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Originally created as a voluntary bar association, the State Bar of Wisconsin (SBW) was formed in 1878. The Supreme Court of Wisconsin then ordered the SBW in 1956 to become a mandatory bar association. Therefore, ever since 1956, all lawyers that are licensed to practice law in Wisconsin must belong to the State Bar of Wisconsin.
Unlike some mandatory state bar associations, the SBW is not a part of the Wisconsin state government. This means that the State Bar of Wisconsin does not play a role in regulating the practice of law in Wisconsin. Instead, the only major focuses of the SBW are to further the administration of justice in the state, promote the continual improvement of Wisconsin’s legal community, and provide aid to Wisconsin residents.
There are several ways in which the State Bar of Wisconsin helps its members develop professionally. Wisconsin attorneys that are facing a problem with running the business side of their legal practice can contact the Practice411 Office Management Assistance Program service operated by the SBW for a solution on how to solve their problem. The State Bar of Wisconsin helps members get new clients through its Lawyer Referral and Information Service, which helps connect over 40,000 potential clients with lawyers throughout the state each year. Additionally, the SBW helps its members to stay informed about significant state court decisions by listing them in its weekly CaseExpress email publication.
The State Bar of Wisconsin also strives to bring its members together in one cohesive community. Throughout the year, the SBW holds conferences aimed at specific areas, such as small firms and business law, at which members can attend numerous continuing legal education seminars and network with one another. Lawyers in Wisconsin are also given the opportunity to connect with others that practice in the same legal area as them by being active in the practice sections of the State Bar of Wisconsin.
In addition to being beneficial to the attorneys of Wisconsin, the SBW serves the general public in a variety of ways. The State Bar of Wisconsin offers several different educational programs aimed at all different age groups, including Our Courts Wisconsin presentations and the Courts With Class program. Low-income Wisconsin residents are able to obtain legal representation at a reduced cost through the SBW’s Modest Means Referral Service.
Madison, WI 53707-7158