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Firm News

Attorney Christopher Seelen Receives Certification in Creditors' Rights Law
Posted on May 05, 2011

Ruder Ware is pleased to announce that Eau Claire-based attorney Christopher Seelen has earned his national certification in creditors' rights law from the American Board of Certification. Mr. Seelen is only the 6th attorney in Wisconsin to achieve certification in creditors' rights and the only attorney outside the greater Milwaukee area. Mr. Seelen is a member of Ruder Ware's Banking & Financial Institutions Focus Team and represents banks, credit unions, and other creditors in bankruptcy court and state court. He is a chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee and a 2010 Rising Star as selected by Wisconsin Super Lawyers magazine.

To become certified, Mr. Seelen satisfied the following requirements:

  • Passed an extensive, day-long written examination covering creditors' rights issues;

  • Full-time practice of law for at least five years;

  • Good standing in the bars of all states in which a license to practice law is held;

  • Devoted at least 30% of practice time and at least 400 hours to creditors' rights related matters in the last three years;

  • Demonstrated commitment to continuing legal education by earning at least 60 hours of bankruptcy education in the past three years;

  • Documented involvement in creditors' rights by providing information on cases practiced.

Congress has added this certification by adding it to the list of Section 330 compensation factors in the new bankruptcy law. Legislators and courts recognize that the successful operation of the bankruptcy system depends upon the involvement of professionals with special expertise. This new law recognizes that Board certification provides a simple, meaningful, and objective measure of skill and expertise in the bankruptcy field.

Attorneys within Ruder Ware's Banking & Financial Institutions Focus Team have substantial experience representing creditors' committees, financial institutions, and other creditors in bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings, as well as in matters involving complex commercial workouts and foreclosures, replevins, and homestead foreclosures. We also have a wide range of experience advising clients on transactions involving distressed businesses, and we have regularly represented financial institutions and other lenders, creditors' committees, individual secured and unsecured creditors, business debtors, trustees, receivers, investors, buyers, sellers, and others in connection with various insolvency matters.

The American Board of Certification (ABC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the public and improving the quality of the bankruptcy bar. The rigorous ABC certification standards are designed to encourage bankruptcy practitioners to strive toward excellence and to recognize those attorneys who are experts in the bankruptcy

field. The ABC offers separate certification programs in business and consumer bankruptcy and creditors' rights. All three ABC certification programs are accredited by the American Bar Association.

Ruder Ware is Designated as a Green Business by the Eau Claire Chamber
Posted on Jan 27, 2011

The Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce recently designated Ruder Ware as a "Green Business." Currently, the Chamber recognizes 62 businesses in the area with this distinction.

Ruder Ware submitted an application to the Chamber's Green Business Initiative Committee which detailed our current "green practices" in seven categories (Energy Conservation, Purchasing, Recycling, Social Capital, Transportation, Waste Prevention, and Water Conservation) along with our future "green" goals.

The mission of the Green Business Initiative is to promote the interest of Chamber member businesses that are committed and engaged in environmentally responsible operations and practices, a.k.a. "green" business practices, in the Eau Claire area. Members of the Green Business Initiative pledge to strive toward environmentally safe and sustainable business practices and operations to ensure that the Eau Claire area is environmentally healthy and viable. Members also pledge to meet all existing federal, state and local environmental regulations.

As a designated Green Business, Ruder Ware will display a framed certificate and decal in the reception area indicating our distinction.

United Way of Marathon County Selects Attorney Dean Dietrich as Advocate of the Year
Posted on Jan 12, 2011

The United Way of Marathon County presented Dean Dietrich with their first ever "Advocate of the Year" award at a recent recognition luncheon. The award honors an individual who speaks out, builds awareness of issues, and steps up to do something productive for our community.

Dean was recognized for his years of service, leadership, and passion for advancing services to families with young children. He has led the Start Right Advocacy Board for six years and this year led the formation of an early childhood advocacy council.

