Andy Voigt ’97 on liberal arts and interpersonal skills
Andy Voigt ’97 of Portage, Wisconsin was elected to Columbia County’s Branch 2 in the spring of 2011.
“My Ripon education has contributed in ways too numerous to count,” Voigt says. “An often overlooked component of being a good attorney is that most of the time good ‘people skills’ are required. This is especially true in practice in smaller communities where you run into the same people over and over. I am learning that the same is true of being a judge. The whole concept of a liberal arts education is about learning how to look at a problem from a number of interrelated angles. That is what most of the practice of law can be boiled down to, applying the facts of a particular case to the appropriate law and reaching a conclusion.”
Voigt feels that the law is the foundation of civilization.
“But it is also the guide by which we all expect each other to act on a day-to-day basis,” he says. “For most of us, this guide becomes so ingrained in our lives that we rarely think about it. My occupation forces me to re-examine and make judgments about the borders of that guide on a daily basis.
“All of the cases that I hear are important, and everyone is entitled to expect that I will give my best effort on every case. There is a real balancing act between strictly applying the law and the reality of that application. It would be easy to say ‘lock the bums up’ or ‘everyone deserves another chance,’ but life isn’t that simple. It will continue to take some time for me to develop my judicial personality, but I would like to think that I approach each case with care and impartiality.”