The Wisconsin State Bar Board of Governors voted Friday to support two proposals that would let lawyers fulfill more of their continuing legal-education courses online and let lawyers use time spent working for tribes to get waived into the state bar.
The petition concerning online courses comes from the Board of Bar Examiners, an 11-member panel 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 any given reporting period. The new rules proposed by the BBE would increase that limit to 15 hours.
The governors also voted unanimously Friday to get behind a proposal to change the state’s reciprocity rules so that legal work for federally recognized Native American tribes would count toward the waiver of requirements for getting into the state bar.
Current rules allow lawyers from other states to be waived into the bar if they present proof that they have practiced in another state or territory or for the federal government for three of the past five years.
The Board of Governors on Friday also approved the appointment of Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Richard Sankovitz to the Wisconsin Access to Justice Commission, a 17-member body meant to ensure state residents always have access to legal counsel in civil cases. He replaces Judge Margaret Vergeront, who has resigned. The term for the position ends in March 2019. The board was also scheduled to vote on another appointment to the commission, but State Bar President Fran Deisinger said Friday he had not yet found a candidate.
Also on Friday, the governors approved a $7.75 Keller dues amount, which is a rebate that lawyers can request to prevent their dues from being spent on lobbying endeavors that go beyond training lawyers and improving legal services. Follow @erikastrebel