The Wisconsin Law Foundation is a charitable and educational organization that serves to promote public understanding of the law, improvement of the administration of justice and other law-related public service through funding of innovative and creative programs that improve the vision of the American justice system
About the Wisconsin Law Foundation
The Wisconsin Law Foundation has distributed more than $295,300 in grants to support law-related education and public service programs statewide on behalf of the legal profession since 1996.
The Foundation offers lawyers many opportunities to join their colleagues in supporting programs that have a long-lasting, positive impact on Wisconsin adults and youth. Through membership dues, donor-advised designated funds, and will provisions, contributors can direct their donations to specific law-related programs.
Donations to the Foundation are used to support programs throughout the state of Wisconsin through an annual grant process. Foundation grants support many initiatives throughout the state, including:
- Benefiting young adolescents and their communities through teen court programs.
- Providing safer environments for families struggling with domestic abuse, custody, and visitation issues.
- Translating documents from English into Spanish and Hmong.
- Increasing access to justice for low-income residents.
- Educating the public about community resources and the importance of legal representation.
- Assisting families of children with disabilities.
- Providing resources for incarcerated parents, and informational kits for social workers, health care providers, and families.
- Helping Spanish-speaking litigants navigate the family court system.
- Educating social service providers about the legal resources available to their clients.
Over the years, the Foundation has sponsored important State Bar public education programs and initiatives, including:
- The Wisconsin State High School Mock Trial Tournament, which familiarizes students with the American legal system by putting students through a trial simulation as lawyers and witnesses.
- The We the People program, an educational program teaching all grades about the U.S. Constitution and court system through first-hand simulation.
- The Judicial Teachers Training Institute, a professional development program to instruct social studies teachers on the U.S. Constitution and the justice system.
- What You Need to Know about Wisconsin Law, a free booklet which focuses on the changes in legal rights and responsibilities that occur when one reaches age 18.
These are just a few of the programs that depend on the Foundation for their continued success. These programs have a significant impact on the community.
When you make a contribution to the Wisconsin Law Foundation you become a WLF Member. You do not have to be an attorney or a State Bar of Wisconsin member to make a contribution to the WLF. Your generous gifts support both public education projects and public service projects throughout Wisconsin.
"The Wisconsin Law Foundation is proud to bestow grants to programs throughout the state, which truly epitomize the basis upon which the Foundation is built - to promote the public's understanding of the law and to improve the administration of justice." - Law Foundation Grants Committee Chair Mark Pennow
As the charitable arm of the State Bar of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Law Foundation annually awards the Belle Case La Follette Awards and the Donald O’Melia Scholarships. The Belle Case La Follette Awards recognize three recent law school graduates, who are State Bar of Wisconsin members and practicing in Wisconsin, and who represent under-served populations, such as people of modest means and those who live in rural areas. The Donald O’Melia Scholarships are awarded to young/new lawyers who participate in the State Bar’s Leadership Development Summit and commit to serving in a volunteer capacity. These scholarships defray the cost of attending the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Annual Meeting & Conference and allow new lawyers to attend and network with their peers.
The Foundation presents multiple awards annually to recognize exceptional lawyers from Wisconsin. Members of the Foundation are encouraged to nominate lawyers they feel exemplify award category descriptions.
The Fellows of the Wisconsin Law Foundation is an honorary program instituted in 1999. The program recognizes members of the profession who are known by their peers for high professional achievements and outstanding contributions to the advancement and improvement of the administration of justice in Wisconsin. The inaugural class of Fellows in 2000 was made up of 83 members; membership today is greater than 250. The Board of Trustees elects a new class of Fellows each year, based on a list of nominees presented by the Nomination Committee and recommendations of members of the Fellows.