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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    September 01, 2002

    FY02 Annual Report - Defining the Value of the Legal Profession

    In FY02 the State Bar organized a statewide effort to assist military personnel and their families with their legal needs, as the nation responded to the Sept. 11 acts of terrorism. The theme of solving problems, sharing expert advice, and serving the community that defined this program became the core of a communications effort to educate the public about the value of lawyers to society.

    Wisconsin Lawyer
    Vol. 75, No. 9, September 2002

    State Bar of Wisconsin - FY 02 Annual Report

    Defining the Value of the Legal Profession
    July 1, 2001 - June 30, 2002

    Fiscal Year 2002 (FY02) was shaped in large part by the events of September 11. The State Bar, with the leadership of hundreds of volunteer lawyers, organized a statewide effort to assist military personnel and their families with their legal needs, as the nation's government responded to the acts of terrorism.

    In partnership with the Government Lawyers Division, the State Bar organized a series of CLE seminars to familiarize attorneys with the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act and the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act. The State Bar sent videotaped copies of the seminars to local bars and other legal entities statewide upon request.

    Lawyers who attended the seminars were added to a list of volunteers to offer pro bono legal assistance to our Wisconsin National Guard and federal reserve military personnel who were called to service. Wisconsin lawyers are ready to provide military personnel and their families with needed legal support in the way of wills, powers of attorney for health care, estate plans, custody arrangements, business operation plans, and the like.

    The State Bar also maintains a list of attorneys who served in previous military operations. Many attorneys who left their practices to serve in Bosnia and the Persian Gulf were available to offer advice to attorneys faced with similar issues today. Through the Military Legal Assistance Program, Wisconsin lawyers reinforced the profession's commitment to serve the community.

    The theme of solving problems, sharing expert advice, and serving the community that defined the Military Legal Assistance Program became the core of a communications effort (known as "branding") that the State Bar launched during FY02.

    Wisconsin Lawyers: Expert advisers. Serving you.

    Communications Tool KitThe State Bar debuted a comprehensive communications effort in May to educate the public about the value of lawyers. The effort arose out of repeated requests from members to improve the image of the profession. After a year and a half of research, the State Bar developed a unified message for the State Bar and its members to educate the public about the value of lawyers. It is not a glitzy advertising campaign, but rather an educational effort.

    The brand was developed from solid research conducted with the public and lawyers. To be effective, the supporting messages and tag line - Wisconsin Lawyers: Expert advisers. Serving you. - must be repeated and sustained over time. The three supporting messages - expert advice, problem-solving skills, and community service - also must be consistently incorporated into communications with clients and the public. Collectively, the tag line, supporting messages, and logos make up the brand.

    The effort was guided by a steering committee of members statewide, led by President-elect Patricia Ballman. The committee used the guidance of a Madison-based public relations firm and worked with staff to develop the brand. The State Bar produced a tool kit to offer lawyers, law firms, and local bars assistance in incorporating the brand into their communications. The tool kit includes camera-ready print advertisements and logos that promote the value of the profession, as well as public opinion research and tips on effective communication. More than 800 free tool kits were distributed to Annual Convention attendees in May. The kits are available for free download at

    In this annual report, FY02 activities are organized under three categories that directly support the new communications effort on behalf of the profession: expert advice, problem solving, and service to the community and the profession. Due to space constraints, this report features only a sampling of the organization's many activities.

    Providing Expert Advice

    The State Bar provides a range of products, services, and educational opportunities that help lawyers fine-tune their skills, stay up to date on the latest legal news and trends, and keep lawyers connected with each other. Such offerings help lawyers provide expert advice to their clients.

    Educating Legal Professionals

    CLE Seminars
    In FY02, CLE Seminars collaborated with sections, committees, and professional organizations to produce 40 different titles, resulting in 62 live seminars and 484 video presentations serving 10,297 registrants. The high-quality seminars proved to be a real value in both cost and ease of acquiring credits. The continuing challenge is to investigate delivery systems that will make quality continuing education even more accessible.

