Vol. 77, No. 10, October
Seven Common CLE Reporting Errors
Attorneys admitted to practice in even-numbered years should receive
the 2003 - 04 CLE Form 1, the continuing legal education reporting form,
in mid-October. All active Wisconsin-licensed attorneys are required by
SCR 31.03 to file a CLE Form 1 with the Board of Bar Examiners (BBE)
biennially. This year's filing deadline is Dec. 31. Attorneys admitted
to practice in 2004 do not need to report until 2006.
"It seems the most difficult aspects of earning CLE credits can be
filling out CLE Form 1 accurately and submitting it early enough for us
to catch a deficiency before it's too late to avoid the consequences,"
says Gene R. Rankin, BBE director. "Consequences can include a fine or
even license suspension," says Rankin, who urges attorneys to file early
and to keep good records. "Attorneys who wait until the last minute to
file can suddenly find they are short of credits, and oftentimes there
isn't enough time to earn those credits before the deadline. Another
major problem is not keeping accurate records, which complicates filling
out the form."
Rankin outlines the seven most common CLE reporting form errors and
offers ideas to make the process less complicated.
1. Filing late. The earlier you file, the earlier
your form is audited, and the more likely deficiencies will be detected
while there is still time to make up missing credits. Filing late also
can land your form in a huge pile of late-filers, which can result in a
late audit and late fees if there are deficiencies.
2. Form filled out by someone else. Take personal
responsibility. Fill out the form yourself.
3. Inaccurate information. Reporting the accurate
date, title, and sponsor is critical. Many sponsors offer dozens of
courses, and it is impossible for BBE staff to determine which course is
being reported if the information is incomplete or inaccurate.
"When you take a CLE course, write down the necessary information,
file the course brochure and payment receipt in a folder, and record the
course on your calendar," says Rankin. "When the CLE Form 1 arrives, the
necessary information is easy to get to, and you are ready to go."
4. Inaccurate mailing address. The BBE mails your
form to the address on file with the State Bar. If you don't receive the
form and therefore don't file, your license could be suspended.
5. Unapproved courses. Never assume courses have
been approved for Wisconsin credit. Check the BBE Web site at www.wicourts.gov/services/attorney/edu.htm
to access a searchable database for approved CLE courses.
6. Unsigned form. CLE Form 1 is a sworn document and
requires a signature to testify to the truth of its contents.
7. Read your mail. The BBE routinely sends out two
CLE reporting forms, one in October and another in November. Attorneys
who have not filed by the Dec. 31 deadline receive a warning in
A certified mail notice is sent to attorneys not in compliance in
early April, warning them that failure to comply in 60 days will result
in automatic suspension at the end of that 60 days. Certified mail
notices of suspensions are sent in early June as a courtesy.
"If the BBE sends you a deficiency notice, pay close attention," says
Rankin. "If you filed and there is a deficiency in your report that is
not corrected it will result in suspension. The State Bar publishes
attorneys' license status on its Web site, WisBar. Avoid the
embarrassment of having your clients learn about your suspension through
For more information, contact BBE CLE Records Manager Tammy McMillen
at (608) 261-2350.
Wisconsin attorneys cross the finish line in
Ironman lawyers (Age) Time
Daniel Barker, Madison (34) 12:19
Daniel Mitchell, Milwaukee (35) 12:11
Jon Becker, Madison 11:09
Diane Ramthun, Madison (51) 15:57
Howard Goldman, Madison (54) 14:57
Daniel Schlichting, Madison (38) 14:58
Michael Gotzler, Madison (33) 9:53
Peg Stafford, Madison (56) 15:10
Scott Klettke, Madison (21) 13:33
John Tedesco, Madison (37) 15:56
Dean Mabie, Milwaukee (39) 12:30
Craig Witz, Madison (45) 15:29
Lana Mades, Madison (32) 15:55
Robert Young, Ann Arbor, Mich. (31) 16:30
Thirteen State Bar members and one U.W. law student participated in
the 2004 Ironman Wisconsin Triathlon on Sept. 12 in Madison. Peg
Stafford, Madison, placed first in the Women's 55-59 age division.
Michael Gotzler, Madison, placed 22nd overall beating many professional
athletes in the largest race - 2,188 participants - in the 25-year
history of the Ironman Triathlon. Their efforts qualify them for the
2005 Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.
"This was my third Ironman event, and I have never experienced
anything like it," says Madison attorney Craig Witz. "With more than
2,100 participants, it was like swimming in a blender full of boxing
gloves. It was brutal! After the 2.4 mile swim we biked 112 miles
through Verona, Mt. Horeb, and Cross Plains. There were huge crowds of
fans along the entire route."
This is Gotlzer's third Ironman and the second time he earned a place
in the championship. He heads to Hawaii in October, replete with his own
cheering squad - his wife and two daughters - to tackle the ultimate
"Each time you race, you learn important lessons to help you improve
your next race," says Gotzler. "The first time I learned about the
importance of nutrition. In Hawaii I will learn not only how to swim in
saltwater, but how to swim in saltwater without a wetsuit."
Stafford has been a long-distance runner for years, but this was her
first Ironman. She was astonished to learn she took first place in her
division, which also qualifies her for the 2005 Championship. "An
honor," Stafford says, "but I think I'll pass. Ironman Wisconsin was
just wonderful from the beautiful weather to the lack of wind to the
wonderful sight of that finish line. It was a perfect day."
Law-related email lists help attorneys
communicate quickly and easily
Electronic mail lists are an excellent way to communicate with other
lawyers and share concerns, ask questions, or offer advice. The State
Bar supports more than 95 electronic lists. Two new law-related
electronic lists, brought to our attention by State Bar members, are
available through Yahoo.
Law-related electronic mail
lists. The Wisconsin Animal Law electronic mail list is a forum
for lawyers and law students who wish to discuss national and local
developments in the emerging practice area of animal law. Madison
attorney Megan A. Senatori, DeWitt Ross & Stevens, began the
electronic list and serves as its moderator.
"I teach an animal law course at the U.W. Law School where I have
come in contact with other attorneys who share my interest in animal
law. It is such a new practice area, particularly in Wisconsin, that
meeting colleagues who share the interest is not always easy."
The PrideLaw Wisconsin electronic mail list is a forum where
Wisconsin lawyers can exchange ideas and discuss legal issues concerning
the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Recent
U.S. Supreme Court cases and the proposed amendment to the Wisconsin
Constitution to ban civil unions and marriage for gay and lesbian
couples make this list timely.
Madison attorney Tamara B. Packard says, "With the rapidly changing
legal landscape that gay and lesbian families are facing, from family
law to employment to estate planning to taxes, attorneys who serve LGBT
clients need to stay informed. We hope this list will serve as a
resource for attorneys in navigating the grey areas of this cutting-edge
area of the law and protecting their clients' interests."
Any lawyer interested in partici-pating is welcome to join the
electronic mail list. To join, visit http://groups.yahoo.com; under "Join
a Group" type "PrideLawWisconsin." Follow the instructions on how to
join, and after the moderator verifies you are a Wisconsin lawyer you
will be admitted to the list.
State Bar electronic mail
lists. Subscribers must be members of the specific group that
sponsors the list.