Vol. 85, No. 10, October 2012
A key responsibility of the State Bar is to assist members with the practice of law. I won't attempt to define or redefine what that means, but instead direct you to SCR Chapter 10, Regulation of the State Bar. These "state bar rules" will give you substantial insight as to the Bar and its intended purposes and operation. Most of the rules date back to an effective date of Jan. 1, 1957.
Much has changed since then, including the court system, communications, and a substantial increase in Bar members. The Bar itself has undergone many changes, but the rules and responsibilities still exist. Change is more rapid now, and we will see that trend continue.
Education is at the heart of the Bar assisting members. Traditionally, lawyer education is thought of in terms of continuing legal education. This education component is strong and necessary and is not to be minimized. The Bar is a CLE leader, and it is increasing efforts to be even better and more relevant for you.
As members, you may feel the Bar does a good job with CLE presentation. But understand that your input is important in the decision-making process of what subject matters CLE should cover and various methods of CLE presentation. If there is a need, the State Bar can help tailor a program to meet the need. Contact State Bar PINNACLE director Trish Carrera with your ideas.
I also want to promote beneficial CLE by speaking about CLE at every opportunity, and I will encourage attendance at State Bar CLE programs. There is no reason for you to look elsewhere. I will promote innovation such as producing subparts of programs for different geographic areas and using methods of production that increase your interest and learning.
But it is equally important to recognize that State Bar education of members goes far beyond CLE. Virtually everything the Bar does has an educational component that assists members with the practice of law. Some of these educational benefits are obvious: books, pamphlets, and free legal research. Other educational benefits have developed over time to meet the needs of members, such as Practice411 for law office management assistance, WisLAP's help for lawyers, and the Rotunda Report/Government Relations Program. The information available to you as members of the Bar is priceless in assisting your practice. Each program teaches, informs, and educates; and again, the educational component of the benefits and services continues to grow in stride with changes in our profession.
The State Bar "education component" also applies to Bar participation by members, whether in an officer position, Board of Governors position, committee position, or division position. It is through meeting and communicating, formally and informally, that we consider issues and ideas, solutions and projects, member needs, and Bar operations. We educate each other, through the Bar, whether we are having a pre-meeting breakfast in Wausau, a recognition dinner in Madison, or an interim multilocation teleconference. All of the education benefits you. Let's keep our education process moving forward.