    Seminar Highlight. At the end of FY02, the State Bar presented a seminar on toxic mold, which drew the attention of lawyers, contractors, subcontractors, builders, building managers, insurers, and real estate brokers. A half-dozen local and statewide media reported on the seminar, which covered all issues relating to mold contamination.

    Alternative Delivery Options for CLE. The State Bar offers telephone seminars each fall for regular and ethics credits. This provides members with the convenience of obtaining required ethics credits in the comfort of their office and over their lunch hour. More than 150 members signed up for each of five separate courses. At the end of FY02, the State Bar was preparing to offer for the first time a "live satellite" seminar at six video sites. The interactive seminar featured a national speaker.

    CLE Books
    CLE Books worked with hundreds of volunteer authors who contributed their expertise to produce the following:

    • the new Wisconsin Traffic Law Codebook, increasing the number of CLE titles to 73;
    • 24 book supplements, including an update to the Probate Document Assembly software;
    • a completely revised Civil Procedure Before Trial; and
    • new editions of the Annual Survey of Wisconsin Law and seven titles in the Codebooks series.

    The State Bar's Annual Convention offered CLE   programs attended by more than 1,000 legal professionals.

    The State Bar's Annual Convention offered CLE programs attended by more than 1,000 legal professionals.

    Annual Convention
    More than 1,000 attendees gathered in May at the 2002 State Bar Annual Convention in Madison at the Monona Terrace Convention Center to share expert advice and participate in networking opportunities. The convention offered more than 25 CLE programs sponsored by sections, divisions, and committees. CLE Spotlight programs attracted large audiences. Civil liberties lawyer Alan Dershowitz and juvenile justice expert James Bell spoke on "Disparities in the Justice System." Nationally known law firm management guru Jay Foonberg spoke on "Managing Your Practice Like a Professional." An Assembly of Members debated multidisciplinary practice and other issues affecting the future of the practice of law.

    The convention offered more than CLE programs and business meetings that add to lawyers' legal expertise and problem-solving skills. The contacts made and renewed add to the camaraderie that makes practicing law in Wisconsin so rewarding. The information shared during the convention affects the future of Wisconsin's legal profession.

    The 2003 State Bar Annual Convention will be held May 7-9 at the Midwest Express Center in Milwaukee.

    WisBar, the State Bar's member-focused Internet site, continued to provide members access to legal resources and information. In FY02 WisBar expanded its offerings to include a Legal Career Center that offers job seekers and employers access to a national career network of nearly 3,500 legal positions and resumés.

    In late FY02, the State Bar began a planning effort to redesign WisBar using a long-term, strategic approach. Since its launch in 1996, WisBar has become a key delivery mechanism for information and products, and its importance to members and others is growing. Last year, for instance, 5.5 million pages of material were accessed from the site.

    Work sessions were held with members and staff to identify goals, issues, and priorities. Goals include: increasing the value of WisBar content, creating a community for lawyers, improving interaction with members, increasing site usability, making site evolution easier, and decreasing the cost of internal operations. The work begun in FY02 continues with additional user research and prototype design and testing.

    Wisconsin Lawyer
    The Wisconsin Lawyer is recognized as a professional, high-quality publication by the American and other bar associations. Bar members consistently rate the magazine as one of the top benefits of membership. In FY02 the publication continued to provide substantive articles, how-to columns, notices of changes to court rules, and more. The magazine will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2003.

    Economics of Practice Survey
    In FY02 the State Bar conducted its third Economics of Law Practice Survey, a direct result of the hundreds of inquiries received annually from members. The survey assists members in measuring their ability to share their legal expertise and help solve client problems in a cost-effective manner. The survey covered law firm economic issues such as billing practices, attorney hourly rates, and overhead expenses. An article providing a snapshot of the survey appeared in the December 2001 Wisconsin Lawyer.

    Electronic Communications
    For the first time, State Bar leadership used broadcast email technology in FY02 to alert members to important issues such as the military legal assistance seminars. The Bar is developing guidelines for member email use to ensure appropriate use of such technology.

