Satisfactory completion of study in mandatory and elective subject matter areas. The law school shall certify to the board satisfactory completion of not less than 60 semester credits in the mandatory and elective subject matter areas as provided in (a) and (b). All semester credits so certified shall have been earned in regular law school courses having as their primary and direct purpose the study of rules and principles of substantive and procedural law as they may arise in the courts and administrative agencies of the United States and this state.
(a) Elective subject matter areas; 60-credit rule.
Not less than 60 semester credits shall have been earned in regular law school courses in the subject matter areas generally known as: Administrative law, appellate practice and procedure, commercial transactions, conflict of laws, constitutional law, contracts, corporations, creditors' rights, criminal law and procedure, damages, domestic relations, equity, evidence, future interests, insurance, jurisdiction of courts, legislation, labor law, ethics and legal responsibilities of the profession, partnership, personal property, pleading and practice, public utilities, quasi-contracts, real property, taxation, torts, trade regulation, trusts, and wills and estates. The 60-credit subject matter requirement may be satisfied by combinations of the curricular offerings in each approved law school in this state.
(b) Mandatory subject matter areas; 30-credit rule.
Not less than 30 of the 60 semester credits shall have been earned in regular law school courses in each of the following subject matter areas: constitutional law, contracts, criminal law and procedure, evidence, jurisdiction of courts, ethics and legal responsibilities of the legal profession, pleading and practice, real property, torts, and wills and estates.
(c) Law school certification of subject matter content of curricular offerings.
Upon the request of the supreme court, the dean of each such law school shall file with the clerk a certified statement setting forth the courses taught in the law school which satisfy the requirements for a first professional degree in law, together with a statement of the percentage of time devoted in each course to the subject matter of the areas of law specified in this rule.
SCR 40.03 History
Sup. Ct. Order No. 95-07
, 192 Wis. 2d xix (1995); Sup. Ct. Order No. 11-08
, 2012 WI 113, filed 11-1-12, eff. 12-1-12.
SCR 40.04 Legal competence requirement: Bar examination. 40.04(1)(1)
An applicant who has been awarded a first professional degree in law from one of the following shall satisfy the legal competence requirement by presenting to the clerk certification of the board that the applicant has passed an examination administered by the board covering all or part of the subject matter areas of law specified in SCR 40.03 (2) (a):
A law school that is fully or provisionally approved by the American bar association at the time of the applicant's graduation.
A law school whose graduates are eligible to take the bar examination of the state, territory or District of Columbia in which the law school is located, provided the applicant has passed the bar examination of and has been admitted to practice in that or another state, territory or the District of Columbia.
The board shall administer an examination consisting of the Multistate Bar Examination developed by the National Conference of Bar Examiners, an essay examination developed by the board and such other elements as the board may deem appropriate for the assessment of lawyer competence.
An applicant shall file all application materials and fees with the board by the December 1 preceding the February examination and by the May 1 preceding the July examination except that, on payment of a late fee, application materials and fees shall be filed by the January 1 preceding the February examination and by the June 1 preceding the July examination.
The board, in its discretion, may permit an applicant who has not yet been awarded a first professional degree in law to take the examination if it is reasonably anticipated that the applicant will receive that degree within 60 days after the examination.
The board shall provide to each applicant prior to the examination a list of topics taken from the areas of law specified in SCR 40.03 (2) (a) from which the essay portion of the examination will be drawn.
The board shall establish the passing score for the bar examination in advance of each examination and shall advise each applicant of the score so established.
An unsuccessful examinee who files a written request with the board within 90 days of mailing of notice by the board of failure of the examination shall be entitled to inspect the examinee's essay examination paper.
SCR 40.04 History
Sup. Ct. Order No. 97-09
xix, 218 Wis. 2d (1998); Sup. Ct. Order No. 07-04
, 2008 WI 5, filed and eff. 1-17-08.
