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Rules governing lawyer conduct

The Wisconsin Supreme Court supervises the practice of law in Wisconsin. In doing so, it has established rules governing lawyer conduct, Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys. Chapter 20 recently underwent the most comprehensive revision since the mid-1980s. On Jan. 5, 2007, the court issued order 04-07 formally adopting changes, effective on July 1, 2007. In addition to these rules, the court imposes other requirements as a condition of practicing law in Wisconsin, including active membership in the State Bar of Wisconsin and fulfilling continuing legal education requirements. Wisconsin's judiciary is governed by the Code of Judicial Ethics.

Related Supreme Court Rules

  • Chapter 10 — Regulation of the State Bar
  • Chapter 11 — Regulation of Members of the State Bar of Wisconsin
  • Chapter 12 — Client Protection
  • Chapter 13 — Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts Program
  • Chapter 20A — Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys (Preamble - 20:1.17) (effective until June 30, 2007)
  • Chapter 20B — Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys (20:2.1 - 20:8.5) (effective until June 30, 2007)
  • Chapter 20 — New Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys (effective July 1, 2007)
  • Chapter 21 — Lawyer Regulation System
  • Chapter 22 — Procedures for Lawyer Regulation System
  • Chapter 30 — Board of Bar Examiners
  • Chapter 31 — Continuing Legal Education
  • Chapter 35 — Eligibility for Appointment as Guardian ad Litem for a Minor
  • Chapter 36 — Eligibility for Appointment as Guardian ad Litem for an Adult
  • Chapter 40 — Admission to the Bar
  • Chapter 50 — Practical Training of Law Students
  • Chapter 62 — Standards of Courtesy and Decorum for the Courts of Wisconsin
  • Search Supreme Court Rules

Wisconsin's lawyer regulatory system

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has charged the Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) with the responsibility for investigating lawyers who may have violated the Rules of Professional Conduct. If OLR finds clear and convincing evidence that an attorney has violated one of the court's rules, the office has the authority to seek sanctions against the attorney.

To learn more about the Wisconsin's lawyer regulation system, contact the OLR at 110 E. Main St., Suite 315, Madison, WI 53703, (608) 267-7274 or (877) 315-6941. Its website offers the following resources:

  • an overview of the lawyer regulation system
  • the process used to investigate a disciplinary matter
  • how to file a grievance
  • trust accounts and the overdraft program
  • status of current disciplinary matters
  • searchable compendium of private and public disciplinary matters
  • Supreme Court rules related to OLR and lawyer conduct
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