    The State Bar relies on several other forms of electronic communication to share timely information with members and to enable members to communicate with one another on a variety of topics. There are 8,700-plus subscriptions to the Bar's 86 electronic mailing lists on various subjects, from practice areas to section discussion groups to organization governance and more. The Bar also provides CaseLaw Express, a popular free service that emails weekly Wisconsin Supreme Court and Court of Appeals decisions to 4,157 subscribers, and Capitol Update, a free legislative update newsletter that is emailed to 253 legislative grassroots participants.

    Web-based Law Office Staff Training
    In FY02 the Bar began a research and development project to explore the feasibility of offering law staff training via the Web. The project has produced and is testing prototype staff training courses. Traditionally offered via videotape, Web-based training offers members a low-cost, convenient, and expanded curriculum for their support staff on such topics as client confidentiality and telephone skills.

    Advocating Before Government

    At its core, the State Bar's government relations program is a member and public service. The program again was successful in FY02 on many issues of importance to the legal profession and the State Bar and its practice sections, including:

    • working to allow for the use of DNA evidence for both the prosecution and defense;
    • spearheading enactment of major revisions to UCC Revised Article 9;
    • working to see court interpreter provisions enacted;
    • working to keep funding for federal and state civil legal services;
    • moving Next Economy Legislation on business conversions and mergers through to enactment; and
    • leading the enactment of the Mendez jurisdictional fix.

    Lawyers Legislative Action NetworkThe Lawyers Legislative Action Network (LLAN) is the State Bar's free legislative grassroots program that keeps State Bar members informed on developing legislation so members can keep the legislature in touch with the legal profession and the public it serves. Volunteers in LLAN work diligently to ensure that the state Legislature and Congress are aware of the impact of legislation on the courts, the profession, and the public. LLAN's success is evident in many ways, including the regular requests it receives from legislators, lawyers, the public, and the media seeking information on important legal issues.

    The Bar's government relations team produces Capitol Update on WisBar, an online service that informs members about federal and state legislation that affects the legal profession and justice system. From the Capitol Update page, visitors to the site can track bills, review the legislative session calendar, email legislators, participate in discussion groups, and review State Bar and section positions on legislative issues.

    Working to Solve Problems

    State Bar committees, sections, and divisions are the heart of the organization. They sponsor a number of initiatives that help lawyers, local bars, and others within the justice system solve problems facing the profession, and that support ways for members to effectively solve client problems.

    Debating Multidisciplinary Practice

    As a follow up to Past President Gary Bakke's year-long Seize the Future initiative in FY01, the convention featured an Assembly of Members to discuss multidisciplinary practice (MDP) and related future of the profession issues. At the beginning of FY 02, the State Bar organized a MDP Commission of 25 lawyers and nonlawyers who shared different opinions on the benefits and harms of MDP to the future of the legal profession. Under the leadership of cochairs Bakke and President-elect Pat Ballman, the commission worked tirelessly in FY02 to gather research on, study, and debate the merits of MDP.

    More than 150 members attended the Assembly, where the MDP Commission presented its interim report covering such issues as: amending the Rules of Professional Conduct relating to MDP firms; defining the practice of law; prosecuting the unauthorized practice of law; petitioning the Wisconsin Supreme Court regarding entities that provide legal advice or service to low or moderate income individuals; and amending the rules governing law firms' conduct of ancillary businesses and receiving commissions for client referrals.

    At the close of convention, the Board of Governors continued to debate MDP, unauthorized practice of law, and ancillary business practice issues. The board will have a full discussion at its September meeting and plans to vote in November. The report is available at

    Improving Public Trust & Confidence in the Legal System

    Public Trust and Confidence ReportIn FY02 the Public Trust & Confidence Committee, a partnership of the State Bar, the Office of the Chief Justice, the Director of State Courts, and the Wisconsin League of Women Voters, organized several key initiatives to address issues of top concern in the justice system. The committee sponsored three project grants, including a program to help pro se litigants, a project to translate domestic violence material into Spanish, and an initiative to look at disparate charging practices.

    The Public Trust Committee culminated its work with a community forum on the disproportionality of minority youth in the justice system at the May convention. More than 200 lawyers, judges, legislators, local elected officials, child welfare workers, and law enforcement personnel gathered for the half-day program.

    Encouraging Diversity

    The State Bar supports several initiatives aimed at diversifying the profession and participation within the Bar to better reflect society.

