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Public Services and Programs

In addition to programs that benefit law students and practicing attorneys, the State Bar offers resources to help the public understand and navigate the legal system.

Lawyer Referral and Information Service

Experienced legal assistants at the State Bar’s Lawyer Referral and Information Service help community members decide if they need legal help, and if so, where to find it. Assistants can provide contact information for the best source of help, which may include referrals to lawyers and community-based organizations. Explore the Lawyer Referral and Information Service.

End-of-Life Healthcare Planning

In 1999, the State Bar of Wisconsin, the State Medical Society of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Health and Hospital Association, with support from Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center, joined forces in a statewide public service campaign to promote future health care planning. This partnership produced the consumer guide, A Gift to Your Family: Planning Ahead for Future Health Needs, to assist both English-speaking and Spanish-speaking families. Since 1999, more than 500,000 of these guides have been distributed. Learn more about the program and view tools designed to help guide families at A Gift to Your Family.

Fee Arbitration Program

The State Bar developed the Fee Arbitration Program to help lawyers and clients who are having difficulty agreeing on fees that have been charged for legal services. Fee arbitration is a private, informal hearing between a lawyer and a client, set before a small panel of expert arbitrators. Arbitration is a confidential, affordable, and time-efficient way to resolve a dispute. Download details about the service or an arbitration application.

Educating the Public

The State Bar of Wisconsin sponsors a variety of public education programs for adults, teachers, and middle and high school students. These programs offer unique opportunities to bring law-related education to schools and communities. Discover how you can bring this innovative programming to your school or community center by visiting our Law-related Education Center.

Protecting the Public

In 1981, the Wisconsin Supreme Court created the Wisconsin Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection. This fund is designed to provide reimbursement to clients who have incurred financial losses due to the dishonest conduct of their attorneys under Supreme Court Rule 12.04-12.12. Members of the State Bar of Wisconsin are assessed annual fees to finance the Fund. The amount of the assessment is determined by the Wisconsin Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection Committee each year, per Supreme Court Rule. Research the Wisconsin Lawyer’s Fund for Client Protection.

Free Or Reduced Cost Legal Services For The Public

More than half of Wisconsin lawyers provide legal services to low-income individuals through free legal clinics and a variety of other initiatives, including programs that assist homeowners facing foreclosure, active duty military personnel, and first responders. Learn more about these important community resources at State Bar of Wisconsin Pro Bono Programs.

Modest Means Program

This program is designed for people who need legal services, but who cannot afford the full, standard cost of a private lawyer’s services and do not qualify for assistance anywhere else. This unique service, which helps address a major need in our community, helps match clients with lawyers who are willing to work at a reduced rate to help people seeking justice in our court system. Learn details and download a referral form at the State Bar of Wisconsin Modest Means Center.

If you need free legal services, a number of legal service agencies serve Wisconsin. To qualify for assistance, you must meet their income and eligibility guidelines: