Posts Tagged ‘regulate’

Wisconsin, UPL, and Legal Ethics

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

This post does not directly concern paralegals, but it passes muster as a follow-up of sorts to a post I did quite some time ago on Wisconsin’s attempt to regulate UPL. The Wisconsin Bar casts this as totally a matter of consumer protection, but others would argue that this is really an attempt to maintain the monopoly the bar has on providing legal service, i.e., it is a move to eliminate all competition so they can maintain high prices. What I read on the Bar Association’s website, does not deal at all with the access to justice issue. Apparently there is some demand in Wisconsin for such access, which demand is not being met my the present legal system – else there would not be so many examples of consumers seeking the help of “independent” paralegals.

At the time I stated, “I am sure that the Winconsin Bar supports a pro bono program and ethical obligation for attorneys…” I’m not quite as sure as I was after seeing this report at ABAJournal.com:

Being convicted of a felony, or even a misdemeanor, can mean the loss of a lawyer’s license to practice in many states. Plus, it is standard in some states for an attorney’s license to be suspended as soon as he or she is convicted of a serious crime.

But in Wisconsin there are 135 attorneys who still hold active licenses despite convictions for crimes such as battery, theft, fraud and repeat drunken driving, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Some had active licenses even as they served time behind bars.

Another 70 managed to avoid law license trouble by getting charges reduced or entering into deferred prosecution agreements.

It is difficult to see how the Bar Association can claim to be motivated to eliminate “independent” paralegals by a desire to protect the public if this report is accurate.