Inside Track: State Bar sections help members practice smarter, share expert advice with colleagues:

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    July 7, 2010 – Membership in one of the 26 State Bar sections is a great way to play a role in improving the Bar and the legal system, make important contributions to the profession, and gain first-hand knowledge of practice-related issues. Section membership connects lawyers with other lawyers who share the same interests. Thousands of section members increase their knowledge through information-sharing and active participation in sections.

    Most sections maintain an electronic mail list – which connects lawyers to other lawyers who practice in a particular area – for sharing information and asking questions. Manitowoc attorney C.R. Krieger says, “From the judges to the trustees to the debtors’ and creditors’ attorneys, everyone is reading and most are contributing when they can. Months before the newest important case law hits a specialty seminar, we’ve already discussed it within days, sometimes hours, of the decision. If you’re a bankruptcy lawyer and you have a computer, you need this list – and the only way you get on the list is to join the section.” 

    Madison attorney David Relles, a Litigation Section member says, “There are at least three good reasons to join a State Bar section with an electronic email list component, and my practice has benefited from all three.” Relles cites, keeping up with the latest happenings in your area of law throughout the state; getting quick and helpful answers to your own questions about a particular area of law, experts, and judges; and getting referrals of paying clients from lawyers in other geographical areas of the state or from lawyers who might not handle a particular area of law.

    Some sections sponsor CLE programs and workshops. Most sections also produce print or electronic newsletters that address current developments affecting the specific areas of practice, announce section-related activities, and report news about important practice-related issues often including a first look at interpretations of legislative changes.

    Sections charge annual dues ranging from $14 to $35 and are open to all State Bar members. Free memberships in most sections are available to first-year members.

    Members can join sections by calling State Bar Customer Service at (800) 728-7788 or (608) 257-3838 or visit WisBar.