WISCONSIN SUPREME COURT RULES
& OPERATING PROCEDURES
Updated through orders filed prior to March 28, 2020
CHAPTER SCR 10
REGULATION OF THE STATE BAR
State bar of Wisconsin.
Organization of the state bar of Wisconsin.
Board of governors.
Meetings of the association.
Committee to review bar performance.
Official publication; notice to members.
APPENDIX State Bar By-laws.
SCR 10 Note
Judicial Council Committee's Note, 1979: The following rules, called the state bar rules, govern the state bar of Wisconsin and its members. SCR 10.01 is in the 1977 Wisconsin statutes as section 758.25. SCR 10.02 to 10.14 were originally adopted by the supreme court on December 7, 1956, effective January 1, 1957. They were amended on February 9, 1972; June 16, 1975; November 1, 1976; November 18, 1977; March 6, 1978; and December 14, 1978. The rules were originally numbered 1 to 14 and have been clarified and numbered SCR 10.02 to 10.14 for uniformity and convenience. See appendix for bylaws for state bar of Wisconsin. Certain provisions relating to fees will be contained in SCR 40.16.
SCR 10 Note
Note: SCR Chapter 10 was amended November 11, 1980; June 1, 1983; January 21, 1986; February 21, 1986; October 21, 1987; April 11, 1989; January 22, 1990; November 6, 1990, March 13, 1992; May 7, 1992; July 1, 1992; April 14, 1993; March 21, 1995; July 1, 1996; October 30, 1998; March 7, 2001; April 10, 2001; November 14, 2001; January 28, 2002; April 1, 2002; July 1, 2005; November 14, 2007; February 12, 2008; October 31, 2008; January 1, 2009; April 1, 2009; November 24, 2009; July 1, 2010; January 1, 2012; January 1, 2014; July 1, 2014; July 3, 2014; March 6, 2015; January 1, 2017; February 12, 2019; July 1, 2019; December 10, 2019.
State bar of Wisconsin. 10.01(1)(1)
There shall be an association to be known as the “state bar of Wisconsin" composed of persons licensed to practice law in this state, and membership in the association shall be a condition precedent to the right to practice law in Wisconsin.
The supreme court by appropriate orders shall provide for the organization and government of the association and shall define the rights, obligations and conditions of membership therein, to the end that the association shall promote the public interest by maintaining high standards of conduct in the legal profession and by aiding in the efficient administration of justice.
Organization of the state bar of Wisconsin. 10.02(1)(1)
Creation of Association.
All persons licensed to practice law in this state are organized as an association to be known as the “state bar of Wisconsin," subject to the provisions of this chapter. The rules of this chapter, which are adopted in the exercise of the court's inherent authority over members of the legal profession as officers of the court, may be referred to as “state bar rules." The state bar may, for the purpose of carrying out the purposes for which it is organized, sue and be sued, enter into contracts, acquire, hold, encumber and dispose of real and personal property.
The purposes of the association are to aid the courts in carrying on and improving the administration of justice; to foster and maintain on the part of those engaged in the practice of law high ideals of integrity, learning, competence and public service and high standards of conduct; to safeguard the proper professional interests of the members of the bar; to encourage the formation and activities of local bar associations; to conduct a program of continuing legal education; to assist or support legal education programs at the preadmission level; to provide a forum for the discussion of subjects pertaining to the practice of law, the science of jurisprudence and law reform and the relations of the bar to the public and to publish information relating thereto; to carry on a continuing program of legal research in the technical fields of substantive law, practice and procedure and make reports and recommendations thereon within legally permissible limits; to promote the innovation, development and improvement of means to deliver legal services to the people of Wisconsin; to the end that the public responsibility of the legal profession may be more effectively discharged.
In this chapter, “
state bar" means the state bar of Wisconsin.
Membership. 10.03(1)(1) Persons included in membership.
As of the effective date of this rule, membership of the state bar consists of all those persons who on that date are licensed to practice law in this state. After the effective date of this rule, the membership includes all persons who become licensed to practice law in this state; subject in each case to compliance with the conditions and requirements of membership. Residence in this state is not a condition of eligibility to membership in the state bar.
Every person who becomes licensed to practice law in this state shall enroll in the state bar by registering his or her name and social security number with the association within 10 days after admission to practice. Every change after enrollment in any member's office address or social security number shall be reported promptly to the state bar. The social security number of a person enrolling in the state bar may not be disclosed to any person or entity except the supreme court and its agencies, or as otherwise provided by supreme court rules.
The members of the state bar are divided into 4 classes: active members, judicial members, inactive members and emeritus members. The class of active members includes all members of the state bar except the judicial members and inactive members. The class of inactive members includes those persons who are eligible for active membership but are not engaged in the practice of law in this state and have filed with the secretary of the association written notice requesting enrollment in the class of inactive members. The class of judicial members includes the following persons: supreme court justices, court of appeals judges, circuit court judges, full-time circuit court commissioners, full-time municipal court judges, supreme court commissioners, court of appeals staff attorneys, federal district court judges, federal appellate court judges, federal bankruptcy judges, federal magistrate judges, federal administrative law judges, and retired justices and judges who are eligible for temporary judicial assignment and are not engaged in the practice of law. Any judicial member may elect to become an active member with all rights of active membership except to hold office as an officer or governor or to practice law. The class of emeritus members includes those persons who are either active or inactive members in good standing but who are at least 70 years of age and have filed with the executive director of the association a written notice requesting enrollment in the class of emeritus members. An emeritus member has all the privileges of membership in the state bar and need not pay membership dues for the years following the year in which he or she attains the age of 70.
