My first day at Kirk Law Office is in the books. The office is (mostly) set up and I’ve even had a chance to get some work done for clients! In preparing for this venture I heard that the average solo splits lawyering with business management on a 60% to 40% ratio. That means nearly half of a lawyer’s time is spent running the business, not serving clients. That stinks for those of us who actually love doing the lawyering part. My goal is to be as efficient as possible with the business management stuff so I can get back to doing what I love. Part of what I love, is sharing the wealth of information about changes in the law with you, my readers.
If you know me, you know that I have represented public sector employers and Wisconsin’s Act 10 (passed in 2011) has been an ongoing saga for attorneys who do that type of work. Here’s a recent update. Act 10 requires unions to hold a vote to re-certify their status annually. Earlier this year, the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (WERC) put in place an election system so that every local bargaining unit could apply for re-certification and eligible members could vote whether or not they want the union to continue. In late October, a Madison, WI judge (Judge Colas) declared WERC was in contempt of court because he had ruled the re-certification requirement violated the Wisconsin Constitution. He imposed an injunction on WERC ordering them to stop the election process. On November 22, 2013 the Supreme Court of Wisconsin lifted the contempt order and the injunction. For the time being, re-certification elections are back on.
The Colas ruling on the constitutionality of Act 10 is before the Wisconsin Supreme Court right now. Oral arguments on the case were heard in November. A decision on whether Act 10 violates the Wisconsin Constitution is expected sometime between now and June 2014. Stay tuned for more updates.
Johanna R. Kirk