SCR CHAPTER 23
REGULATION OF UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE
Every jurisdiction in the
The following rules are promulgated by the
Wisconsin Supreme Court pursuant to its inherent authority to define and
regulate the practice of law in this state.
The purpose of the rules is to protect the public from potential harm
caused by the actions of nonlawyers engaging in the unauthorized practice of
SCR 23.01 Definition of practice of law.
practice of law in
advice or counsel to others as to their legal rights or the legal rights or
responsibilities of others for fees or other consideration.
drafting, or completion for another entity or person of legal documents or
agreements which affect the legal rights of the other entity or person(s).
of another entity or person(s) in a court, or in a formal administrative
adjudicative proceeding or other formal dispute resolution process or in an
administrative adjudicative proceeding in which legal pleadings are filed or a
record is established as the basis for judicial review.
of legal rights or responsibilities on behalf of another entity or person(s).
other activity determined to be the practice of law by the Wisconsin Supreme
23.02 License required to practice law; use of titles.
(1) Right of a person to practice law in
and exclusions. A license to practice law and active
membership in the State Bar of Wisconsin are not required for a person engaged
in any of the following activities in
law pursuant to SCR 10.03(4) by a non-resident counsel or registered in-house
as a courthouse facilitator pursuant to court rule.
in a representative capacity before an administrative tribunal or agency to the
extent permitted by such tribunal or agency.
nonlawyer who is an employee, member, or officer of an entity or organization
may represent such entity, organization or any corporate affiliate before an
administrative tribunal or agency of the State of
in a neutral capacity as a mediator, arbitrator, conciliator, or facilitator.
in labor negotiations, arbitrations or conciliations arising under collective
bargaining rights or agreements.
as a lobbyist.
which are preempted by federal law.
or completion of a legal document, including a legal document created pursuant to statute, administrative rule, or
Supreme Court Order, where the document may contain various blanks and
provisions to be filled in or completed and selection or completion of the
legal document requires only common or transaction-specific knowledge regarding
the required information and general knowledge of the legal consequences.
in a neutral capacity as a clerk or court employee providing information to the
public pursuant to Supreme Court Order.
other activities that the Supreme Court has determined by rule or by published
opinion do not constitute the unlicensed or unauthorized practice of law or
which are permitted under a regulatory system established by the Supreme Court,
Wisconsin Statutes, Administrative Code
or common law.
as a nonlawyer advocate under the direction or supervision of a lawyer.
as a nonlawyer assistant under the supervision of a lawyer in compliance with
SCR 20:5.3 of the Wisconsin Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys.
provision encompasses practical training of law students authorized by SCR Ch.
(n) Governmental agencies, Indian
tribes and their employees carrying out responsibilities provided by law.
(o) Practicing within the scope of practice
allowed by a current credential issued or authorized under chs. 440 to 480,
stats., or performing services under the supervision of a professional holding
a current credential issued under chs. 440 to 480, stats., provided that the
Supreme Court has not determined by rule or by published opinion that the
activity constitutes the unlicensed or unauthorized practice of law.
victim service representative acting within the scope of s. 895.45,
stats., or a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer or staff member
acting within the scope of s. 48.236, stats.
nonlawyer entity or organization acting through lawyer employees to the extent
such lawyers perform pro bono legal services for nonprofit organizations,
low-income clients, or otherwise in the public interest.
entity or organization in the business of insurance guarantee or indemnity, or
the provision, sale or marketing of insurance or financial products or services
permitted to be offered by insurance companies under s. Ins 6.75, Wis.
Admin. Code, or a self-insured entity or organization, or any employee licensed
under ch. 628, stats., or contractor of any of the foregoing entities or
organizations when conducting their insurance business, which includes but is
not limited to: (1) investigating or adjusting claims against it or its
insured; (2) negotiating with other persons or entities; (3) conducting loss
control functions; (4) underwriting business; (5) selling insurance or
financial products or services permitted to be offered by insurance companies
under s. Ins 6.75, Wis. Admin. Code, or providing advice and counsel with
respect to such insurance or financial products or services; (6) the
preparation of releases or settlement agreements; (7) using a lawyer employee
or captive lawyer admitted to the bar in Wisconsin or otherwise permitted to
practice law in Wisconsin to represent its principal or corporate affiliate, or
an insured or noninsured for whom a defense is provided; and (8) any act
required of an insurer by law, provided that the Supreme Court has not
determined by rule or by published opinion that the activity constitutes the
unlicensed or unauthorized practice of law.
activities performed by a certified public accountant or by a person working
under the direction of a certified public accountant.
state or federally chartered financial institution or affiliate of such an
institution when engaging in an activity that is within its authority under
applicable state or federal law, including any person providing services for it
in connection with that activity; provided that the Supreme Court has not determined
by rule or by published opinion that the activity constitutes the unlicensed or
unauthorized practice of law.
benefits specialist acting in the scope of s. 46.81(4), stats., or in the
scope of s. 46.283, stats., and s. DHS 10.23 (2) (d), Wis. Adm. Code.
making any disclosure or advisement which is required by state or federal law.
about the law or providing information about the law including the legal rights
or responsibilities of persons under the law, in a manner that is not directed
at providing specific legal advice to a specific individual in the context of a
The exceptions may also encompass:
Nonlawyer employees of an entity or
organization that engage in giving advice or counsel to another entity or
person as to the legal rights of that entity or person; selection, drafting, or
completion, for another entity or person, of legal documents; or negotiation of
legal rights or responsibilities on behalf of another entity or person, where
the activities are undertaken for the sole benefit of the entity or
organization or any corporate affiliate;
Nonlawyer employees of an entity or
organization preparing legal documents that are incidental to the entity's or
organization's business and connected with any transaction in which the entity
has a direct, primary, and nonfiduciary interest, or a fiduciary interest
required by federal law;
Nonlawyer entities or organizations which
employ lawyer employees to perform the activities described in 23.01(1) for
such entity, other entities within the organization, or in the case of
privately held entities or organizations, for owners and their families,
officers, directors, or employees of the entity or organization;
A nonlawyer entity or organization acting
through lawyer employees providing legal services, without direct payment
therefor, to a party other than a party described in (j), in a manner
consistent with the Wisconsin Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys
(including, without limitation, the rules relating to conflicts of interest and
fee sharing), so long as the entity or organization has a financial interest in
the outcome of the legal services, there is a commonality of purpose between
the entity or organization and the third party, and the entity or organization
is not otherwise in the business of providing legal services except as provided
in these rules.
(3) Use of titles. Except as permitted by SCR 10.03(4),
only a person who is currently licensed to practice law in Wisconsin and who is
an active member of the State Bar of Wisconsin may represent himself or herself
to the public using the words attorney at law,
lawyer, solicitor, counselor, attorney and counselor, proctor, law, law office,
or other equivalent words in connection with his or her name or any sign,
advertisement, business card, letterhead, circular, notice, or other writing,
document or design, the evident purpose of which is to induce others to believe
or understand the person to be authorized to practice law in this state or
otherwise qualified to provide professional legal services or advice.
practice of law requires a skillful practitioner with training in how to find,
interpret and apply the law in various circumstances which involve the legal
rights and interests of the person(s) being served. Licensure and regulation of the practice of
law are necessary to protect the public interest from harm which can result
from incompetency, dishonesty, and unethical behavior. The regulation of the practice of law in
license to practice law in
Adopted July 27, 2010