SCR 40.04 Note
Case Notes: Sub. (7) does not prevent the Board form establishing a separate passing score for the essay portion of the bar examination, in addition to the overall passing score for the entire examination. Bar Admission of Spott, 2000 WI 10
, 232 Wis. 2d 673
, 605 N.W.2d 553
SCR 40.04 Annotation
An applicant to the bar pursuant to SCR 40.05 may simultaneously maintain an application to sit for the bar exam pursuant to this section. Bar Admission of Helgemo, 2002 WI 57
, 253 Wis. 2d 82
, 644 N.W.2d 912
SCR 40.05 Legal competence requirement: Proof of practice. 40.05(1)(1)
An applicant shall satisfy the legal competence requirement by presenting to the clerk certification of the board that the applicant has provided all of the following:
Proof of admission to practice law by a court of last resort in any other state or territory or the District of Columbia.
Proof that the applicant has been substantially engaged in the practice of law in a state or territory, the federal government or the District of Columbia for 3 years within the last 5 years prior to filing application for admission. A lawyer may satisfy this requirement by proof of practice in more than a single jurisdiction and under more than one provision of this rule.
Legal service as corporate counsel or legal service as a trust officer, or lawfully before the courts or administrative agencies of a state or territory, the federal government or the District of Columbia, if conducted in compliance with the rules where the applicant was admitted to practice law, is the practice of law for the purposes of this section.
Legal service as corporate counsel in Wisconsin under SCR 10.03 (4) (f) is the practice of law for the purposes of sub. (1) (b). Provided a timely registration is filed, all such service conducted prior to filing the registration may be counted for purposes of sub. (1) (b).
The following activities, whether or not conducted in a state or territory, the federal government or the District of Columbia where the applicant was admitted to practice law, may be deemed to be the practice of law for the purposes of sub. (1) (b):
Service as a judge of a court of record of the United States, any state or territory or the District of Columbia.
Legal service with any local or state government or with the federal government.
Legal service in the armed forces of the United States.
Teaching in any law school approved by the American bar association.
An applicant who has failed the Wisconsin bar examination shall not be eligible for admission on proof of practice elsewhere.
SCR 40.05 History
Sup. Ct. Order No. 08-07
, 2009 WI 3, 311 Wis. 2d xiii.
SCR 40.05 Note
Case Note: Because Indiana's "foreign license" admission is not based on an applicant's prior out of state practice but on continued practice in Indiana, an applicant is ineligible for admission on the basis of Indiana practice. Bar Admission of Wadsworth, 190 Wis. 2d 576
, 527 N.W.2d 311
SCR 40.05 Annotation
While practice before a tribal court may constitute the active practice of law, it is not the active practice of law "in the courts of the United States or another state or territory or the District of Columbia" under sub. (1) (b). Bar Admission of Helgemo, 2002 WI 57
, 253 Wis. 2d 82
, 644 N.W.2d 912
SCR 40.05 Annotation
Legal service as corporate counsel does not qualify as the active practice of law unless it is conducted in a state where the applicant is admitted to practice law, or the legal work was the kind of work generally engaged in by attorneys primarily engaged in the active practice of law in the courts of another jurisdiction. Bar Admission of Mostkoff, 2005 WI 33
, 279 Wis. 2d 249
, 693 N.W.2d 748
SCR 40.055 Legal competence requirement: graduates of law schools in other nations.
Notwithstanding SCR 40.04 (1), an individual who has received a law degree in a country other than the United States may apply to take the Wisconsin bar examination, provided the applicant satisfies all of the requirements of subs. (1) or (2):
The applicant holds a first professional degree in law from a jurisdiction whose jurisprudence is based on the principles of English common law and from a school or schools each of which, throughout the period of the applicant's study, was recognized by a competent accrediting agency in such country as qualified and approved, and meets all of the following requirements:
The applicant has a license to practice law from a common-law jurisdiction and is in good standing in that jurisdiction.
The applicant has been substantially engaged in the practice of law in a common law jurisdiction for at least three of the last ten years prior to filing an application to take the Wisconsin bar examination.
