Thank you for your interest in writing for WisBar InsideTrack.
Nearly 22,000 State Bar of Wisconsin members receive WisBar InsideTrack by email twice a month, on the first and third Wednesdays, as a member benefit.
Also accessible from WisBar.org, InsideTrack articles are intended to distill timely and relevant information in a quick, easy-to-read format. The publication also provides a platform for attorneys to showcase their expertise in substantive legal areas and obtain up to 15 CLE credits for “legal writings.”
This online legal publication helps State Bar members:
spot practice-related trends and analyze the impact of legislative, court, and other developments that may affect the delivery of legal services in Wisconsin;
get insight into time-saving technology, legal research, and practice advice from practitioners and other experts;
stay current on recent Wisconsin jury verdicts, bench decisions, settlements, and arbitration awards; and
get the latest information on State Bar services, products, and events developed to help members practice more efficiently and effectively
Get CLE Credit
The Wisconsin Board of Bar Examiners in 2013 approved a new rule, effective Sept. 20, 2013, allowing attorneys to obtain up to 15 hours for legal writings published in electronic formats, including InsideTrack, if certain requirements are met.
For instance, the article must “increase the reader’s professional competence as a lawyer” and “deal primarily with matters related to the practice of law, professional responsibility, or lawyer ethical obligations.” Some published writings are not eligible under the rules, such as contributions to blogs. But InsideTrack articles are eligible.
To read the requirements for getting credit for published legal writings, see chapter 31 of the Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules, Appendix, Rules of the Board of Bar Examiners, CLE 7.06 (standards for approval of continuing legal education activities).
Have an Article Idea?
InsideTrack editors welcome your article ideas and submissions. Start by contacting one of the following editors to discuss the topic. This step avoids duplicating an article topic already in progress. Note: InsideTrack is not the vehicle for political statements or self-promotion, including any commercial service, product, or organization.
Joe Forward, legal writer / editor
(608) 250-6161 or (800) 444-9404, ext. 6161
Karlé Lester, contributing editor
(608) 250-6127 or (800) 444-9404, ext. 6127
Joyce Hastings, communications director
(608) 250-6126 or (800) 444-9404, ext. 6126
Structure Your Story for Online Reading
Now that you’ve discussed the article topic with an editor, think about how to structure the article for online reading. Remember readers scan online content, and they may quickly leave your article if it is not presented in a way that motivates them to scroll to the end. Consider these tips:
Rank your material. Use the inverted pyramid organizational style: present the most important information first and continue in descending order. Tell readers in the first paragraph why they should read the article and how the topic impacts them. Conclude with a summary paragraph;
Use short paragraphs and avoid long sentences;
Provide descriptive subheads to make it easy to scan and break up gray text;
Use bulleted lists when appropriate.
The Nuts and Bolts: Article Submission Guidelines
Length, style, and format
Feature articles are approximately 1,000 – 1,500 words, and columns are about 500 – 800 words. The editor will determine whether your article is a feature or column. Submit your article electronically in Word format (preferred). Write in a clear, straightforward, expository style. Avoid jargon and legalese. Write in a narrative, not outline, form. Use active voice. Be concise. Be objective. Avoid lengthy editorializing, unless you are specifically asked to write an opinion piece. Whenever appropriate, illustrate points with hypothetical situations. Avoid gender-biased language.
An editor will edit articles to conform to InsideTrack style. Please let the editor know if you wish to review your final article in advance of publication. To meet the press date, authors must quickly turn around reviews.
InsideTrack is published the first and third Wednesday of every month. In general, your article is due 10 days in advance of publication, unless you and your editor make other arrangements for timely submission of your article.
Use endnotes sparingly, if at all (consider using hyperlinks in place of endnotes whenever possible). If you must use endnotes, use citations only and cite to the primary source (not to pinpoints). Place endnotes at the end of the article. Use Arabic numerals as cite signals. Follow the standard rules of citation as outlined in A Uniform System of Citation (18th ed.). Authors are responsible for the accuracy of citations.
Hyperlinks to Resources
Provide links to timely, key resources on the Web of value to readers. (If you don’t know how to create hyperlinks, just include the appropriate website URLs in the article. The editor will make the appropriate links.)
Suggest a concise, descriptive title for the article. The editor may reword the headline for clarity or impact.
Use descriptive subheads in the text for easy online reading. Place subheads at the left margin. Lowercase all words except the first word of the subheading and proper nouns.
Biography and Photo
Include a brief biography at the end of the article (a couple sentences explaining your affiliation, experience with the topic, and/or practice expertise is sufficient). Provide an electronic photo in a JPG or TIF format, 300 dpi resolution, preferably 3 x 5 in size.
Consider providing graphs or charts to help readers quickly absorb numbers or statistics or to understand comparisons.
After publication, readers may post questions or comments at the end of your article. Login to WisBar.org to read any comments posted by readers. If a reader asks a question for clarification, feel free to respond to the question. In general, responses should be posted within 24 hours. Or, if you prefer, send the response to the editor for posting.
You retain ownership of the copyright to the materials submitted for publication, but in submitting those materials, you give the State Bar of Wisconsin a perpetual, limited license to use them in the following manner:
To reproduce the materials and distribute the reproductions in any media in publications and at educational programs or events sponsored by the State Bar, as well as to libraries, schools, nonprofit educational organizations, and other similar nonprofit entities in furtherance of the State Bar’s educational mission.
To use your name, biography, and likeness in connection with the State Bar’s use of the materials in any media, including for the purpose of publicity and promotion related to the State Bar’s educational mission.
To include the materials in compilations published in any media by the State Bar.
To allow others to reproduce the materials in any media and distribute the reproductions in publications and at educational programs and events sponsored by nonprofit organizations.
In all reproductions of the materials, users will be required to include the following attribution language: “Reprinted with the permission of the State Bar of Wisconsin and [author’s name].”
Although the State Bar may charge for the reproductions of your materials, it will not allow others to make commercial use of your materials without your permission.
The State Bar expects its authors to respect the proprietary rights of others. Accordingly, in submitting materials to the State Bar, you agree that you are the original and sole author of the materials, except for those portions that are in the public domain, are the works of others for which permission to use has been obtained, or are subject to fair use.
You also agree that you will inform the editor if your submitted material was published or is being considered for publication elsewhere before the State Bar publishes it. Unless such prior publication is disclosed to the State Bar, you agree that you will not publish your material anywhere else until the State Bar has published it.