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Access to Justice Commission to get bigger piece of pro hac vice fees.

Byline: Erika Strebel,

The Wisconsin Supreme Court recently issued an order changing how the state's pro hac vice fees are allocated, paid and collected.

Out-of-state lawyers who want to appear in Wisconsin courts, or appear pro hac vice, must complete an application process and pay a $250 fee for each case. Under current rules, those lawyers must make out three checks, money orders or cashier's checks: $100 to the Office of Lawyer Regulation, $100 to the Wisconsin Trust Account Foundation and $50 to the Wisconsin Access to Justice Commission.

The commission is a 17-person body that works to ensure that poor Wisconsin residents have access to the civil-justice system.

The high court, on its own motion, issued an order Thursday keeping the fee at $250 but decreasing the OLR's share to $50. The court also stated that the State Bar of Wisconsin will collect the remaining $200 and administer and distribute according to the terms of a memorandum of understanding between the Bar, the court and the recipients of the remaining fee. That arrangement is "the better practice," wrote the court in its order.

The changes the court ordered on Thursday take effect July 1.

Starting on that date, lawyers who apply to appear pro hac vice in Wisconsin will only have to make out two different checks one for $50 to the OLR and one for $200 to the State Bar, which will distribute and administer the fees. The court is trying to figure out how to allow electronic payments, said Julie Rich,Supreme Court commissioner.

The court's order transfers part of the OLR's share of the fee to the Access to Justice Commission, said Rich. The commission has been searching for additional money to fill a hole in its budget.

The high court last year rejected the commission's proposal to increase the pro hac vice fee by $50 to shore up a $66,000 shortfall in its budget after the State Bar reserve fund that had paid for its operations ran out in 2017.

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Publication:Wisconsin Law Journal
Geographic Code:1U3WI
Date:May 17, 2019
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