As an advocate, Dean recently spoke to the Marathon County Board advocating for funding for Start Right, a collaborative program between the Health Department of Children's Service Society that focuses on families with young children. In addition, he has attended meetings in Madison to help our state representatives understand the importance of investing in services for young children.

Five Ruder Ware Attorneys Selected for Wisconsin Super Lawyers
Posted on Nov 30, 2010

Attorneys Mark Bradley, Dean Dietrich, Doug Klingberg, Randi Osberg, and Chris Seelen have been selected as Wisconsin Super Lawyers. Only five percent of the lawyers in the state are named by Super Lawyers.

Selections for this esteemed list are made by the research team at Super Lawyers, which is a service of the Thomson Reuters, Legal division based in Eagan, Minn. Each year, the research team at Super Lawyers undertakes a rigorous multi-phase selection process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, independent evaluation of candidates by the attorney-led research staff, a peer review of candidates by practice area, and a good-standing and disciplinary check.

Attorneys selected for inclusion in 2010 Wisconsin Super Lawyers are:
Mark Bradley, Wausau: Estate Planning & Probate; Closely Held Business.
Dean Dietrich, Wausau: Government/Cities/Municipalities; Schools & Education; and Employment & Labor.
Doug Klingberg, Wausau: General Litigation.
Randi Osberg, Eau Claire: Bankruptcy & Creditor/Debtor Rights; Business/Corporate; and Banking.

Attorneys named for inclusion in 2010 Wisconsin Rising Star are:

Christopher Seelen, Eau Claire: Bankruptcy & Creditor/Debtor Rights; Business/Corporate.

Attorney Christopher M. Seelen Appointed as Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee for the Western District of Wisconsin
Posted on Nov 16, 2010

Ruder Ware is pleased to announce Christopher Seelen has been appointed to the panel of Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustees for the Western District of Wisconsin. Mr. Seelen practices at the firms Eau Claire office.

As a Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee, Mr. Seelen is designated to be the presiding officer at first meetings of creditors with authority to examine debtors under oath. Mr. Seelen is the second attorney with Ruder Ware to be honored with this appointment, Attorney Randi L. Osberg has served as a Chapter 7 trustee for the Western District for nearly 20 years.

In addition to his duties as a Chapter 7 trustee, Mr. Seelen will continue to concentrate his practice on representing creditors in bankruptcy court and state court. He has represented secured creditors in bankruptcy court cases under Chapter 7, Chapter 11, Chapter 12 and Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code in addition to representing Chapter 7 Trustees in avoidance actions including fraudulent conveyances and preferential transfers. Mr. Seelen represents banks, credit unions, lenders, and other creditors in state court collection actions involving commercial and residential foreclosures, replevins, and money judgments.

Mr. Seelen is a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute, the Commercial Law League of America, and the National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees.

Attorney G. Lane Ware Receives American Bar Foundation's Wisconsin Outstanding Service Award
Posted on Oct 28, 2010

Ruder Ware is pleased to announce G. Lane Ware was selected as the recipient of the Wisconsin Outstanding Service Award by The Fellows of Firm News/102810/GLW-with-Robert-Nelson-ABF.gif the American Bar Foundation.

This award is in recognition of professional service, adhering to the highest principles and traditions of the legal profession and to the service of the public. Over the course of Mr. Ware's more than forty-year career he's served a number of professional and civic organizations. Currently, Mr. Ware is actively involved with the Marathon County Economic Development Corporation. In addition, he serves on the Aspirus Health Foundation, Inc. as Vice Chairman and on the board of directors for the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum. Professionally, Mr. Ware is a Fellow with the Wisconsin Law Foundation, where he recently completed his term as president and as a Fellow with the American Bar Foundation.

Attorney Dean Dietrich Receives John L. Cook Memorial Award
Posted on Oct 26, 2010

Ruder Ware is pleased to announce the selection of Dean Dietrich as the recipient of the prestigious John L. Cook Memorial Award, awarded by the Wausau Region Chamber of Commerce.

The John L. Cook Memorial Award was established to honor the memory of John Cook, a member of the first class of Leadership Wausau/Marathon County, who was murdered while on vacation. John Cook was an active community volunteer committed to helping people expand their potential as individuals in the workforce and community.

