Membership in the State Bar of Wisconsin is mandatory. This has been a controversial topic for as long as I can remember. My purpose is not to renew debate about mandatory versus voluntary. Every lawyer has an opinion on this issue and I’m not attempting to change anyone’s mind. I favor the mandatory bar but respect the viewpoints of those who do not. Rather than continue that debate, I instead want to focus on just three of the many things that the State Bar offers its members.
com pfiedler axley Patrick J. Fiedler, Marquette 1980, is a litigator with Axley Brynelson LLP, in Madison.
1) Ethics. Wisconsin lawyers practice in many different sectors and areas. One commonality that we all share is the need to be mindful of our ethical obligations to clients, lawyers, the courts, and society. All of us have at least a passing familiarity with SCR Chapter 20, Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys. Yet we often face real-life situations in which the answer to our specific question may not be clear. At times, we need to speak to another lawyer in complete confidence. As a State Bar member, your dues provide the benefit of receiving help with ethics questions. The State Bar has two full-time attorneys, org tpierce wisbar Tim Pierce and org akaiser wisbar Aviva Kaiser, who provide guidance on ethical matters. Call the Ethics Hotline at (608) 229-2017 or (800) 254-9154, or check out the web page.
2) Practice411. The State Bar has more than 24,000 members. In Wisconsin, the largest groupings are solo and small-firm practitioners. Law school, at least when I was a student, did not teach me the business of running a law practice. As a State Bar member, your dues provide you with assistance in this area. Practice411 can help you in such areas as trust accounts, computer hardware and office equipment, emerging software, personnel matters, and marketing. And it’s easy to get this help. Contact org practicehelp wisbar Nerino Petro, the State Bar’s practice management advisor, at (608) 250-6012 or (800) 444-9404, ext. 6012, or email org practicehelp wisbar wisbar practicehelp org, or check out the web page. One of the best things offered is the Practice411 e-list. E-list members ask and answer all sorts of practical questions, especially in the IT area. It’s also a great way to network.
The State Bar will never be all things to all people. Yet it does offer something for every member.
3) Legal Research. The law itself is always expanding and evolving. As a result, every lawyer finds it necessary to do legal research. Your State Bar dues provide you with valuable research tools. These include Fastcase as well as numerous quick links to Wisconsin and federal resources. Check out the web page. Need help using Legal Research? Contact org khuotari wisbar Kristin Huotari at (608) 250-6152 or (800) 444-9404, ext. 6152, or email org khuotari wisbar wisbar khuotari org.
The State Bar will never be all things to all people. Yet it does offer something for every member. I have had the opportunity to meet many of you over the course of the last two-plus years. Some frequent comments that I hear relate to how many lawyers appreciate what the State Bar offers its members.
Learn more about your State Bar membership and benefits.
The State Bar – Cui bono? You do!