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Chief Justice to preside at grand opening of La Crosse Law Information Center

Madison, Wisconsin - February 20, 2007

Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson will preside at the grand opening of the Law Information Center on the second floor of the La Crosse County courthouse at 11 a.m. Friday, February 23. Staffed by volunteer attorneys, retirees, and paralegal students, the center will provide free guidance to people representing themselves in court proceedings.

"Across Wisconsin, an increasing number of people are representing themselves in court," Abrahamson said. "Navigating the legal system is confusing without a lawyer. The courts have attempted to make the process easier by developing simplified forms and clinics where litigants can go for help. This would not be possible without the active involvement of lawyers who volunteer their time and expertise, and they are to be applauded for helping."

The La Crosse County Circuit Court judges - Ramona A. Gonzalez, Michael J. Mulroy, Dale T. Pasell, and Roger Le Grand - have worked with Family Court Commissioner Gloria Doyle and Doyle's assistant, Tammy Pedretti, to develop the information center. "This program has been running informally for a while now, and it has worked very well," Le Grand said. "The time is right for a formal center with regular hours, trained volunteers and a variety of resources."

Many of the center's resources come from the La Crosse County Bar Association, whose members provide volunteer assistance. "Many La Crosse County attorneys have volunteered their time in the past and will continue to do so," said La Crosse County Bar President David Russell. "Their efforts, and the efforts of all the volunteers, provide great benefit to people in need." Atty. Ellen Frantz, president-elect of the county bar, agreed. "As the number of pro se litigants increases, there's an increased need to provide help," she said.

Also participating in the effort are Legal Action of Wisconsin, RSVP (the Retired Seniors Volunteer Program), and Western Technical College.

The center will be open Tuesdays (noon-4:30), Thursdays (9-1) and Fridays (10-noon). It may also be open on other days. To check the hours, call the information line at (608) 785-5886.

For more information contact:
Amanda K. Todd
Court Information Officer
(608) 264-6256

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