September 22, 2008

County Bar holds memorial, enrolls new members

Judge Allen Torhorst administers the oath to six new county attorneys

The wood-paneled courtroom on the fourth floor of the County Courthouse was packed with judges and lawyers yesterday afternoon, enough to staff a a month of trials.

Instead, they were there for the Racine County Bar Association's Call of the Calendar, a memorial service for deceased members followed by the enrollment of new members of the county bar. Five members were memorialized, and six of fifteen new members were present to take the oath administered by Chief Circuit Judge Allen B. Torhorst.

First the memorials:

Morris Shovers, a Racine attorney for more than 50 years before his death at 91, was remembered by James J. Fetek.

Arthur Morrisey was a World War II aviator before becoming an attorney, said Frank J. Feil Jr., who said he had a practice that occasionally took as its fees food and produce from his clients' gardens.

Robert Michelson, a lawyer and then municipal court judge, was recalled by William Honrath, who went up against him early in his career, and noticed during Michelson's closing argument that members of the jury and the judge were nodding in agreement with his points. And so was Honrath, who lost the case. He also mentioned Michelson's penchant for writing letters to the newspaper -- a habit novelist Evelyn Waugh described as mentally unbalanced. "Yes," said Michelson, "but there is good unbalanced and bad unbalanced."

Thomas Finley was described by Racine City Attorney Robert Weber as "a big man with a big heart," who assisted in many organizations' fund-raisers and liked to play Santa Claus. A woman he helped was so impressed by his representation she had his name tattooed on her shoulder.

Matthew McVey, the youngest Racine lawyer memorialized, died at 36, a victim of brain cancer. He spent his career in government service, in the Racine County Child Support Department and the county Corporation Counsel's office, and will be remembered for supervising 300 volunteers who built Kid's Cove playground at North Beach, said Robert Henzl.

Robert Dehring Jr. leads off in signing the County Bar's Roll book

The six lawyers admitted to practice in Racine County were Eric Aschenbrenner, Kris Bartos, Robert Dehring Jr., Anisa Dunn, Daniel A. Gruhn and Matthew Johnson. They each signed the Bar Association's Roll, a book with the signatures of every attorney who's practiced here since the mid-1800s.

Eric Aschenbrenner adds his signature to the Roll

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