    Summer Clerkship Program. In FY02, 18 first-year law students were placed in law firms, corporate legal departments, and government agencies for 10 to 12 weeks. Now in its ninth year, the Committee to Encourage the Placement of Minority Lawyers, which coordinates the clerkship program, has given more than 120 students practical exposure to legal environments, while enabling participating employers to promote diversity within their own organizations.

    In addition, for the last four years, the State Bar has participated in the Urban League of Greater Madison's Pre-Employment Program. The program provides career awareness and exposure, employability skills training, and paid job experiences to minority and low-income eighth grade students.

    2001 Diversity in the Legal Profession Event. "Strategies for Change" was the focus of the June complimentary luncheon program, with a keynote talk by Stacey Mobley, Du Pont senior vice president and general counsel. Mobley focused on Du Pont's diversity initiatives and its current strategies for promoting and retaining a diversified workforce both in its legal department and its workforce as a whole. The program was a collaborative effort of the State Bar's Diversity Outreach Committee and Diversity Counsel Program and the Wisconsin chapter of the American Corporate Counsel Association.

    Connecting with Local Bars

    The State Bar supports county, regional, and specialty bar associations in their efforts to improve the justice system and the practice of law within their purviews by conducting strategic planning sessions, providing an electronic mailing list for bar leaders, providing speakers for local bar programs, maintaining resource files with successful program and project ideas, assisting local bars in setting up local volunteer hotlines, assisting with local courthouse visitors' guides and Law Day activities, and sponsoring an annual Bar Leaders Conference and the Local Bar Grant Competition.

    Wisconsin Bar Leaders Conference. More than 70 leaders representing 42 local and specialty bar associations shared their successes and challenges at the 2002 Wisconsin Bar Leaders Conference at the State Bar Center in Madison in April. Work shops and breakout sessions offered leaders the opportunity to develop their leadership skills, network with other bar leaders, explore methods of maintaining an active and growing membership, and build a sense of relevancy for their respective associations.

    Local Bar Grants. The Local Bar Grant Competition Committee continued in FY02 to award funds to local and specialty bar associations that develop public service projects having statewide application. In FY02, $10,000 was awarded for grant projects, including: establishing a pro se center for post-divorce litigation; providing pro se litigants access to information and forms to assist them with family court pleadings, motions, and stipulations; developing a booklet on small claims in the Hmong language; researching and standardizing court forms used by pro se litigants in the 10th Judicial District; and updating a Hmong language legal dictionary.

    Professional Image Ad: "We       are your lawyers..."Professional Image Ad: "We are your       lawyers..."
    Professional Image Ad: "...lawyers have       answers."Professional Image Ad: "Lawyers have           answers."

    More than 70 local and specialty bar leaders attended the 2002 Wisconsin Bar Leaders Conference at the State Bar Center in April. Conference programming emphasized projecting a positive image of the profession with discussions and presentations about the Bar's effort to promote lawyers as expert advisers, problem solvers, and people who serve the community. The State Bar explained how to use these professional image ads in their public education communications.

    Reimbursing Clients of Dishonest Lawyers

    The Wisconsin Supreme Court established the Clients' Security Fund in 1981 to reimburse people who lost money through dishonest acts of attorneys. All active Wisconsin-licensed attorneys subsidize the fund through an annual assessment of up to $15. During FY02 the supreme court approved a petition to increase the mandatory assessment to up to $25.

    The increase in assessment was requested because the fund has operated with a deficit for several years due to the high dollar amount of claims approved. In FY02 the committee acted on 38 claims against 23 attorneys. Of these, 24 were approved for reimbursement (totaling $47,557), 10 were denied, and four were deferred to FY03.

    Counseling Troubled Professionals

    The Wisconsin Lawyers Assistance Program (WisLAP) continued to provide confidential, meaningful assistance to lawyers, judges, law students, and their families in coping with alcoholism and other chemical addiction, depression, acute and chronic anxiety, and problems related to the stress of practicing law. In FY02 the State Bar hosted its first celebration dinner to recognize WisLAP volunteers.

