The Commission on the Evaluation of the Rules of Professional Conduct, commonly known as Ethics 2000, was a commission appointed by the American Bar Association to review the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct and propose changes or revisions to update the rules for today's legal practice. The commission was charged to conduct a comprehensive study and evaluation of the ethical and professionalism precepts of the legal profession; examine and evaluate the Model Rules and the rules governing professional conduct in the state and federal jurisdictions; conduct original research, surveys, and hearings; and formulate recommendations for action. The commission completed its work in 2001 and proposed changes to the Model Rules which the ABA House of Delegates considered and adopted in part in 2002.
In response, the Supreme Court of Wisconsin has created the Wisconsin Ethics 2000 Committee. Its mission is as follows:
- The committee shall conduct a comprehensive review of the Wisconsin Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys in light of the changes, both proposed and adopted, to the Model Rules by the commission, and any other changes the committee deems appropriate. This shall include consideration of the rules petition to be submitted to the court from the Fee Arbitration Study Committee; the committee shall respond to that petition at the court's public hearing on the matter in the fall, 2003. The committee shall not consider matters relating to multi-jurisdictional or multi-disciplinary practice.
- The committee shall recommend changes, if any, to the existing Wisconsin Rules via a petition to this court for a rules change. The petition, with detailed comments, shall be filed by October, 2004. The court anticipates scheduling the matter for a public hearing in winter, 2004.
- In the interest of providing full and fair consideration of these important public policy issues, the committee shall solicit comments from the bench, bar, and public. In planning its meeting, the committee shall consider the state's fiscal condition and keep expenditures at a minimum, so far as consistent with conducting a comprehensive review. Accordingly, the committee is urged to seek written submissions and utilize teleconferencing and subcommittees as appropriate.
Committee members include 13 lawyers and 6 nonlawyers. Daniel W. Hildebrand was committee chair and Thomas J. Basting Sr. was vice-chair.
Attorney Michael McChrystal, Milwaukee, served as reporter; and Attorney Kenneth Streit, Madison, served as associate reporter.
Other attorney members included: Ralph Cagle, Ben Kempinen, Earl H. Munson, Barbara A. Neider, and Maura Whelan, all of Madison; Nathaniel Cade Jr.,/Hannah Dugan, and Mel Scott Johnson, all of Milwaukee; and Dean R. Dietrich, Wausau. Nonlawyer members included: Rosemary Hinkfuss and Casey L. Perry of Green Bay; Marcia Mentkowski and Dawn L. Miller, Milwaukee; Mary O. Pieschek, Oneida; and Michael Staeck, Racine.