The Third Branch
Judge Carl Ashley
Judge Andrew T. Gonring
Two circuit court judges were among legal professionals recognized with Leaders in Law awards, presented by the Wisconsin Law Journal at a dinner in Milwaukee on Feb. 6. Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Carl Ashley was honored for his work with the domestic violence court, a topic that he has frequently spoken about to other judges nationally. The Law Journal also recognized his work on the Planning and Policy Advisory Committee and as chair of the Effective Justice Strategies subcommittee.
"A good judge is someone who takes the time to learn what's really going on in cases, from all perspectives, and then structures a sentence that uses the most current research on how to address the various facets," Chief Judge Jeffrey A. Kremers, Milwaukee County Circuit Court, told the Law Journal. "A great judge not only does that himself, but also teaches and mentors other judges. That would be Carl."
"If you make your living off the community," Washington County Circuit Court Judge Andrew T. Gonring told the Law Journal, "you have an obligation to give back."
It's that commitment to the community he serves that the Law Journal cited when honoring him. Gonring, who told the Law Journal he has tried to find a balance between community obligations and judicial duties since taking the bench in 2000, serves on the West Bend Full Shelf Food Pantry, the Cedar Community Foundation, and works with a local theater.
"I am still part of this community, and I try to give back to the community to the extent I can as judge," Gonring was quoted as saying. "People have to know that the person sitting on the bench, who is going to drastically affect their life, is a person who lives in their community and has the same concerns they do and not just someone reading a law book."
Also recognized with a Leader in Law award was UW Law School's Pro Bono Director Ann Zimmerman, who previously served as executive assistant to Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson. Since joining the law school in 2011, Zimmerman has coordinated the Veterans Law Center, the Pro Bono Society, and the Indian Wills Caravan Alternative Winter Break project.
"My goal is to get more students involved," Zimmerman told the Law Journal about her role at the law school. "I want to reach all students. So I keep trying to come up with different ideas that will appeal to different groups."