Thursday, March 13, 2008

State Budget Woes and the Practice of Law

Our State Bar's executive director George C. Brown in the Inside the Bar column in Wisconsin Lawyer, March 2008
What does this budget situation mean for lawyers and the courts? As of this writing, no solutions have been offered formally, but some legislative leaders have responded by insisting that the state enact no new legislation that would require spending money. This means that efforts to increase private bar rates and to raise indigency standards for public defender cases probably are stalled for the balance of this legislative session.

Our State Bar supports AB434, Compensation Rates, and supports SB321 and AB576, Eligibility for Appointed Counsel.
It also means that efforts to change the law regarding the treatment of 17-year-olds charged with crimes are unlikely to gain any traction until at least next year.

Amid all this fiscal uncertainty there is one bit of positive news. Our State Bar government relations coordinators are confident that the five circuit courts scheduled to open in August 2008 will do so.

Our State Bar supports SB199 and AB393, Circuit Court Branches.