Category Archives: Courts

Just Wisconsin News for November

Autumn Bridge by Indy Kethdy In this month’s Just Wisconsin newsletter, we have updates on the Legislative Council Study Committee on Access to Civil Legal Services, upcoming changes to Wisconsin Legal Advice Online, a new eviction defense project in Milwaukee and some national news highlights.

The Pro Bono Honor Society is also looking for outstanding attorneys who have provided at least 50 hours of qualifying pro bono legal services in 2016.

One additional news item not included in the newsletter is the recently developed set of recommended self-represented litigant resources for clerk of court websites in Wisconsin. Hon. Margaret Vergeront, who is chair of the Courts Committee for the Access to Justice Commission, recently presented the recommendations at the annual clerk of courts conference. Prior to the conference, two clerks from different-sized counties were asked to try implementing the recommendations. Both concluded that it was easy and quick to make the recommended changes. The Commission looks forward to hearing from other clerks as they implement the recommendations.

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New study committee on access to civil legal services

A new Study Committee on Access to Civil Legal Services was recently launched by the Wisconsin Legislative Council. The 16-member committee includes 6 legislators and 10 public members, including Jim Gramling, President of the Access to Justice Commission. The chair is Rep. Cody Horlacher and the vice-chair is Sen. Duey Stroebel. A full roster is available here. The study committeeContinue Reading

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New funding for civil legal services is on the way

The Wisconsin Supreme Court issued its final order requiring that at least one-half of unclaimed funds in class action settlements and judgments be directed to the Wisconsin Trust Account Foundation to support civil legal services to the poor. The court’s unanimous order was issued in response to Petition 15-06 filed by the Access to Justice Commission. This class actionContinue Reading

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The eviction spiral

The rising cost of housing has led to an increase in the number of evictions nationwide, and Wisconsin is no exception. For the two most recent years where numbers are available, there were 28,501 eviction cases filed in 2012 and 28,812 in 2013. Most tenants face these legal proceedings without counsel. But an eviction isContinue ReadingContinue Reading

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Comments sought on access to justice rule petitions

The Wisconsin Supreme Court is seeking comment on two pending rule petitions that support access to justice efforts in Wisconsin. The Access to Justice Commission filed Petition 15-06 seeking a rule change that would allocate 50% of unclaimed class action awards to support civil legal services to low income persons (aka cy pres). The State Bar of Wisconsin filedContinue Reading

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More help is on the way for DV victims in Winnebago County

The Wisconsin Access to Justice Commission is pleased to announce that a $100,000 subgrant has been awarded to the Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services in Oshkosh to fund legal representation for domestic violence victims in that area. The subgrant proposal was developed through a collaboration between the ATJ Commission, the Christine Ann Center, the Winnebago FamilyContinue ReadingContinue Reading

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Wisconsin equal justice conference recap

The Wisconsin Equal Justice Conference is an education forum for advocates on access to justice issues related to low-income and disadvantaged clients. More than 120 people attended this year’s biennial conference in Milwaukee on March 6, 2015. Sponsored by the State Bar of Wisconsin Legal Assistance Committee and Public Interest Law Section, as well as the WisconsinContinue ReadingContinue Reading

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Lawyer for a day update

By Michael Gonring Milwaukee’s Lawyer for a Day program to have volunteer lawyers provide representation to victims seeking restraining order injunctions has now been up and running for 18 months. This is an update on our progress. During our first 18 months, 478 petitioners were referred to the program through Sojourner Family Peace Center andContinue Reading

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Limited scope representation gets a boost

On April 4, the Wisconsin Supreme Court voted unanimously to adopt a series of changes proposed in Petition 13-10 to expand support for limited scope representation arrangements between lawyers and clients. The changes, which take effect in January 2015, have broad support in the access to justice community and have been a key priority forContinue Reading

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Supporting judicial discretion to ensure fair hearings

On February 24 the Wisconsin Supreme Court held a public hearing on Petition 13-14, which requests amendments in the Wisconsin Code of Judicial Conduct to provide better guidance to judges in addressing the challenges raised by the growing number of self-represented litigants. The petition, filed by the Access to Justice Commission last September, proposes modifyingContinue Reading

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