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Commission launches new online legal advice website

The Wisconsin Access to Justice Commission is pleased to announce the launch of Wisconsin Legal Advice Online (WLAO), a free online service that allows eligible Wisconsin residents to post legal questions for response by volunteer Wisconsin lawyers. Created by the Commission and sponsored by the State Bar’s pro bono program, WLAO is one way to make brief legal advice available to more Wisconsin residents. WLAO is now recruiting volunteer attorneys to participate in this

2015 Pro Bono Honor Society certifications

With the arrival of fall, it’s time again to look back and celebrate what has been accomplished in one of the Access to Justice Commission’s priority areas: expanding and recognizing pro bono service by Wisconsin lawyers. The Wisconsin Pro Bono Honor Society is the Commission’s way of honoring lawyers who have made an outstanding contribution of at least 50 hours of qualifying pro bono service in the past year to help meet the

Proposed rule changes would expand access to justice

The search for new ways to address the chronic shortage of resources for civil legal aid in Wisconsin has taken on a MacGyveresque feel – sans the Swiss Army knife and duct tape. The Commission and others are always on the lookout for new ways to use old tools to come up with life-impacting solutions. Two of them arrived at the Wisconsin Supreme Court in the form of rule change petitions during the week

Advocate spotlight – Karen Bauer

The Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee (LAS) was founded in 1916 “to do all things necessary for the prevention of injustice.” It is one of the nation’s oldest, continuously operating, public interest law firms, and it provides free legal assistance to needy Milwaukee County residents with civil legal problems. Karen Bauer, a staff attorney with LAS, handles foreclosure defense, consumer law and student loan law cases. “Student loan law is kind

Volunteer spotlight: Melinda Giftos and Anthony Jurek

The Student Expulsion Prevention Project (StEPP) was started with a small grant from the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Pro Bono Initiative. The goal of the project is to keep more kids in school and reduce the minority achievement gap that results from the disproportionate number of minority students being expelled. StEPP coordinates trained volunteer lawyers who represent children who are facing expulsion or suspension from a school district. The program

Good news on civil legal aid funding in Wisconsin

Summer is off to a good start when it comes to funding for civil legal aid in Wisconsin. On July 12, Governor Scott Walker signed Wisconsin’s 2015-17 state budget into law, including a provision that appropriates $500,000 in each year of the biennium for civil legal aid services to abuse victims. That funding was added to the budget by a unanimous vote of the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee following a motion by Rep. MIchael

Profiles in pro bono: Jay Miller

Jay Miller wants to get the word out. The Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) is available to low-income residents who need assistance with IRS tax matters. “LITC is a valuable resource for low income taxpayers who have disputes with the IRS. We’re busy, but we currently are not turning anyone away,” he said. Miller has been a tax attorney since 1977. He worked for the Tax Division of the U.S.

A crucial source of help for the elderly

By Kate Schilling Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources (GWAAR) is a nonprofit agency committed to supporting the successful delivery of programs and services to seniors in 70 counties and 11 tribes in Wisconsin. The legal issues that our seniors face are complex. Wisconsin may be unique in how it provides access to Elder Benefit Specialists in every county with legal backup provided by GWAAR. Everyone has heard that our population is

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 Family Court Commissioner’s Office, and the Winnebago County Bar Association. The subgrant of STOP funds from the

Provider profile – Legal Action of Wisconsin

  The legal problems faced by low-income people often threaten them with dire consequences: eviction, loss of income, domestic violence, loss of health care, homelessness, repossession of vehicles (which can result in the loss of employment) and more. These are the problems that Legal Action of Wisconsin (LAW) helps over 8,000 people address each year. While the cases usually do not involve large sums of money, the outcomes for poor