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BOG to discuss judicial recusals petition, close in on new executive director

By: Erika Strebel, [email protected]//February 8, 2017//

BOG to discuss judicial recusals petition, close in on new executive director

By: Erika Strebel, [email protected]//February 8, 2017//

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State Bar of Wisconsin/Andy Manis
Current State Bar Executive Director George Brown will be retiring in June. (State Bar of Wisconsin/Andy Manis)

The Wisconsin State Bar Board of Governors will get one step closer to selecting a new leader.

The board is scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. Friday at the State Bar Center, 5302 Eastpark Blvd., Madison. The agenda calls for members to hear from a committee charged with putting forward a candidate to be the board’s next executive director.

The current holder of that position, George Brown, announced last year that he would be retiring in June. The bar has tapped the national recruiting firm Young Mayden, based in Nashville, Tenn., and Charlotte N.C., to help a committee narrow the pool of applicants for the position.

Also on Friday, the board is scheduled to discuss a petition asking the Wisconsin Supreme Court to adopt an objective standard for judicial recusal. The proposal, which was signed by 54 judges, would call for judges to step aside on a particular case when they have received more than a certain amount worth of campaign donations from a party.

Their recommendations would vary by type of judge. Specifically, their proposals call for the thresholds to be set at:

  • $10,000 for Supreme Court justices;
  • $2,500 for Court of Appeals judges;
  • $1,000 for circuit court judges;
  • $500 for municipal court judges.

The petitioners are also asking for a state constitutional amendment that would give the Supreme Court a way to still form a quorum when justices have been prevented by recusal requirements from ruling on a case. Their proposal calls for allowing Court of Appeals judges to be appointed as temporary substitutes.

Also on the board’s to-do list: A state Bar of Board Examiners request to let lawyers take more hours of their required continuing legal-education courses online.

The BBE is an 11-member board appointed by the high court to admit lawyers to practice in Wisconsin and ensure lawyers are fulfilling 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. Current rules permit only 10 of those required credits to be acquired online in a given reporting period.

The new rules proposed by the BBE would increase that limit to 15 hours.

The Board of Governors is also expected to vote on the bar’s appointments to the Access to Justice Commission, a 17-member body meant to ensure state residents always have access to legal counsel in civil cases. The board will also use Friday’s meeting to vote on Keller dues.


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