WisBar News

News and developments from the State Bar of Wisconsin.

June 17, 2021 – The Wisconsin Supreme Court has issued an order with an interim rule on filing appellate court documents. E-filing is mandatory in the court of appeals, starting July 1, but mandatory e-filing to the Wisconsin Supreme Court is delayed. According to the order, on July 1, e-filing is mandatory for all new actions and proceedings brought in the court of appeals and for all new documents submitted in previously filed cases, unless otherwise provided by rule or by court order. The supreme court will continue its participation in the e-filing pilot project for the purpose of further…
June 14, 2021 – The State Bar of Wisconsin‘s Annual Meeting & Conference last week brought judges, lawyers, and other legal professionals together to discuss a truly challenging year, what disruption has taught the legal profession, and other topics. The State Bar’s Board of Governors kicked off the three-day event June 10 with its final meeting of FY 2021, and Cheryl Daniels was sworn in as the 66th State Bar president. The Wisconsin Association of Legal Administrators (WALA) led pre-conference sessions on resilience, as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion, and Michele DeStefano – law professor at the University…
June 10, 2021 – “We aren’t running out of lawyers in the state, but we are running out of lawyers in rural areas,” said Minocqua attorney John Danner, chair of a task force that recently made recommendations to address a shortage of lawyers in rural Wisconsin. Danner, chair of the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Task Force on the Greater Wisconsin Initiative, presented the group’s report and recommendations yesterday to the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Board of Governors, which held its final meeting of the 2021 fiscal year. It was the seventh consecutive meeting held virtually since the start of the…
From left, immediate Past-president Jill Kastner, incoming president Cheryl Daniels, outgoing President Kathy Brost, and former State Bar President Michelle Behnke. June 10, 2021 – Cheryl Furstace Daniels has spent her entire career as a government lawyer, and now she’ll spend the next year governing the State Bar of Wisconsin. Daniels was sworn-in yesterday evening as the State Bar’s 66th president. Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Annette Ziegler gave remarks before administering the oath of office. Former State Bar President Michelle Behnke (2004-05) emceed the virtual event, and Daniels’ husband Michael Rosenberg also spoke. Daniels officially begins her term on…
Annie Louk, Milwaukee County’s newest assistant district attorney, poses in front of the Capitol Building in Madison on May 24, the day she was sworn in as a Wisconsin lawyer. May 26, 2021 – It was a day years in the making – with part of those years involving a global pandemic. On May 24, 158 graduates of Marquette University Law School took the last two steps in becoming Wisconsin lawyers, at the Wisconsin State Capitol Building. After taking the Attorney’s Oath before the Wisconsin Supreme Court in the Assembly Chamber – a room that allowed for social distancing –…
U.W. law grad Amakie Amattey signs the Attorney Roll book – a tradition in Wisconsin for more than 170 years – that is the final step in becoming a Wisconsin lawyer. May 21, 2021 – It is the culmination of years of work, with a twist: The U.W. Law School class of 2021 spent half their time in law school in a pandemic. In a year of remote work and virtual education, the Class of 2021 took their oath in person before the Wisconsin Supreme Court – not in the State Capitol’s Supreme Court Hearing Room as in years past
Margaret Wrenn Hickey of Milwaukee said she plans to focus on addressing the racial inequities in our judicial and legal system, promoting diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, and improving access to justice. April 23, 2021 – Milwaukee lawyer Margaret Wrenn Hickey is the next president-elect of the State Bar of Wisconsin. In the elections ending April 23, 2021, Hickey defeated Milwaukee attorney Odalo J. Ohiku by 2,347 votes to 1,186. Hickey will serve a one-year term as president-elect starting July 1, 2021, before succeeding Cheryl Daniels of Madison on July 1, 2022, as State Bar president. When she…
The State Bar of Wisconsin’s Board of Governors met virtually for its April 16 meeting and adopted policy positions on racial justice and law enforcement reform, among other actions, including approval of the organization’s FY 2022 budget. April 19, 2021 – The State Bar of Wisconsin’s Board of Governors last Friday discussed a proposal to require at least two of 30 CLE credits per reporting period on topics of racial bias and other issues that promote education on diversity, equity, and inclusion. The board took no action on the proposal from the State Bar’s CLE Committee, but engaged in lengthy…
April 19, 2021 – At last Friday’s State Bar of Wisconsin Board of Governors meeting, board member Erik Guenther voiced reservations about holding an upcoming Board of Governors meeting in Kenosha, scheduled for September 2021. Guenther, who grew up in Kenosha, moved to relocate the scheduled Kenosha meeting in light of racially charged events involving Kenosha law enforcement. “I’m not sure if there’s a right or wrong answer on this issue,” said Guenther, a Nonresident Lawyer Division (NLRD) representative on the board. “But having a full discussion is important.” Guenther said he reached a “tipping point” after a recent announcement…
  March 26, 2020 – COVID-19 vaccine eligibility now includes court system professionals, including judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, victim witness coordinators, court clerks, and other individuals essential to in-person criminal court proceedings. However, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), those who can work from home are asked to delay vaccination until May 1 or until supply is robust. The DHS website notes that public defenders were eligible March 1, because of their close contact with incarcerated individuals (who were eligible to receive vaccines March 1). How to Schedule a Vaccination Appointment Individuals who are interested in being…
A new form available through the Wisconsin Court System website makes it less burdensome for indigent individuals to obtain a waiver of court fees and costs by allowing their pro bono, legal aid, or public defender attorneys to submit a petition requesting the fee waiver. Indigent individuals can still submit petitions for waivers if they cannot pay court filing and/or service fees. They must complete the form, have it notarized, and file it with the court, or have their pro bono, civil legal aid, or public defender attorneys file it for them. Now, however, pro bono, civil legal aid, and…
March 9, 2021 – The Wisconsin Supreme Court has approved a petition that gives law students earlier opportunities for practical, hands-on experience through a rule that lets law students represent clients under the supervision of an attorney. Under the current law student practice rules (SCR Chapter 50), law students must finish one-half of law school before they can represent clients in court under supervision or give supervised legal advice. The rule was originally adopted in 1975. The Wisconsin Access to Justice Commission filed a petition, requesting modifications to modernize and expand the rule to give law students practical…
The Wisconsin Supreme Court this week granted the State Bar of Wisconsin’s request to modify the “Emeritus” classification of State Bar membership. Currently, lawyers may elect Emeritus status at age 70 and continue practicing law without paying annual State Bar dues or annual Wisconsin Supreme Court assessments, aside from a fee to the court’s client protection fund. Additionally, Emeritus members are exempt from continuing legal education (CLE) requirements. As the court’s final order states, the State Bar “filed a rule petition asking the court to modify Supreme Court Rule (SCR) 10.03 to clarify who is an active or inactive emeritus…
March 1, 2021 – The State Bar of Wisconsin’s Board of Governors last Friday (Feb. 26) voted to support a petition pertaining to the retention of circuit court case files and court records. The Director of State Courts’ Records Management Retention Subcommittee filed a petition (20-08) to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, to amend and create rules that relate to the retention of circuit court case files, court records, minute records, and exhibits. A supporting memo notes that the subcommittee periodically reviews record maintenance and retention rules to ensure consistency with best practices for preserving the record while incorporating…