Vol. 77, No. 6, June
Letters to the editor: The Wisconsin Lawyer
publishes as many letters in each issue as space permits. Please limit
letters to 500 words; letters may be edited for length and clarity.
Letters should address the issues, and not be a personal attack on
others. Letters endorsing political candidates cannot be accepted.
Please mail letters to "Letters to the Editor," Wisconsin Lawyer, P.O.
Box 7158, Madison, WI 53707-7158, fax them to (608) 257-4343, or email
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Regulating Paralegals is Protectionist
The State Bar has, as we have been informed in the April
Wisconsin Lawyer, filed a petition with the Wisconsin Supreme
Court to regulate and license paralegals.
Our Bar Association bureaucracy ought to amend the petition, and seek
also to regulate and license: 1) legal secretaries (this letter was
typed and sent by a secretary of age 64, who is computer and information
technology illiterate, from verbal-shorthand "notes"); 2) janitorial
staff; 3) IT staff and employees; 4) delivery and messenger personnel;
5) postal mail distribution and delivery staff; and 6) law student,
Upon the filing of such a petition, and the granting of such a
petition, as amended, the Bar Association could "grow" its powers,
staff, and control (as well as its budget) for the purposes of societal
Isn't bureaucracy, and its stated purposes, wonderful.
Ted B. Johnson
Response: Based on the recommendations of a task
force composed of attorneys, paralegals, and educators and after
approval by the Board of Governors, the State Bar of Wisconsin
petitioned the Wisconsin Supreme Court to establish a system for the
licensure of and regulation of paralegals. The petition arises from: 1)
recommendations of the State Bar's Commission on the Delivery of Legal
Services that better use of paralegals will meet some legal needs that
presently go unmet; 2) concerns of state and national paralegal groups
over the professionalism of a paralegal career; and 3) the need for
current standards and requirements for those calling themselves
paralegals, given the significant responsibility that they often assume.
The petition asks the supreme court to assure that paralegals perform
services under the supervision of an attorney licensed to practice law
in Wisconsin, so as to better protect the public.
This is an important issue. The report of the Paralegal Task Force
can be found online at www.wisbar.org/bar/reports/2004/ptf_2004.pdf.
Whether you agree or disagree with the proposal, I believe that you will
be impressed at the amount of time and careful thought that went into
State Bar of Wisconsin