reception
Friday, December 6th at The Pfister Hotel, Milwaukee
Reception: 6:00 pm
Dinner: 7:00 pm
Edward E. Robinson
Cannon and Dunphy S.C.
Gingras Thomsen Wachs, LLP
2019 President's Award Honoree
Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson
Trailblazer. Driven. Tireless. Fair and impartial. Brilliant legal scholar. These are just a few of the many terms that describe Shirley Abrahamson.
Born in 1933 in New York City to Jewish Polish immigrants, Shirley Abrahamson knew from an early age that she wanted to be a lawyer. After graduating from New York University in three years, she attended the University of Indiana Law School, graduating in 1956 at the age of 21. A trailblazer for women in the law, she graduated first in her class—the only female—and in 1976 went on to become the first woman to serve on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. She became Chief Justice in 1996. In 2013, she became the longest-serving Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice ever.
For her part, Shirley Abrahamson has modestly attempted to downplay her trailblazer status, commenting in a video interview for Indiana University that “I was there at the right time and I was in the right place. It was before many women went to law school, so there were opportunities and there was a trail that could be walked. But you know, there have been many women over many generations who blazed that trail so I could walk on it.” The trail she has blazed for others following in her footsteps is unrivaled.
In July of this year, Shirley Abrahamson stepped down from the Wisconsin Supreme Court after completing her fourth 10-year term. In her 43 years on the state’s highest court, almost half of them as our Chief Justice, she has left behind an unparalleled legacy, where she authored more than 535 majority opinions, 491 dissenting opinions, and 325 concurring opinions. This does not include the tens of thousands petitions for review, bypasses, certifications and lawyer and judicial disciplinary cases to have come before the Court during her tenure.
In terms of her legacy, Shirley Abrahamson will be remembered for her advocacy for new federalism, which stresses the importance of state constitutional law as affording additional protections and rights to individuals beyond those guaranteed by the federal constitution. She has also left behind a legacy as a champion of judicial independence. As she told those gathered in the Capitol Rotunda at her tribute ceremony on June 18, 2019, “[t]he need for an independent judiciary both in this state and in the country has never been greater.” Finally, throughout her entire judicial career, through her actions and words, Shirley Abrahamson has embodied the mantra “and justice for all.” As she has explained, “[i]t’s important that we apply the same rule of law to everybody, because that is only fair and you learn that as a child.”
For her outstanding service to the practice of law, for her tireless commitment to striving to make our legal system equal and accessible to all people, and for being such a staunch proponent of a fair, impartial and non-partisan judiciary, Shirley Abrahamson is this year’s recipient of the Wisconsin Association for Justice’s President’s Award.
Robert L. Habush - Trial Lawyer of the Year Award Honoree
Daniel Rottier is the President of Habush Habush & Rottier which has 13 offices located throughout Wisconsin. The firm is dedicated to the practice of personal injury law, representing clients injured through the carelessness of others. In addition to managing the firm, Dan handles complex medical malpractice and product liability cases. While practicing primarily in Wisconsin, his career has brought him to courts in 20 other states and to the United States Supreme Court.
His career began in an era where many more cases were tried to jury than we see today. By 1990, Dan had tried 100 jury trials and was the youngest fellow inducted into the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, an organization whose membership is limited to 500 trial lawyers in the United States. In the same year, he was inducted into the American Board of Trial Advocates. Two years later (1992), he was inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers. He’s been certified as a civil trial advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocates since 1982, and has been listed in the Best Lawyers in America for more than 25 years. His most significant honor was being invited to membership in the Inner Circle of Advocates in 2009. This group is limited to the top 100 plaintiff trial lawyers in the United States.
Outstanding Young Trial Lawyer Award Honoree
Noah D. Domnitz
Noah Domnitz is a Shareholder at Domnitz & Domnitz in Milwaukee. His practice is dedicated to helping injured individuals and representing families in wrongful death cases. He relishes the daily fight for justice on behalf of victims and against insurance companies and other groups determined to deny his clients justice.
Noah has tried cases to verdict in numerous counties around Wisconsin. Most recently, in 2019, he obtained a $385,000 verdict in Racine County on behalf of an 80-year old military veteran who suffered an injury in car crash. The insurance company tried to leverage the client’s pre-existing degenerative spine condition and polyarthritis against him, offering $85,000 prior to trial. His client’s response to the final offer was simple and striking: it was not fair. The jury agreed.
In 2019, Noah was involved in several significant cases, including a $1,000,000 resolution in a highway crash where the client drifted over the fog line and struck a semi-truck that was stopped illegally on the shoulder. However, perhaps the most rewarding representation involved working with his partner and mentor, Ric Domnitz, on behalf of two former Michigan State gymnasts who were sexually assaulted by Larry Nassar. Their clients, along with all the sister survivors, are an unyielding inspiration.
Noah’s dedication to the cause of wrongly injured people is not limited to the courtroom. He serves on the national Board of Governors for AAJ, AAJ’s Public Affairs Committee, the WAJ Board of Directors, and the Board of Trustees for the Justice Fund, where he constantly engages in the legislative and public opinion efforts to support consumers and injured victims. Noah has authored multiple articles for The Verdict, spoken several times at WAJ seminars, and authored a 2010 Op-Ed published in Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel criticizing the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Citizen’s United v. FEC.
Additionally, he is truly humbled by the recognition he has received in the legal community. He was named an “Up and Coming Lawyer” in 2013 by the Wisconsin Law Journal, he has been recognized as either a Rising Star or Super Lawyer every year since 2011, and obtained an AV/Preeminent Peer Review Rating on Martindale-Hubbell.
Noah is a proud graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Miami School of Law. His greatest pride, however, is his family. He and his wife, Rebecca, a superb trial lawyer, live in a suburb of Milwaukee with their two sons, Hersch (5) and Levi (3).
Paralegal of the Year Award Honoree
Honored on Friday, December 6th
during Conference Opening at 8:30 a.m.
Judy Felker, Paralegal
Judy was born and raised in Waterford Wisconsin. She has a BA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.
Judy has worked as a paralegal exclusively on behalf of plaintiffs since 1987. There have been years when she had also served as an office manager. She has worked at four law firms and currently is working at the Pitman, Kalkhoff, Sicula and Dentice law firm.
Throughout these years, Judy has demonstrated superior and extensive experience and knowledge of various aspects of personal injury law. As a paralegal she has worked on various claims and cases in suit, including medical malpractice, products liability, mass torts, nursing home abuse and general liability matters (including auto and truck accidents).
Throughout her career she has served as a paralegal in complex litigation cases involving multiple defendants and various unique claims. There have been instances when Judy has provided assistance throughout complex trials that have lasted several weeks.
One of Judy’s greatest strengths is her ability to relate to clients. She has spent considerable time conversing with the clients and counseling them when appropriate. She has also taught and assisted other paralegals with whom she has worked.
Simply put – she is the best of the best.
Judy is a devoted wife to her husband, Terry, who works in sales and marketing. She has two daughters, Alyssa and Laura, who are both college graduates and who now employed in their desired careers.
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The Pfister Hotel
The Pfister Hotel (Event on 7th Floor)
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 starting at:
$185 King or two Queens per night;
Pfister King Suite (upgrade option)
ONLINE LODGING REGISTRATION LINK: Wisconsin Association for Justice
Reservation Deadline: November 5, 2019
Cancellations and Refunds
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.