Mr. Dietrich was recognized for his years of service to bettering the quality of life for Wausau area residents. Actively involved both professionally and civically, Mr. Dietrich recently completed his board chairman position for Aspirus, Inc. In addition, he serves on the board of directors for the Wisconsin Public Radio Association and is a member of the Wausau Early Bird Rotary Club. Professionally Mr. Dietrich chairs the State Bar of Wisconsins Committee on Professional Ethics and serves as president for the Wisconsin Law Foundation where he is a Fellow.

Ruder Ware Hosts Higher Education Leaders
Posted on Sep 08, 2010

In an ongoing effort to bring higher education leaders together and work toward a Firm News/090810/Higher-Ed-Leaders.gifcommon goal, Mark Bradley hosted a luncheon meeting on September 8, 2010 to introduce Bernie Patterson, the new Chancellor of UW-Stevens Point, to the leaders of other central and northern Wisconsin higher education institutions. Mr. Bradley has served on the Board of Regents since 2003 and recently completed a two-year term as its president.

(Left to right) Mark Bradley, president of Ruder Ware and member of the UW System Board of Regents; Elizabeth Burmaster, president of Nicolet College in Rhinelander; Sandra Smith, dean of UW-Marathon County; Lori Weyers, president of North Central Technical College in Wausau; Bernie Patterson, chancellor of UW-Stevens Point

Attorney Mark Munson Receives Certification in Elder Law
Posted on Aug 10, 2010

The National Elder Law Foundation recently certified Mark Munson as a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) - one of ten in the state of Wisconsin. The certification program, the only one approved by the American Bar Association for elder law, has been developed to identify lawyers who have the enhanced knowledge, skills, and experience to be properly identified as certified elder law attorneys to the public.

Licensed to practice law in Wisconsin, Illinois and South Dakota, Mr. Munson principally advises clients in the areas of elder law, public benefits (including special needs trusts), estate and trust planning, and taxation. Mr. Munson regularly advises clients in the areas of asset protection and medical assistance eligibility. He also assists clients with probate and estate administration, trust administration and guardianship. Mr. Munson is very active within the professional elder law community. He is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), including its Wisconsin chapter. He has presented on trusts and taxes at the organization's last two annual meetings, which draws elder law attorneys from across the country.

Elder law is one of the fastest growing fields in the legal profession. As loved ones age, the task of planning for their future care can be overwhelming. Elder law focuses on the financial, legal, and health care needs of individuals age 65 and older. As elder law advocates, Ruder Ware's attorneys are committed to providing solutions to the needs and concerns of our clients and their families.

Services provided by Ruder Ware include:
- Nursing home and medical assistance planning
- Asset protection
- Gifting and divestment planning
- Medicare and Medicaid benefits
- Social Security benefits
- Insurance analysis (including long-term care insurance)
- Residential housing and other living options
- Planning for individuals with special needs
- Tax planning
- Durable powers of attorney for property and finances
- Health care powers of attorney
- Wills
- Trusts
- Marital property agreements
- Real estate
- Guardianship
- Conservatorship
- Veterans' benefits

Attorney Mark J. Bradley Elected President of Ruder Ware
Posted on Jul 07, 2010

Ruder Ware is pleased to announce the election of Mark Bradley as its president. Bradley becomes the fourth president in the firm's 90-year history succeeding Lon E. Roberts who served as president for eleven years. Roberts will remain active in his law practice and the firm's ownership.

In making the announcement, Roberts said the firm's board of directors has planned and guided this management transition for the past 18 months. "Our clients will not experience any change in the professional services they receive because Mark has been actively involved as a board member since 1999 and played an important role in establishing the firm's strategic vision," states Roberts. "We will continue to be committed to providing quality legal service in a timely and efficient manner while working hard, under Mark's leadership, to build our base and improve on all aspects of the service experience clients expect from Ruder Ware."

