Admission to the practice of law in Wisconsin
The Supreme Court requires lawyers to be admitted to the Supreme Court and join the State Bar of Wisconsin as a condition of practicing law in the state. There are three ways to apply for admission:
Under diploma privilege, graduates of the University of Wisconsin Law School and Marquette University Law School are admitted to the practice of law by complying with the terms of SCR 40.03 —their school certifies their legal competence and the Board of Bar Examiners certifies their character and fitness for the practice of law.
- Diploma Privilege Character and Fitness Certification - Information and Filing Instructions (BE-270) 2015 | 2016
Admission on proof of practice
The applicant who applies for admission to the practice of law in Wisconsin must show they have been substantially engaged in the practice of law in a state or territory, the federal government, or the District of Columbia for three years within the last five years prior to filing application for admission. A lawyer may satisfy this requirement by proof of practice in more than a single jurisdiction and under more than one provision of SCR 40.05 .
The Wisconsin bar examination
To apply for admission
For deadline dates, fees, and detailed information about the application process, please review the Information and Filing Instructions before filing an application for admission.
Online admissions site—Applicants can electronically file an application for admission using the online admissions site. If you do not have an existing eCourts account, you will need to create one in order to file an online application. If you are unable to electronically file an application and wish to file by paper, please contact the Board of Bar Examiners at (608) 266-9760 for further information. If you submitted a paper application prior to July 11, 2016, the following links provide access to forms referenced in the BE-170, BE-270, and BE-370 filing instructions: diploma privilege, admission on proof of practice, or Wisconsin bar examination.
An application is considered "filed" when all three of the following items have been received:
- Authorization and Release
- Filing fee
The Board of Bar Examiners must be able to correspond with all applicants and their character and employment references by mail, phone, and email. Please verify that all contact information supplied in your application is current and accurate. In order to receive important, timely email notifications from the Board of Bar Examiners, please verify that your spam settings are not blocking e-mails from any email ending in @wicourts.gov. If you experience other problems receiving emails from the Board of Bar Examiners, please contact the office at (608) 266-9760.
Veterans: In 2013, the Wisconsin Supreme Court established a fee waiver program for qualified veterans for admission fees to the Wisconsin bar and for bar examination fees. Eligibility for fee waivers is determined by the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs. Go to http://dva.state.wi.us/Ben-FeeWaiver.asp (external link) for more information and to apply for an eligibility code.