Vol. 81, No. 5, May
Inside the Bar
Use Your Member Benefits
This issue of the magazine includes the latest member resources
brochure. Take a few minutes to become familiar with, and then use, the
dues dollars provide.
George C. Brown,
State Bar executive director
the time you receive this issue of Wisconsin
Lawyer, you probably also will have received your annual State Bar
dues and Wisconsin Supreme Court assessments statement.
And some of you, no, probably many of you, are wondering what you get
for your money.
When you ask that question, and you should, you have to recall
that about half of
your "State Bar dues" does not fund State Bar programs and
services. Rather, $216, or about
49 percent, of the $440 in "dues" you will be requested to pay
this year supports
supreme court agencies and programs. This includes $148 to the Office of
an increase of $4 over last year; $18 to the Board of Bar Examiners, an
increase of $5
over last year; and $50 to the Public Interest Legal Services Fund to
services to the indigent. This year the assessment for the Wisconsin
Lawyers' Fund for
Client Protection was reduced from $16 to $0 because of a reduction in
claims against the
fund. When combined with the $224 for State Bar dues, your total bill
actually will decrease
by $7 because of the reduction in the Fund for Client Protection
because State Bar dues, for the fifth year in a row, has not changed.
So what do you get?
Practice resources for one. You get this magazine with its
articles and tips, including every January the Wisconsin Lawyer
Directory with its listing of all Wisconsin-licensed lawyers, courts
and county offices, and the
Lawyer-to-Lawyer Directory. You also receive the latest in new
case law through CaseLaw
ExpressTM, the State Bar's free email case law service.
If you have technology or other law office management issues,
you can receive free
law office assistance through
Practice411TM, including help with personnel issues,
facilities and operations management issues, and technology needs. You
also can access the
Practice411 listserv, which 500-some lawyers use to ask for and offer
advice on a wide
range of law office management topics. One small firm practitioner said
this service is
like having your own personal office manager.
Whenever a question arises about whether your behavior complies
with the Rules
of Professional Conduct for Attorneys, you can call the State Bar ethics
free confidential guidance and assistance in resolving the issue. You
also can ask the
Professional Ethics Committee for free, nonbinding ethics opinions.
If you suffer from stress or have a colleague with a drinking
problem, the State
Bar's Wisconsin Lawyers Assistance Program provides you a 24/7 contact
for help. This
free confidential service is there to help you with trained volunteers
as well as
referrals and long-term assistance.
These are just some of the services you receive with your dues.
You also receive
dozens of opportunities for referral networking through volunteer
work, conferences, the annual convention, and continuing professional
opportunities and specialized practice support, available through
sections and their resources
including newsletters, seminars, and elists.
This issue of Wisconsin Lawyer includes the latest member
resources brochure. I
encourage you to take a few moments to become familiar with, and then
use, some of
the resources you get with your dues.