Vol. 79, No. 8, August
Calling the Bar
Long-time Member Relations and Public Services Director Betty Braden
will retire in August. We'll miss our friend and colleague, and we'll
honor her legacy by continuing to provide exceptional service to
George C. Brown,
State Bar executive director
WisBar and the Wisconsin Lawyer Directory help you locate
appropriate staff to answer your questions about State Bar products,
services, and programs.
As I travel the state talking with members, I find their impressions
of the State Bar range from it being an impenetrable bureaucracy that
never responds to anyone's request to it being me, the executive
director, and a part-time secretary trying to do it all. This issue was
brought fresh to my mind recently by the chair of the State Bar Member
Relations Committee when he asked some basic questions about calling the
If someone who has never called the State Bar Center were to call,
what could he or she expect? How would the call
be handled? Who would talk with her or him? What level of response
could be expected? Is there a secret code to get to
someone "in authority"?
Here are some answers. The State Bar has two general lines. Our
toll-free number is (800) 728-7788, our local
number (608) 257-3838. Both will be answered by our customer service
representatives, who have a goal of answering each call by
the second ring. Sometimes they can help you directly, such as by
taking product orders or registering you for a CLE seminar
or providing information about member services and programs. If they
can't answer your question, they will find someone who can.
All staff have direct-in dial phone numbers. If you wish to talk to
someone specifically but do not know their phone
number or know the topic but not the person, you can find that
information in two places. First, go to the State Bar Web
site, www.wisbar.org, and click on the State Bar tab to open a dropdown
menu on which you'll find the staff directory link.
Staff information can be sorted by last name, topic, or department.
Clicking on names sets up an email link or you can call
staff directly. The other source is the Wisconsin Lawyer Directory,
mailed every January to all members. The staff information
for 2006 is on pages 561-63. But, since printed directory information
can quickly become out of date, your best bet for
current information is WisBar.
Every staff member should have a telephone message giving their
status and who to contact if you need immediate
assistance. Many staff members attend various meetings or travel
regularly, so they are not always available immediately,
but everyone is expected to return telephone messages or emails within
24 hours unless they are on vacation or otherwise unable
to return contacts.
As to reaching someone in authority, just ask. You can call me or ask
for me, but, to be honest, I don't have
specific knowledge about the day-to-day workings of many of our dozens
of committees, sections, divisions, programs, and projects.
Your best choice for that information is to look up staff by topic on
WisBar and call the appropriate person directly or call the
general number and explain your needs. The department director is also a
good choice if you need to move up the ladder.
So there you have it. Give us a call.