Solo Small Firm & General Practice Section | State Bar of Wisconsin

The Solo Small Firm & General Practice Section’s central purpose is to enhance the quality of practice for the solo and small firm lawyer, as well as the lawyer who has interests beyond the bounds of a single professional practice area. The section sponsors CLE seminars, produces CLE seminars, and publishes a newsletter.​​​

The State Bar of Wisconsin offers its members the opportunity to network with other lawyers who share a common interest through its 24 sections. Learn more at

Solo Small Firm & General Practice Section | State Bar of Wisconsin Blogs

Latest from Solo Small Firm & General Practice Section | State Bar of Wisconsin

​Inflation remains high. Landlords, particularly agricultural landlords, may well want or need to raise rents. Raising rent on an agriculture lease may be especially difficult.

Generally, the terms of a written lease control the modification of rent. In contrast to a typical written lease, many agricultural leases are verbal, and the tenancy is typically on a year-to-year basis. Therefore, an agricultural landlord will need to terminate the verbal lease to raise rent.
Verbal Leases
The Wisconsin statutes set out
Continue Reading The Benefits of Written Leases for Agricultural Landholders

Meticulous preparation in making a strong record is one of the most effective tools for successful litigators. During trial, attorneys must focus on making a clear and concise record in the court – the key to success in both the trial and appellate courts.

When attempting to make the best record, the most crucial thing an attorney should consider is “how will this read in a transcript?” and “will it make sense to someone who reads a transcript who
Continue Reading 5 Tips to Make a Record for Success in Litigation

The 2019 death of an 8-year old on a Wisconsin farm recently made state and national headlines after ProPublica, a nonprofit newsroom, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel conducted investigations and co-published an article regarding the events that lead to the child’s death, and how the police investigation of the circumstances missed key details in how the child died.

As a result of the investigations and resulting articles, there is renewed awareness of safety risks faced by children on
Continue Reading Keeping Kids Safe on Wisconsin Farms

As marijuana becomes big business, it may be time for Wisconsin lawyers to take another look at the industry.

As Wisconsin Public Radio reporter Shawn Johnson wrote in a Dec. 21, 2022, article, “Wisconsin is on its way to becoming an island among Midwest states when it comes to recreational marijuana. Already, marijuana is legal in Illinois and Michigan, and Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat, said his state would pass a bill to legalize marijuana by May.”
Continue Reading Legalizing Marijuana: Its Impact on Lawyers – and Insurance

Wisconsin farmland values rose an average of 11% in 2022, according to the Seventh Federal Reserve District Ag Letter. The 2022 increase came on the heels of a 22% increase in 2021, and was the second largest in the past 10 years. Let’s explore what effects this increase will likely have on Wisconsin farmers. Obvious Benefits: The Good Higher land values increase net worth. This, in turn, can help farmers access and obtain credit. Farmers will get more money
Continue Reading Increases in Wisconsin Farmland Values: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Many Wisconsin family farms operating as limited liability companies may be surprised to learn that the law governing their entities has changed.

While the changes are numerous, and a general understanding of all such changes is warranted, this article discusses three changes that are likely to have the biggest impact on family farms organized as LLCs in Wisconsin.
Background and Application
The new Wis. ​Stat. chapter 183 became effective Jan. 1, 2023, and represents a significant departure from established
Continue Reading New LLC Law Impacts Family Farms: 3 Things You Need To Know

Many lawyers automatically append a disclaimer to each outgoing email explaining that the recipient should not rely on any tax advice contained in the email. Some of these disclaimers explain that
IRS Circular 230 requires that the lawyer provide the disclaimer. For example: IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any U.S. federal tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to
Continue Reading The IRS Does Not Require Me To Say This

Your farm client has sold apples to a wholesaler operating as an LLC and has not been paid. Now the LLC has closed, and the owner of the LLC has filed bankruptcy. What can you do to get your farmer paid? Wisconsin has far fewer farms now than it did 40 years ago, but we are still an agricultural state. It therefore makes sense for lawyers, particularly those in rural Wisconsin, to have some understanding of the Perishable Agricultural
Continue Reading Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act Trust Claims

For many of us in Wisconsin, summer and fall is full of travel, recreation, and family time. That means more Wisconsinites are on the road traveling to cabins and lakes, or out hitting the trails on ATVS.