    Providing Ethics Guidance to Lawyers

    Ethics opinions of the Bar's Professional Ethics Committee apply the Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys and the prior standards in the Code of Professional Responsibility to specific factual situations. Although not binding, these ethics opinions constitute an important source of ethics guidance for Wisconsin lawyers. Formal ethics opinions address fairly broad questions and are issued in response to requests by State Bar members. In addition, the Bar offers an Ethics Hotline to immediately assist lawyers in interpreting and applying the rules to their practice situations. In FY02 the State Bar's Ethics Hotline attorney handled 1,747 calls.

    During the year the State Bar sponsored       numerous networking and education opportunities for Wisconsin's legal       community.

    During the year the State Bar sponsored numerous networking and education opportunities for Wisconsin's legal community.

    Advising the Court on Practice Issues

    The State Bar plays an important role in advising the courts on issues affecting the practice of law in Wisconsin. In FY02 State Bar leaders testified on several petitions, including the following that were adopted in some form by the Wisconsin Supreme Court:

    • a petition requesting the supreme court to adopt a code of ethics for court interpreters;
    • a petition to amend the composition of the Board of Governors and establish a Senior Lawyers Division;
    • a petition to amend the eligibility requirements for appointment as a guardian ad litem for a minor;
    • a petition to create a rule providing guidance to court staff on assisting court users; and
    • a petition to amend SCR Chapters 21 and 22 relating to
    • the lawyer regulation system.

    Serving Our Communities

    The State Bar and its members are very involved in serving the community through law-related education and pro bono legal assistance. Wisconsin lawyers also are committed to serving the profession and the public by sharing their expertise with legislators and other decision-makers to positively impact the legislative process and improve the administration of justice.

    Providing Law-related Education

    Peer Mediation. Educators from 16 elementary schools statewide learned about peer mediation and ways to teach it at the annual PEACE (Peers in Education Addressing Conflict Effectively) program during FY02. The State Bar, the Office of the Attorney General, and the Wisconsin Law Foundation cosponsored two days of intensive workshops. Now in its sixth year, the PEACE program helps reduce violence in Wisconsin elementary schools by teaching children communication and problem-solving skills.


    LegalExplorer, the Bar's consumer Web site, helps the public navigate Wisconsin's justice system with a wealth of legal information and educational resources. Visitors to the site can access the Lawyer Referral and Information Service, read consumer alerts and special features on timely topics, and find quick answers to their legal questions.

    Approximately 28,000 Wisconsin elementary school students currently participate in the PEACE program, which includes pairing teachers with attorneys in their communities to serve as consultants.

    Mock Trial Tournament. The State Bar of Wisconsin High School Mock Trial Tournament attracted 500-plus attorneys and judges statewide who volunteered their time and expertise to make the FY02 program a success. In addition to attorneys and judges, more than 140 teachers and 26 regional coordinators helped organize the tournament, made up of 170 teams. The number of teams has more than doubled since the tournament's inception in 1983.

    The two teams that compete in state finals argue a fictional mock trial case - written by the State Bar's Law-related Education Committee - before six Wisconsin Supreme Court justices. Mock trial sponsors include the Wisconsin Trust Account Foundation, the Legal Auxiliary of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Association of School Boards, the Wisconsin Law Foundation, and individual attorneys and citizens. Rhinelander High School won the state competition and then went on to place fifth nationally at the National High School Mock Trial Championship held in St. Paul, Minn., in March.

    Teaching Institute. In February, 24 high school teachers participated in the second annual Wisconsin Justice Teaching Institute. Assisted by supreme court justices, circuit court judges, attorneys, and university professors, the teachers took part in a sentencing exercise, analyzed actual supreme court petitions for review to determine whether they had been granted or denied, learned how to pick "teachable" appellate court cases, heard a panel discussion on judicial independence, and much more. Resources provided are valuable materials for teaching about the courts and the law. As a culminating activity, teachers put on a moot court in the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The institute is a partnership between the State Bar's Law-related Education Committee, the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and the U.W. Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

    Project Citizen. During FY02, the State Bar cosponsored the "We the People, Project Citizen" competition - a hands-on civic education program for middle school students to promote competent and responsible participation in state and local government.

