Supreme Court offices

Office of Lawyer Regulation

The Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) is an agency of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. OLR receives grievances relating to lawyer misconduct, conducts investigations, and prosecutes violations of lawyer ethics rules.

Contact information

Office of Lawyer Regulation
Keith Sellen, Director
110 East Main Street, Suite 315
Madison, WI 53703-3383
Phone: (608)267-7274 or (877) 315-6941
Fax: (608) 267-1959

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About OLR and 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):

News

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.

New trust account rule affecting out-of-state lawyers: SCR 20:1.15 now permits lawyers who primarily practice in another state to use the trust account that they maintain in that state for Wisconsin legal matters, so long as the state in which they primarily practice has overdraft notification requirements. Read more PDF.

Trust Account Options as of July 1, 2016: The 2016 trust account rule provides lawyers and law firms with several options for their IOLTA trust accounts. In determining which option will work best, a lawyer or law firm should first identify the types of transactions that are currently being used and those that the lawyer or law firm would like to use in the near future. The types of transactions that are now permitted include: remote deposits; electronic transfers (ACH transactions); credit, debit and pre-paid cards; checks, wire transfers, and teller deposits.

Each of the options under the 2016 rule offers a different approach to safeguarding funds in trust, and is based on the types of transactions that the lawyer wants to use. The three options include: 1) a stand-alone, traditional IOLTA, in which electronic transactions are prohibited; 2) an E-Banking IOLTA Trust Account which permits electronic deposits and disbursements and requires maintaining a second account that is a traditional IOLTA; and 3) an Alternative to the E-Banking Trust Account, which permits checking and electronic transactions within a single IOLTA account. Read more PDF.

Malware alert: Attorneys should be aware of a potential new malware scheme. 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.

OLR publishes record-keeping guidelines: In connection with the re-creation of the trust account rule, SCR 20:1.15, effective July 1, 2016, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has provided general standards for record-keeping in the disciplinary rule, SCR 20:1.15(g), and transferred the detailed recordkeeping requirements from that rule to Guidelines published by OLR. Read more Adobe PDF

SCR Chapter 20 now available: A document with annotations to the ethics rule is available as a research resource. Download here Adobe PDF

Supreme Court orders corrections to its prior order regarding trust account rule: On December 7, 2016, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ordered a number of corrections to its April 4, 2016 order recreating SCR 20:1.15 – Safekeeping property; trust accounts and fiduciary accounts. In the matter of corrections to Supreme Court Order 14-07.

The corrections to SCR 20:1.15, effective July 1, 2016, include:

The addition of record keeping requirements to SCR 20:1.15(f)(3)c. [the alternative to an E-Banking Trust Account], including the requirement to record electronic transactions in the financial institution's electronic payment system; Read more Adobe PDF

Find information about recent disciplinary cases, upcoming reinstatement hearings and pending public cases in the services for public section.

Filing a grievance

Grievances can be filed by telephone, mail, or e-mail. Click here for information about filing a grievance and the process involved. (en Español)

Lawyer status and history

While OLR is required to keep information about grievances and private discipline confidential, OLR may provide information regarding a lawyer's license status and public discipline, including public reprimands, license suspensions and revocations.

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

Search lawyer status and history
Wisconsin State Bar lawyer search (external link)
Compendium of Professional Discipline
Recent disciplinary cases
Reinstatement hearings
Pending public cases

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 seminars: April 28, 2017 and October 6, 2017

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

LawyersÂ’ 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) (Â…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 from other organizations

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