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Supreme Court denies petition to regulate paralegals

Madison, Wisconsin - (posted April 10, 2008) - April 8, 2008

The state Supreme Court on Tuesday, April 8 voted unanimously to deny a rules petition proposed by the Board of Governors of the State Bar of Wisconsin that would have established a system for mandatory licensure and regulation of paralegals in Wisconsin.

The Court recognized the essential contributions of paralegals to our legal system and their legitimate desire for recognition of their expertise and professionalism. However, the Court also acknowledged the reality that the prospect of creating an entirely new regulatory enforcement structure or dramatically expanding existing agencies presents a daunting task in the present economic climate.

In voting to deny the petition, the Court invited the Bar’s Board of Governors and interested paralegal organizations to consider the merits of a voluntary registered paralegal program, and if deemed appropriate, to submit a rules petition.

The Court suggested that the Bar and interested paralegal organizations review the merits of a voluntary registration program adopted by the Florida Supreme Court for ideas that could be used in Wisconsin.

The Court held a public hearing on the petition on Oct. 27, 2004 and took the matter under advisement for time to consider jurisdiction over non-lawyers and possible ramifications on a pending petition that addresses the unauthorized practice of law.

Audio of the public hearing can be found online.

The Supreme Court is drafting and will issue a formal order to reflect its decision. A link to the original petition can be found at: http://wicourts.gov/supreme/docs/0403petition.pdf Adobe PDF

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