    The competition attracted 14 public policy portfolios represented by six middle schools to the State Bar Center for two days of judging. Panels of judges - state legislators, government leaders, and marketing professionals - scored the portfolios and hearings. Project Citizen was sponsored by the Wisconsin Law Foundation, the State Bar of Wisconsin, the Center for Civic Education, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the U.S. Department of Education.

    We the People ... The Citizen and the Constitution. In FY02 the State Bar's Law-related Education Committee again coordinated the intensive, weeklong "We the People ... The Citizen and the Constitution" program. In existence since 1987, We the People is a national program directed by the Center for Civic Education and funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Based on a curriculum designed to promote a deeper understanding of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the goal is to promote civics competence and responsibility among elementary, middle, and secondary school students in public and private schools.

    In addition to numerous Wisconsin schools using the We the People materials, six schools participated in a mock congressional hearing in January by testifying at the State Capitol before panels of teachers, lawyers, elected officials, and community leaders. The winning school went on to represent Wisconsin at the national tournament in Washington, D.C., in May. Heritage Christian High School from West Allis placed third nationally. This was the highest finish ever for a Wisconsin team.

    Offering Consumer Information The Bar's consumer Web site, LegalExplorer, helps the public navigate Wisconsin's justice system with legal information and educational resources. Visitors to the site can access LRIS; click through a legal dictionary; read consumer alerts about the perils of identity theft, home repair fraud, and other timely topics; learn about law-related education programs and publications; read special features about current topics of general interest to the public; conduct a title or key word search for resources to help resolve legal issues; and find quick answers to their legal questions.

    Consumer Pamphlet series

    The consumer pamphlet redesign includes the new brand tag line - Wisconsin Lawyers: Expert advisers. Serving you. - reinforcing that the series is a public service of Wisconsin lawyers.

    Consumer Information Pamphlets. The Bar's series of 18 consumer information pamphlets also is available on LegalExplorer. Updated frequently, the series covers legal issues that many people face sooner or later in their lives. Each pamphlet answers commonly asked questions, defines basic terms, and explains concepts in plain English. In FY02 the Bar began to redesign the pamphlets to incorporate the Bar's new brand tag line - Wisconsin Lawyers: Expert Advisers. Serving You. - and update their appearance.

    Providing Access to Lawyers

    In FY02 the public continued to benefit from attorneys registered with the Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS).

    Consumers reach LRIS through two separate vehicles - over the phone and online. The service, which began offering referrals on the Bar's consumer Web site in FY01, consistently has more than 30 percent of its referrals coming from In some months of FY02, those numbers were as high as 50 percent. Interestingly, the Web site's existence has not decreased the number of phone calls to the service, which remained at more than 50,000. LRIS also continues to provide prescreened telephone referrals. Experienced legal assistants screen calls and refer only about one in six callers to an LRIS panel attorney; the remaining callers are given necessary information or referred to a community agency or other legal resource.

    Supporting Pro Bono Programs

    As part of its commitment to providing legal services to low-income citizens, the State Bar's Team Pro Bono volunteers provide free or reduced cost legal services to prescreened clients. The volunteers also advise lawyers who provide legal services to clients, organize pro bono projects, and contribute financial assistance.

    Pro Bono Planning Group. The State Bar Legal Assistance Committee participated in a state planning group as a stakeholder to assist in developing a plan to submit to the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) for federal funding to deliver legal services to the poor. This plan - which divides the state into a two-agency system - was required by LSC to qualify for federal funding.

    Honoring Community Service Work

    Again in FY02, attorneys, judges, law firms, law-related organizations, and law students who made outstanding pro bono, public service, or law-related education contributions in 2001 were honored at the Volunteer Lawyers Recognition Celebration held during the Annual Convention in May. Fifty-year members were recognized and the Judge of the Year and Lifetime Jurist awards were presented at the Members' Recognition Luncheon, also at the convention.

    The American Bar Association has long considered the State Bar of Wisconsin to be one of the most innovative, productive, and service-oriented bars in the country - a distinction directly attributable to the strong volunteerism of Wisconsin lawyers.

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