Filed June 5, 2009: The Supreme Court of Wisconsin issued an Order establishing the Wisconsin Access to Justice Commission.
Some of you may remember that I have some personal connections with Wisconsin: I attended college there, I worked there for 1 year after college and my parents currently live there. Just in case you’re still skeptical – here’s photographic proof (December 2008):
|From Looking at the snow from inside the cozy and warm house|
I am pleased as punch to welcome Just Wisconsin to my blogroll.
See Jeff‘s Big Smile? It’s due to the announcement of the establishment of the Wisconsin Access to Justice Commission – TODAY!
Just a few more minutes before Sue Talia’s session starts. Lots of networking going on.
Cheryl Zalenski just about to sit down as Sue Talia starts the discussion about Limited Scope Representation aka Unbundled Legal Representation.
Introducing Sharon Browning and the National Celebration of Pro Bono – October 25-31, 2009. The website is relatively new and has TONS of useful info. Check it out here. And while you’re there, sign up for the updates.
Steve Scudder provides more details about the Celebrate Pro Bono event.
I can’t wait for Day 2.
This probably isn’t a surprise to many. But it is interesting that there are more articles about the phenomena.
For example, the New York Times recently featured a story about the rising number of Self-Represented Litigants (SRLs) entitled “In a Downtown, More Act as Their Own Lawyers.” The article noted the phenomena in multiple jurisdictions including California, Illinois, New Hampshire, New York, and Texas. The NYTimes also notes that the phenomena is not limited to a specific court.
On Saturday, April 18, 2009, the Star-Telegram out of Texas, featured a story about the rise in SRLs specifically in Family Court in its article “For better or worse, fewer using divorce lawyers.” ABC Channel 2 out of Wisconsin featured its own story, “Economy Affecting Divorces in Court.”
Missing from the list of articles is SRLs in Bankruptcy Court. While there are no numbers, percentages, or stories, not to worry, the U.S. Courts website has a site dedicated to “Filing without an Attorney.” In South Carolina, click here. Both sites offer a video explanation as well.
It may not be a surprise but while there may be many people who want to proceed on their own, they are still advised to speak with an attorney, if possible.
South Carolina is my home, but I also have ties to Wisconsin. My mother and brother were born there. I attended college there and many of my classmates still live there. And a few years ago, my parents moved there. So when I’m perusing the access to justice news, I’m especially pleased to see Wisconsin making inroads in this area.
The title of the piece introducing resources to people with modest means threw me a litte – A Modest Proposal. For Jonathan Swift fans, you understand, right? BUT then I read through the piece and heartily endorse Wisconsin’s initiative in reaching out to help people with modest means through their MODEST MEANS PANEL. Kudos for WI Bar ED George C. Brown for his support of this project.
The Wisconsin Bar offers the benefits to attorneys participating in the program:
The State Bar assists attorneys who serve on the modest means panel. Client representation through the modest means panel qualifies as pro bono legal services within the meaning of SCR 20:6.1, and attorneys are eligible for State Bar pro bono benefits, including first-dollar malpractice insurance through the State Bar for these cases. Participating attorneys are not charged a fee to join the modest means panel, and referrals made through the panel are exempt from LRIS referral fees.
How to celebrate? Hmmm, well, I’m at the office, so I’ll share some of my favorite recent blog posts:
So, go ahead, celebrate Presidents’ Day. Read a few blog posts. You’ll be glad you did.
Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson recommended that the court look into forming a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, similar to the Wisconsin Trust Account Foundation (WisTAF), so that a board could operate independently, but still coordinate its efforts with the court.
The State Bar of Wisconsin requested that the court draft a Supreme Court Rule to permanently establish a 17-member commission to be staffed by the bar.
The South Carolina Access to Justice Commission welcomes Wisconsin to the Access to Justice Community and looks forward to further developments.