Bradley concentrates his practice on business succession planning, tax and estate planning, and estate and trust administration. He also serves as trustee of numerous client trusts through Ruder Ware's Fiduciary Services Department. Since 1991, Bradley has been recognized by "Best Lawyer in America" in the areas of Tax Law and Trusts & Estates. In addition, he has been an elected Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel since 1989.

Governor Jim Doyle reappointed Bradley to the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents where he's served since 2003, most recently completing a term as its president. A nationally recognized leader in the trusts and estates legal field, Bradley also is a member of the estate planning faculty of the State Bar of Wisconsin, and teaches at state and national continuing education programs for attorneys, accountants, and financial planners. Bradley spends much of his free time giving back to his community through various foundations and nonprofit organizations including the Good News Project, the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy & Service, and the Marshfield Clinic National Advisory Council.

Attorney Mark Munson Presents at Annual Meeting of National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
Posted on Jun 29, 2010

Mark Munson, Senior Associate at Ruder Ware, recently presented at the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) 2010 annual meeting. Mr. Munson was invited to co-present with Virginia-based attorney Yahne Miorini of Miorini Law PLLC. Their presentation, titled, "Tax Planning for Non-Citizens," explored the special estate planning techniques that apply when donors, recipients, or trustees are non-citizens. This is the second invitation to present extended to Mr. Munson by NAELA.

NAELA's annual meeting, held in Orlando, FL, draws attorneys practicing elder law from across the United States. The nonprofit organization's mission is to establish its members as the premier providers of legal advocacy, guidance, and services to enhance the lives of people with disabilities and people as they age. In addition to Mr. Munson's presentation, other topics covered at the four day annual meeting included "Blended Families and Medicaid Planning," "Elder Justice Issues Update," and "Achieving Family Harmony in Estate Plans/Practice Tools and Trust Provisions."

"I'm honored to be invited back to present at NAELA's annual meeting. This organization truly represents the gold standard in the practice of elder law and all facets related to it and I'm pleased to be a part of this information-packed event," comments Mr. Munson.

Munson concentrates his practice in the areas of elder law, including medical assistance eligibility planning and divestment, estate planning, special needs planning, taxation, and asset protection planning. In addition, Mr. Munson regularly practices in the areas of probate and estate administration, trust administration, and guardianship.

In addition to practicing elder law, Ruder Ware's Trusts & Estates group advises business owners and individuals in all aspects of business and personal planning, including the formation, operation, and growth of closely held businesses and the adoption and implementation of sophisticated succession and estate planning techniques.

Local Organization Honors Attorney Mark Bradley With the Badger of the Year Award
Posted on May 14, 2010

Ruder Ware, L.L.S.C. congratulates Mark Bradley on receiving the Badger of the Year Award from the UW-Alumni, Wausau Chapter. This award started in 2004 and is given to an individual that has made a positive impact on their community, both locally and statewide.

At Ruder Ware, Mr. Bradley is both a shareholder and board member. Throughout his career he has held a number of high profile leadership positions. In 2003, Governor Jim Doyle appointed Mr. Bradley to the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents where he's held committee chair positions and most recently served as president of the Board. At the end of February 2010, Governor Doyle re-appointed Mr. Bradley to another seven year term on the Board of Regents.

Mr. Bradley is a member of the estate planning faculty of the State Bar of Wisconsin, and teaches at state and national continuing education programs for attorneys, accountants, and financial planners. He is also an elected fellow of the American College of Trust & Estate Counsel. Mr. Bradley spends much of his free time giving back through various foundations and nonprofit organizations including the Good News Project, the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy & Service, and the Marshfield Clinic National Advisory Council.

Attorney Melissa Kampmann Receives CFP License
Posted on May 03, 2010

Ruder Ware, L.L.S.C. congratulates Attorney Melissa Kampmann on receiving her Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification.

The CFP(R) certification is a recognized standard of excellence for personal financial planning. According to the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. "attaining CFP(R) certification is a highly respected professional achievement for those who work within the financial services industry and an achievement with meaningful benefits for a CFP(R) certificant's practice and clients."

