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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    November 01, 2016


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    From the archives

    The Fight Continues: Funding Civil Legal Services for the Poor

    hands raised

    In November 1986, then-State Bar of Wisconsin President Franklyn Gimbel dedicated his “President’s Column” in the Wisconsin Bar Bulletin (now the Wisconsin Lawyer magazine) to the issue of civil legal services for the poor.

    At the time, President Ronald Reagan had recommended eliminating the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), created by Congress in 1974 to fund legal aid agencies that provided free legal services to people who could not afford them.

    “We, the lawyers of Wisconsin, must add our voices to those already shouting support for continuation of LSC at increased funding levels,” wrote Gimbel, noting that LSC funding for 1986 stood at $305.5 million.

    Thirty years later, LSC continues to fund civil legal services. In 2016, it received an appropriation of $385 million. Of that, Wisconsin received approximately 1.3 percent.

    But many low-income Wisconsinites still go without legal help on important matters, and recent state budgets eliminated state funding for civil legal services.

    However, a legislative council study committee on access to civil legal services, formed at the request of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, is currently studying the issue, including funding.

    Good Idea

    CLE in Technology

    presentation podium

    Starting in 2017, Florida lawyers are required to obtain a minimum of three hours of continuing legal education (CLE) in technology per CLE reporting period.

    The Florida Supreme Court approved the rule in September, after a comment period with no objections.

    The requirement aligns with a Florida ethics rule change, similar to a change adopted in Wisconsin, requiring lawyers to know the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology under the duty to maintain competence.

    Source: ABA Journal

    Out There

    Creepy Clowns?

    creepy clown

    Sure, Halloween is over. But “the recent trend of creepy clowns creeping people out seems to be gaining steam,” reports George Khoury Esq., at the Legally Weird blog.

    Last month, USA Today reported that more than 20 states, including Wisconsin, have received reports of strange, violent, or threatening behavior by individuals dressed in creepy clown suits.

    And from “The frenzy was born in South Carolina in late August after unsubstantiated reports surfaced that clowns were spotted trying to lure children into the woods. The craze has since ignited a national phenomenon, with scary clown sightings reported in more than two dozen states from Alabama to Wisconsin.”

    This creepy clown phenomenon prompted Target to stop selling creepy clown masks.

    The World Clown Association said “these horror characters are not clowns” and disavowed any relationship with them.

    In the News

    A New Name for the State Law Library

    Prosser Law Library sign

    The Wisconsin State Law Library in Madison is now officially the David T. Prosser Jr. State Law Library. The Wisconsin Supreme Court held a naming celebration Oct. 19 to commemorate the event.

    Before Justice Prosser retired this past summer, Chief Justice Patience Roggensack announced the honor in recognition of Prosser’s lifetime dedication to public service. He served approximately 18 years on the Wisconsin Supreme Court and nearly 18 years as a legislator in the Wisconsin Assembly.


    “To re-examine your premise is not a sign of weakness of your judicial philosophy. It’s a sign of fidelity to your judicial oath.”

    Justice Anthony Kennedy

    – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, at the International Bar Association’s annual meeting in September.

    Justice Kennedy is often viewed as the court’s “swing vote” on issues that teeter across liberal and conservative lines.

    “His remarks sounded like a partial explanation of his votes in two recent cases involving race, in which he uncharacteristically sided with liberal justices,” wrote Mark Sherman for the Associated Press.

    On the Radar

    The Demise of the LSAT?

    woman sitting at computer

    In February, the University of Arizona School of Law became the first law school to let applicants submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores rather than Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) scores.

    The school had conducted a study that found that GRE scores could reliably predict law school success.

    Now, according to the ABA Journal, the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar is reviewing the results of that study and considering whether to accept the GRE as a valid test for admission.

    At The Atlantic, writer Caroline Kitchener argues that the LSAT “destroys socioeconomic diversity” in the nation’s top law schools. Why?

    Because affluent students have more time and money to master “Logic Games.”

    “Because the Logic Games section is so different from anything most students learn in school, to score well, you need to spend a lot of time studying. Students who can afford to spare that time will always have an enormous advantage,” she wrote.

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