Limited scope representation gets a boost

On April 4, the Wisconsin Supreme Court voted unanimously to adopt a series of changes proposed in Petition 13-10 to expand support for limited scope representation arrangements between lawyers and clients. The changes, which take effect in January 2015, have broad support in the access to justice community and have been a key priority for … Read more

Provider spotlight – ABC for Health

By Bobby Peterson, Executive Director, ABC for Health, Inc. Since our founding in 1994, ABC for Health, Inc. has displayed a passion for quality legal services related to access to health care and coverage issues. We focus on linking children and families, particularly those with special health care needs, to healthcare benefits and services. ABC … Read more

Community foundation support for medical-legal partnership in Wausau

The Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin has awarded Wisconsin Judicare a grant that will allow Judicare and Bridge Community Health Clinic (BCHC) to improve and continue their medical/legal partnership in Wausau. The Community Foundation, based in Wausau, is a nonprofit community corporation, created by and for the people of north central Wisconsin. It seeks, … Read more

New leadership at Disability Rights Wisconsin

By Rita Lord

On September 30, 2013, Daniel Idzikowski became the new executive director at Disability Rights Wisconsin (DRW). A graduate of Marquette Law School, he has spent his career working for social justice organizations, including the Appalachian Research and Defense Fund (APPALRED), Legal Services of Northeastern Wisconsin, the Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee, Legal Action of Wisconsin and Catholic Charities. He also served as Assistant Dean for Public Service at Marquette Law School, as vice-chair of the State Bar’s Legal Assistance Committee, and as a member of the Milwaukee County Community Justice Council along with the boards of several nonprofit organizations.

IdzikowskiDan attributes his dedication to social justice to his Jesuit education at Marquette High School, Georgetown University and Marquette Law School, where he learned to appreciate the need to help others. After law school, he joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and worked at APPALRED, an organization that provides free civil legal services to low-income people in east and south central Kentucky. “The founder and director of APPALRED, John Rosenberg, saw the law as a means to empower people, especially those who live in a culture of poverty. He made me want to continue that work,” Dan said.

He described his passion as twofold. The first is creating conditions that equalize opportunity and power, particularly for those who are disadvantaged. “DRW was very attractive to me because it is dedicated to just that,” he said. “I want to stand with and empower individuals to exercise their rights and be included in society. That’s what justice is — having an equal voice, even when society tells them they are not equal.” The second is promoting collaboration, bringing together different parties to effect change.

When asked to discuss the greatest needs of social justice organizations, Dan said that funding is always an issue because adequate resources are needed to maximize access to the court system, the legislature and government processes. “Funding allows us to give the fullest representation to those people who need it,” he said. He noted that changes in efficiencies in the court system itself would also be a move in the right direction.

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Mobile legal clinic is on a roll

Mobile Legal ClinicMarquette Law School and the Milwaukee Bar Association have partnered to launch the Milwaukee Justice Center Mobile Legal Clinic, a specially outfitted bus designed to help provide free, brief legal advice to individuals who find themselves outside of the areas currently served by legal volunteer efforts in metropolitan Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently included the Mobile Legal clinic on its list of Big Ideas 2013.

The Mobile Legal Clinic was made possible by a gift from Frank Daily and Julianna Ebert to honor the pro bono work of Michael Gonring, their friend and longtime partner at Quarles & Brady LLP.

The Mobile Legal Clinic is believed to be the only service of its kind in Wisconsin, and one of only a handful in the nation. It is operated by the Milwaukee Justice Center, a collaborative project among the Milwaukee Bar Association, Marquette Law School and Milwaukee County.

The Mobile Legal Clinic had its first outing in September at the John C. Cudahy YMCA in Milwaukee. In October it visited the Woodland Resource Center in Milwaukee and it hosted monthly sessions at that location through the end of the year. In January 2014, it will be traveling to the Parklawn YMCA.

“The Mobile Legal Clinic reflects the service-oriented mission of Marquette University Law School and the larger legal profession,” said Joseph D. Kearney, Dean of Marquette University Law School. “By helping those who may not otherwise be able to obtain professional legal counsel, and by doing so in their communities, the Mobile Legal Clinic will fill a gap in this region. It will also enable our students, working with attorneys and members of the community, to gain experience and develop an ethic of service.”

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Commission testifies in support of a civil right to counsel

At Tuesday’s hearing in the Wisconsin Supreme Court, the Access to Justice Commission reiterated its support for a new rule that would lead more Circuit Court judges to appoint attorneys for indigent Wisconsin residents in certain civil court cases. As Professor Marsha Mansfield noted on behalf of the Commission, this is an issue of fundamental fairness, because there are “people who really do need the help of a lawyer in order to successfully present their case: not win or lose but just to be a able to fully develop the facts or law necessary to have a full decision rendered.”