Any inactive member in good standing who has actively practiced law in this state during the last 10 years may change his or her classification to that of an active member by filing with the secretary a written request for transfer to the class of active members and by paying the dues required of active members.
Any inactive member in good standing who has not actively practiced law in this state during the last 10 years may change his or her classification to that of an active member by filing with the secretary a written request for transfer to the class of active members, paying the dues required of active members, and obtaining supreme court approval as provided in subd. 2. b.
Any inactive member described in subd. 2. a. seeking to change his or her classification to that of an active member shall file a copy of his or her request for transfer to active membership with both the board of bar examiners and the office of lawyer regulation. The member shall pay $200 each to the board of bar examiners and the office of lawyer regulation, which payment shall accompany the copy of the request. Within 90 days after receipt of the copy of the request, the board of bar examiners shall make a determination regarding compliance with continuing legal education requirements and file its finding with the clerk of the supreme court. Within 90 days after receipt of the copy of the request, the director of the office of lawyer regulation shall investigate the eligibility of the requestor and file a response with the clerk of the supreme court in support of or in opposition to the request. Following receipt of the determination of the board of bar examiners and the response of the office of lawyer regulation, the supreme court shall consider and approve or disapprove the inactive member's request for transfer to active membership.
Any judicial member who is no longer serving in a judicial office may change his or her classification to that of an active member by filing with the secretary a written request for transfer to the class of active members and paying the dues required of active members.
Any inactive member in good standing may change his or her classification to that of an emeritus member if otherwise qualified to become an emeritus member provided that no inactive member who has not actively practiced law in this state or in another state during the last two years may be transferred to emeritus status until the board of bar examiners certifies that the member has completed the continuing legal education requirements required for transfer to active status and the transfer is approved by the supreme court.
No judicial or inactive member may practice law in this state or hold office or vote in any election conducted by the state bar. No person engaged in the practice of law in this state in his or her own behalf or as an assistant or employee of an active member of the state bar, or occupying a position, the duties of which require the giving of legal advice or service in this state, may be enrolled as an inactive member.
(4) Only active members may practice law. 10.03(4)(a)(a)
No individual other than an enrolled active member of the state bar may practice law in this state or in any manner purported to be authorized or qualified to practice law.
A court or judge in this state may allow a nonresident counsel to appear and participate in a particular action or proceeding in association with an active member of the state bar of Wisconsin who appears and participates in the action or proceeding. An order granting nonresident counsel permission to appear and participate in an action or proceeding shall continue through subsequent appellate or circuit court actions or proceedings in the same matter, provided that nonresident counsel files a notice of the order granting permission with the court handling the subsequent appellate or circuit court action or proceeding.
Counsel who seek to provide legal services under SCR 10.04 (4) (b) shall provide the information listed in Appendix A to this rule. The applicant may also include additional information supporting the request for admission pro hac vice.
Counsel who seek to provide legal services under SCR 10.04 (4) (b) shall pay a nonrefundable fee of two hundred and fifty dollars ($250) for each application for admission pro hac vice. The fee shall be waived if the application certifies that the attorney is employed by an agency providing legal services to indigent clients and will be appearing on behalf of an indigent client, or that the applicant will otherwise be appearing on behalf of an indigent client in the proceeding and will be charging no fee for the appearance.
A court in this state may allow a nonresident military counsel to appear and participate in a particular action or proceeding representing military personnel without being in association with an active member of the state bar of Wisconsin and without being subject to any application fees required by this rule.
A court in this state may allow a nonresident attorney who seeks to appear for the limited purpose of participating in a child custody proceeding pursuant to the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, 25 U.S.C. s. 1901, et seq., while representing a tribe, without being in association with an active member of the state bar of Wisconsin and without being subject to any application fees required by this rule.
If representing a party before an agency of this state is limited to lawyers, an administrative law judge or hearing examiner for a state agency may, using the same standards and procedures as a court, allow a nonresident counsel who has been retained to appear in a particular agency proceeding to appear and participate in that proceeding without being in association with an active member of the state bar of Wisconsin.
A court or judge may, after hearing, rescind permission for a nonresident counsel to appear before it if the lawyer by his or her conduct manifests incompetency to represent a client in a Wisconsin court or unwillingness to abide by the rules of professional conduct for attorneys or the rules of decorum of the court.
Counsel not admitted to the practice of law in this jurisdiction but admitted in any other U.S. jurisdiction or foreign jurisdiction, who is employed as a lawyer in Wisconsin on a continuing basis and employed exclusively by a corporation, association, or other nongovernmental entity, the business of which is lawful and consists of activities other than the practice of law or the provision of legal services, shall register as in-house counsel within 60 days after the commencement of employment as a lawyer or if currently so employed then within 90 days of the effective date of this rule, by submitting to the Board of Bar Examiners the following:
A completed application in the form set forth in Appendix B to this rule;
A nonrefundable fee of two hundred and fifty dollars ($250) to the Board of Bar Examiners;
Documents proving admission to practice law in the primary jurisdiction in which counsel is admitted to practice law; and
An affidavit from an officer, director, or general counsel of the employing entity attesting to the lawyer's employment by the entity and the capacity in which the lawyer is so employed.
A lawyer registered under this subsection may provide pro bono legal services without fee or expectation of fee as provided in SCR 20:6.1.
SCR 10.03 Note
See SCR 10.03 (4) Appendices A-1, A-2, and B following this section.