Office of Lawyer Regulation

two people at a desk with gavel and scales having a discussionThe Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) is the agency of the Wisconsin Supreme Court that receives grievances relating to lawyer misconduct, conducts investigations, and prosecutes violations of lawyer ethics rules. Persons wishing to file a grievance, click here (en Español).

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About OLR & the lawyer regulation system

The Wisconsin Supreme Court created the lawyer regulatory system in 2000. The system assists the Court in supervising the practice of law and protecting the public from misconduct by lawyers. For additional information see:

Detailed information about ethical standards, organizational structure, and grievance procedures are contained in the following Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules (SCRs). These documents are in Adobe PDF Adobe PDF format unless otherwise stated:

  • Chapter 20A - Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys (Preamble to SCR 20:1.18)
  • Chapter 20B - Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys (SCRs 20:2.1 to 20:8.5)
  • Chapter 20 - Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys (Annotated) (updated 3/2021)
  • Chapter 21 - Lawyer Regulation System
  • Chapter 21 - Lawyer Regulation System (Annotated) (updated 1/2021)
  • Chapter 22 - Procedures for the Lawyer Regulation System
  • Chapter 22 - Procedures for the Lawyer Regulation System (Annotated) (updated 1/2021)
  • Chapter 23 - Regulation of Unauthorized Practice of Law

News & events

New procedures take effect January 1, 2021

By order dated June 30, 2020, the Supreme Court amended many procedures. Significant changes were made to the time limitation for filing a grievance (SCR 21.18), dispositions of grievances at Intake [SCR 22.02(2)(d)], suspensions for non-cooperation [SCR 22.03(4)], and reinstatement from disciplinary suspensions and revocations [SCR 22.29 through 22.33].

OLR offers online payment option

OLR is now offering an electronic payment option for trust account seminar registration fees, assessed discipline costs, reinstatement fees, and for purchasing the Wisconsin Supreme Court rule books. Visit the Office of Lawyer Regulation electronic fee payment page for additional information and to use the payment feature.

Guidance on paying eFiling fees

Circuit court eFiling is available throughout the state and is mandatory in many Wisconsin counties. However, the Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules relating to e-banking in trust accounts will impact how lawyers manage the payment of filing fees. For guidance from OLR on the payment options, Read more Adobe PDF.

SPD payments, including direct deposit:

In order to receive payment at the conclusion of a representation, lawyers appointed by the State Public Defender's Office (SPD) must submit their hours and expenses to the SPD. If the expenses include fees owed to a 3rd party, such as an investigator, Wisconsin's trust account rules come into play. Read more Adobe PDF.

Be alert for suspicious ACH transactions

Lawyers should be aware that there is a far shorter period of time for lawyers and other business people to notify their financial institutions of suspicious ACH transactions in corporate accounts than there is for consumers to report such transactions in personal accounts. Read more PDF.

Malware alert

Attorneys should be aware of a potential new malware scheme (see malware email example). The source sends an email to the lawyer that appears to be a notice of a disciplinary complaint from the lawyer disciplinary agency. The email contains a link, which when opened, downloads a virus that locks the attorney's computer until a ransom is paid. OLR infrequently uses email to provide notice of a grievance. When sending an email to an attorney, OLR does not use a link. In addition, the OLR staff member will be identified as the sender with an email address ending with @wicourts.gov. Attorneys are encouraged to be sure of the authenticity of an email purporting to be from OLR, and when in doubt, may contact OLR at (608) 267-7274 or (877) 315-6941.

Filing a grievance

Grievances can be filed by telephone, mail, or email. Grievances filed by incarcerated persons must be in writing. Click here for information about filing a grievance and the process involved. (en Español)

Lawyer status & history

For information regarding a lawyer's current status and public disciplinary history, consult any or all of the following:

OLR is required to keep confidential information about grievances and private discipline. Attorneys who wish to obtain a disciplinary history letter should send a request in writing to the Office of Lawyer Regulation. The request may be sent by mail, fax, or email to:

Office of Lawyer Regulation
110 East Main Street, Suite 315
P.O. Box 1648
Madison, WI 53701-1648
Fax: (608) 267-1959
Email: olr.intake@wicourts.gov

Trust Account Program

Lawyers have fiduciary obligations to safeguard and account for the funds and property of clients and others that is in their possession. OLR is responsible for overseeing lawyers' compliance with Wisconsin's trust account rule, SCR 20:1.15, and the trust account-related rules in SCR 20:1.5 (Fees). For further information regarding trust and fiduciary accounts, including trust account-related rules, record keeping guidelines, overdraft notification requirements, IOLTA compliance, annual certifications, and scams targeting trust accounts, see Trust Account Program.

Education

Upcoming trust account seminar: September 24, 2021
Register Adobe PDF | Pay registration fee

Financial institutions

For further information on lawyer trust accounts and fiduciary accounts, including overdraft reporting, IOLTA requirements, electronic transactions and prohibited transactions, see information for financial institutions.

Lawyer fees

Lawyers' fees and costs are subject to numerous regulatory requirements under the Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules, specifically SCR 20:1.0 (Terminology); SCR 20:1.5 (Fees); SCR 20:1.8(f) (Conflict of Interest); SCR 20:1.15 (Safekeeping Property) and SCR 20:1.16(d) (...Terminating Representation). The topics addressed by these rules include fee types, reasonableness, fee agreements, fee disputes, options for handling fee advances and electronic payments of fees and costs. For information on these topics and more, see Legal Fees and Costs Adobe PDF.

Pro hac vice admission

For information on pro hac vice admission and the application form see the services for attorneys section.

Assistance for lawyers

Attorneys seeking assistance should contact the State Bar of Wisconsin Lawyer's Assistance Program, Ethics Program, or Law Office Management Program.

Assistance from other organizations

(The following links lead to external websites unless otherwise noted.)

Law license reinstatement procedures

Supreme Court Rules provide different procedures for law license reinstatement depending upon the nature of the reinstatement and the length of the lapse in licensure. Information and forms relating to each procedure, see the Law license reinstatement page.

Pay OLR fees & costs

Electronic payment to the Office of Lawyer Regulation is available for trust account seminar registration fees, assessed discipline costs, reinstatement fees, and for purchase of Wisconsin Supreme Court rule books.Visit the Office of Lawyer Regulation electronic fee payment page for additional information and to pay.

Contact information

Office of Lawyer Regulation
Keith Sellen, Director
110 East Main Street, Suite 315
P.O. Box 1648
Madison, WI 53701-1648
Ph: (608)267-7274 or (877) 315-6941
Fax: (608) 267-1959