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High court to hear testimony on repeal of dead mans’ statute, changes to rules of evidence

The Wisconsin Supreme Court will hear testimony on Monday involving two proposed rule changes.

The proposals were submitted by the Judicial Council, a 21-member body that advises the high court on changes to court system procedures.

The first proposal involves the repeal of the state’s dead man’s statutes. The second involves changes to the state’s rules of evidence, including the possibility of adopting a bias rule.

The State Bar of Wisconsin has chosen not to take a position on either proposal.

The justices will also discuss two other recently filed petitions.

The Board of Bar Examiners filed a petition in September to modify the state’s rules involving conditional admissions to practice law in the state.

The BBE is an 11-member board appointed by the high court to admit lawyers to practice in Wisconsin and ensure lawyers fulfill their continuing-education requirements.

To be conditionally admitted, lawyers usually must agree to certain conditions such as drug-test monitoring or supervision by another member of the bar.

The board is asking for a change in the rule that lays out the procedures it would follow if it chose to revoke a conditional agreement. Current rules, the board noted in its petition memo, do not reflect actual practice.

The board is meanwhile also asking the court to adopt procedures that would let lawyers who lose their conditional admission seek reinstatement.

The most recent petition to be added to the court’s docket was filed Oct. 4 by the Director of State Courts. It asks the justices to change the state’s rules involving limited-scope representation so that attorney-mediators can draft the legal documents that result from mediations.

The justices have not yet scheduled public hearings for the two proposals.

About Erika Strebel, [email protected]

Erika Strebel is the law beat reporter for the Wisconsin Law Journal and a law school student at UW-Madison. She can be reached at 414-225-1825.

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