Vol. 81, No. 2, February
Gone, But Not Forgotten
Nearly a third of the State Bar membership resides outside of
Wisconsin - in every state, in most territories, and elsewhere. Recent
changes increase nonresident representation and make it easier for our
nonresident members to fulfill mandatory continuing legal education
by Thomas J. Basting
Who's gone? Our nonresident lawyers, of course. While I know that
can be boring, I was surprised to learn (and I think you will be) that
Bar District 17 consists of our nonresident lawyers, comprising more
3,500 active members, almost 500 active new members, 300 emeritus
nearly 2,700 inactive nonresident members. That adds up to more than
almost 33 percent, of the entire State Bar membership. Where are they?
state plus places like Guam, British Columbia, the Marshall Islands, and
Virgin Islands. In addition, 87 are described simply as from "out
Before I tell you what the State Bar has done and is doing for
nonresident folks, a brief confession. My son, Tom Jr., is one of them.
in Minneapolis, and I'm sure will be happy to know that he hasn't been
As president-elect and now president, I've had the pleasant
of attending the board meetings of the Nonresident Lawyers Division
The board members are extremely conscientious and work hard to represent
important and far-flung group. Past president Steve Levine also has
tirelessly to actively advocate on issues important to the NRLD. A prime
his advocacy is the recently adopted rule by the Wisconsin Supreme Court
increase the NRLD representation on the State Bar Board of Governors
members to five members.
Even more important, however, is the recently adopted change by
supreme court concerning comity for nonresident Wisconsin-licensed
meet continuing legal education (CLE) requirements of their home
In June 2007, the Board of Bar Examiners filed a petition in the supreme
court proposing a conditional comity rule. A public hearing was held in
November. I appeared, as did past president Levine and four nonresident
traveled from Illinois, Georgia, Washington D.C., and Minnesota. As a
the hearing, the court asked all of the interested parties to submit
supporting or opposing a "pure comity" rule.
The NLRD successfully convinced the Board of Governors to
pure comity rule, and the supreme court now has adopted it. Beginning
CLE reporting period ending Dec. 31, 2008, a Wisconsin-licensed lawyer
practice is principally in another jurisdiction that has mandatory CLE
requirements and who is current in meeting those requirements is exempt
attendance requirement of SCR 31.04 but still must comply with the
of SCR 31.03. The passage of this change means a great deal to our
nonresident members, because they often had difficulty fulfilling both
requirements and those of the jurisdiction in which they practice.
Court Order 07-08 creating the comity rule for CLE appears here.)
These changes resulted, in part, from the active participation
nonresident members in State Bar governance and through their work on
in sections and divisions. If you're a nonresident member, I urge you to
your colleagues in participating in your State Bar. Don't let geography
you, because committee work, for instance, often is conducted in phone
and by email and fax. For information on how you can participate, please
visit Volunteer Opportunities and
submit the online committee
volunteer interest form by March 31. Incoming president Diane Diel will
making committee appointments this spring, with members taking their
posts July 1.
The State Bar leadership, the Board of Governors, and the NRLD
worked hard to represent the best interests of our nonresident members.
members may be gone, but they haven't been forgotten. Stay healthy,
drive slowly in
the snow, and be kind to each other.