At 12:00 noon on Thursday, September 29, Attorney Fred Wade will present an analysis of the American Concept of Liberty: What It Is and Why It Matters. He will point out that the American Revolution was inspired by a particular concept of liberty that has largely been overlooked, despite the fact that it is the basis for grants of legislative power to the Congress of the United States, and to the legislatures of the 50 states. He will also note that this overlooked concept is relevant to many of the most contentious political and judicial issues of our time, including partisan gerrymanders and limits on voting rights.

Attorney Wade came to Madison to work toward a PhD in legal and constitutional history under Stanley Kutler at the University of Wisconsin, but instead of writing a dissertation, earned his J.D. from the UW Law School.  During and after his studies, he worked as an assistant for members of the Democratic Caucus in the Wisconsin State Senate.

In 1973, he became a Staff Attorney in the Office of General Counsel of the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington D.C., where he was engaged in appellate litigation and dealt with issues arising under the federal securities laws, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, the Freedom of Information Act, and the Sunshine Act. During the early years of the Reagan administration, he served as Chief Counsel of the Commission's Division of Enforcement, and a member of the Federal Senior Executive Service. There, he contributed to crackdowns on insider trading and fraud in corporate accounting, interpreted the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, conducted a review of the sanctions and remedies available in Commission administrative proceedings, and assisted in U.S. negotiations with the Government of Switzerland that gave the Commission access to bank records in certain insider trading cases, despite the continued existence of that nation's Bank Secrecy Laws.

Attorney Wade returned to Madison in 1987, representing unions and union members seeking to influence corporate boards with respect to corporate governance issues, clients who challenged executive use of Wisconsin’s partial veto power to create provisions of law that the Legislature did not approve, and individuals with various workplace issues. He has served as co-counsel with Attorney Marilyn Townsend in a number of successful cases, including a case before Judge Shabaz that resulted in a jury verdict of age and gender discrimination against a Wisconsin city, a wage earner case with a recovery that required piercing the corporate veil, a recent personal injury case against an interstate bus company, and a pro bono representation appealing a denial of unemployment compensation that resulted in a unanimous 2017 decision of the Wisconsin Supreme Court in favor of the client.