Recently, there has been a serious increase in hate crimes and harassment nationwide. Women are being targeted, as are minorities based on their nationality, religion, or sexual orientation. The incidents reported nationwide include verbal harassment, threats, or even physical violence.
LRIS has created a referral system where callers can quickly identify their issue and get referred to an attorney on a pro bono basis. The attorney will provide a limited scope no-cost consult to help the caller determine legal rights, resources for reporting hate crimes and harassment, and to answer questions on how to pursue their complaint with law enforcement and the criminal or civil justice systems.
The purpose of the Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) Pro Bono panel on harassment and hate crimes is to assist people who have been the victims of harassment or hate crimes in determining their rights under the law, as well as providing general information and access to resources. The information given will help those people in choosing from the alternatives available to respond to their particular situation, including referrals to LRIS panel members for representation when appropriate
LRIS operates under the general supervision and control of the Lawyer Referral and Information Committee of the State Bar.
State Bar members in goodstanding are eligible to register for the Lawyer Referral special panel. A member of the special panel shall only accept referrals in a field of law in which the member considers himself or herself competent, consistent with Wisconsin Supreme Court Rule 20:1.1.
Attorneys who volunteer for this panel must have a working knowledge of civil rights law, must be aware of alternative resources and responses available to victims of hate crimes and harassment, and must be willing to provide a free consultation to callers referred through LRIS
Members of the special panel who are not currently a member of the regular LRIS panel, agree to send all matters requiring work beyond the initial pro bono consultation back to LRIS for referral. Special panel members who are not members of LRIS, but wish to perform work beyond the initial pro bono consult must register to become a member of the regular LRIS panel, pay the required registration and referral fees, and abide by all panel rules.
To register as an attorney willing to provide a pro bono consultation to victims of harassment or hate crimes contact the Customer & Consumer Services Manager, Katie Wilcox at (800) 444-9404 ext. 6191.