The State Bar of Wisconsin or SBW is an integrated bar association that was founded in 1878. It is headquartered in Madison and has a membership of more than 25,000 attorneys and legal professionals. Membership to the State Bar of Wisconsin is mandatory for all attorneys who practice law within the state.
When it was founded in 1878, it was initially a voluntary membership organization. However, the state’s supreme court changed its membership to mandatory and unified the state bar. The unification was briefly overturned but reinstated in 1992. The mandatory membership requirement has been in place since.
The SBW has a 52-member Board of Governors who oversee its daily functions. The Board of Governors is headed by an executive director who is selected by the board. Most of the members of the board themselves come from the 35 different judicial districts in the state.
Additional members come from the Government Lawyers Division, Young Lawyers Division, Senior Lawyers Division, Nonresident Lawyers Division, and Building Bridges Liaisons. The Supreme Court appoints three members to represent it.
The SBW requires that all of its attorney members complete 30 hours of CLE or Continued Legal Education Credits each year. To satisfy this requirement, the SBW makes available CLE information on its website. Lawyers can visit the site to find out where the courses are being offered, if they are online or at a brick and mortar location, and how much it costs to enroll. The website also has details about how to prepare for taking CLE credits that new lawyers may find helpful.
Members in good standing who keep their dues paid in full have access to benefits that can help themp professionally. For example, the SBW has a marketplace on which members can shop for legal resources like books and videos. Some of these items available in the marketplace do not cost anything while others are available for free.
The SBW website also serves as a resource for the citizens of Wisconsin. Namely, they can visit the website to find and hire a lawyer. If they are debating whether or not to represent themselves in court, they can learn about the advantages of hiring a lawyer on the SBW website. Contacting the SBW can be done by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting the state bar in person at 5302 Eastpark Boulevard in Madison, 53718.