The applicant holds a first professional degree in law from a school or schools each of which, throughout the period of the applicant's study, was recognized by a competent accrediting agency in such country as qualified and approved, and the applicant has completed a masters of law degree (L.L.M.) that meets all of the following requirements:
The program consists of a minimum of 24 semester hours of credit, or the equivalent thereof, if the law school is on an academic schedule other than a conventional semester system that, except as otherwise permitted in this rule, shall be in classroom courses at the law school in substantive and procedural law and professional skills. No credit shall be allowed for correspondence courses, on-line courses, courses offered on DVD or other media, or other distance learning courses.
The program requires a minimum of 700 minutes of instruction time, exclusive of examination time, for the granting of one semester hour of credit.
The program includes a period of instruction consisting of no fewer than two semesters of at least 13 calendar weeks each, or the equivalent thereof, exclusive of reading periods, examinations and breaks, and shall not be completed exclusively during summer semesters, except that a maximum of six semester hours of credit may be earned in courses completed during summer semesters.
The program is completed within 24 months of enrollment.
Unless otherwise waived by the board, all coursework for the program is completed at the campus of an American bar association approved law school in the United States.
The program completed by an applicant includes all of the following:
A minimum of two semester hours of credit in the values and ethical responsibilities of the United States legal profession and its members.
A minimum of two semester hours of credit in legal research, writing and analysis, which may not be satisfied by a research and writing requirement in a substantive law course.
A minimum of two semester hours of credit in American legal studies, the American legal system or a similar course designed to introduce students to distinctive aspects and/or fundamental principles of United States law, which may be satisfied by a course in United States constitutional law or United States or state civil procedure.
A minimum of six semester hours of credit in any of the subjects included in SCR 40.03 (2) (a) or (b).
The program completed by an applicant may include:
A maximum of four semester hours of credit in clinical courses, provided all of the following requirements are met:
The clinical course includes a classroom instructional component in order to insure contemporaneous discussion, review and evaluation of the clinical experience;
The clinical work is done under the direct supervision of a member of the law school faculty or instructional staff whose primary professional employment is with the law school; and
The time and effort required and anticipated educational benefit are commensurate with the credit awarded.
A maximum of six semester hours of credit in other courses related to legal training taught by members of the faculty of the law school or of the university with which the law school is affiliated, or taught by members of the faculty of any university or college with which the law school offers a joint degree program, provided such courses must be completed at the campus of such university or college in the United States.
Applicants shall submit proofs and documentation that the board may require. Documents must be in English or must be accompanied by a translation into English prepared and certified by a neutral translator.
An applicant shall file all application materials and fees with the board by August 1 to be eligible for the February bar examination and by January 1 to be eligible for the July bar examination.
Notwithstanding SCR 40.14 (3) (i), the board may add a surcharge in individual cases if it finds that extraordinary costs have been or will be incurred in its investigation of the applicant's qualifications.
SCR 40.055 History
Sup. Ct. Order No. 11-08
, 2012 WI 113, filed 11-1-12, eff. 12-1-12.
SCR 40.06 Requirement as to character and fitness to practice law. 40.06(1)(1)
An applicant for bar admission shall establish good moral character and fitness to practice law. The purpose of this requirement is to limit admission to those applicants found to have the qualities of character and fitness needed to assure to a reasonable degree of certainty the integrity and the competence of services performed for clients and the maintenance of high standards in the administration of justice.
An applicant shall establish to the satisfaction of the board that the applicant satisfies the requirement set forth in sub. (1). The board shall certify to the supreme court the character and fitness of qualifying applicants. The board shall decline to certify the character and fitness of an applicant who knowingly makes a materially false statement of material fact or who fails to disclose a fact necessary to correct a misapprehension known by the applicant to have arisen in connection with his or her application.
An applicant for admission under SCR 40.03 shall file an application for a character and fitness certification with the board by a date specified by the board.