Lon Roberts, managing partner at Ruder Ware, states, "Our profession values continuing education and our firm places special importance on exceeding our client's needs. Melissa, true to her calling as an attorney and to her leadership within the firm, sets an excellent example for pursuing a certification outside of the legal profession, one that has a positive impact for our clients."

Ms. Kampmann intends to use the CFP certification when advising clients on estate and retirement planning issues.

Governor Doyle Reappoints Attorney Mark Bradley to UW System Board
Posted on Mar 30, 2010

Ruder Ware, L.L.S.C. is pleased to announce the reappointment of Mark Bradley to the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents for a term to expire May 1, 2017.

In announcing the appointment, Governor Jim Doyle stated, "Mark Bradley has served on the Board of Regents with distinction, and I am pleased to reappoint him to continue his service to the state."

Mr. Bradley has served on the Board of Regents since 2003 and recently completed a two-year term as its president. At Ruder Ware, Bradley is president-elect and former chair of the Trusts & Estates Practice Group. "Business leaders understand that to be competitive in the knowledge economy our state must maintain a quality system of higher education that focuses on essential learning outcomes at the undergraduate and graduate levels. I am honored to be asked to continue this important work," states Mark Bradley.

Mr. Bradley concentrates his practice on business succession planning, tax and estate planning, and estate and trust administration. He also serves as trustee of numerous client trusts through Ruder Ware's Fiduciary Services Department. Since 1991, Mr. Bradley has been recognized by "Best Lawyers in America" in the areas of Tax Law and Trusts & Estates. In addition, he has been an elected Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel since 1989.

Four Ruder Ware Attorneys Selected to Join Fellows of the Wisconsin Law Foundation
Posted on Dec 04, 2009

The Wisconsin Law Foundation recently selected Ruder Ware Attorneys Lon Roberts, David Anderson, Joseph Mirr, and William Tehan to join the Fellows.

The Wisconsin State Bar describes the Fellows as, "an honorary program, which recognizes members of the profession in Wisconsin who are known by their peers for high achievements in their profession and outstanding contributions for the advancement and improvement of the administration of justice in the State of Wisconsin."

These four attorneys join Lane Ware, Mark Bradley, and Dean Dietrich also Fellows. Lon Roberts, managing partner at Ruder Ware, states, "It's an honor for Ruder Ware to have seven attorneys as members of the Fellows. We strive for excellence in our profession and this achievement is humbling to each of us."

Attorney Melissa Kampmann Receives Up and Coming Lawyer Award
Posted on Sep 09, 2009

The Wisconsin Law Journal recently selected Melissa Kampmann as one of 20 "Up and Coming" lawyers in the state of Wisconsin.

The award recognizes those attorneys who are on the fast track to making a significant impact on the legal profession. Per WLJ, "They show determination - in legal work, in community betterment, and in improving their own aw firms."

"Melissa is a shining example to all young professionals, including those who also want to raise children. She is focused on what fulfills her and that includes being a wife, mother, lawyer and dedicated community member," states Attorney Mark Bradley, Shareholder and Chair of the Trusts & Estates practice group.

Ms. Kampmann advises individuals and families on a variety of personal legal needs including sophisticated trust and estate planning, premarital agreements, guardianship, and probate and trust administration work. She also assists business owners with the creation of new businesses and business succession planning.

Attorney Dean Dietrich Honored at Legal Action Reception
Posted on Jul 07, 2009

Dean Dietrich was recently honored with a special award of appreciation at the 2009 Volunteer Lawyers Project Awards Reception hosted by Legal Action of Wisconsin. The annual reception honors distinguished pro bono achievement by Wisconsin attorneys.

Mr. Dietrich spent countless pro bono hours negotiating with the Wisconsin Bankers Association and appearing before the Wisconsin Supreme Court in a successful effort to obtain a court rule that will result in banks paying interest on lawyers' trust accounts that matches the interest paid on comparable bank products. Leveraging his board of director role with the Wisconsin Trust Account Foundation (WisTAF), Mr. Dietrich was able to roughly double the foundation's revenue which in turn increases WisTAF's grants to legal services firms. The primary goal of WisTAF is ensuring access to civil legal services for low-income individuals and families. WisTAF provides funds to legal service agencies to assist people with legal needs, such as family, housing, employment, disability and consumer issues.

