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.
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
Scroll down the page to learn more about OLR or use the following shortcuts:
- Filing a grievance
- About OLR and the lawyer regulation system
- News and events
- Lawyer status and history
- Supreme Court Rules, Chapter 20 (Annotated)
- Trust Account Program
- Lawyer fees
- Pro hac vice admission
- Assistance from other organizations
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:
- Overview of the lawyer regulation system organizations
- Overview of the lawyer regulation process
- Organizational structure
- Annual report
Detailed information about ethical standards, organizational structure, and grievance procedures are contained in the following Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules (SCRs):
- 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)
- Chapter 21 - Lawyer Regulation System
- Chapter 21 - Lawyer Regulation System (Annotated)
- Chapter 22 - Procedures for the Lawyer Regulation System
- Chapter 22 - Procedures for the Lawyer Regulation System (Annotated)
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 .
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 .
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 .
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
SCR Chapter 20 now available: A document with annotations to the ethics rule is available as a research resource. Download here
Supreme Court re-creates trust account rule; amends related rules: On April 4, 2016, the Wisconsin Supreme Court repealed and re-created SCR 20:1.15—Safekeeping property; trust accounts and fiduciary accounts, and amended SCR 20:1.0, SCR 20:1.5 and SCR 22.39, effective July 1, 2016. Order, Petition No. 14-07. The changes to SCR 20:1.15 will expand the use of electronic transactions in trust and fiduciary accounts beyond the current limits of accepting payments for legal fees and costs, and collecting debts. Read more
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.
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:
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.
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 are subject to many regulatory requirements. They must be reasonable. Advanced fees must be refunded if unearned. Lawyers have alternatives for handling advanced fees. For more detailed information about fees and fee agreements, download our Legal Fees document.
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
- Contact information for lawyer regulation agencies in other states (external link)
- State Bar of Wisconsin (external link)
- Board of Bar Examiners
- Wisconsin Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection (external link)
- Wisconsin Judicial Commission
- Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (external link)
- Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (external link)
- Fee Arbitration Program (external link)