Board of Bar Examiners
Lawyers seeking to practice law in Wisconsin must go through the Board of Bar Examiners (BBE), an 11-member board appointed by the Supreme Court. BBE evaluates the skills, character, and fitness of lawyers and also writes and grades the Wisconsin Bar Examination.
In addition to identifying people who should, and should not, be granted licenses to practice law in Wisconsin, BBE helps to protect consumers by monitoring lawyers' compliance with rules for continuing legal education. The Supreme Court requires the BBE to suspend a lawyer's license if he or she does not comply with continuing legal education requirements.
An eight person staff headquartered in Madison assists the BBE.
BBE was formed from two Supreme Court Boards: the Board of Continuing Legal Education and the Board of Bar Commissioners. The Board of Continuing Legal Education was created effective January 1, 1976, to administer the Wisconsin Supreme Court's mandatory continuing legal education requirements for lawyers. Effective January 1, 1978, the Board of Continuing Legal Education was renamed the Board of Attorneys Professional Competence and continued to be charged with administering mandatory continuing legal education.
The Board of Bar Commissioners was charged with administering bar admission and compliance with the Code of Professional Responsibility. Effective January 1, 1978, the Board of Bar Commissioners' duties with respect to bar admission were transferred to the Board of Attorneys Professional Competence. Effective January 1, 1991, the Board of Attorney Professional Competence was renamed the Board of Bar Examiners.
Service on BBE
The Board of Bar Examiners has 11 members. In accordance with Supreme Court Rule 30.01 , there are five seats for lawyers, three for judges and law school faculty, and three for non-lawyer members of the public. The Supreme Court appoints members of the BBE to an initial three-year term followed by one successive three-year term.
The Board meets approximately six times per year. Five of the meetings are held in Madison and one (the August meeting) may be held in a Board member's hometown. All Board members serve without compensation, but are reimbursed for necessary travel expenses, including overnight accommodations for those traveling more than 50 miles to attend the meetings. Twice a year—on the last Thursday of February and July—those members of the Board who are lawyers grade the Wisconsin Bar exam. This is an all day commitment.
Lawyers and non-lawyers interested in serving on BBE should send a letter and resume to:
Clerk of the Supreme Court
P.O. Box 1688
Madison, WI 53701-1688
Or fax to (608) 267-0640
Or email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Positions are filled on a continual basis and resumes will be kept on file for consideration for future opportunities.
The mandatory continuing legal education requirement function is funded through an annual assessment on all lawyers licensed to practice in Wisconsin and with additional money from late filing fees and reinstatement fees authorized by the Supreme Court. The bar admissions portion of BBE responsibilities is entirely self-funded with fees authorized by the Court.
The BBE publishes an annual report in March of every year, summarizing its activities during the preceding calendar year. Annual reports are available for the following years and are in Adobe PDF format :