With the Wisconsin Supreme Court scheduled to revisit a proposal to abolish the mandatory bar, petitioner Steve Levine is looking for a compromise.
On Monday, the Madison attorney submitted a letter to the court asking the justices to make membership to the State Bar voluntary, but mandate that the bar collect a $50 assessment for civil legal services from all lawyers, including those who choose not to join the association.
According to the letter from Levine, the assessment would replace the current $50 collected and administered by the Wisconsin Trust Account Foundation and the bar would serve as trustee for the money, to only be used for improving the legal system and administration of justice.
Direct contributions to legal service providers, expansion of pro bono work and money for the Access to Justice Commission are several financial outlets proposed by Levine in his letter for the new assessment.
A nonmember of the bar would be required to pay the assessment, but could opt out of the remainder of State Bar dues, according to Levine’s proposal.
In the letter, Levine suggested that the assessments could generate as much as $1 million per year.
The Supreme Court is scheduled to reconsider the petition, which the justices voted to deny in November.