Free Legal Answers year in review

Last year was another great year for Wisconsin Free Legal Answers. Here are the numbers for 2019 (with comparisons to 2018). 999 questions asked (up 20%) 948 questions answered (up 28%) 95% answer rate (up from 89%) We also went from 190 volunteers signed up a year ago to 240 volunteers today. The top areas for questions were Family (40%), Consumer (14%), Housing (12%), Employment (6%), Estates (5%), Real estate (3%), and Other (9%). Wisconsin Free …

Read more

New video – What is civil legal aid and why is it so important?

Here is a great example of how to explain what civil legal aid is and why it’s so important. It’s a network of resources that help make justice available to everyone, not just those who can afford to pay for it. The video was produced by the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation and is distributed with assistance from Voices for Civil Justice and the Kresge Foundation.

Free Legal Answers Update

Wisconsin Free Legal Answers (WFLA) is having a good year thanks to the great efforts of our volunteers. WFLA is the online legal clinic established by the Commission in partnership with ABA Free Legal Answers to provide an opportunity for qualifying Wisconsin residents to get answers to basic civil legal questions from volunteer attorneys. Since its launch in 2016, more than 1800 Wisconsin residents have used WFLA to ask over 2,000 civil legal questions. We …

Read more

Wisconsin Free Legal Answers 2017 in Review

Wisconsin Free Legal Answers continues to provide an easy way for the public to ask civil legal questions and for volunteer lawyers to respond. Our first full year of operating as part of the national ABA Free Legal Answers network has been outstanding. We proved that an online legal clinic model can work in Wisconsin. Here is what the success of our volunteers looks like:

Supporting LSC and equal justice under law

Today, the President released his budget framework, including a proposal to eliminate the Legal Services Corporation, the largest single national funding source for free civil legal assistance to low income Americans. The Wisconsin Access to Justice Commission strongly urges Congress to continue its longstanding bipartisan support of LSC and reject this budget proposal. Eliminating LSC would undercut America’s promise of equal justice for all and harm our state justice system.

In Wisconsin, LSC provided $5.2 million in 2016 to two organizations, Legal Action of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Judicare, allowing them to provide free legal information, advice, and representation on civil matters to over 9,000 low income Wisconsin residents in cities, towns, and villages across Wisconsin. Together, these two organizations help people who have basic civil legal problems with their housing, children, safety, health care, and incomes.

Read more

Legislative Council adopts access to justice recommendations

The Legislative Council met on February 15 and voted to accept both the report and the recommendations from its Study Committee on Access to Civil Legal Services. The three legislative proposals will: Create legislation encouraging the state departments of Administration, Children & Families, Workforce Development, Justice, and Health Services to use a portion of the federal block grants they receive to assist with the civil legal needs of Wisconsin residents. Create an Interagency Legal Aid Coordinating Council that would …

Read more

New statewide help for elder abuse victims

By Sam Wegleitner, Legal Action of Wisconsin Legal Action of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Judicare will be providing statewide civil legal aid to elder abuse victims through the Elder Rights Project (ERP). The Elder Rights project seeks to help elder abuse victims in Wisconsin become safe and independent, stabilize their lives, and meet their emotional and physical needs by resolving their critical civil legal problems. Fees and fines imposed on criminals (through the Victims of Crime …

Read more

Just Wisconsin News for November

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 …

Read more

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 committee was created in response to a unanimous powerful request from the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The committee’s charge is “to review the …

Read more

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 action rule change takes effect on January 1, 2017. It will apply to cases filed on and after the effective date as …

Read more