RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE
STATE BAR OF WISCONSIN
The State Bar of Wisconsin and local bar associations should sponsor and
promote a campaign for private practitioners
Private practitioners should provide free
half-hour consultations to prospective clients.
The State Bar should develop a brochure or videotape, which provides
clients with basic information about what to expect and how they can maximize
the use of the lawyers time through advance preparation.
The State Bar should develop continuing legal education programs on how
to provide affordable legal services and how to communicate with clients and
prospective clients about legal fees. The
commission believes that CLE programs designed to educate lawyers on how to
balance ethical and economic considerations in establishing legal fees and
rendering legal services will help achieve actual fee reductions and thereby
expand access to legal services.
The State Bar should sponsor a symposium on the subject of
unbundling of legal services and lawyer assistance in self-representation
The Commission recommends State Bar sponsorship
of a symposium-possibly as part of a convention-on the subject of unbundling.
Judges, court administrators, lawyers who have offered unbundled or
client coaching services, and experts on legal ethics and risk management
would be appropriate presenters or panelists.
The purpose of the symposium should be to explore inherent issues of
economics, client satisfaction, quality assurance, judicial administration,
ethics and lawyer malpractice, and to share information on the subject with the
bench and bar. The comments from
the symposium should be published to encourage lawyers to evaluate the
feasibility of unbundling legal services.
Wisconsin courthouses should house information resource centers to
provide the following assistance to courthouse users and visitors:
a. Helping people to find where they need to go;
b. Providing rudimentary how
to information to persons who need
access to the court system
c. Answering simple legal questions and assisting in the preparation
forms that are available in these centers;
d. Acting as a resource and directing persons to appropriate state,
and federal or other nonprofit groups for additional services.
The local bar associations should support the
Information Resource Centers by, for example recruiting lawyers to serve as
courthouse advisors; operating volunteer lawyer hotlines to provide access to
legal information; and assisting with the dissemination of pro se forms,
leaflets, manuals, information packets and videotapes relating to simple
procedural or substantive legal matters. The
commission also recommends that the State Bar continue to work with the
University of Wisconsin Law School and the Marquette University Law School to
develop a clinical program for law students to staff nearby courthouses as
courthouse advisors, to provide telephone and online information relation
to simple procedural and substantive legal questions, and to provide direct
telephone consultation similar to the community law office model at the
University of Wisconsin Law School and the Marquette University undergraduate
student legal service.
4. The Wisconsin Supreme Court should establish a statewide standing Pro
Se Forms Committee responsible for compiling existing pro se materials, creating
new forms as needed in the different substantive areas and establishing
procedures to routinely and reliably update and disseminate pro se material
commission recommends that the State Bar collaborate with the law schools, local
bar associations, and other groups to establish an appropriate implementation
plan. The commission also recommends that the Judicial Education
Office develop educational programs to sensitize judges to special consideration
in handling pro se cases.
The Supreme Court should create a Task Force on Family Law in the Courts
to review and make recommendations on administration, processing and proceeding
in cases presenting CHIPS, custody, child support and domestic violence issues
A Task Force on Family Law appointed by the
Supreme Court would provide a forum for all interested parties to examine more
closely those court proceedings affecting the family and children.
The Task Force should include judges, family court commissions, lawyers,
advocates, legislators, and representatives of the general public.
Special emphasis should be given to the obstacles encountered by the
unrepresented litigant and to continuing legal education requirements and
minimum standards of practice for guardians ad litem.
As an interim measure, the State Bar should support the use of lay
advocates in need for assistance and where the public interest can be protected
Where it is determined that legal needs are not being met by lawyers,
Wisconsin should consider allowing nonlawyer representation of individuals
in state administrative agency proceedings.
Nonlawyer representative should be subject to the agencies
standards of practice and discipline.
authorization: While at this time there should not be enacted a broad,
general statute authorizing nonlawyer practice, the activities of nonlawyers
who provide assistance, advice and representation authorized by specific
statutes, court rules or agency regulations should be continued, subject to
review by the entities under whose authority the services are performed.
nonlawyers: With regard to the activities of all other nonlawyers,
Wisconsin should adopt an analytical approach in assessing whether and how
to regulate varied forms of nonlawyer activity that exist or are emerging in
Wisconsin. Criteria for this
analysis should include the risk of harm these activities present, whether
consumers can evaluate providers qualifications, and whether the new
effect of regulating the activities will be a benefit to the public.
The State Bars Unauthorized Practice of Law Subcommittee of the
Consumer Protection Committee or other appropriate State Bar committee
should continue to monitor the activities of law advocates.
The State Bar periodically should petition the Wisconsin Supreme
Court to examine specifically nonlawyer activities, which appear to be
detrimental to the public.
The State Bar should develop guidelines for expanding the range of
activities traditionally performed by paralegals, with lawyers continuing to
supervise and remaining accountable for paralegals activities
All lawyers should make a personal commitment to perform or
financial support for voluntary pro bono representation
of individuals of
The State Bar annual membership dues statement should
solicitation for voluntary contributions to support pro
commission also urges that the funds collected through this appeal be
distributed by an entity such as WisTAF with the expertise and experience to
distribute the funds statewide to legal services providers and legal programs,
and which is qualified as tax exempt and has the authority to receive funds as
Law firms should assume responsibility for the delivery of pro bono legal
services. This can be accomplished by various means, or a combination of means,
including the following:
Committing the Law Firm Pro Bono Pledge;
Establishing internship programs or partnerships with legal service
Setting up and adequately funding a firm pro bono department;
Making direct financial contributions to WisTAF for the delivery of
services to the poor; and
Directly staffing and/or financially supporting community law
The State Bar should systematically coordinate, support, and promote pro
The State Bar should provide leadership in exploring alternative funding
sources for legal service agencies
The commission recommends that the State Bar work
closely with LSC-Funded and other legal services organizations in Wisconsin to
diversify their funding sources and thereby reduce their dependence on federal
The State Bar should actively encourage federal, state, and local
governments and the public at large to expand their commitment to ensure that
all persons have access to legal services and the message should be sent that
this is a public obligation
The President of the State Bar should appoint a committee to monitor and
assist the Bar in implementing the Commissions Recommendations and Pilot
Projects and report back to the bar on an annual basis
The commission believes that the State Bar would
benefit from an annual report by the implementation committee, analyzing the
progress and status of the commissions recommendations and projects,
suggesting changes or modifications, and assessing the fiscal impact of
completed and ongoing initiatives.
COMMISSION ON THE DELIVERY OF LEGAL SERVICES
FINAL REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS
STATE BAR OF WISCONSIN June, 1999
The report is not copyrighted.
Bound copies are available at $10 each (tax, shipping, and handling
included.) You may also download
the report from the State Bar of Wisconsins Internet homepage located at http://www.wisbar.org
State Bar of Wisconsin
P.O. Box 7158
Madison, WI 53707-7158
In September, 1994, the President-Elect of the
State Bar of Wisconsin with the authority of the then-President appointed a
thirty-person commission to explore and make recommendations concerning ways
to increase the availability and accessibility of legal services to low and
moderate income persons. The impetus for this search was driven three
separate but related initiatives by the American Bar Association to not only
focus on the improvement of the Civil Justice System, the data and findings from
their study but also the quest for a solutions and a need to take action and
implement changes. Again the tools used to arrive at the following
recommendations were based on public hearings, research, subcommittee work,
funding and seed ideas for five pilot projects.
John Skilton, Pamela E. Barker, Maureen A. McGinnity, et. al.