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Latest task force findings cause report fatigue

Court_Gestures_300x100_Forgive, me, please, but I think I have a case of report fatigue.

I’m serious. I’m getting tired just thinking about it. Each time I am finished reading one, another one comes up. My eyes hurt.

OK, maybe I’m getting a little dramatic. But that was my first impression when I saw the title of the Report of the Committee on Challenges Facing New Lawyers. Didn’t I read that in December?

Well no, I didn’t. That was called the Challenges Facing New Lawyers Task Force Report and Recommendations.

But despite their ridiculously similar titles, there is a difference. In its 2013 report, the task force — appointed by former State Bar President Jim Brennan — did its best to paint a picture of the average recent law school grad. That new lawyer is saddled with thousands of dollars of debt and difficulty getting a well-paying job in their field.

The report from the new committee — created by bar Past President Patrick Fiedler earlier this year — was tasked with taking the task force’s recommendations and seeing what concrete solutions can be proposed and done by the bar itself.

Are you still with me?

Good.

The new report, while detailed, more or less recommends the following things the committee believes the bar can do:

  • Encourage the UW and Marquette law schools to develop incubator programs that assist newer lawyers in starting their practices.
  • Lobby the Legislature for laws that would allow UW Law School to loosen standards to allow out-of-state students to pay in-state tuition.
  • Increase young lawyers’ abilities to serve in bar leadership, including having more seats reserved for the Young Lawyers Division on the Board of Governors.
  • Encourage development of mentoring programs across the state.
  • Encourage the Board of Bar Examiners to grant continuing legal education credit for young lawyers who take classes to help develop their finances and law practices.

And while the recommendations appear to be in the spirit of what the task force was going for, it is interesting that the recommendations mainly ask for the bar to support certain measures. The task force’s report, on the other hand, recommends that the bar take an active role in helping new attorneys find jobs or start their firms.

To be sure, several of the task force’s recommendations, such as the bar creating an incubator for new attorneys and their businesses, would cost a lot of money. It may be hard, in that sense, to convince the board to do something that large.

The BOG heard more about the report — which was released in June — during its meeting last week. The board is expected to vote on whether to adopt it during its December meeting. Hopefully the governors read it all the way through, and unlike me, aren’t just fatigued by thinking about it.


About Eric Heisig

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