Gregory Grau. (Photo/State Bar of Wisconsin, Shannon Green, photographer.)

MADISON – Retired Marathon County Judge Gregory Grau has been honored with the 2020 State Bar of Wisconsin Bench and Bar Lifetime Jurist Award.

The Bench and Bar Lifetime Jurist Award is the State Bar’s highest recognition. The award celebrates a judge who, during their tenure on the bench, was fair and impartial, demonstrated high ideals and personal character, and demonstrated outstanding, long-term judicial service.

One of his most notable accomplishments was the 1997 creation of a Truancy Citation Court Program, which provides courts with the ability to address issues interfering with children’s ability to graduate from high school.

Grau’s work has “directly and positively impacted the lives of countless teens struggling to gain their high school diplomas,” said now retired Marathon County Circuit Court Judge Jill Falstad in her nomination letter.

Grau credits his interest in trial work to his time as an intern in the Wausau District Attorney’s Office in law school. Upon graduating from U.W. Law School in 1984, Grau accepted an assistant district attorney position in Marathon County. That work inspired the judge to run for a judicial seat, and he began his first term in 1995. He served as chief judge of the ninth judicial district from 2009-2012 and retired in May 2016.

All in the family: William Grau recognized for public interest work

William “Bill” Grau (Photo/State Bar of Wisconsin, Shannon Green, photographer.)

Grau’s son, William “Bill” Grau, a 2019 U.W. Law School graduate, is recipient of another State Bar award, the 2020 Public Interest Law Student Award, which recognizes exceptional public interest volunteer work or activism in the community, the community at large or the law school community. 

While attending U.W. Law School, Bill Grau was focused on increasing access to justice for low-income Wisconsin residents by logging 277 pro bono hours, which was “far and away the most hours of any graduating student,” according to the Director of the Office of Career and Professional Development and the Pro Bono Program at U.W. Law School.

Bill Grau also led the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, offering informational sessions and recruiting and training new volunteers. In 2018, 40 U.W. law students were certified to help students file their returns – a number that hit 2,000 in 2019. Bill Grau also volunteered at the Community Immigration Law Clinic, as well as the Ready to Rent program, which teaches incarcerated people in Dane County how to secure affordable housing.

Bill Grau attends Basic School in Quantico, Virginia. Upon graduating, he plans to attend the Naval Justice School in Newport, Rhode Island, ultimately using his time and talents to be a judge advocate in the Marine Corps.

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