The Wisconsin Supreme Court will decide whether to take up a proposal to expand what options attorneys have to complete their continuing legal-education requirements.
The proposal is one of the items up for discussion at the court’s open rules conference at 1:30 p.m. Thursday in the Supreme Court Hearing Room in the state Capitol.
The Board of Bar Examiners filed a petition last month asking the court to adopt several changes regarding continuing legal-education requirements. 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.
For lawyers to remain licensed to practice in Wisconsin, they must obtain at least 30 hours of continuing legal-education credits every two years. A minimum of three of those credits must relate to legal ethics and professional responsibility.
Lawyers are only allowed to take online courses for 10 of the required credits. Those courses may not be related to professional responsibility and ethics. Lawyers also cannot use those on-demand courses for reinstatement, reactivation or readmission.
The new rules proposed by the BBE would allow up to 15 hours of online continuing legal-education courses to count toward the total number of credits required each reporting period. They would also relax the rules concerning reinstatement, activation or readmission, allowing no more than 50 percent of online continuing legal-education credits to count for those purposes.
The BBE is also proposing that the court approve the teaching of various topics in the continuing-education courses lawyers take. The topics up for discussion relate to practice management, stress management, work-life balance and substance abuse and mental illness.
The justices will also discuss corrections that need to be made to a recent order the court had issued on electronic banking and a draft order the court plans to issue regarding the coming repeal of the state’s dead man’s statute.Follow @erikastrebel