The Wisconsin Law Alumni Association

The Wisconsin Law Alumni Association (WLAA) is the official alumni organization of the UW Law School and has an alumni base of over 13,000 living alumni.  While each individual alum has contributed to the reputation of the Law School, their collaborative efforts as alumni have provided continuous support, particularly through the activities WLAA.

WLAA was formed to promote closer contact between the UW Law School and its alumni, to bring news of the school to alumni, to create school scholarships and loan funds, to promote the best interests of the law, and to assist in furthering the due administration of justice.

History of WLAA -  More Than 70 Years of Service to the Law School

After early attempts at organized alumni activity, WLAA was established as an unincorporated membership association in 1934. In 1940, WLAA was incorporated and has continued in corporate form since then, although the articles and bylaws have been amended from time to time.

The first executive committee consisted of Isadore Alk (1927), Green Bay; Claire Bird (1912), Chicago; Hon. William Foley (1892), Superior; William Gill (1931), Milwaukee; Otto Oestreich (1897), Janesville; Hon. John Wickhem (1817), Madison; Francis Wilcox (1932), Eau Claire; and Edgar Wood (1892), Milwaukee.

There is little doubt that the initial impetus for the organization of WLAA stemmed from the need for scholarship funds, particularly during the Depression.  The inspiration for the organization may have come from Dean Lloyd K. Garrison.  In a message included in a 1935 alumni directory, Dean Garrison wrote:

Many of the students who are working their way through school devote as much as 5 or 6 hours a day to their jobs. Under these circumstances the full benefits of the law course cannot be had. There is insufficient time for study; and much worry, fatigue and ill health. Some of the students are actually hungry, and every member of the faculty knows from personal observations the desperate efforts which many are making to put themselves through school.

As might be expected, there appears to have been little organized alumni activity during the war years of the 1940's.  However, when annual meetings resumed in 1946, 64 members attended.  Currently, the WLAA board of directors meet annually in the fall in conjunction with the Board of Visitors meeting.  Additional meetings are called when necessary.  

Over the years, WLAA has assisted with both annual fund drives and capital fund drives, including the capital fund for the building, which raised funds for the Law School building and renovation project completed in 1996.

Presidents of WLAA

1940 Kenneth Burgess
1941 Claire Bird
1942 Otto Oestreich
1943-45 no meetings
1946 Elmer Barlow
1947 F. Ryan Duffy
1948 Roger Cunningham
1949 Francis Wilcox
1950 Marvin Klitsner
1951 Arthur Crowns Sr.
1952 Joseph Wilkus
1953 Walter Brummund
1954 Howard Bast
1955 John Colletine
1956 Richard Orton
1957 Carroll Callahan
1958 Patrick Cotter
1959 Joseph Melli
1960 David Beckwith
1961 Walter Bjork
1962 Vilas Whaley
1963 Johns Shiels
1964 Harry Franke
1965 E. Clarke Arnold
1966 Clyde Cross
1967 Warren Stolper
1968 Lester Clemons
1969 Robert Gollmar
1970 Robert Curry
1971 Patrick Cotter
1972 Glen Campbell
1973 Thomas Barland
1974 Thomas Zilavy
1975 Mac McKichan
1976 Thomas Anderson
1977 Daniel Flaherty
1978 Tomas Russell
1979 Irvin Charne
1980 Dale Sorden
1981 Roy Stewart
1982 William Willis
1983 Richard Olson
1984 Mark Bonady
1985 Conrad Goodkind
1986 Howard Pollack
1987 Joel Haber
1988 Joel Haber
1989 Jeffrey Bartell
1990 Jeffrey Bartell
1991 Kirby Bouthilet
1992 Thomas Drought
1993-1994       John Skilton
1995-1996       John Kaiser
1997-1998       G. Lane Ware
1999-2000       Kenneth McNeil
2001-2003       Susan Steingass
2004-2010       David J. Hanson
2010-Present   James Roethe


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