John F. Ebbott, executive director at Legal Action, states, "The time and effort involved in this, and the dogged persistence it required, were tremendous. The entire Wisconsin legal services community is profoundly grateful to Dean Dietrich for his tireless dedication to equal justice."

Attorney Jeremy Welch Promoted to Shareholder Status
Posted on Jun 26, 2009

Ruder Ware recently promoted Jeremy Welch to shareholder. Mr. Welch concentrates his practice in business and commercial law, including commercial financing, mergers and acquisitions, creditors' rights, and general business law.

Matthew Rowe, chair of Ruder Ware's Business Transactions practice group states, "Jeremy's commitment to the firm and dedication to our clients is deserving of his promotion to shareholder. Over the course of his eight-year tenure with the firm, Jeremy's contributions have been significant, and we look forward to the leadership he will bring as shareholder."

Mr. Welch is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School. In addition to his legal practice, he is involved in a number of civic organizations, including service as a board member for both the United Way of Marathon County and the Woodson YMCA.

Ruder Ware's Business Transactions practice group advises businesses of all sizes in a wide range of areas. Among other services, Ruder Ware attorneys assist with the sale and acquisition of businesses, provide tax counseling to businesses and individuals, and advise clients with regard to all aspects of business transactions. The firm has extensive experience in the negotiation and preparation of commercial loan documentation and the representation of lenders and other creditors in workouts and bankruptcy proceedings. Additionally, Ruder Ware is one of the few Wisconsin law firms with attorneys who practice in the areas of securities and employee benefits.

Attorney Mark Munson Presents at the Annual Meeting of National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
Posted on Apr 22, 2009

Mark D. Munson, Senior Associate at Ruder Ware, recently presented at the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) 2009 annual meeting. Munson, who concentrates his practice in the areas of elder law, asset preservation and protection, trust and will drafting, and medical assistance planning, was invited to co-present with Chicago-based attorney Theresa Varnet of Spain, Spain & Varnet. Their presentation, titled, The Administration and Taxation of Special Needs Trusts: What Every NAELA Attorney Needs to Know, examined the public benefits eligibility and tax issues that need to be considered when drafting and administering special needs trusts.

NAELAs annual meeting, held in Washington, D.C., draws attorneys practicing elder law from across the United States. The nonprofit organizations mission is to establish its members as the premier providers of legal advocacy, guidance, and services to enhance the lives of people with disabilities and people as they age.

Im honored to be selected amongst my peers to present at the annual meeting of an organization that represents the gold standard in the practice of elder law and all facets related to it, comments Munson.

In addition to practicing in the areas of elder law and special needs planning, Ruder Ware's Trusts & Estates group of attorneys advise business owners and individuals in all aspects of business and personal planning, including the formation, operation, and growth of closely held businesses and the adoption and implementation of sophisticated succession and estate planning techniques.

John Laehn Elected President of the Wausau Region Chamber of Commerce
Posted on Sep 04, 2008

The Wausau Region Chamber of Commerce recently elected John Laehn president of the 1200-member organization effective September 4, 2008. Laehn, chief operating officer for Ruder Ware, assumes the chamber presidency from Hugh Jones, former president of M&I Bank.

In reflecting on the task ahead, Laehn said, "The chamber's volunteer leadership team rotates on an annual basis while the chamber's mission to foster business growth and success remains constant. I feel privileged to join the ranks of past chamber presidents; I'm inspired by their leadership and achievements and I hope to continue their progress."

Ruder Ware has a long-standing commitment to our community, beginning with the philosophy of George Ruder, the firm's founder. "Mr. Ruder felt that if we make our living here, it's our responsibility to give back to our communities. John Laehn is the fourth chamber president since 1981 to serve from Ruder Ware. We're honored that our own leaders are elected by their peers to serve in this important role," stated G. Lane Ware, chairman of the board at Ruder Ware.