Continued Success for the Milwaukee YMCA’s Driver License Restoration Project

For 5 years, the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee has been conducting the Driver’s License Restoration Project, with the latest edition held on June 21. This event is spearheaded by Attorney John A. Birdsall who volunteers on the YMCA Urban Campus Board. Three times a year, attorney Birdsall and other volunteer lawyers from the Milwaukee area (most recently with attorneys from Michael Best & Friedrich LLP) take the time to meet with individuals with suspended licenses in an effort to restore their driving record. These sessions are designed to help people understand their driving record and arm them with the information to restore their driver’s license. In most cases these situations are successful and these individuals are able to restore their suspended licenses. In more complex cases, individuals are referred to Hon. James Gramling at the Center for Driver’s License Recovery and Employability. For more information about the Driver’s License Restoration Project, check out the links in the text above.



Supreme Court Ruling a Victory for Individual Rights


In a time when all of our personal information is seemingly public, the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of personal privacy. On Wednesday June 25, 2014, the Supreme Court ruled police must have a warrant in order to search the information and data on a mobile device.

The unanimous ruling stated that the information stored on mobile phones is constitutionally protected from police search without a warrant. Attorney John A. Birdsall is in support of the ruling saying, “The Supreme Court’s unanimous decision requiring a warrant to search a cell phone is a landmark ruling that is victory for all those interested in protecting citizen privacy from government overreach.”

This ruling now sets a positive precedent for personal privacy and individual rights. This ruling also shows that the law is now adapting to changes in technology. Most of the rules and regulations when it comes to digital communication are unclear and this is the first step in figuring out digital communications law. Attorney Birdsall said, “It seems to me that every American should applaud this decision as a victory for individual rights.”

For more information on the landmark ruling click here.




Attorney John Birdsall Testifies Before Special Legislative Committee

On June 17, 2014, Attorney John A. Birdsall testified before a special legislative committee regarding Assembly Bill 383, which would re-write Wisconsin’s entire criminal procedure code.  While the bill covers a wide range of issues, a major change calls for the elimination of Preliminary Hearings before trial. Attorney Birdsall testified based on his experience and expertise in criminal law and criminal trials as he advocated for the retention of Preliminary Hearings as a tool useful for the system as a whole as it promotes both a judicious outcome as well as efficiency. Attorney Birdsall said,  “The elimination of these hearings outright simply transfers all the power in the system to the government which essentially violates any notion of fairness in the system.”

More information to come about Assembly Bill 383

Milwaukee’s New Gun Hot Line: Can it Really Help?

Every major city deals with it fair share of crime. Milwaukee is no different, especially when it comes to gun violence. After numerous shootings over the weekend, in addition to the high number of shootings this year, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett debuted the creation of a gun hotline, which is operated by the city. The gun hotline is designed to allow citizens to anonymously report illegal weapons. This is seen as a necessary precaution considering 30 children have been shot in the city of Milwaukee so far this year, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.


Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Attorney Ben Van Severen agrees that the gun hotline is a step in the right direction towards curbing gun violence, but there is still an issue of probable cause. “The police will need to independently verify information provided in the anonymous tip before they can go and arrest or search individuals suspected in the illegal firearms offenses,” said attorney Van Severen.

Attorney Matthew Meyer, thinks the new hot line does good for the community’s sense of security, but it not the final answer to correct the problem. “A gun hotline sounds good, but I can’t see it actually doing anything to fix the gun problem in Milwaukee,” said attorney Meyer. He believes the approach taken by Rev. Darryl Williams of the St Mark A.M.E. Church could go a long way in solving the city’s gun problem. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Rev. Williams is using local government, schools, faith, and community groups to help change the way young men think when it comes to violence.

What do you think of Milwaukee’s new gun hotline? Let us know in the comments below.

The State Bar of Wisconsin – A Day With the Experts in Criminal Defense

The State Bar of Wisconsin’s Pinnacle Program and program director, attorney John A. Birdsall, will present a CLE seminar focused on criminal defense. “A Day with the Experts in Criminal Defense” seminar will take place Friday, June 13, 2014 in Madison, WI.

CLE events are designed to further legal education and hone your expertise as an attorney. John A. Birdsall is proud to be a part of this seminar and continue his personal tradition of education.


About the Seminar

The prosecution can seem pretty intimidating in a criminal case – with a virtual army of police, investigators, forensic scientists, and medical experts arrayed against your client. On the other hand, as in football or chess, these’s an equal and opposite defense to every prosecutorial move. This CLE seminar will further your understanding of criminal defense and hone your skills as a defense attorney.

Along with John A. Birdsall and the panel of criminal defense experts, you’ll

  • Unlock the mysteries of a typical DNA report as well as the laboratory procedures, technical language, and the strengths and weaknesses of the conclusions
  • Be aware of the common problems with the eyewitness identification and learn how to challenge the reliability of eyewitnesses
  • Recognize the contributing factors to unreliable child forensic interviews and learn specific methods to challenge the prosecutor’s experts
  • Learn the risk factors leading to false (and not so false) confessions, how to analyze them, and how to challenge them in court


Register today online by clicking here or by phone at (800)-728-7788




4 Tips for Law School Graduates

ImageAs spring is upon us and law schools are coming to a close, another crop of young lawyers are celebrating graduating and the beginning of their law careers. While there will almost never be a shortage of attorneys, there is however a shortage of jobs. Milwaukee has become a saturated market that is full of talented attorneys, with more and more entering the bar each year. With that in mind, attorneys Matthew Meyer and Ben Van Severen, shed some light on what it takes to land that first job out of law school. Matthew and Ben are both graduates of Marquette University Law school and attorneys at Birdsall Law Offices, S.C.

  1. First and foremost, it is important to build a solid network. Not only will this help you find that first job but it will pay dividends in the future. Focus on both relationships with experienced lawyers and your peers. “It’s the main reason I had a job as soon as I was licensed,” adds Matthew Meyer. 

  2. Cast a wide net when looking for a job. The idea is to get your name out there and taking every opportunity to do that will help you find success.

  3. It is also important to stay focused on the search. It is easy to get discouraged when sending out multiple resumes without any responses. Stay true to the job search and the right fit will come.

  4. Make sure you put in the work. Whether it is preparing for an interview or designing your resume, make sure you put some time into it. Being fully prepared is always a good look. “I think that this also extends out to working your first job.  Unfortunately the six-figure jobs we all hope to have aren’t as prevalent anymore. Sometimes you’ve got to work hard and make only a tiny bit of money the first few years before you start to see successes,” says Matthew Meyer.