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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    June 01, 2012

    Inside the Bar: Getting to Know You

    Surveys help the Bar better understand and find solutions for challenges facing members.

    George C. Brown

    Wisconsin LawyerWisconsin Lawyer
    Vol. 85, No. 6, June 2012


    George BrownLast summer, the State Bar surveyed members to understand your needs and challenges, to determine if the State Bar is delivering what you value. This survey, the first in a series, focused on identifying the issues most affecting you and your practice. Based on the survey methodology and the number of completed surveys returned, statistically speaking, we are confident that the respondents' answers reflect the membership.

    We asked members about the biggest challenges you face in the practice of law, and we received hundreds of candid and even poignant responses. In many cases, the State Bar already has programs and services to help these members, but many may not know about them. (And that is one of our challenges – better informing members about existing benefits.)

    What are your top professional challenges? The top professional concerns include decreasing incomes (32 percent), the high number of attorneys (29 percent), and the public image of attorneys (25 percent). Additional professional issues include lack of funding for courts, pro se litigants, encroachment by other professions, managing clients' increased expectations, and keeping up with changing technology.

    Among the top personal struggles, members listed time pressures (37 percent), work-life balance (30 percent), and keeping up with information (29 percent). Other struggles include developing business, managing stress, and retirement and succession planning.

    What do you value most? Those things that provide practical knowledge resources, including Fastcase, the free legal research service; PINNACLE® books and seminars; email and other electronic lists that give you a forum to interact with other members; the ethics hotline; up-to-date news; technology and practice management help; and WisBar, which connects you with what you find valuable.

    The Bar works to deliver knowledge and advocacy that help members succeed in their practices. When asked, 85 percent of you believe that the Bar delivers knowledge and 76 percent agreed that it does so in a congenial manner. However, many of you believe that we do not do it efficiently. In addition, the majority believe that the Bar delivers advocacy, whether in the legislature, through the courts, or to the public, and nearly a majority agreed that the Bar helps you succeed in your practice. These areas provide us opportunities to improve. And this is where you come in, again.

    This summer, we will conduct another survey to gauge member satisfaction with specific State Bar programs, services, and products. If you are asked to participate, please do so as completely as you can. The more we learn about the challenges you face and what programs, services, and products are useful and relevant to you, the better we can develop effective solutions for you.

    Your Practice. Our Purpose.

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