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7th Circuit will not rehear public image

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decided Tuesday it will not revisit a case that challenged the State Bar of Wisconsin’s use of mandatory dues.

The court denied a petition for rehearing in Kingstad v. State Bar of Wisconsin, 670 F.Supp.2d 922 (W.D.Wis. 2009), filed on Sept. 22 by attorneys Jon E. Kingstad, Steven A. Levine and James S. Thiel.

The denial, issued by Judges William J. Bauer, Ilana Diamond Rovner and David F. Hamilton, stated that “all of the judges on the original panel have voted to deny the petition for rehearing.”

The attorneys sought a rehearing on the grounds that the question of whether the bar’s campaign was intended to improve the quality of legal services should have been remanded to an arbitrator and not answered by the court.

The court held that expenditures made by a mandatory bar association must be “germane” to improving legal services, and the $97,000 spent by the bar in 2007 enhancing the image of lawyers was intended to improve legal services.

But the plaintiffs-appellants said that the court “erroneously decided” the second issue and asked that it be remanded to the arbitrator, who in his initial decision, expressed “doubts” as to the germaneness of the Public Image Campaign.

The same three attorneys filed a petition with the state Supreme Court seeking amendments to Supreme Court Rule 10.03 to limit the use of State Bar dues.

On Oct. 18, the court voted to hold the petition in abeyance pending the outcome of the federal litigation.

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