This morning, the Wisconsin Law Journal released its review of how Wisconsin's circuit court judges fared in the Wisconsin Supreme Court and Court of Appeals in 2013. As a frequent practitioner in Wisconsin's circuit and appellate courts, I am always intrigued by this annual list. In a way, this list is like the standings page in the sports section - it tracks wins, losses, and winning percentage.
However, I believe that lawyers are doing themselves and their clients a disservice if they use this list to separate the "good" judges from the "bad" judges. For example, I have practiced in front of Judge Hue, Judge Todd Martens, and Judge Malloy and consider them to be very competent and thoughtful judges. I would not consider substituting on any of them. Yet, they all had "losing" records last year. On the other side of the coin, there are some judges who are fascist, senile, or only on the bench because of who they are related to. Yet, some of them had "winning" records last year.
The only way to know the "good" judges from the "bad" judges is to practice in front of those judges. My partner and I have considerable experience practicing in front of the judges in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington, Ozaukee, and Racine Counties. We also have experience practicing in front of judges in Walworth, Rock, Jefferson, Dodge, Fond du Lac, Outagamie, and Sheboygan Counties. Please feel free to contact us if you have questions about the judge assigned to your case.