Unfortunately, family vacations also can be a dangerous when it comes to the roads, lakes, and trails. According to the American Automobile Association, summer is the most dangerous time of the year for teen drivers.

On top of that, the amount
Continue Reading Keeping Your Family Safe on the Road Also Means Being Insured Against the Underinsured

A Wisconsin ski resort received a mixed decision from the Wisconsin Court of Appeals in
Schabelski v. Nova Casualty Company.1 The decision provides some important lessons regarding releases in Wisconsin, and again shows how challenging it can be to convince a Wisconsin court to dismiss a personal injury claim entirely based on a waiver agreement. Background: Experienced Skier Agrees to a Waiver, Falls from Chairlift Kathleen Schabelski went to a small, Wisconsin ski area (Sunburst Ski Resort), and
Continue Reading Appeals Court Decision Teaches Lessons on Waiver Agreements

It is summer and vacation time, and many people will be heading to rural Wisconsin lakes and rivers. With over 600,000 registered vessels in Wisconsin, and more than 300,000 nonresident boats, we can expect a number of injuries and even deaths. We average about 20 fatalities from boating accidents each year.

Injuries and deaths lead to lawsuits, and lawsuits often lead to bankruptcy.

Injured parties facing a bankruptcy filing by a tortfeasor explore their options to avoid having the
Continue Reading Avoid Bankruptcy: Be Safe on the Lake this Summer

Representing your client can often be a delicate balance, especially when your client is difficult or unpredictable. There are circumstances under which an attorney is required to withdraw from representation.1 In other circumstances, attorneys may withdraw from representation if the withdrawal can be accomplished without material adverse effect on the interests of the client.2

Attorneys will inevitably encounter situations requiring or permitting withdrawal. Screening potential clients, setting client expectations, and communication are key to setting an outline
Continue Reading Withdrawal: How to Avoid Those Messy Ethics Issues

​The Lawyering Skills Course at the University of Wisconsin Law School is a unique opportunity for students to learn how to practice law in the “real world.” Students learn legal skills from practicing lawyers from all over Wisconsin through simulation.

Each spring semester, 2L and 3L students are exposed to nine substantive areas of legal practice. This all-inclusive course is taught by practitioners and reveals the day-to-day work of practicing lawyers.
About the Course
The course has been an
Continue Reading UW’s Lawyering Skills Program Helps Students Learn ‘Real-World’ Skills

A bankruptcy filing is intended to give debtors a financial “fresh start.” However, debtors’ financial futures are only as good as what they can make of it. Fortunately, former bankruptcy debtors have many steps, options, and resources to make the most of their fresh start, and continue the road to financial independence.

Here are a few:
First: Get Serious About Personal Finances
The most important first step for debtors emerging from bankruptcy is to get serious about their personal
Continue Reading Lawyers: Advice to Help Your Bankruptcy Clients Take a ‘Fresh Start’

Fed up with the way state government works? ​Convinced that the Wisconsin Constitution insufficiently protects certain individual liberties? Convinced you’re the guy or gal destined to lead a movement to amend our Constitution, but unsure of the process? If so you’re in luck. Here’s a brief “how-to guide” to amending the Wisconsin Constitution.HistoryThe Wisconsin Constitution was debated and drafted in a constitutional convention that ran from December 1847 to February 1848, and the product of that convention was
Continue Reading Amending the Wisconsin Constitution: A Brief How-to Guide

As we head into winter, many people across the state will throw on their snowmobiling gear and hop on the approximately 25,000 miles of snowmobile trails we have in Wisconsin.

Snowmobiling is incredibly popular in the dairy state. There are more than 200,000 registered snowmobiles in Wisconsin,1 and we are home to the World Championship Snowmobile Derby (in Eagle River) and the International Snowmobile Racing Hall of Fame (in St. Germain).2
25,000 Miles of Trails, Most on
Continue Reading Protecting Private Landowners: Recreational Immunity in Wisconsin