The board shall not certify an applicant while an attorney disciplinary matter against the applicant is pending or the applicant is certified by the department of workforce development as delinquent in making court-ordered payments of support or failing to comply with a subpoena or warrant, as those terms are defined in SCR 11.04 (1). If an applicant's license to practice law in another jurisdiction is suspended or revoked for reasons related to professional responsibility at the time the application is filed or at any time that the application is pending, the suspension or revocation is a sufficient basis for denial of certification.
The dean of a law school in this state shall have a continuing duty to report to the board any information reflecting adversely upon the character and fitness to practice law of an applicant for bar admission under SCR 40.03.
SCR 40.06 History
Sup. Ct. Order No. 93–10, 176 Wis. 2d xxi (1993), Sup. Ct. Order No. 93-12
; 184 Wis. 2d xiii (1993); Sup. Ct. Order No. 00-05
, 2001 WI 37, 242 Wis. 2d xix.
SCR 40.07 Proof of qualifications.
The burden of proof shall be on the applicant to establish qualifications under SCR 40.02. Refusal of an applicant to furnish available information or to answer questions relating to the applicant's qualifications shall be deemed a sufficient basis for denial of the certification for admission.
Conditional bar admission. 40.075(1)(1)
An applicant whose record shows conduct that may otherwise warrant denial may consent to be admitted subject to certain terms and conditions set forth in a conditional admission agreement. Only an applicant whose record of conduct demonstrates documented ongoing recovery and an ability to meet the competence and character and fitness requirements set forth in SCR 40.02 may be considered for conditional admission.
The board may impose any reasonable conditions upon an applicant that will address the applicant's individual circumstances and the board's concern regarding the performance of essential responsibilities to a client or the public, including but not limited to any of the following:
Professional medical, psychological or other treatment.
Prohibiting or limiting the use of alcohol or other drugs.
Financial, business, or law office management counseling or supervision including inspection of records.
Any other condition tailored to meet the circumstances of the applicant.
Written agreement; non-acceptance; hearing.
The terms of a conditional bar admission shall be incorporated in a written agreement signed by the applicant and approved by the board. If the applicant does not accept conditional bar admission, the board shall decide whether to certify or deny unconditional bar admission and advise the applicant of its decision. Prior to issuing its final decision, the board shall notify the applicant of its intent to deny unconditional admission. Within 30 days of receiving the board's notice of intent to deny unconditional admission, the applicant may challenge the determination by filing a written request for a hearing pursuant to SCR 40.08.
If supervision is to be a condition of the conditional admission agreement, the board may designate itself, the state bar of Wisconsin, an appropriate person, a state bar lawyer assistance program or any combination thereof, as the supervising party. The board and the supervising party may exchange relevant information about the applicant as set forth in the conditional admission agreement.
All costs of conditional bar admission, including monitoring, shall be borne by the applicant.
Duration of conditional admission. 40.075(6)(a)
The initial period of conditional bar admission may be up to 60 months. At the end of that period, conditional admission may be extended by the board in writing for good cause, but not to exceed one additional year. At the end of the initial period of conditional bar admission, or any extension thereof, the board shall either permit the conditional admission agreement to expire and certify the applicant for unconditional admission or advise the applicant in writing that it will issue an intent to deny admission letter. In the event of the issuance of an intent to deny letter, the provisions of SCR 40.08 shall apply.
The board shall review an applicant's conditional admission annually.
The board may consider early release from conditional admission.
Failure of a conditionally admitted lawyer to fulfill the terms of a conditional admission agreement may result in a modification, extension, or revocation of the agreement, or such other action as may be appropriate, including notice to the office of lawyer regulation.
Notwithstanding sub. (6), when a grievance is filed with the office of lawyer regulation against a conditionally admitted applicant, the board may extend the conditional admission until disposition of the grievance and any resulting complaint and appeal.
The fact that an individual is conditionally admitted and the terms of the conditional admission agreement shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed, except to the office of lawyer regulation or in any of the following circumstances:
With the express consent of the person conditionally admitted.
When required as a condition for monitoring as set forth in the conditional admission agreement.